I've received some really good, positive feedback on my column a couple weeks ago about my health issues. People congratulated me for coming clean and being honest about my lazy lifestyle and how I didn't take care of myself. They come up to me and ask how I'm doing, and I inevitably go into my spiel about how things have changed for me - particularly my diet - since my stroke.
I have found that one of the worst things about getting sick and being forced to make some changes is altering what you eat.
Since my stroke, I've all but eliminated salt from my diet, a point I made in a recent column and one that was highlighted in Cheryl Rude's food column that was published in the paper Wednesday.
This might not sound like a big deal, but for me, ridding my diet of salt is monumental. Skip your morning coffee. Go without that caffeine hit that soda gives you every day. It's the same thing with salt and me. Salt was my friend (in sheep's clothing) and I miss it, but I know I can live without it - and live better.
I've also resorted to putting foreign objects in my mouth - oats, spinach, broccoli. And this past week, a friend of mine, Pat Thomas, brought me in a little snack. Before I tell you what it is, a little background: Pat is famous for bringing me and others at the paper treats. Before recently, she would drop off Salted Nut Rolls for me because she knew of my desire/need for salt. This week, however, Pat brought something new, something called Honey Almond Flax bars from Kashi.
I love Pat and appreciate her snacks, but I've got to be honest, getting used to these bars was no easy task. When I opened one for the first time, it looked like a regular granola bar, so I crammed nearly half of it in my mouth. Big mistake. It's not your typical granola bar - a fact I should've realized when I saw the word "flax" on the front of the box. And judging from the appearance of the bar itself, it looks like something you would see at the bottom of a hamster cage or sitting in a bird feeder.
There are two bits of good news here. First, there's no high fructose corn syrup in these bars, and there's plenty of protein, fiber and ALA omega-3, whatever that is. My brain knows these things are good for me - now I'm trying to convince the rest of my body. Second, I'm now quasi-addicted to these bars. The old me would've made some joke about cardboard and tossed the bars in the garbage. The new me now eats one every day.
Maybe there isn't much taste in these Kashi creations, big deal. There isn't a lot of taste in plenty of things I'm consuming these days. But if getting used to some bland food that I know is good for me is a key to a better next 40 years, then let taste rest in the eye of the beholder.