Today’s Food: Iron, Copper and Sulfur

On the Inside Betty Carter album there is a lovely love song called “Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most”—a line from the song works with Today’s Food:

Doctors once prescribed a tonic Sulfur and molasses was the dose Didn’t help a bit My condition must be chronic

These lyrics are surely old fashioned because the big-pharma doctors of the 21st century would never prescribe a “spring tonic” for any reason. Sulfur is “an abundant, multivalent non-metal” and molasses comes from sugar cane and “is abundant in iron, magnesium, copper, manganese and calcium, and is the best edible source of potassium”… And, because this is the rasx() context, the following from the house of Assata Shakur is most important:

The biochemistry of melanin indicates that there are at least three important elements necessary for maintenance of healthy melanin—Carbon, Copper, and Sulfur.

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My diet for over decade does not include eggs. There is a taste/odor from eggs that I ‘missed’ from my childhood—and it turns out that what I was missing was sulfur. The sulfur smell in eggs is not just there when eggs are rotten—I can smell the subtle version of it when some black pepper is bringing it out, sprinkled over fresh egg whites. When I first opened a container of kala namak, I immediately knew what was missing from my vegan diet. That sulfur/egg smell from this Indian volcanic salt reminded me of my mother’s southern-style breakfast cooking. It’s kind of “weird” how these things go together—and is exactly why being “of color” is so interesting to me. Amazon.com product

I am almost certain that I have been starving myself of sulfur (and sun tanning by the way)—which is not the thing to do for a 40ish guy that is playing with tiny hints of arthritis. It is news to me (sadly) that sulfur “…is necessary for construction of collagen, a protein that gives the skin its structural integrity and which is found in our connective tissue. Sulfur is found in keratin, which is necessary for the preservation of the skin, hair and nails…” Sulfur is the lubricant I need for my joints!

So, here is what I notice so far about my intake of kala namak:

  • My body responded to it immediately. It was very similar to when I started eating my skillet greens. My body was saying, “this is great… we could use this…”
  • I obtain everything I missed about egg whites when I sauté tempeh sprinkled with kala namak…
  • I have reduced my overall sodium intake because of the pungent power of kala namak… it’s the funk—the whole funk… nothin’ but the funk

I am far from a carefully-planning intellectual when it comes to my food adventures. It just made non-conscious ‘sense’ to me of late to drop a teaspoon of blackstrap molasses in my smoothies. I suppose that with my newfound relationship with funky sulfur it makes sense to finish this melanized triangle of carbon, copper, and sulfur. It is one thing to spout politics labeled “Black” it is an entire other, holistic funky thang to actually make sure through direct action my skin is being taken care of…

rasx()