10 Dec 2013

From Fasting to Sour Plums

Umeboshi Drying in the Sun, photo from here.
Since my three day water fast a few weeks ago I have fallen in love with Umeboshi - salt pickled sour plums.  I've never had strong feelings about them either way, but now I positively crave them.

I broke my fast with brown rice porridge topped with a little miso and umeboshi, after not eating for three days it tasted divine.  But this infatuation with sour pickled plums has continued long after.  Now I plop one in hot water in the morning, mash it up and happily sip the concoction.

I began to wonder why the craving, is there anything particularly good in these squishy red balls, I knew they were healthy but had never paid much attention before. So I  turned to my old faithful book that explains all about Japanese Foods that Heal.  I just loved what I read, and so I shall continue my love affair with this salty sour delicacy ; )  Which require a fairly lengthy process of soaking in salt and drying in the sun and adding red shiso leaf for colour.  Next year I vow to learn how to make them.

From the book:

"Japanese food authority Robbie Swinnerton compares umeboshi's taste to the culinary equivalent of a cold shower. Swinnerton writes, 'The abrupt, searingly tart, tangy, salty taste jolts the eyes open, shakes the stomach awake, sandpapers off any staleness from the taste buds, and gets the day off to an unforgettable start.'"

Yes, exactly I thought.

"Japanese pickled plums have remarkable medicinal qualities. Their powerful acidity has a paradoxical alkalinizing effect on the body, neutralizing fatigue, stimulating digestion and promoting the elimination of toxins and the absorption of calcium. In addition, umeboshi is said to help the liver process excess alcohol, restore the skin, help regulate sugar metabolism, prevent or cure anemia and relieve acute stomach and intestinal pain due to gas"

Wonderful!  And to think I was going out of my way to drink lemon juice in the mornings, when I had the local equivalent sat right on my kitchen table!

So I shall continue.  I guess my fast served it's purpose.  I had never properly fasted and the decision to do this one was very whimsical.  I wanted an exercise in self-discipline to get me back on track with my eating habits which had become rather yogically delinquent. So three days, only water. It was not fun, I was left very tired and cold, and no spare energy.

But the fast did make me realise how much unnecessary stuff I put into my body throughout the day as a treat, or form of procrastination.

Then two days of rice gruel with miso and umeboshi.  So simple and so delicious.

I am still enjoying simple food, have regained a modicom of self-control, and a new found love for the "Venerable Pickled Plum"

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