One of the annoying symptoms of fibromyalgia that your doctor probably didn’t warn you about (that is, if you received any meaningful counseling from him or her) is the effect it has on the sensory receptors on your tongue. For me, it’s not the heightened sense of sweet, sour, salty, bitter and pungent tastes that bothers me but the tongue tingling feeling that lingers after meals. At first, I thought it was just too much salt or spices like garlic, paprika and cinnamon causing the uncomfortable sensation. But I started to notice that pretty much any seasoning can set it off.
So for a while, I was cooking pretty simple food to try and avoid the culinary culprits. But that got boring and I didn’t want my husband to suffer on account of my hypersensitive mouth. I also didn’t want to miss out on all the amazing health benefits of things like ginger, garlic, and turmeric (a subject for another post). If you want flavor without the punchiness, try using fresh herbs instead. Parsley is my go-to for adding freshness and it provides a little vitamin C.
Here are some of my other favorite herbs and spices, and recipes!
- Basil – I believe that basil pesto deserves to be slathered on pretty much any food, not just pasta (dairy-free recipe below)
- Thyme – Great with mushrooms, potatoes, and chicken
- Turmeric – The Queen of Spices. There is an article floating around the internet that claims it is as effective as 14 drugs. I love it cooked with rice, quinoa, chicken and carrots.
- Cinnamon – Even though it is quite tingly for me, I can’t eat a bowl of oatmeal without. I also love with roasted sweet potatoes.
- Ginger – Popular for its anti-inflammatory properties. I use both fresh gingerroot and dried ginger powder. Fresh is milder and more floral.
- Cumin – I love to add a pinch of cumin in hummus and guacamole. It pairs well with cilantro and dried coriander powder.
Hasselback Potatoes with Dairy-Free Pesto
- 1/4 cup raw, unsalted cashews
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- 2 cups basil leaves
- 5 – 6 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt and black pepper, to taste
Put cashews and garlic in a small food processor and pulse till coarsely ground. Add basil and process until ingredients are well-combined and smooth consistency is achieved. Continue to process as you slowly add oil. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
Pesto will last in fridge for about 3 days, after that it is still OK to eat but flavor will be diminished.
Sautéed Kale with Ginger, Garlic & Raisins
- 2 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 – 2 cloves garlic
- 1 Tablespoon ginger, minced (about 1/2″ piece)
- 1/4 cup organic raisins
- 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar*
- 1 large bunch kale, washed (still moist) and finely chopped
- sea salt, to taste
- finely ground black pepper, to taste, optional
- toasted pine nuts or chopped walnuts, optional
- Heat oil in a large skillet or heavy-bottomed pot with lid over medium-high heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook until golden and fragrant, about a minute.
- Add raisins and vinegar and cook another 30 seconds. Then add kale and a sprinkling of salt. If your kale is not moist then add a little water. Stir to combine then cover and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until kale is tender.
- Season with additional salt and black pepper (if you can tolerate it), to taste. You may serve with toasted nuts for a little added crunch.
*The vinegar has a nice acidity in contrast to the sweetness of the raisins. If you find kale to be too bitter, you can add a little honey or maple syrup when you add the vinegar.