Flavouring foods: how I do it.

How should we flavour a feature meal? This of course depends on individual factors not including personal habits, preferences and any tastebud adjustments overtime.

For sake of simplicity this article is not going to be research-exhaustive, Self-Meta style as I unfortunately am simply not endowed with time. Instead ~ I am presenting a share of what I do, as. a condensed convenient reading  in the context of five+ years ~ of cyclical Keto + intermittent fasting. And of course with some thoughts on frugality along the way.

A disclaimer recite. This is only a share, not a dictation. Taste perception, preferences, and alterations to any of these, certainly warrants complex discussions towards neuroscience and food science.. See complete disclaimer here. Live-it-forward, AW.

The rule of <3.

  • One (1) choice of wet condiment, mixed or solo.
  • One (1) choice of dry condiment, mixed or solo.
  • Salt and pepper (base).

Why wet and dry? This is simply to encourage a little more fluids intake. Simply adjust to taste. This translates to the following choices, in random rotation depending on availability and obviously to taste preference:

  1. Mayonnaise or any one (1) liquid commercial condiment and Garlic Powder.
  2. Soy sauce and ginger powder.
  3. Lemon and Garlic powder
  4. Tomato paste (moderate if watching oxalates intake) and garlic powder.
  5. (Existing) broths or stocks with garlic powder.
  6. (Existing) broths or stocks with ginger powder.
  7. (Existing) broths or stocks with soy sauce.

Of course, the above is not set in stone. “Garlic powder” can mean a mix of other spices, curry powders, or dried herbs. Again ~ a matter of preference.

I’d caution it is neither wise to go too little or too extreme. To learn exactly how much is enough is appropriate takes time through self-insight, calorie tracking, food selection, entire journalling – all of which as habit; on top of. any”diet” or “methodology” subscription.

A word about commercial liquid condiments. The minimal the better. Considering many of these condiments, commercial ones that is are often laden with thickeners. Some arguably safe; though some I’d warrant some caution, at least under my own lens. Xanthan or Guar gums? I’d say they’d pass my tolerance test ~ slight feeling of sludge and upset here and there, not too frequent. Carrageenans (#407)? This is a grey territory. There is some likelihood I’ll be experiencing for inflammation-like unease, minutes, if not ~later within the hour of feeding window over anything containing carrageenan. For more complete list of what to consider and what to avoid, I’d recommend all to please refer to my Resources Toolkit blog article.   

Marinates? The same rule applies.

I prefer slightly acidic ingredients for a slight-tart preference, starting at the very least some presence of Apple Cider Vinegar to encourage digestion. Mix the wet and dry condiments BEFORE the serving.

Once again I uphold wet cooking methodology over dry. I invite anyone to please view my technical accompanying dissertation and curated personal research on Glycation End Products. 

Cheese? Luxury.

Agree or disagree, Cheese is the most versatile food there is, next to yoghurt. Not only as actual “whole” food. But also as condiment both savoury and/or sweet palates. Almost no matter what food I pair it with, It just works.

As everyone becomes increasingly more frugal during these times, cheese intake would likely decrease. A viable alternative to expensive regular cheddar, or uber-luxury Gouda cheese ~ is in my finding since last year ~ is Feta. Whilst sadly not immune from crazy inflation, it is more forgiving in terms of pricing hovering somewhere between $7 to $8 per kilogram though obviously subject to vary in time. As bonus it is also low in lactose for those who are considered or diagnosed as dairy intolerant.

What about herbs?

The above rules still nonetheless apply. These herbs are as one expect – the “dry” category. Simply mix and match to taste.

Frugality wise I have regularly consumed and cooked with 50 to 75% off discounted / short dated priced herbs without any signs of gut distress. At least, strictly speaking from my own N=1 and gut health in retrospect over the last five+ years. For those who wish to learn and know more about this, I invite all to consider seeing through my years+ introspection amidst handling expired foods. Warning, this is not for the average Youtube® shorts attention-span.

If there is one (1) herb which I remain cautious of, despite their hype / glamour amidst health circles – is simply mint. Including peppermints. 

If it is for sweet desserts then yes I’d consider it some exception. And of course, if I were to chew a sugar free mint on fasting window or at least on an empty stomach, I’d be fine with that as well Though the latter remains only in speculation. In actuality I have never actually taken or chewed any sugar free mints or any solid chewables anyway, throughout a fasting window.

But on low carbohydrate meals? Particularly higher in protein and with presence of cream and/or yoghurts? Inclusion of mint will guarantee some negative response out of me. Bloating, and/or ballooning discomfort within the hour or two of feeding. At least from my own N=1 years of exclusion and reinclusion ~ mint does not always agree with anything  demanding high acidity profiling or requirements from any meal. Which that likely is 99% of the time will mostly be involved in feature savoury dishes. I’d be more cautious therefore in social dining settings. I’d politely refuse to over-indulge where many cultures often combine yoghurts with mint.

However, that is me, I don’t care whatever labels people throw at me for how strange I am. Your’s or anyone else too – have their own nuances.

For desserts.

So the above relates only for savory meals. For dessert meals, the same rule more or less applies.

  1. “Dry”: dessicated coconuts, (to watch in moderation for oxalates input) ~ cocoa/cacao powder, cocoa nibs, cinnamon, gelatin powders, low carbohydrate / low fructose friendly berries (raspberries, blueberries and strawberries, though moderate when scrutinising oxalates intake), protein powders concentrates or isolates, stevia ground. Yes, stevia on its own, grounded in their green extract; constitute a somewhat mild licorice like palate.
  2. “Wet”: creams, butters, oils. Note that this also includes any sugar free alternative sweeteners.

Combine one or more the wet with the dry and adjust to taste.  Below is what my usual, for many years – what a typical mix and serve example. 

  • Gelatin powder 10g
  • 20-30g flavoured whey protein concentrate / isolate
  • DIY pumpkin puree serve
  • Extra heaping of dessicated coconut.
  • (optional) A serve of DIY yoghurt if available.
  • Any combination of dry and wet condiments, as above. 

My experiences remains mine. Yours may vary.

Over the years of fasting & refeeding, and all that hunting for palatability / flavouring impacts all led me to believe that taste buds do adjust overtime. Comparing “myself” years if not decades ago long before keto or even low-carbing, I was ravenous to just mix everything and anything on my plate despite following government-templated Gospel.

Fast forward years to now, I am content to just <3 condiments at a time. At any feature meal. Salt and pepper. (Although the latter maybe not so on desserts).

Certainly I have done my fair share of junk hedonism. Yet overtime through years of intermittent fasting slowly reconcile within me the humility of my own Economics. And be content with it.I caution and assert once again this is only a sharing off my own perspective.



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