Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Virtues of Celery

I am having a love affair.

With celery.

Delicious, fresh, leafy, green, versatile, crunchy, satisfying celery.

And I could (and will) go on.....

Dear reader, you may think I'm ridiculous, you may think I'm insane, maybe you even come from a place where you understand my cries of love and adoration for a simple, inanimate vegetable. Wherever you're coming from, my hope is that you will be craving celery by the end of this post (and yes, even in my love-haze, I have enough awareness to realize that this hope is also quite insane).

My favorite way to enjoy celery is raw. The crisp snap of the stalk, the cool pure juice released from the fiber, and the toothiness of the fiber itself. Nature has been thoughtful enough to provide a perfect little inset to house peanut butter as a sweet snack, or to support the addition of cheese to instantly transform the celery platform to 'savory'.

I have also been adding celery to many of my soups and veggie dishes throughout the week. Because, after all, what is a soup without a mirepoix?? It's no coincidence that celery is also a part of the 'holy trinity' of Cajun cuisine. Oh yes, celery is certainly wonderous and magical.

Why am I so fervently extolling the virtues of celery? Well, suffice to say that I have been purchasing and consuming a large quantity of celery lately. Having found that it is a food that I thoroughly enjoy AND has the added benefit of being healthy for me, it makes me a very happy girl indeed. Recently, I have stopped eating a good number of things that I get truly excited about eating, and I needed to find some replacements.

Substituting unhealthy choices for healthy options is something I talk about a lot at my job. In my role as counselor, I frequently speak with clients about lifestyle choices utilizing an anaolgy of 'filling the circle'. (This is going somewhere, I promise. Bear with me.) We draw a circle and write inside of the circle all of the activities they had engaged in while they were actively using drugs. If the client has achieved a level of sobriety, we begin to erase all of the things that they no longer do. Most times, when we complete this exercise for the first time the circle is almost, if not completely, empty.

At the beginning of my diet, my circle of food-activity was relatively empty. Cobwebs were starting to accumulate, and cobwebs don't taste good. Too musty. In starting my diet, I had wiped the slate clean and there were foods that tenaciously survived, but not many. I have currently begun the process that most individuals find themselves facing at this point when making a lifestyle change. 'Filling the circle' with positive choices, so that the negative behaviors don't invade the empty space.

And, celery (oh celery!) has recently taken up a large space of my circle. Always there for a snack, long shelf life in the fridge, indispensible addition to soups and stews, inexpensive, reliable celery.



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