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Advocatie: I Always Knew I Had Superpowers

I am going to drop some science on my dear readers and gently request that the world just get over my love of french fries.

I recently validated that I am a SuperTaster. I have suspected for a while, but some reasonably legitimate websites have confirmed what I have been saying for a very long time and, finally, I have scientific proof that I hate vegetables.

I am not lazy or entitled or ill-informed. I eat a lot of plant matter and am aware corn is really a grain and potatoes are a starch and beans are legumes. I also know I am supposed to eat all that nasty green stuff to really make it count.

But… I am nearing my 50th birthday and if one more person tells me I should eat more vegetables, my head will explode. Not because I disagree but because I am nearing my 50th birthday and apparently some think I. Do. Not. Already. Know. This.

Incidentally, I also am very aware I should exercise more so humankind can give that a rest too. This or that special diet or workout is not the magic bullet I’ve been missing all my life, so, sorry-not sorry. When I run out for lunch, it will not be salad. When I travel internationally, I WILL find a McDonald’s with food I know and love and trust. Deal with it.

Anyway, science now tells me that due to many factors; greater number of receptors, what my mother ate when I was in utero, and even my DNA, predispose me and my super taste buds to find bitter flavors (and some sweet and spice flavors) literally unpalatable.

Apparently not liking certain foods is a reflex, not a preference. We animals developed distastes to protect from dangerous or toxic things and a long time ago it was normal, if not preferred, to just spit it out. No, I don’t do that but I might like to now and then.

PrecisionNutrition.com says “Much of the modern work in the genetic basis of taste starts with a substance called PROP (6-n-propylthiouracil). Some people, it seems, find this substance overwhelmingly bitter. Others literally can’t taste it. At all.”

So I’m one of the 25 percent of people for whom these alkaloids make some foods taste awful. Think grapefruit juice, kale, tonic water, dry wine, broccoli, dark beer, Sicilian olives and the like. My superpowers say “nay nay” to those.

E.g., if you make three gallons of spaghetti and cut up a bell pepper in it, all I will taste is the pepper. Or turpentine, same dif.

My mom insisted if I just ate the broccoli I would “get used to it.” I never did, and at least now I know why. No one questions why people from countries near the equator don’t tolerate milk (because they get more sunshine and the vitamin D helps them synthesize calcium without milk), so thank you, Science, for giving me justification to ignore the eye-rolling when I say “no thank you” to the green lumps in the casserole.

Still, without all the helpful hints from non-PROP6 people who are fortunate enough to enjoy cruciferous torture instruments in the salad, I do realize that my parental units didn’t do me any favors by boiling everything and making textures and flavors even worse, so I give fresh, flavored samples to my own offspring. I’m working on it.

I promise to “complement and cushion” the stuff he thinks is gross so he might get used to more food but I also promised we won’t have the nightly battles I had as a child—you-have-five-minutes timers, and you’ll-eat-it-for-breakfast ultimatums.

I suppose the point of all this is just a nice way of 1. reminding myself, and maybe even a few people I know, to stop nagging me, or humankind, about the obvious. We can start with vegetables and maybe someday we can all stop yelling at each other about President Trump, gun control, or school choice. And 2. maybe we can give our kids a break when they say pork chops or peas are disgusting. I like them, but I won’t presume to know which alkaloids make my son crazy either.

Meanwhile, this Quarter Pounder is delicious and so far “I’m lovin’ it!” in ten countries and counting.

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