Do you crave umami?

When I was a young kid I LOVED Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup. 

I remember daydreaming about eating it while sitting in classes during grade school. I craved that silky, lingering-on-your-tongue flavor, and I couldn’t wait to get home so I could crank open a can to get my mushroom fix.

And, if there wasn’t any cream of mushroom soup in the cupboard, I would settle for what I considered my second best choice: a homemade English muffin pizza. It was three simple ingredients: English muffin toasted in the toaster oven with Prego pasta sauce, plus a generous helping of grated Parmesan cheese.

OMG! It was delicious.

Today, I know that flavor craving is called umami.

It has a neurocognitive effect on the brain and satisfies the body on a deep level.

The umami flavor is found in foods like:

  • Cooked tomatoes
  • Cooked mushrooms
  • Roasted winter squash
  • Sea vegetables like kelp, kombu, wakame and nori
  • Soy Sauce
  • Miso
  • Oysters and other shellfish
  • Smoked fish
  • Cured meats
  • Roasted meats
  • Aged cheeses

So it makes sense that when I couldn’t get my mushroom fix, the next best choice was cooked tomatoes with aged cheese.

The foods that offer us the greatest umami flavor provide proteins that are broken down by fermenting, aging, toasting, roasting, braising and stewing. “When we eat whole proteins, our digestive systems burn a lot of energy breaking them down into amino acids. The amino acids in umami-rich foods are already in a free state, so they are more quickly and easily digested than complete proteins.”[1]

When my clients complain of not feeling satisfied after eating, I recommend they eat something savory with an umami flavor profile. The umami flavor can actually aid weight loss as it satisfies the body (and mind) on a deeply nutritive level. We feel well fed after eating foods with an umami flavor.

If you are not feeling satisfied and you are craving food that has that silky umami flavor, I highly recommend some homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup with Crispy Shiitake Bacon.

It’s sure to satisfy… I promise!

[1] https://experiencelife.com/article/umami-the-secret-flavor/