My aunt (the one who raised me and is now in Seattle and has been there since I went back to my parents in Cebu which is another long story that will be told in another post but not here) used to bring home a bag of boiled peanuts for me on exam days, back when I was in grade school. Peanuts, and chocolate if I did good in a test. Brach’s Chocolate Covered Peanuts (and cashew nuts too!) were my ultimate treat back then.
Peanuts and chocolates are, among other yummy stuff, are considered to be brain food. They’re the best things to snack on when studying (but not when you’re a pimple-prone teenager like I was, but I didn’t care) because they kept you up and awake.
What I seem to have forgotten until very recently is that peanuts aren’t actually nuts (like almonds and pecans and pistachios) but are actually legumes (or what the boys up in Bakun call “uric beans”) and that I should really watch my intake of the stuff since I’m definitely no spring chicken and have a history of UT problems.
It runs in our family. Members of my father’s generation all went under the knife to have their stones extracted. These were of course in the days prior to the invention of no-bleed laser blasting. I got away with several (as far as I can recall) weeks of taking this huge brown rubbery capsule called Mandelamine, when I was 3rd grade. It was one of those times when you think taking your medicine will make you sick. I recall having thrown up on a few occassions back then, but I always ended up taking the darned thing, or face dire consequences (my aunt’s slipper, among others).
The selfsame aunt who fed me peanuts when I was a child recently sent over a couple of balikbayan boxes that contained, among scores of other things, a tub of peanut butter and an equally sized tub of roasted honey-coated peanuts. I had always preferred stateside peanut butter and peanuts as well, as they were not as sweet as the local brands, and that I could actually taste the peanut in the butter. And so conveniently forgetting peanuts = legumes = uric beans, I gorged on both peanuts and peanut butter.
And one morning found myself almost unable to get up and go about my daily business, much less to work. Every joint, with no exception, ached for each and every nut I had ingested. My fingers wouldn’t move, and the one I broke when Maia and I fell from the hammock a few months back, hurt the most. I could not move my ankles when I walked, and it was impossible to type or manipulate the mouse on my computer.
Only through Sam‘s massage therapy (he picked up a bit of acupressure and shiatsu a long time ago, he is so good he can probably earn a living that way, but then I’d be too jealous) was I able to get up with minimal pain and discomfort. That and lots of water and green tea. Nothing like green tea to clean out one’s system.
So here I am at home, sipping hot green tea and ignoring the half full tubs of peanut and butter. I know better now, especially since a couple of days ago when I was so hungry on the bus going home from work that I bought a 5-peso bag of peanuts (“mani mani mainit pa mani”) from one of those vendors who get on the bus at every stop along EDSA and suffered a relapse. Drink lots of water and plenty of tea. Easy enough to remember, yes?