Smorgasbord and Salt

A Smorgasbord, as defined, is a meal with many different foods that are placed on a large table so that people can serve themselves. As often as I have attended a holiday style Smorgasbord(Brunch), I have found some foods did not need to be replenished as often as others. All one needed to do was view the plates carried by patrons returning to their tables. Most were filled to over-flow with those delicacies most pleasing to the palate-pancakes, waffles, sausage, bacon, home fries, roast beef, turkey, mashed potatoes, dinner rolls,  AND DESSERTS. I think you can gather what camp I am in. These items were most sought after. While fruits and vegetables scarcely draw our inattention. We tend to gravitate toward what pleases, instead of what is in our best interest.

Even among children, who dine regularly in a school cafeteria, we find similar food interests as that of their adult counterparts. Although school lunch menus are often pre-set with balanced nutrition in mind, an investigation of the refuse receptacles will most likely find the salad and fruit portions within. While the entrée of hot dog and fries are nowhere to be found. It just goes to prove, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink-nor eat their vegetables and fruit.

When I was a young man in my late teens to early twenties. I loved salt with my meals. So much so, one could find me with a fork in one hand and a salt shaker in the other. Salt enhanced the flavor to the extent that I felt I could not do without it. This was the case until after an annual physical revealed my blood pressure was elevated. I was 23 years old at the time. I still to this day can remember the frightening realization of what my doctor discovered. How could this be? At my age, high blood pressure? That’s for middle-aged smokers and drinkers with accompanying stress from high-profile jobs. Or so I thought. In truth it often comes to any who misuse and abuse.

I immediately went cold turkey. Stopped using salt completely, and tried but discontinued a salt supplement. It was difficult to break a habit that I had nurtured for so long. Yet the alternative was more disconcerting. With prudence, mild blood pressure medication and a low salt diet my health was restored.

Salt brought pleasure. But, overindulging regularly became addictive. My body’s need to be satisfied was compromising my health. It was a challenge to overcome, but was accomplished. And from it came a greater good-good health.

As it is with all that we give ourselves to out of pleasure; when done out of joy it can safely be enjoyed. For in this frame of mind we seek to celebrate, and do so infrequently. However, when indulging in pleasurable things out of some sadness, anger or dissatisfaction in order to anesthetize, then it can become harmful. Because with each sorrow we quickly reach for such things as a remedy. Rather than getting to the heart of our heart ache by common sense reason. No good can come from a practice as this. Which in time becomes a vicious cycle.

These simpler and seemingly unimportant examples of weaknesses toward the preferences of salt and smorgasbord delights, pale in comparison to those destructive addictions of alcohol, drugs and other complex gratifications. Yet the former teaches an important lesson. One of self-control. For with it, we are masters of the pleasures available to us for our enjoyment, as bounded by their proper purpose. Without it, our pleasures become our masters. We all have a free will, which when exercised, will either free or enslave. In the end it is our choice.

“To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.”-G.K. Chesterton




About Alan A. Malizia: Contagious Optimism! Co-Author

Retired mathematics teacher and high school athletics coach. Honors: 1988 Ct. Coach of the Year for H.S. Girls Voleyball and 2007 Inducted into the Ct. Women's Volleyball Hall of Fame. Since retiring have written two books; "The Little Red Chair," an autobiography about my life experience as a polio survivor and "A View From The Quiet Corner," a selection of poems and reflections. Presently I am a contributing author for the "Life Carrots" series primarily authored by Dave Mezzapelle of
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