Sunday, February 05, 2006


Digestion and cognitive dissonance

Culture has a lot to do with what foods you’ll accept, but other standards are universal. Consider tuna and ice cream, or chicken soup with a broth of banana weight-gain smoothie. Could some culture have arisen that would enjoy these mixtures, or are they objectively bad?

The sense of taste serves a purpose: it guided our nutritional decisions before we were conscious, and to some extent it continues to guide us. I weight train, and it demands a certain experimental attitude regarding nutrition. I mix a lot of things that other people wouldn’t dream of. Usually it’s okay, but I have hit upon a few totally abhorrent combinations. All of them involve mixing some high-protein food source with something very different, such as the aforementioned weight gain smoothie with chicken soup.

Gustatory (taste) sensations are partly responsible for the cocktail of digestive enzymes that ends up in the stomach. I suspect that the abhorrent combinations I’ve hit on are so gross because they are indigestible – no appropriate chemical cocktail can be devised to handle them.

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