Just as nutritional yeast hits all the umami flavor notes when played on my tongue, dried mango rocks a sweet jam when dancing in my mouth. Remember all the taste indicators we discussed around the 5th flavor classification, umami? Well today, we’re exploring my favorite of the bunch, coming in at #1 — sweet.
Cleanse-approved sweet foods
If you are like me, you may tend to associate sweet foods with refined and processed sugar – the chief unapproved item for any clean body cleanse. When I think of it, of course, it makes sense that there would be the natural taste of ‘sweet’ illuminated on the tongue. Sweetness is, I suppose, one of the most pleasurable flavors your brain naturally interprets when eating food. So, during this annual cleanse, about midway through as I am now, my mind begins fantasizing about sweet tastes that I’ve largely held back on experiencing for more than a week. If our tongues are pre-wired to taste sweetness, certainly sweet tasting foods found in nature must have a place on my cleanse plate – those that aren’t damaging to the body and therefore can be enjoyed without breaking the excellent results achieved through diligent cleansing practices.
Of course, apples are sweet, blueberries are sweet, cherry donuts are sweet…oops, getting a little carried away with myself. (Thought I’d slip that in to see if you’re paying attention. I don’t even really care for donuts, really. Talk about taste profile. I always seem to be able to taste the grease that the donut soaked and cooked in. Kind of a turn off.) With the exception of a chocolate-and-nut combo, I like my sweet things uncomplicated. No longer a fan of hard candies or fake-tasting anything, overly processed sweet “treats” are not material to me. When I can taste the hand of the factory process with each bite, it’s a turn off. I’m a simple sweet lover. Maybe that’s the result of years of an annual cleanse and eating pretty naturally throughout the year. Whatever it is, my desire for certain types of foods has definitely elevated to a higher strata.
The candy effect
Mango – fresh or dried – is extremely sweet. On a cleanse, the dried version gives the impression that you’re eating a fruit rollup or some other sort of chewy candy – kind of a decadently sweet treat, like Now and Laters. Those were the hyperpigmented candy chews I used to love as a kid. The candy effect, that’s what I like about dried mango. Isn’t that counterintuitive? You might ask. Earlier didn’t you say you didn’t like candy except for chocolate? I did say that, but what I didn’t say is that I like the texture of some candies, even the naughty and no good ones like Twizzlers or Red Vines. The chewiness is what’s appealing. The chewing experience (along with the pointed sweetness) is precisely what I love about dried mango.
My affinity for mango has encouraged me to try a few different brands — both organic and non-organic. As much as I like the Whole Foods 365 brand for most items on my grocery list, I’ve found one dried mango brand that out-mangoes my favorite grocer‘s dried mango version. Solely — a La Jolla-based company – seems to always have the freshest, sweetest, sliced dried mangoes.
Here’s a regrettable scenario: excited to slice open the plastic wrapping to get you the good stuff, I peel off a slice of dried mango from a molded stack. My goal is singular: to satisfy a hankering for something sweet, yet rudely, and despite all the anticipation, I’m introduced to a dried-out soured imposter. It’s such a disappointment, especially while on the cleanse — a time when taste is everything. It’s difficult enough at times to renew that daily commitment to each cleanse day, only to hit a flavor-snag when you’re looking for a little reinforcement and minor divergence from the well-worn cleanse food rundown of the day before… and the day before that… and the day before that…
On the other hand, opening the right package of dried mango with sweetness that packs a punch is everything. With repeated purchases through the years, the Solely Organic Dried Mango Halves remain the singular brand that does not disappoint.
Dried mango vs. fresh
As sweet as fresh mango is, the taste gets sweeter when it’s dried, and in a pinch it’s definitely easier to rip open a bag than wash, peel and slice it as a fresh fruit. Don’t get me wrong, I love fresh mango, too, but I eat both the fresh and the dried versions for two very different reasons – one for refreshment on a warm day and the other as a readily available, convenient snack. The fresh variety is juicy and a great raw ingredient for a luscious fruit salad. I often munch on the dried version when I want a complement to my nut snacking. Dried fruit, especially mango is the perfect addition to my bowl of raw nuts. And of course, the candy effect: I get that when my tastebuds are looking for a treat escape after I tire of the sometimes uneventful eating of my cleanse.
Mangos are notably nutritious. They’re packed with antioxidants. As the Harvard School of Public Health reminds, those free-radical combating molecules protect against cellular damage that can result in disease, including cancer, neurologic and heart diseases. Vitamin A, iron, potassium and calcium are the notable vitamins and minerals that layer on the reasons dried mango tops my list of cleanse necessities.
Excuse me while I satisfy my taste for sweets with a couple of dried mango strips!
María Felicia’s 2023 New Year Body… Cleanse – Day 11
Written by Maria Felicia Kelley
Disclaimer: Maria Felicia Kelley is not a medical doctor. The cleanse and fasting benefits she discusses in this post are derived from her own experiences and observations. Individuals should consult their own healthcare providers when eliminating foods from their diets.
@thenorthcountymoms | @1MariaFelicia
The North County Moms