Monday, March 23, 2009


Yesterday was a salt craving day.

Many years of dieting have taught me how to stay on my eating program and still enjoy the salty foods I need on a day like this. I indulged all day, the healthy-eating way: pickles, low-fat chips, fat-free cheese, diet soda, low-fat popcorn. There are times I need the salty stuff and have discovered that it’s better to simply go for it than to eat other foods instead, like I used to. I find it strange when the salt craving kicks in because it’s unusual for me. If I need to indulge, it’s usually the sweets calling my name. “Lisa…Lisa…Lisa” they chant. Those sweets know me well. The salt craving is different. “You—take care of me NOW” they say. My nursing friends could probably explain the medical reasons behind these occasional salt cravings, but the information doesn’t appease the need. And so I go for it.

Interestingly, our pastor spoke about salt yesterday, too. He clarified how we are to be “salty” to others—to enhance the flavor of our relationships with other people. The only way there’s any effectiveness from salt is when it’s in the proximity of the food it’s trying to flavor. Imagine eating a plain old white potato. The starchy, tasteless potato needs modification to be enjoyed. Imagine eating a teaspoonful of salt. Straight up. Salivating yet? Separately, these two foods, potatoes and salt, can be bland and unappealing.

Now imagine some hot crispy sticks of potatoes with salt mixed all around. Voila. Appealing, indulgent and delicious, the formerly plain potato has been kicked up a notch to a popular treat-French fries. Similarly, mixing it up with others can enhance any relationship. Together we can share a joke, and laugh until our bellies hurt. Together we can process our feelings and get reinforcement that we are on the straight path to self-discovery. Together we can smile, cry, hug and think. It’s in our connections we can become more than we are by ourselves. Proximity is key.

Today is a water-drinking day to offset the bloating from the marvelous sodium overload. But it was worth it. At times our bodies, and our hearts, have a craving and we simply need to respond. Now.

Do you crave salt today?


Anonymous said...

Three hundred years ago, a pioneer's most precious possession was his bushel of salt. It was worth as much as a cow, pretty valuable. Usually salt was purchased around here in the 18th century from Philly but a thrifty housewife could boil 800 gallons of water to create a bushel of salt. 800 gallons!
But in my premenopausal days (and I've heard it's hormonal) I would do anything to get my hands on pickles, capers, cheese or--best of all--Cheetohs. In my college dorm we had a bright orange blanket that we spread out for monthly Cheetoh orgies.
Now I'd rather eat crullers...but it was a great post, Lisa.

Anonymous said...

Lisa, Good for you for finding healhty ways to conquer your salt craving. I can't think of a single time that I've had to have salt - it's sweets and chocolate everyday for me! I find that if I have a little something each day like a small glass of chocolate milk, a few Hershey's kisses, or chocolate tootsie pop, I can almost always avoid a binge of sweets. You need those little indulgences to make it through a day, especially Mondays!