salubrious (suh-LOO-bree-us), adjective

Favorable to one’s health.

Joseph walked to the kitchen calculating which recipes he could concoct with the limited food in his refrigerator. Peach yogurt, his least favorite flavor yet he always managed to buy. A bag of wilting lettuce that had maybe one more day before it must go to the worms. Six sticks of celery. Celery never seems to go bad. It is so versatile and nutritious, but Joseph never lunged to the bottom drawer to fish it out. He looked at the array of dressings and sauces jammed in the door. Things he had bought for one recipe and had never used again. Most of them should not go bad any time soon, but he suspected the jar of pesto on the bottom left corner might be turning on him. He winced at the thought of what could be lingering beneath the lid.

The pantry had less to offer. White rice and dried beans. Soups are nice, but it would take ages to rehydrate the colorful mix of thirteen legumes. Last time, he finally discovered the perfect combination of cumin and marjoram that made beans a delight to eat. He inhaled them. After which, he endured an uncomfortable Thursday evening accompanied by indigestion and his neighbor, Miss Pratt.

The box of cous cous shook like maracas. He never knew what to do with cous cous and was pretty sure that box came with the house. Pasta or oatmeal and an unopened bottle of maple syrup. Joseph was uninspired.

He slumped into his chair and absently picked away the skin of a tangerine. The cutie’s sticker smiled at him with more encouragement than his pantry had ever offered. His teeth pierced through its skin. Sweet juices stung his lips as his tongue coerced the fruit into his mouth. The white fibers that his mother told him had most of the vitamin C so he shouldn’t meticulously peel off flossed his teeth. With each tiny pod of juice that popped against his tongue, Joseph paused. His chewing slowed down. His flustered chest stopped heaving.

He looked at the tangerine in front of him. His fingers peeled away layers of orange. He put a second piece in his mouth. He chewed, slowly and thoughtfully. He let his tongue massage each juice pod away from its brethren and swallowed them one by one. With his vision blackened against the back of his eyelids, he visualized nutrients coursing through his mouth. He watched his saliva pluck vitamins from between his teeth like a fishermen collecting full nets. He savored each flavor. Some bits of tangerine were more sweet than others. Some were more sour.

He leaned back in his kitchen chair. This salubrious manner of eating would be his new way. He would make meals out of meagerness and concentrate on their bounty. This was how eating was intended. He looked at the open cabinets of his kitchen. They were bursting with possibility. For dinner he could have fried spaghetti in maple syrup with celery and frozen peas. Potato and bean soup with bay leaves and celery. Green salad with an oatmeal and celery dressing. Couc cous with goat cheese and of course, celery.

(Inspired by the Jenna Granger Health Coaching newsletter:


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