Danger: salt is back. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman.

Danger: salt is back. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman.

No, wrong. America has a serious THINKING disorder.

See that white stuff raining down from my fingers? It’s salt. And it’s the way you should salt the food you cook on your stove top or the chicken that’s going into your oven. But if you listen to the ABC Nightly News reporting about The Dangers of Salt, aka ABC News acid reflux, and then read today’s NYTimes page one story saying that salt is not bad for you, you must be wondering who to listen to. Well if you are, just stop listening and think for your fucking self.

I have a dear friend who prevents his kids from drinking any milk other than nonfat milk but thinks nothing of serving them Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Seriously. (The nonfat milk issue is not uncommon, judging from the fact that my son’s friends marvel at the amazing quality of the milk we serve at our house—2%—which I still find a hypocritical marketing scam since good old-fashioned whole milk is 3.7% fat, but they don’t tell you that). Another dear pal excoriated me in an email about the quantities of fat I eat (when he has no idea really what or how I eat, owing to the fact that he lives in Virginia and not in my house in Cleveland).

Does fat make you fat? Yes, if you eat enough of it, you moron. Is salt bad for you? If you live on KFC and Dunkin’ Donuts you’ve got a helluva bigger problem than salt intake.

To quote the Times reporter: “Those consuming the lower level of sodium had more than three times the number of hospital readmissions.”

I don’t see this latest news about salt as anything important or new (for godsake, you’d die without salt), but it does validate the fact that America has a serious eating disorder. Don’t listen to the Times (read it and think about it, yes), and don’t listen to the nightly news barfing up the latest studies.

(Jesus, it’s not good for me to get worked up in the morning, I know that for sure. This is how salt raises MY blood pressure.)

Is salt bad for you? No. Is lettuce bad for you? Damn fucking right it’s bad for you (if it’s the only thing you eat). Is smoking cigarettes bad for you? Of course it is, you moron, it will kill you. Have you seen the lungs of a smoker? We know for certain it’s a major cause of cancer. Is exercise good for you? Well, how do you feel after a good hike in the mountains or a workout in the gym? Is drinking alcohol bad for you? How do you feel after a bottle of wine with a good roast chicken versus 12 shots of tequila and a Jagermeister nightcap?

Sorry to have to repeat myself, but it seems one can’t say it enough: cook your own food or cozy up to someone who does (in which case offer to do the dishes or the shopping), and think for yourself. (It’s not easy, you have to teach yourself how, but it’s fundamental to our species.)

Or think about these words from Goethe that open the recent salt report:

Knowing is not enough, we must apply.

Willing is not enough, we must do.

In other words, pay attention, and then, as the wildly talented Kevin Costner put it in a long-ago movie, “Let’s do some good!” Kidding. (But not really.)

See, this always happens. I get worked up before ten in the morning and now I want a hot dog.

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© 2013 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2013 Donna Turner Ruhlman. All rights reserved.