As I feasted on my 3rd installment of Thanksgiving leftovers tonight, I was thankful for the mix of flavors, from the tangy sweetness of cranberry sauce to the salty, peppery meat stuffing. This year, however, I had to be extra grateful for something simple: the ability to taste.
Lately, taste and the ability to enjoy food has been on my mind a lot. As a bit of a foodie, I can’t imagine what it would be like to suddenly lose my sense of taste or to not be excited about a delicious meal. Unfortunately, that’s what my very best friend in the world, who is fighting breast cancer, has been going through. As if chemotherapy didn’t already suck, one of the crappy side effects can be a loss or change in your ability to taste. Imagine having a strong craving and then when you get that supposedly yummy item…it tastes weird, awful, or worse, like nothing?
Well, Ann Ogden, founder of the nonprofit, Cook For Your Life, knows a lot about how that feels. As a cook, Ann loves food, but as a two-time cancer survivor, she also knows what it’s like to have chemo give your taste buds a one-two punch. As she told DailyWorth, “After recovering from treatment, I started to crave hot, spicy foods to knock the taste of chemo out of my mouth: Indian, Korean, Mexican.”
So, Ann found healthy and delicious ways to work with her struggling taste buds during chemo. But that wasn’t enough. She realized that there must be people everywhere who shared a need for this culinary comfort, and she wanted to pass it on. Ann left behind a career in the fashion industry to launch her site, Cook For Your Life, which teaches healthy cooking to people touched by cancer. The recipe search gives options for people who are going through chemotherapy and radiation, and even gives some food remedies for combatting symptoms like nausea and fatigue.
I hope that I can visit my friend again soon so we can cook up something from the Cook For Your Life collection together. Thank you, Ann Ogden, for spreading your knowledge, love and compassion for your fellow fighters and survivors!