The Celery Dream

The story begins in a house. I know it’s mine, but it’s enormous.

I’m in the living room, which is probably two thousand square feet. Huge plate-glass windows line three sides. Rain is falling outside. Under one side of the windows, I have a stone wall with a rock garden, small hill, and waterfall. Several broad-leafed green plants are growing in the rock garden. Yes, this is in my living room.

Three cats reside there with me, and they’re running around. My wife lives there, too; I know (in the dream) that she’s in another part of the house. We also have a few visitors.

I’m dealing mostly with the cats, feeding them, playing with them, while glancing outside at the rain and chatting with my visitors. One of them (Bob) calls attention to some water he sees on the floor in another room.

After going and confirming that a small puddle is in the kitchen, I call out the news to my wife and then begin inspecting the kitchen, looking for leaks, until I’ve discovered where it seems to be entering. Well, I’ll need to take care of that, I announce while wondering about its severity.

Then, quick change, I’m looking for the cats. One, a short-haired orange and white tabby, has gone outside. I go out after him. My yard is enormous. One side borders a sidewalk alongside a street. The cat is enjoying my efforts to capture him, capering across the green grass and evading me with mischievous ease. Then the cat stops in the game to look up the sidewalk. Following his look, I see a large orange and white cat (it looks like a Maine Coon Cat) coming down the sidewalk, tail up. The cat looks like a large, long-haired version of my cat. I comment on that to someone.

I’m back inside my house, but I’m gone down into the garage. Like other parts of the house, it’s huge, enough space for perhaps a dozen cars. None are there now. It’s spotless cement.

I’m preparing a fix. Although I knew what I was doing in the dream, I don’t know now what I was fixing, but I was planning to use celery. To fix whatever it was with the celery, I was using a chisel to break stalks of celery into small plugs. I had problems with some of the celery stalks, and then stopped because my visitors came down to find me, and I didn’t want them knowing what I was doing.

After I hid the celery and went to speak with them, the dream ended.

The Sodium Take

Having experienced benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH) and then discovering my blood pressure was residing north of 220/130, I’ve become more mindful about my food and nutrition. (BP is now hovering around 136/70 now, thanks.) Searching for foods that are benevolent to my prostate, I read recommendations about celery. In my own tests, I felt that the results bore this out; eating a stalk of celery each day seemed to please my prostate.

However, I read, beware: celery has high levels of sodium. Oh, dear, don’t want that; sodium is bad for blood pressure. Wanting hard information, I hunted the net and discovered that a stalk of celery can have as much as almost thirty milligrams of sodium.

That didn’t strike me as high. As far as I could tell, that was pretty low, as long as I wasn’t eating stalks by the minute. Thinking about it more returned me more net searching about sodium levels in food.

The U.S. government’s nutrition guideline recommends that people keep their daily sodium intake below twenty-three hundred milligrams a day. There’s a big gap betweeny celery’s thirty and twenty-three hundred. For a food to be considered low sodium, it should have one hundred forty milligrams per serving, or least. Calling celery high in sodium compared to that seemed excessive.

Which prompted me to hunt for common food’s sodium levels. Fortunately, many websites eagerly compile and post this information. The American Heart Association provided a summary of the CDC’s findings in 2017. From that, they created a list of the twenty-five most hazardous foods for sodium levels in the U.S. It’s a disturbing list. They then distilled the list into the top ‘Salty Six’:

  1. Breads and rolls
  2. Pizza
  3. Sandwiches, including burgers
  4. Cold cuts and cured meats
  5. Canned soup
  6. Tacos and burritos

These are foods that I was frequently eating. I was checking fat, sugar, and fiber levels but ignoring the sodium levels. Now, it was like, holy crap. Gotta check those sodium levels, too.

I know, this is a post by the converted. I respect that response, but my ignorance went on until it was an emergency. Just thought I’d share my experience and maybe keep you from stumbling down the same path.

On the bright side, I found that beer and wine do not typically have much sodium. There’s some in them, with beer typically have eight to twelve milligrams of sodium per sixteen ounces, and most domestic red wines containing twelve milligrams per glass (imported red wines have about six milligrams); mindfulness about how much is being consumed — and what else is being consumed that day — is required.

Just like with celery.

You’re now free to resume your normal day.

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