Checking out what happens when….

Spring sets off a bunch of questions about what to plant, what new foods to try, what to look out for, and what really works to keep us healthy. A big discussion on the how to prepare okra erupted at the Pemi Choral rehearsal this week. New director, Rob St. Cyr is clearly an expert on how to best present okra and choristers eagerly added their own tips as well as “yuk” groans from a few singers.

 Bottom line is, we all have our favorites, and there’s no one diet for all of us. Each of us has to figure out what works best for our constitution. And the clearest indicator to guide us is what I call the ‘what happens when’ signal.

 The ‘signal’ went off for me last week when I put a hunk of cheese in my pack for a day hike. Then, instead of returning the remainder, which was in a sandwich bag, to the refrigerator, I absentmindedly tossed that big hunk of gouda into my pack as well. Bottom line, I moved right through that extra cheese after the hike and the next day, my lower legs swelled up in protest. That happens to be my body’s special ‘signal’ that things are just not moving on through. This condition was accompanied by other noisier sounds as well!

 But I have a remedy that has bailed me out many times. When I went home the next day, I cooked up a bowl of creamed kale with a dash of turmeric, cumin, coriander, and garlic to power it up and, voila! 24 hours later, my ankles were back to normal.

 I’m not recommending this foolish dance to readers. I’m fully aware that most of us have bouts of eating too much and some of us just need a good alibi, like putting a chunk of extra cheese in the pack ‘by mistake’ and then feeling entitled to eat it. I shamelessly admit that I’m human and subject to human frailties, despite faithful tapwater consumption..

 Which is why most of us need to pay special attention to the signals our bodies send out if we want to claim our drive to be well. What we eat isn’t nearly as important as what happens AFTER we eat. Cheese is a perfectly good food for me, taken in moderation. If I want to be well, I need to remember what happens when….

 One of the great things about spring is the parade of magical greens that has already begun with asparagus, and is bound to continue when cooking up fiddlehead ferns and stinging nettles, all geared to spring clean our bodies whenever we indulge.



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