Eating with anosmia made healthy (and delicious) right here!
...and you can still crush your health, nutrition, and wellness goals,
even when things don't smell or taste like before.
...and you can still crush your health, nutrition, and wellness goals,
even when things don't smell or taste like before.
It's all about helping people with smell and taste disorders enjoy optimal health, nutrition, and live their healthiest, most fulfilling lives. We empower people with these invisible but devastating conditions using our unique combination of expertise. Take a look around and see how we do it!
Pickles! I've been fermenting, and quick pickling.... photo and notes from my kitchen coming....
When life gives you lemons make lemonade, they say. Well, having had a lemon tree in my yard for the many years I lived in Phoenix, I can tell you, there's nothing better than fresh, homemade lemonade with freshly picked lemons. But let's switch up the saying a little..... How about when life gives you anosmia put lemons on everything? Seriously... it wasn't until I couldn't smell that I learned the secrets of citrus! Somehow a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice fixes just about everything that tastes a little flat. Even a splash of fresh orange or clementine juice can elevate a boring salad dressing, sauce, or a drink by balancing things out with a little acid.
To practice finding flavor, grate some zest and smell train while you do it! You can add it to soups, marinades, dressings, even desserts and baked goods. Lucky for us, these all keep for several weeks in the fridge, and are easy to keep on hand. For "emergencies" (in my book, it's an emergency!) you can keep some crystalized lemon and lime juice in the pantry, such as TrueLemon® and TrueLime® for the pop of tartness, and food grade essential citrus oils for the flavor. This way you've always got an easy way to brighten up whatever's on your plate. And while you're still wearing that resulting pucker on your lips, go give someone you love a nice, tart smooch!
May is for mindfulness. I had another post planned for this month, and for whatever reason, never got to sitting down to write it. Then I had an "aha moment" while doing my morning meditation out on my front patio. My neighbor was cutting the grass. No problem. I've gotten really good at tuning out just about anything and going to the "zen place" inside.
While I was noticing the intricacies of my breath, the gentle breeze came just the right way and I was blessed with many whiffs scented with fresh cut grass. Pure joy! Who knows when I last smelled it before this. Maybe a hear or more? I'm not sure. But I am certain of two things. One, is that the last time I smelled grass was upon sticking my head in a bag of clippings. And two, I would not have noticed the beautiful gifts of the moment on my patio, had I not been engaging in consistent, regular mindfulness practice for quite some time. I don't know of any research proving that mindfulness practice helps anosmia recovery. But there are enough of us that have been in the eating with anosmia game for awhile who have found it instrumental to enjoying life again. And eating mindfully works in much the same way. So whatever you're attempting to nourish yourself with, stop moving, pull up a chair, and put the smartphone away for a bit. And pay attention to all the color, texture, temperature and sounds around you. See if you can tease out sweet, salty, bitter, sour and umami. And while some bits of information may be missing, take note of what's present. Enjoy to the fullest, and don't be the guy in the cartoon!
Spring makes me think of rhubarb, berries and seeds. Seeds aren't just for planting summer gardens (which in my case didn't work well this year, as the cat ate my seedlings. Yeah, the big chubby orange cat!). Seeds are also a good source of nutrition! They're a great way to add texture and eye appeal to just about anything, from hemp seeds on a salad, to chia seed pudding you see here. And you know how important it is for anosmics to keep food interesting, probably in different ways than before. Rhubarb and berries are a great way to add more interest by way of color, texture, sweetness with berries, and that mouth puckering tanginess and astringency that comes with rhubarb. Yum! If you're dealing with parosmia you may not love the smell of strawberry rhubarb pie cooking, due to the browning crust. So I invite you to try rhubarb, berries (blackberries shown here) cooked until soft with some honey or maple syrup, and a generous pinch of salt. Enjoy on top of yogurt, ice cream, oatmeal, or overnight chia seed pudding shown here. It can be made with regular milk, or your favorite nondairy milk substitute. It's one of my favorite breakfasts during the warmer months. Need some recipes? There are hundreds of recipes for things like this, and other delicious plant forward meals in my signature menu planner, available in the shop. It's a great tool, and a portion of profits goes to advocacy and research. Give it a try!
Need another idea to keep food fresh and interesting? I've been doing some studying in the area of integrative medicine and nutrition, and naturally, the subject of herbs comes up a lot.
And this is a great time of year to try our hands at growing a few fresh ones. It's really not difficult, and it's an opportunity for recovering anosmics to smell train, too.
Not up for digging in the dirt? Then try some fresh, preferably organic herbs from your grocery store or local farmer's market (even better). And even if you're not picking up a lot of flavors right now, try some anyway. All you need to do is wash them, pat dry with a clean towel or dry in a salad spinner. Then chop some up, and toss on your food just before serving, so as to keep the flavor from cooking away. You'll likely start to pick up hints of flavor over time, and can still enjoy the contrasting color, texture, and even. a little bitterness or astringency which adds interest to otherwise ho-hum dishes. And many of them are rich in phytonutrients which can help fight inflammation, and other contributors to chronic disease.
Try adding some fresh oregano, on top of a pasta dish (or another favorite, on some piping hot chicken soup that's been spiked with a pig pinch of cayenne pepper, and some freshly squeezed lemon juice. Rosemary, basil, and thyme work well, too. Fresh cilantro, or mint work well with Indian, and other types of Asian inspired recipes. Not sure where to start? Subscribe to my menu planner and you'll be on your way to making healthy and delicious food with ease and confidence!
If you suffer from anosmia, you may have heard about using essential oils for smell training. They're sometimes used in integrative medicine as remedies for various things. But did you know that some essential oils are food grade, and can be used to quickly add concentrated flavor to food and beverages? I just learned this a couple months ago and it's been a great way to make things taste more interesting, especially during cooler months, when many of us find smelling and tasting, therefore, eating with anosmia, a little harder than in the summer.
Here's how I started. The smell of rosemary is one of my favorite scents and flavors. Since losing my sense of smell, rosemary is one of the things I have a really hard time tasting in food, although I can smell it if there's enough under my nose! By adding 2-3 drops of food grade rosemary essential oil to a vegetable soup, for example, I've been able to practice picking up that beloved flavor in various dishes I prepare, and enjoying them even more!
Has parosmia made your coffee untouchable? Here's a couple more ideas. Try black tea with a drop or two of cinnamon bark oil, and orange essential oils (food grade only!) with some honey, and a dash of salt. Or why not make an a healthier alternative to those crazy-sweet Chai Concentrates, by boosting a cup of unsweetened Chai Tea with a drop of food grade Cardamom and Ginger essential oils, and adding your own sweetener and milk or vegan milk alternative for a warm, sweet-spicy creamy treat? It's fast, easy, and the possibilities are endless! Just be sure to check labels and be sure the oils are safe for internal consumption, and enjoy!
Happy New Year! It's soup and stew season! Winter can be a hard time for eating with anosmia, and nutrition often suffers. To help my family and I eat well at time of year, dinner often consists of things that are served in big soup bowls. (And a small plate for some crusty whole grain bread much of the time). There are too many recipes to put into this small post, and often the only recipe is one in my head! What always makes meals eaten with a spoon disappear around here, though, is the base I use for the broth in just about everything. Or rather, I should say line of bases, as they offer a wide range of flavors, as well as reduced sodium and organic versions of many of the products. Since making my own stock usually requires more time than I have, I turn to these, as they provide the most flavor of any ready made broth I have tried. Because they are concentrated, they take up little space, and jars can be be stored in the fridge for a long time. One teaspoon makes one cup super umami broth when reconstituted in hot water. It even works great in vegetable dishes, sauces, and dressings when I want to add flavor without a lot of fat.
There is one potential down side, which is monosodium glutamate. (My Integrative Medicine friends will be horrified to know I use this product...to which I say "it's only good for you if you'll eat it"!). Some migraine sufferers find it can trigger headaches for them. But, despite a pretty bad rap in the past, the truth is most people tolerate it in small amounts with no adverse effects, and it actually occurs naturally in many foods. When in doubt, check with your healthcare provider.
In the mean time, as the colder whether lingers try one of these in your favorite soup or stew recipe, and tell us what you think!
December is the season for festive dessert trifles, as well as one of my favorite flavor profiles, Wassail Punch. I decided to explore combining these ideas, and came up with a long list of possibilities! Here I share with you one of the results.
I started with incorporating the holiday spices, citrus peel, and and black currant, by boiling down a full bottle of the punch shown above, along with a package of dried plums (yes, we used to call those prunes, but don't tell anyone!) and a generous pinch of salt. I let it reduce until it produced a jammy consistency, then added a little powdered beet root for color. The result? Sugarplum Jam! It's delicious, and from a nutrition standpoint, has a good amount of fiber, and phytonutrients, which most of need more of. It's great on toast, or crackers with a little creamy (or even salty, aged) cheese. Here you see it layered with plain Greek Yogurt, and topped with a not-too-sweet organic granola. I can't decide which way I like it best, but the "Sugarplum Parfait" as I call it is nutrient dense, colorful, and combines several textures and basic tastes, too. And it's not likely to trigger parosmia for most people.
Don't have time to make jam? Try layering lemon flavored yogurt with chopped dried cranberries or dried currants, some nuts or granola, and a little orange zest on top. Or make up your own combination and tell me how it goes!
Eating with anosmia got you down? Let us help!
Sweet potato, cauliflower and chickpea curry packet meal
is here! (In the menu planner, which I know you'll love!)
This is a new recipe for me, inspired by LivingPlateRx, with whom I am partnering to educate nutrition, health, and culinary professionals on how to help people with smell and taste challenges. Even before the modification I made, this recipe already had just about everything I look for... lots of colors, various textures, and it's super nutrient dense. It's also really simple to prepare, easy to modify, and cooks without releasing a lot of odors, which is good for my parosmic friends. It's also vegetarian, with a vegan option, and has a nice balance of spice, salt, sweet, sour, and umami, from the coconut aminos I added. Give it a try and tell me what you think!
Pumkin Spice Protein Smoothie.
I love fall,. It reminds me of gourds and pumpkins, brightly colored leaves falling, and the home I grew up in smelling like roast chicken. Oh yeah, if you're reading this, you likely either can't smell roast chicken, or don't want to because of that pesky parosmia (distorted smell). Eating with anosmia makes it challenging to get our nutrition in!
So I've created the next best thing to maximize what's in season in the fall. It's an easy recipe that will help you get in your protein, other important nutrients, and some fiber. More importantly it tastes delicious, because I've added things to catch the attention of your taste buds. And there's no smell of cooking meat, or browning onions! The recipe is included in my signature meal planner which is now available under featured products, shop, or menu planners sections on the site.
When eating with anosmia, colors and texture are king! And the hot weather sometimes makes me a little queasy.... hard to stand in a hot kitchen tending to the nutrition of my family, and my own smell challenged self. My solution? Salade Nicoise with Purple Potatoes!
I make this several times a summer not just because purple is my favorite color, but because it's a great way to use abundant produce from my local farmers' market, and makes great leftovers. I especially love it for people with anosmia or parosmia because it's packed with important nutrients and it has lots of different colors, textures, tastes, and flavors. Don't forget to add a simple lemony olive oil and herb vinaigrette and at least one of the highly umami garnishes shown here! The only part that requires cooking is boiling potatoes before chilling, so there's no smell of cooking proteins, or roasting, etc.. You can easily substitute other ingredients and still come up with something delicious. And purple potatoes are not just gorgeous, they're delicious!
Before working with Mimi, when it came to my health, I was overthinking things to the point of taking little to no action. She helped me prioritize my health and nutrition issues, set important goals, then follow through on achieving those goals.
Now I am free to pursue other projects that are meaningful to me,
and will ultimately help others.
--Mia Caruso, Founder of Illuminating Invisible Diseases Podcast, Sales Executive
Working with Mimi challenged me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to make important changes that resulted in better nutrition, and improved physical, mental, and spiritual health.
I have sustained these changes for over two decades.
-Deborah Clowers, Massage Therapist
Mimi Ellis and I have worked together since 2013. As a Physician, I can honestly say she is one of the most thorough and knowledgeable colleagues I have ever worked with.
Most importantly, patients love her.
She has a warm and compassionate way with people, and is an incredible listener, which allows her to really
make a difference with people and get them better.
-Julie Zweig, MD
ENT and Sleep Medicine Specialist
When dealing with a physical health issue there is always an emotional component to the problem and Mimi understands that. Therefore, she not only meets physical needs, but is very understanding of emotional needs too. Empathetic, directive and always compassionate, probably because she has been there herself, I always feel like I have been listened to and responded to in a very meaningful way. I am left feeling we are working on the problem together and that my observations are being taken into account.
Furthermore, working on my health issues with Mimi it is evident that she has a broad set of experiences and interests and has clearly trained in many other disciplines. This deeper knowledge with respect to a variety of health issues finds their way in her treatment plans resulting in a more comprehensive and nuanced approach to the problem at hand. For these reasons I can highly recommend her as a health practitioner and coach.
-Deborah Davies, Artist