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Weigh down: how to eat potato chips and chocolate

We are the salt of the earth, according to Matthew 5:13. This used to be a compliment to people. It meant that they added flavor and enhanced the world around them. Now that salt has been on the hit list for the last two decades, that scripture has lost its meaning. Well, you probably know how I feel about salt by now. I thank our good Lord above for the spectacular creation of sodium chloride—table salt. I love salt. Cows go up to salt licks, and animals will use the natural salt licks in the wild all summer long. medrx-one.com

I get in the mood for a salt lick every once in a while. What I do is get a bowl of Mexican chips with a tomato-based salsa. I will hold every chip up to the light to see if it sparkles. If it sparkles, that chip has a lot of salt on it. I used to try to do this at the restaurant when no one was looking—now I do not care! After examining several chips, I usually find one. Great! Now I will dip it into the salsa, and sometimes I have been known to add even more salt to the top of that. Oh, how fun that is with a diet soda going down between the bites! I am a double-dipper. I have to have my own salsa bowl because I never cram down one whole chip. I just eat small but perfect bites. Sometimes I am so full from the appetizer that I can only eat a few bites of my chicken quesadilla entree with sour cream and guacamole on each bite.

You have to know what you are craving. If you are craving some salt, please do not go through stacks of unsalted chips or piles of slightly salted chips to find your salt. Purchase the saltiest of chips. I feel sorry for the food manufacturers. Just about the time they have changed the production lines to lower the salt and lower the fat content, people like us put salt and fat back in vogue—and the consumer demands that the manufacturer change the food again!

As long as you are eating when you are hungry and stopping when you are full and you have healthy kidneys (their job is to eliminate extra salt in the body), your blood pressure will normally not be affected by table salt (NaCl). The reason health professionals had to pull out the sugar, salt, and fat from the typical American diet was because of the ever-increasing volumes of food we were eating. To satisfy Americans' desire to swallow more food without increasing their calories, the food manufacturers had to pull out almost everything from the food but fiber and air. When you are overweight, it is harder for your kidneys to work properly and for the blood to circulate due to pressure from the surrounding layers of fat. This is especially true when the overweight person sits a lot. The sitting position inhibits blood flow for the overweight person. Salt may accumulate in blood and move out of the vessels between the cells. Fluid retention that causes edema or swelling follows. Now that we are being reasonable in the volume we are swallowing, the content selection can be rich and delectable!

What about sweets? Make sure you go back and really rate the sweets you are eating. Get only the best. To help you learn to eat sweets again, we are going to start you with chocolates in small units. A good example of chocolate already in small units is M&Ms. Now, instead of ripping off the top of the package and then throwing your head back and dumping the M&Ms down the hatch, tear off the top of the package, stick your finger down in the package, and wiggle up one at a time. Of course, you may lose your grip and have to start over. You may get your least-favorite color and have to throw it back into the pile and start again. (You must rate your foods, you know.) But I feel certain you will eventually manage to get an M&M into your hand.

Now you need to put just one M&M into your mouth and let it melt in your mouth and not in your tummy. Your stomach cannot taste. I have a real ritual with M&Ms. I will let the M&M sit on my tongue until the candy coating is off. Then when I feel it is really thin, I crush the shell with the top of my mouth and all the melted milk chocolate comes out. Of course, I sip something hot between the bites of almost all sweets I eat. My coffee with real half-and-half cream helps to wash off the overly sweet taste, and then I am ready for another M&M. You are not going to get a lot of M&Ms down that way! Sometimes five or six will satisfy. Keep practicing with small units at the end of the meal.

Most of the world—in fact, probably all of the world's populations—offers dessert at the end of the meal. God created man to like this or how would so many diverse populations do the same thing? I have noticed my own cravings as I get toward the end of a meal. This same feeling comes over me: "I'm nearly finished, so give me my dessert or sweet." Dessert just indicates the end of eating. It pacifies me and concludes the eating event. My servings are small and I take small bites, savoring every bite, and I drink between bites. Yum! But I quit when I am politely full.

If you are still having trouble with overwhelming magnetism for the salts and sweets, hang on. Phase II will help you turn that around. As you open up each page of Phase II, God will make you face some tough things about yourself. Do not fear, for you will find that it won't be with dread, but almost with anticipation as you progressively make this transfer from love of food to love of God!