So Long Taste Buds My Old Friends

Slightly better than connect the dots.

So, it’s been over a month now since my ‘life changing’ heart attack and resultant two surgeries (one of which was an emergency). My scars are now looking more like pink ‘stretch-marks‘ and less like a Frankenstein cross-stitch. I have lost weight (this is a good thing according to my doctor) and I’ve got my first follow on appointment with my cardiologist/surgeon.

I no longer smoke cigarettes, relying instead on nicotine patches and ‘harmless’ e-cigs which have no nicotine and gives me the ‘placebo’ of inhaling something non carcinogenic and that isn’t just air. So far my cravings for the old demon weed is non-existent. To be honest though, the best deterrent in the world is that sensation of acute pain brought on by a heart attack.

When I was discharged from the hospital, my cardiologist explained that I could eat whatever I wanted and as much as I wanted. I was ‘healing’ she said and my body needed all the nutrients it could get. My new diet would start later after I’d gotten back on my feet.

What no-one explained was that when I first got out of the hospital, everything I ate would taste like ash. Salt, which had been my lifelong friend, burned my mouth and other spicy things that I had grown to love now tasted horrid. I soldiered on and kept trying to eat to heal.

Unfortunately, the other thing no one warned me about was my loss of appetite. Oh my spirit was willing alright, but, the room just wasn’t there. It’s like they’d taken my stomach in an inch or two while they worked on my leaky pipes and clogged arteries. I just didn’t have enough space in there to eat anywhere near the amount I used to.

But good things come to those who wait and my taste buds soon regained their old habits (except for the salt thing, it still burns my mouth). I started craving certain spices and foods that had long been on my favorite list.


Tragedy struck.

I went to my first appointment with my local cardiologist. It had been decided that my recuperating period was over. Now I had to start eating healthily and I needed to avoid foods that I’d eaten all my life.

Steak, bacon, pork chops, cheese (unless it’s in the form of cottage cheese) and most forms of red meat were verboten.  Butter, chips (aka french fries) anything fried (unless it was done in olive oil and then only lightly) or anything that even remotely resembled tasty food.

My recovering heart sank as the list of bad foods got longer. I could see a future of tofu, soybean meat substitutes and vegetables that I don’t even like to look at let alone eat.

I was given a list of ‘heart clubs’ and a couple of booklets with ‘healthy dishes’ in them for future reference. I also had been told I needed to contact these clubs for support. I felt that I’d been sentenced to a life of bland.

I don’t know what it is, but they say it tastes like chicken.

Fortunately for me, I don’t eat that much red meat. Chicken is eaten on a regular basis. Fish is eaten quite a lot as well, but not in the oily category. Mackerel, Herring and  Eel are too smelly and rich for my taste buds. Tuna and sardines are alright but I wouldn’t go out of my way to eat them.

I haven’t been brave enough to look at all the recipes in the booklet yet. I have had a glance or two inside one and the first thing I noticed was a cheerful picture of an aubergine aka eggplant. My blood curdled. If ever there was a more disgusting tasting vegetable than the eggplant (actually as I set writing this, I think that cooked celery might just tie the aubergine for disgusting)…

Don’t get me wrong, I do like vegetables and quite a lot of them. Unfortunately the way I like my veg is drenched in salt and butter. Neither of which is on my list of foods to eat.

I know, I’m moaning and whining about a very little thing here. It was my prior eating habits and lifestyle that got me hospital bound to start with. I will say though, with not a trace of embarrassment or regret, it does seem like I’m still being penalized for that old life style.

It sort of makes me think of that old joke. You know the one, I’m sure. An old guy is setting outside the town’s barbershop and he’s telling a group of young men how to live longer. “You don’t smoke, drink or chase wild women,” he says. “And you’ll life longer?” One of the young men asks. “No,” replies the old man, “You just feel older.”

Watch out for them wild women boy.

Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

12 thoughts on “So Long Taste Buds My Old Friends”

  1. Good luck with the life change, I’d be rubbish at changing my diet or anything. Why do they say everything tastes like chicken? Normally it doesn’t, Like human tastes more like a blend between beef and turkey 😀


  2. You post some great reading. This experience changes a lot with mind and body. You may be saving a life somewhere. With this knowledge…am grateful you are recovering well.


  3. Changing your lifestyle is one of (if not THE) hardest things in the world to do. I’ve gotten the exercise thing down at this point but with eating I’m a mess. I also have to quit smoking (again). Eating and cigs are my last two bad habits that have to go.


    1. You can say that again! My biggest problem lies with my mind-set. They told me stress would be something that I needed to control if not completely obliterate from my life. Good luck on the Smoking and eating drill. 🙂


  4. From someone who has been there and done that, you get used to it. You even learn to like it. The only thing on which I still use “fake” butter is corn on the cob. Cheese, a bit, but light provolone sliced so thin you can read through it. Smoked turkey is a pretty good sub forother cold cuts. There are a LOT of great fat free salad dressings that make salad a treat. Garry makes a WICKED virgin mary.

    Part of your taste issue is not smoking. After I stopped, everything tasted weird for a long time. It took months to settle back down. Learn to love hot sauces. One of the things that staves off yearning for fatty and sweet and rich food that none of us can eat any more (welcome to my world!) is that nothing has any taste.

    You may not be able to use a lot of salt of butter, but you can use spice like crazy. I use tons of spice, semi-hot peppers, bits of jalapeno in the pasta sauce. I can’t eat much pasta, but I can have a little bit of anything and so can you. You can taste anything, you just can’t gorge. It’ll be okay. Make your OWN recipes. When you know what you can eat and what’s forbidden, use all the herbs and spices you can think of to make it good.

    Healthy doesn’t have to be dull. Really. I promise. I’ve been eating like this for 12 years and I couldn’t eat the crap I used to if I wanted to. It would make me barf. I get nauseated looking at fast food adverts! Turkey bacon is entirely tolerable. Don’t even think about fake eggs: El Repulsivo and don’t let them tell you any different. I loathe tofu and my Chinese friends think I’m soft in the brain because they LOVE it and tell me that I simply don’t understand how to properly prepare it. Sushi and sashimi is delicious and good for you and your soul. Learn to cook Chinese (I did).

    Get a rice cooker. Develop a warm relationship with your greengrocer and local purveyor of fish. It’s amazing what you can do with salmon. Those flat white fishes are only good stuffed with jalopeno peppers, basil and tomato. I used to write cookbooks so if you need help, I can. Think SPICE, not FAT and you’ll be fine! As for smoking? I will always miss it. Sigh. But having pieces removed is very good incentive to stay stopped. It’s my two year anniversary of parting with both breasts and my 7th anniversary of parting with most of my stomach for the second time. Who KNOWS what they’ll decide to lop off next?


    1. Luckily for me I do like salmon. I just have to learn to cook and flavour it with a light derivative of butter. I cannot help but admire your strength and drive after undergoing two very life changing experiences. Fingers crossed you don’t have anymore. As for the tastebuds, I think I’m still in the weird stage as a lot of things taste odd. I’ll grit my teeth and wait it out. I agree with the smoking bit, it is a constant tickle in the back of my mind. Still the e-cigs with no nicotine or anything else does help take care of the inhaling part of the addiction. Time will tell if I can stay off the damn things for good or not. Thanks for the support and ideas toward cooking tasty meals. Cheers mate!! 😀


  5. It amazes me how pretty much everything that makes food taste good is bad. If the things that taste good in food are bad for us, why did we even develop taste buds in the first place?


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