DY: In Just a Few Words (#107)
Growing old ain't for sissies.
I was raised in a family where the single most treasured food item was salt.
My mother certainly didn’t hold back putting salt - a lot of salt - into whatever was cooking on the stove. One of her favorites was creamed chipped beef. (One of mine, too.) In preparing for this blog, I even found a recipe for creamed chipped beef that includes adding extra salt. And, why not? Whether it was creamed chipped beef or any other culinary delight, it was always better with more salt.
It didn’t matter how much salt was in it before a meal arrived on my plate; it did not have enough. So, I supplemented with more salt (mind you, not salt supplement). Before I would take a bite, I added salt to whatever it was. Why? Because there wasn't (and to this day likely isn’t) enough salt in anything.
Thus it is that I find myself in a state of deep depression since my medical team has recently told me to go on a low sodium diet or risk something like a big-time stroke. I think that qualifies as a warning. But, it’s a tough choice.
I am now Mr. Low Sodium. If you think the doctors are monitoring me, I am also followed 24/7 by The Sodium Police - AKA Karen and Tracy. (You may recognize them as the “Ruths” from an earlier blog, so you will understand when I tell you they have taken to this new role quite naturally.) Their voices are always in my ears as I carefully measure two tablespoons of salad dressing or even just drink a glass of water. Don’t drink too much water. Somebody may have put salt into it.
Yesterday, I spent a few minutes outdoors (when they weren’t looking) just soaking up the last of Indian Summer sunshine when one of the Salt Cops burst through the door and said, Are you crazy, you can’t sit in the sun. Didn’t you ever tackle a basic general science course in high school? The sun is loaded with sodium and it’s beaming it right at you. With my head hanging in shame, I came into the house to face my punishment. The Sodium Police forced me to drink a glass of vinegar and eat a fig bar to make sure I had learned my lesson. No more sun for me.
Let me tell you more about my tasteless, textureless diet these days. No more Teriyaki or BBQ Sauce. I am not allowed to smell it, much less taste even a drop of it. The cottage cheese I always thought was healthy food is now a sodium enemy. And, of all things, I have had to give up pork rinds, a lifetime favorite. That’s just not fair. Apparently nothing is sacred anymore.
I love fruit, so being nudged to eat more of that is not a hardship. But, also on my recommended list of approved foods are low sodium canned meats, dried beans and lemon juice. Yuck. Surprisingly, I’m advised to avoid low sodium tomato sauce. How can one be on a low sodium diet and told to steer clear of low sodium tomato sauce?
This coming Saturday night, if you’re not already booked, come on down to my house for dinner. You can see how I am being forced to live. (I use the word live quite literally as I am told this diet will help me do just that.) After dinner we’ll sneak downstairs to the TV room. When the Sodium Police aren't looking, we can snack on my secret stash of creamed chipped beef, pork rinds and full sodium tomato sauce. We just need to remember to have the ambulance on stand-by....
That’s all for now. I gotta go work out. I don’t want to work out, but you get the picture. When the Sodium Police say it’s work-out time, you better put a smile on your face and report for duty.
DY: In Just a Few Words is a blog that comes out when something needs to be said or every Tuesday - whichever comes first. Davis Young is a communications professional who adds 50+ years of experience and perspective to issues of the day. His emphasis in DY: In Just a Few Words will be humor (a touch of sarcasm here, a pinch of facetiousness there...). Once in a while, he will touch on something a bit more serious - but hopefully not too deep or depressing.
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