Week Two: The Four Tastes

This week's theme is, to the best of your ability, to become more conscious of the "tastes" of what we eat.

This weeks theme is, to the best of your ability, to become more conscious in and around the tastes of what you eat. Where do you begin? By remembering that all tastes are simply some combination of the same four basic flavors: sweet, salty, sour, and bitter.

Also, as you begin this week's assignments, please know that these assignments were designed to utilize and build on what you experienced during the first weeks assignments. Thus, please do your best to remember to continue to notice the mental and emotional content of your eating experiences, this week, especially with regard to the tastes of what you eat.

As for this weeks assignments, they are as follows:

Day 8 Assignment

Please do this exercise each and every time you eat today, as best you can.

Try, today, to consciously observe any sense of the taste of what you eat today. Also, please try to notice how you feel (mentally and emotionally) as you try to sense the taste of what you eat.

Be especially mindful as to whether you feel worried, anxious, or a hurry to sense what you taste. Also do your best to be aware of the degree to which you can not experience the taste your food.

What did you experience today?

Today, focus gentle attention on your internal sensations of taste as you eat, being especially mindful to sense the taste of sweetness.

Do you have a difficult time tasting sweetness? Have you eliminated this taste from your diet entirely, in effect, designating it as one of the "bad" tastes?


What happens inside you when you do taste sweetness? Do you hurry only to find it all gone before you have had enough? Do you hurry all the way through some part of your meal, trying to get to the taste of sweetness as quickly as possible?

When you are eating something sweet, a dessert perhaps, do you hurry to put the next mouthful in your mouth? And are you watchful for what other may thing of you?

What did you experience today?

Today, try to focus on reclaiming any lost sensations with regard to the taste of saltiness. Be especially aware of how long you can remain aware of this taste before losing your sense of it.


As with last week's assignments, here too, please do not try to change anything in and around you eat, in this case, with regard to how you taste what you eat. Only try to gently notice what you do and do not taste.


Here, too, the whole point of doing these assignments is to reclaim as much of your birthright with regard to eating consciously as you can. All that is required, then, is that you do your best to notice your internal experiences without judging yourselves with regard to what you find.


And remember. You deserve to feel loved, especially while you eat. The body needs this love in order to fully process the food. Do your best to be kind to yourself, then, no matter what you find and no matter what and how much you eat.

What did you notice today?

By now, hopefully, you will have begun to reclaim some of your conscious sense of the tastes of sweetness and saltiness. Today, then, I would ask you to add to this process the sensation of both these tastes at once.


What do I mean by this? By this, I mean, try to notice any times in which you sense both sweetness and saltiness in the same mouthful. Desserts are especially rich in this regard, and certain other meals are contain prominent sensations of both sweetness and saltiness.


Again, today, to not judge yourselves for what you eat nor for how much you eat. Eating is not supposed to be a war.


Further, we have all been inundated with judgmental messages, especially with regard to eating sweets, for most of our lives. Strangely, the first taste we experience in life, milk, is primarily sweet.


Please know, whatever judgments you do find inside you are not your fault. Nor are they anyone else's fault, no matter what we have been told. Do you have a hard time not blaming someone here? Ask yourself this. Who, in our lives, did not receive painful and or shaming messages regarding the eating of sweets.


Finally, please do your best to just focus your efforts today on noticing any times in which you sense both sweetness and saltiness in the same mouthful. And do not judge yourself in any way for what you do or don't sense.


What did you experience today?

Today is day twelve. Have you found yourself struggling with this week's assignments? Have you had any memories surface such as memories which include scenes from childhood meals? Dinner scenes? Sneaking sweets? Other times?


Please just note them and do not try to understand the things you do find. And remember, we are all new to this process, so be easy on yourself.


Today's focus, then, will be to now add to the your observations any sense of the taste of sourness. As with the prior days assignments, please try to notice this taste without judgment, along with any internal sense of hurry, urgency, anxiety, feelings of fear, frustration, excitement, etc.


Are you afraid you will taste a sourness in thing not meant to be sour, dairy products, for instance? Do you love this taste and gobble down things like pickles and salads in a hurry?


Whatever you find, again, please hear me tell you in a gentle soft voice, "thank for your courage."


What did you discover today?

Thirteen days is a lot of time to try to be conscious. Are you overwhelmed with all you are discovering or with the effort these assignments take to do? Are you frustrated with a sense of not having discovered enough? In fact, have you been comparing your reports to others reports? And have you been judging yourself in any way as to what you have been finding?


Please, if you have been doing any of these things, just cut it out <grin>. Only kidding.

In all seriousness, though, I have never even read of nor heard of anyone doing what we have been doing. Please try to remember this. This means we each all explorers in our own right and as such, deserve credit.


As for today's assignment, today, please try to sense consciously anything which has a bitter taste. Many vegetables fall into this category, as well as many medications, such as aspirin.


Do you dislike this taste immensely? Do you avoid it if you can?


What did you discover today?

The end of week two. Are you getting tired of all this work?


If so, allow yourself to complain if you need to. In fact, do it loudly and without guilt if you need to. Afterwards, though, do your best to continue, remembering, this is but one week out of your entire life, one week to give yourself the gift of gentle attention.


Today, whenever you eat, try to sense and identify as many of the four tastes as you can, noticing when one in particular stands out and when you taste more than one at a time.


Also, try to notice again, if any particular taste generates feeling of guilt or shame. And don't be surprised if you find that you have feeling such as these over tastes other than sweetness.


Finally, please do your best to allow yourself to love all four tastes without judgments, toward yourselves and towards others.


What did you sense today?

Steven Paglierani is an author, teacher, social worker, and scientist whose writings describe the world through the lens of Asperger's. As a licensed therapist, he teaches others—including those with Asperger's—to stop imitating normal and to be themselves. He's created the first natural description of human personality, a theory wherein everything derives from a single fractal pattern. He's also built and raced Shelby Mustangs, been a singer / song writer mentioned in Rolling Stone, and designed his best friend's home as a wedding gift.