Can I taste my food while I am cooking it?

I do not recommend tasting your food while you are cooking it.

I think my practice with not tasting food comes from my profound respect for the power of the slippery slope when it comes to eating behavior. The capacity of my brain to rationalize and justify food that goes in my mouth, to the point where my most cherished goals and honest best intentions are rendered unattainable and ineffectual, never ceases to amaze me. So yes, I am very careful in the kitchen not to start the ball rolling in a direction that’s going to take me somewhere I don’t want to go.

Some of the methods I use to avoid tasting food in the kitchen are to eyeball spices, have someone else taste, season it at the table, and just generally trust that it will probably be fine, and people can use salt and pepper to make adjustments if necessary. But the main way I handle this is I don’t make a lot of recipes. I keep my food pretty simple. I know if I’m cooking rainbow chard, I can crush a bunch of garlic, put it in the pan, throw in the chard, and cook it all down, and it will be fine. No tasting necessary.

Most of the folks I’ve seen have success with Bright Line Eating over the years settle into a pretty simple rhythm with food, and spend their creative energies in places other than the kitchen. That’s not to say it’s impossible to continually explore new recipes and do BLE. Sure, it’s possible. I don’t think it’s advisable for someone who is a 10 on the Susceptibility Scale, but it might work just fine for someone who is a little lower.

One last thought, born of years and years of doing this and watching countless people succeed and countless people fail: keep in mind that a practice can work a few times, but still not be a good idea. The reason is we eat every day (several times), and life is long—if something we do with food works 99% of the time, but 1% of the time it sets us up to overeat, binge, or cross the Bright Lines, it’s a crack in the foundation we may want to fill. It will look like it’s working for us…and it is working…until it doesn’t.

If I sound overly dramatic with this, please keep in mind the appalling, baffling, and abysmal “success rate” for long-term weight loss. Almost nobody loses all their excess weight and keeps it off for over a decade. I think a big reason for that is exactly what we’re talking about here—little practices which seem to work so well in the beginning, but eventually lead to the unraveling of the weight loss attempt.