The Post-Covid Self-Help Books are on the Way

The Lempert Report
April 21, 2021

Is this a way to fix Post-Covid loss of taste and smell?

As by now you have heard, one of the most common COVID-19 symptoms is the loss of taste and smell. It has been widely reported that for some people, those symptoms can last weeks, for others it may be forever. The other symptoms can be foggy memory, fatigue, muscle ache, joint pain, to name just a few. These symptoms are now fueling a cottage industry – Covid Self Help books – books and videos that are designed to help us cope with these symptoms and hopefully offer ways to combat and reverse the effects. A new cookbook wants to do just that for those to recover some of the joy of cooking and eating. "Taste & Flavour," was written by chefs Ryan Riley and Kimberley Duke. It blends aspects of culinary science and medical research by looking at taste, smell and other sensory perception to help people who lost their senses enjoy food again. According to ABC news, some estimates show that loss of smell from COVID-19 typically lasts two to three weeks for roughly more than half of patients who test positive for the virus. According to one study from Dr. Piccirillo at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, 95% of people who experience these problems recover completely. That’s welcome news for those that have experienced Covid-19. ABC goes on to say that while the science surrounding the changes in taste and smell from COVID-19 is still evolving, researchers have noted that for some patients when they do regain smell, fragrances they used to enjoy smell different, even unpleasant to them. This could be due to olfactory cells having to “rewire” as they recover.

Dr. Barry Smith, a scientist who worked on the cookbook, told ABC it’s possible to use food therapeutically. Many people who experience these symptoms are still able to taste certain flavors such as sugar, salt, lemon juice or even the bitterness of coffee, according to Smith. He said his work showed that when taste and smell are altered, other senses can help people enjoy their food with certain textures. These can include stimulating saliva with umami flavor and stimulating the trigeminal nerve, which amongst other roles, regulates spicy-food sensations like stinging, cooling or even burning. Yes another reason for us to be consuming those mushrooms I suppose.  “It was all about having to create what's called safe, non-triggering foods. We know things like potatoes are really good for that, pasta rice, quite simple flavors," Riley told ABC News. "So then we then use the life kitchen principles, looking at using a lot of umami, which is our fifth taste or soy sauce, mushrooms, parmesan, and trying to add in all of that as the depth and the base that you would originally get from things like garlic and onions to create delicious tasting food.” For people experiencing these symptoms, it’s not just about food. Studies show losing these senses or having them altered in some way is linked with depression and other mood symptoms. For us all, afflicted by the pandemic or not, "Taste & Flavour” is worth the recipes. The cookbook can be downloaded for free at