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Archive for July, 2012

Pour Some Sea Salt on Me

Earth’s natural alternative to a Dalek.

I’ve been pretty annoyed lately.  What do I do when I’m usually annoyed?  I eat.  I understand that this isn’t the best of habits; however, today I’m cultivating it into something beautiful, since I consume something that was once living on or in the ground about every fifteen minutes these days.

Today, I turn my annoyance into a tribute to my grandfather, the joy of rebellion, and the delicate balance that is Moderation.

Salt.  The country I live in has been going back and forth now for a while over whether or not it is good for us Americans.  The fact is, a healthy human being needs a moderate amount of sodium in order to survive.  It’s all about how you get it, what you do with it, and of course, how much of it your body is craving (and if the reason behind it is motivated by something healthy or unhealthy).  That might sound complicated, but I think it’s the natural flow of just about everything we stick down our gullets – if we really want to be balanced we need to know our bodies on the simplest level, and the simplest thing is knowing what motivates us. For example, are we eating what we crave on an emotional and physical level (often called comfort or emotional eating), because it is something our physical body really needs at the time (a mineral motivation) or because there’s a problem deep within the balance of our digestive system (like an overabundance of acidity or a microbe issue, like candidiasis, for example, that causes the once-happy feeder to crave sugar like nobody’s business)?  When we figure that out, life is a lot simpler, and the fear of what might be right around the corner to kill us via our silverware seems to go right out the window. When we don’t have that, however – that awareness – well, things can get pretty complicated…..and annoying.

See, here in Baltimore, it’s pretty damn hot.  Here, in my body, things are pretty damn hot, too.  My system is basically cooking a baby and everything is doing its best to adjust to that. Organs are shifting, ribs are adjusting, hormones are raging, and fluid is increasing as this Thing eats me literally out of house and home (okay, the house and home part is due more to the fact that we’ve been out of power for five days due to a freak storm, but is also due to the fact that I eat about a pound of cheese a day at this lovely week 19).  It’s quite a bit to get used to, and as I do my best to go with the flow, the flow sometimes takes a little catnap in my ankles.  That’s right, the joy of swelling, water retention, edema – right smack in my little piggies.  It’s quite a normal thing for a gestating chick to experience in the middle of Summer during a time of rapid growth in this process we call pregnancy (or as I like to call it, “Aaaahhhh, my ribs!”).

This is about more than pregnancy, though; this is about tomatoes.  Excuse me as I digress.

The gist of my annoyance is my problem with extremes as a whole when it comes to the natural processes of life, like eating, and yes, if one chooses to go down that interesting road, procreating.  In a matter of a week, three separate people have looked down at my still sturdy ankles and given me the third degree about salt.  One person told me I was on my way to bed rest (which she was sure of since part of her education was in nursing some thirty five years ago), another pointed to my feet and declared that pregnant woman shouldn’t have salt at all, as she interrogated me about the cracker I happened to be munching on at the moment (let me also note that this person has a college degree in Math, not Uteruses).  The third person looked down and simply grumbled, “You’re not watching your sodium,” as if all of the apples I’d eaten that day were nothing compared to the three slices of salami I’d consumed the night before.

So what do I do with all of this positive feedback from random people? I fry tomatoes.  In bacon grease.  And then I eat them.  Ravenously.

You can call it rebellion.  Maybe it somewhat is.  But I also think it’s my body and mind telling me I really am okay.  For one thing it’s taken some time getting used to tolerating foods I used to have to stay away from.  My body craves cheese and yogurt, natural sugars, and yes, even sodium, for reasons that are finally good and healthy, and not because of crazy imbalances in my digestive system and food allergies that were eating me alive four years prior. My body also craves those things that are sentimental to me – it’s emotional eating without the dysfunction.  Call it nostalgic noshing.  I call it Pop Pop Hubert’s (yes, Hubert) fried ripe tomatoes, and damn do they taste good!

It all started with the One Who Started It All, a not always so modest working class goofball from Northeast Baltimore named Hubert Sturm, who decided one day to take a ripe tomato and fry it along with the bacon and eggs he made himself every morning for breakfast.  Don’t act so surprised to learn he lived a whopping three months shy of 96 with this daily diet.  Thus, my lack of concern over my every blue moon pregnancy craving.  When you take the fear and alarmism out of every little thing, you are left with the smiles and memories that mean the very most in life.  I’m grateful for these cravings, for sodium as a whole, and the urge to live this time in my life to the fullest with the essence of those I’ve loved and let  go of around me.

“Damn good tomatoes, Pop.  Damn good tomatoes.”

Love and Edema,

Cellina – The Hopeful Foodie

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