Just like every morning, just like a prayer to start the day, I got up, put on clothes, had some coffee and went for a run. Slow and easy does the trick, they say. Good thing. I was slow, and I took it easy. Now I’m home, made more coffee, cut up a big pile of strawberries (they’re gone now; sorry. Can’t share with you), and sat down to yogurt and coffee. The yogurt is plain, Greek, and full of nonfat goodness. I don’t know how that works, yogurt without the fat. I grin and bear it. Plain yogurt has never been my favorite thing.
In fact, I have never developed a taste for sour food in general. I need to sweeten my lemonade to balance the tartness. I never really liked raw, fresh berries. They’re just annoying. But, if you think about it, this is 1/4 of the palate of taste that I’ve basically rejected (1/5 if you count umami). In my life, I’ve definitely covered the gamut of sweet and salty. But bitter and sour are our basic biological response to poisons, most of which, I’m told are bitter or sour. Sour and bitter are reminders that, every time we drink alcohol, “just a dab’ll do ya.” Any more than a little bit, and you’re doing crazy things: you know, like killing yourself.
Somehow, over 47 and 3/4 years, I got used to eating, let’s say, gravy. It’s made with fat, liquid, a thickener (usually flour) and seasoning. And I love gravy. Especially the kind my grandma made so well, the white gravy with sausage chunks floating in it. Put that on a biscuit, and it’s like heaven for fifteen minutes. Gimme another plate please! But this doesn’t happen with strawberries, or yogurt, or almonds or grapefruits.
But strawberries are sour. Not poisonous; just sour. So are almonds, just a bit. (They’re also poisonous, just a bit, so don’t eat 1,800 of them at once). And grapefruits. Ugh. Nuff said about grapefruits. Although if I wanted to make a spiffy helmet for our cat, a grapefruit skin would be just the thing!
I guess those other foods are better for you than the buttercream frosting on your birthday cake. At least that’s what modern nutrition tells us. Who knows: maybe 200 years in the future, we’ll find out that buttercream is the staple substance that holds our bodies together, without which we just wither up and die and our body parts fly away like corn silk on the wind. But probably not. So I ate my strawberries and unflavored (shudder) yogurt this morning, the same way I have for a few weeks now.
I used to have a big purple terrycloth bathrobe. I stole it from Judi because I look way better in purple than she does. Also, I stole it because came down to my knees, and when I cut off the sassy purple ribbons that held up the sleeves, the terrycloth flowed smoothly down my arms all the way to my wrists. And God, I loved that bathrobe. I wore it around the house every single day for five years, until the elbows and butt wore out, and I had to utter sad words of goodbye. I made Judi it in the trash can so I wouldn’t try to get it out and patch up the butt. And God, I loved that bathrobe. So comfy. So purple. So… robey!
But I couldn’t wear it every single day. I couldn’t wear it, for example, to work. If I tried, they would have sent me home to change clothes, or maybe to an asylum to change my brain. I wasn’t allowed to wear my robe to the grocery store. Or even to pick up Alex and Daniel from school. My precious purple bathrobe was for home only. Kicking around, reading Harry Potter novels. Making a big pot of vegetable soup. Downloading unlimited music from Napster. (What? It was a thing then!) Playing Sims. But my fluffy purple bathrobe was NOT for getting the mail, or even answering the doorbell to greet the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Except that one time. They never came back.
Maybe that’s what biscuits and gravy are: my fluffy purple bathrobe. They are a food for around the house, but not the restaurant. Besides, it is not easy to take a plastic Ziploc of gravy to work with you, even though it’s comfy. So at work, which occupies two meals a day, I try my best to eat healthy. I pack about thirty pounds of horse food into the same Ziploc bag I’d rather fill with sausage gravy, and eat that on my breaks. I bring a big can of raw unsalted almonds for protein. As to not touching the day-old pastries in the store? I try my best to stay out of them. I leave my comforts at home and try to be healthy.
And you know what? I’m starting to get used to it. I wonder if taste palates can change, and how much it can vary. I’ve noticed that the less salt I eat, the more outrageously salty something like potato chips taste. I’m still new to this. Maybe the same thing happens over time with strawberries and yogurt. The more you tolerate their natural flavors, the more you are able to enjoy them? And the more you enjoy them, the more you’re able to enjoy other foods like them… I suspect. I’m a novice at eating healthy. Maybe I’m just making this all up. It took me forty+ years to get to the point where I’d even try to eat this way. Who knows if it’s working. I guess I’ll find out in a few months. In the meantime… Here’s to a healthy colon! Wish me luck.