Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice

As my family continues to come to grips with Dad's recovery from bypass surgery, we are very conscious of our diet at the moment. We are eating low fat foods as much as possible. We're aware of our sugar intake. We are hyper-aware of sodium levels. With all of these concerns, cooking has been challenging for Mom.

One of the doctor's final instructions to Dad before leaving the hospital was to "watch the salt." As the first week at home progressed, comments were made regularly at dinner about the food's blandness. I felt sorry for Mom who was doing the best she could, but I couldn't figure out what was going on. We had scheduled recipes that were low in sodium that we had prepared many times before to rave reviews. I was now a man on a mission.

My first thought was that the spices had gone bad and lost their potency. A quick Internet search explained that the spice's smell was the best way to determine if it was still good. I shared this information with Mom and then began smelling spice bottles in the kitchen. The aromas were amazing! This clearly was not the problem.

Once the house had quieted a bit, I had the chance to sit down and talk to Mom and Dad about their first week home. As we talked, we discovered some things that needed improvement and some areas that were concerning for each of us. The conversation moved to the week's food and Mom's questions about what was happening. It felt as though a light bulb illuminated over my head, and I asked Mom a simple question: "Are you still adding salt to the recipes as directed?" When she said that she was not, I knew we had discovered the meals' problem.

We talked about the difference between the ideas of "watching the salt" and "eliminating all salt." The doctor did not say that Dad could not have salt; Dad was told to make sure he did not use too much salt. It was fun to watch Mom's eyes light up with understanding. Now she is cooking with salt in a reasonable manner and making Mrs. Dash's Table Blend available for additional seasoning by the individual.

What a difference a little salt made! Saturday evening was the first meal of the week that Mom resumed her use of salt; the results were AMAZING! While eating dinner, my mind raced to the saying of Jesus recorded in Matthew 5:13: "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt should lose its taste, how can it be made salty? It's no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled on by men." (HCSB) After a week of eating food prepared without the added flavor of salt, Jesus' words took on brand new meaning....and the scripture's challenge became clearer in my mind.

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