Make sure to treat your ingredients with respect

Don’t be shy about massaging the daikon and carrots with the salt.

That was the opening line to a recipe I recently copied. I didn’t think anything of it at the time. I simply saw myself julienning raw cruciferous vegetables, sprinkling them with salt and starting to massage them. Then it dawned on me – I don’t even take this much time or care to prepare myself each day. How startling to learn I dedicate more time to handling the ingredients that make up my lunch than I do myself.

Use your hands to work the salt into the vegetables until they begin to wilt.

I wake up each day and practically roll from bed to dive into the first tasks of the day. I give no thought to my limbs, my mind, or my heart. I just robotically move through the steps of getting the day going. Why aren’t I stretching in the morning? If I am carefully handling the items found in my refrigerator’s hydrator drawer, shouldn’t the structure that carries me through the day get some purposeful attention?

A technique used in many types of Japanese pickles, this step forces the vegetables to release some of their water and renders their texture crunchy-crisp.

There are many theories and dedicated texts written referencing the correct way to attend to our food products to get them ready for any given culinary treatment. Food professionals can speak ad nauseam about topics ranging from selecting the perfect piece of produce to plating the finished product for best visual and gastric appeal.

Do we take that same level of care when selecting our clothes? Our haircut? How about the relationships we are holding on to? Are we cultivating our best selves, or simply sleepwalking through our days? Why did you select that shirt today? Do you consider all factors when selecting footwear? How did you prepare your mind and soul for the day ahead?

Table salt has a fine texture that works best for this, so don’t use kosher salt.

There are 14 different kinds of salt. Each one has a specific flavor profile and detailed instructions on how to correctly apply to food for fullest satisfaction and dish development. Of the 14 unique salts, four are deemed essential by foodies among us.

The world has changed in many ways over the years. Can you imagine the settlers of the 1800s spending time and money on making sure their food stores had enough flake salt to properly finish the protein? No. Nor did they have a complex routine of stretches to complete before tending to their seemingly never-ending daily chores. There was only so much daylight. Best use it to its fullest to keep the family alive and safe.

The same line of thinking can be applied to how we individually live our lives. The old adage ‘only you know what is best for you’ is true, but only to a point. Making choices for your life shouldn’t happen in a bubble. Just like a good, detailed recipe takes into consideration a multitude of factors. When making decisions for your life, consider all the learned opinions and guidance you have received. By all means, keep your power. Choose your ultimate path. But for goodness sake, use the correct salt along the way.

Dress and marinate for at least four hours (or up to one week). Serve in small portions.

Lesslee Dort is a board certified patient advocate who firmly believes knowledge is power when it comes to being in control of one’s health. She spends her days helping others navigate their healthcare and her free time exploring. Reach Lesslee via email lesslee@friendstogethermi.org. Read her here the third Thursday of each month.


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