I understand if you think that healthy food is not tasty. I also understand if you prefer to indulge your taste bud with the extremely tasty Indonesian street food.
I understand because, I’ve been there.
Growing up in Indonesian culture – Sundanese to be precise – I’m so adjust of having extra chili, extra salt, extra sugar, and extra spices on my food.
Even in the past, every time I cooked food for Kimmana, whether it's become too spicy for him, the food can be too salty or too sweet! Where for me the taste of my food was just perfect! :)
It’s not about good or bad, it’s just the tendency what life can be.
Ayurveda, the timeless wisdom of balanced living, explains that ‘like increases like’. The more we have certain things/substances in our life, the more we would like to have more of that.
Our Common Indonesian Diet
In Sanskrit, taste is called ‘rasa’, which not only means the taste that we experience with our tongue, but also the taste of all life experience.
Since we’re living in a tropical country where we have warm weather most of the year (and even the fruit that grows in our land has a richer taste), it’s not surprising if we would like to have more of that quality: we want more warmth and richness of flavor in our life. And the easiest way to get this richness taste is through our food (instead through real physical/emotional experience).
We grew up to adore deep fried food, because we’re so adjust with our hot climate; we love to add more chili as if the heat that present in our environment isn’t enough; and we love to add flavor enhancer like MSG because we want to have more (so much more) flavor in our life, through food.
My Craving for Indonesian (Street) Food
With this as the backdrop of my life story, it’s not surprising that I lost my ability to taste pure and fine taste.
I remember how desperate I was traveling to foreign country, and wasn’t satisfied with their fine dining, and instead missing the street food back home.
I was so desperate that I need to bring chili sauce (sambel ABC :) ) everywhere I go to increase my appetite (I really need to feel hungry to be able to eat their ‘tasteless’ food).
But then, it brought me to question myself… Is it really their food that is tasteless, or is it my tongue that can’t taste the finer and pure flavor?
Finally, Bringing the Balance Back!
During this detox retreat, I wasn’t only obliged to do the program fully, but to also understand the process wholeheartedly. Nothing can create a powerful impact without truly understanding the WHY, the reason behind of it.
The funniest part was during the detox retreat, I was literally crying because I want chili so bad! It’s sounds crazy when I think about it now. But trust me, I suffered at that time.
My Current Adventure with Tastes and Food
I finally come to a realization on how I’ve stuffed myself up with too much flavor that made my taste bud lost its sensitivity. I’ve been over-indulging myself with sambal, desserts, and MSG that made my tongue greedy and want more of that.
Even though I now understand things better, there’s always a time where I crave for cilok, batagor, basreng, martabak, and many other local-comfort food every time I come back to Indonesia. I grew up with this food for the first 22 years of my life, so it’s not an easy thing to switch to.
And since ‘like increases like’, change isn’t gonna happen in just one night. Any ‘radical’ change will go back to its previous state radically too. Therefore to truly change something and create a lasting impact is gonna take a longer time. Yes it’s slow, and yes it can be boring sometimes, but the change will last forever.
So in regards with healthy food, my experience has prove that doing a proper detox (not just a fad diet/detox program) can help us to get rid of the excess tastes and substances that we’ve been experiencing. After that, my taste bud became more sensitive, and finally both Kimmana and I can enjoy the food that I made because it’s not too salty/sweet/spicy anymore :)
From that point, it’s just about maintaining the balance. When I know that I crave for sambal, I will only stop myself when it started to become unhealthy craving.
After all, there are so many great opportunity that life has to offered. I would definitely not going to say no for an Italian supper invitation, nor chain myself in certain place just because I can get the supposed to be ‘healthy food’.
Eating healthy doesn’t need to be a suffering experience :)