Celery Salad, Reformed

reform: v. to improve by altering, correcting errors, or removing defects. n. a change for the better.

celery salad

It occurred to me this morning while washing dishes, my daily meditative task, that I am, by nature, a reformer. I am constantly looking outside of the conventional matrix to find a better way. From religion, to education, to diet and exercise, I've departed from the traditional or common path to blaze a trail that better suits my beliefs, and, at the risk of sounding corny, follow my heart.

In search of better health, I recently followed an online rabbit hole and fell into a wealth of information about Gut and Psychology Syndrome, or GAPS for short. It started with a picture of a GAPS family on Pinterest, and ended up with me boiling bones for breakfast. I went to the library, hoping to find the Gut and Psychology Syndrome book by Dr. Campbell-McBride, but my library search took me down a different path, and I picked up U-Turn by Bruce Grierson.

The subheading spoke directly to my inner reformist: What if you woke up one morning and realized you were living the wrong life? (It was probably the following sentence inside the book jacket that connected this book to GAPS: "The 'second brain' in [the U-turner's] gut tells them their life must change.")

A U-turner is someone who makes a 180 degree change in their life, following a course of self-reinvention. Such change often come at a big price: loss of family, friends, wealth, reputation, power, but as Grierson writes, "The price paid is worth it, because the U-turner is now, at least, living an authentic life - perhaps fulfilling, to some extent, Mahatma Gandhi's notion that 'We must be the change we wish to see in the world.'"

Sitting at dinner the other night, eating meatballs, I told George about an example from the book of a professor who wrote a book supporting animal experimentation, who, just months after publishing his book, made a U-turn, retracted his well documented and published beliefs, and became a hardcore vegetarian. I wondered out loud between bites, will I one day be morally opposed to eating meat? Was giving up grains and sugar a U-turn or just a detour? Taking the question further, is there something I believe today that I will absolutely not believe in the future? Is there a U-turn up ahead?

(For some reason, I am reminded of the 1999 Gallup poll in which 18% of Americans polled believed the sun revolved around the earth. Hopefully some of them made U-turns.)

Anything is possible when you are open to reformation. And so I re-invent, re-create, and re-form when I see an opportunity to make a change for the better, from personal theology, to curriculum for my children, to adaptation and simplification of recipes, which is how this celery salad was born. After all, a salad is not just a salad; it is an opportunity.

celery salad

Celery Salad
(adapted from Simply Recipes)

1-2 bunches of celery, chopped
1/4 cup of sliced almonds, toasted
4-6 dates, diced

zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Combine chopped celery, toasted almonds, and diced dates. Mix the lemon juice and zest, olive oil, and salt and pepper in a small bowl. Toss the salad and the dressing. Salad can be served immediately, but also keeps well refrigerated for a day or two.

Please feel free to reform.


  1. Sometimes the Universe just points you in an unexpected direction, then its up to you to take the first step on that new path.

    Just a couple of hours ago while shopping at the supermarket I had an overwhelming urge to check out a magazine that I would never have normally picked up. I bought it because it was just too strong a feeling to ignore. As I read article after article, something inside me responded, then I found a tiny ad hidden in the last pages about a new online course from a local polytechnic and very loud bells started ringing !

    Now as I quickly check my emails ( and favourite blogs) I come across your post..... about making U turns in your life........ Yes Universe I am listening..... thank you.

    Jill NZ

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  3. that u-turn book sounds very interesting. jeff just got a pricey ticket the other day for making a u-turn. (damn, californian!) now i think he's scared to make one, but it might just be the best thing he could do!

    i've passed by that GAPS rabbit hole on pinterest as well. haven't fallen down it yet, but i will say i'm intrigued.

    it's always fun to read you here... celery salad recipe and all. :)

  4. molly, you crack me right UP! i love how your meandering thoughts bring you to all these new places. what fun all this searching is. i have wondered some of the very same things too...


  5. I like how you meander and take us with you.

  6. Sounds delicious just the way it is...or with cranberries? I will be trying this tonight with our dinner. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Yum. I will have to make this soon, maybe a half recipe, as my toddlers aren't into reinvented salads...yet. I've heard of the GAPS diet, but now you're sparked my interest and I want to know the details!

    There have been a few major U-turns in my life and I have learned that when the thought "I can't imagine that! Never!" enters my mind it's a sign that indeed, I will probably accept the idea/circumstance/person at some point in the future. Our capacity for psychological evolution is wonderful isn't it?

  8. Ah, you are a master at sharing such deep and profound thoughts with us all is a short and readable post. I'm in awe of your writing ability. You write about *real* things without sounding rant-y or preach-y. You have a gift and I'm so glad you share it with us. That salad looks tasty. But thinking about U-turns and reformations . . .well that is delectable.

  9. Warning Molly: you have pushed my counter-argument button. On the one hand I believe thoroughly in adapting and adjusting our thoughts and actions to new ideas that seem to better suit our beliefs. HOWEVER, I do not believe that change is necessarily a good thing. I do not believe “to alter, correct errors, or remove defects” is necessarily, “a change for the better.” When I started in nursing it was standard practice when a patient had the kind of irregular heart beats that could become lethal if those beats ran out of control, that we would “correct” those errors & and remove those “defects” by adding a medication to suppress those beats. We believed we were making a change for the better. Our gut told us it was the right thing to do, and we were quite pleased with ourselves for having done it. And we would still be doing it today except that the conventional matrix discovered more people died when we removed those defects than when we left them alone. I do not accept the assertion that “The price paid is worth it, because the U-turner is now, at least, living an authentic life.” We were being authentic in our desire to help by making change in people’s heart rhythms but the price paid was their death. I think therefore it is important to keep an open mind to the idea that whatever we believe at the moment it may turn out that we are full of baloney, and therefore not worth risking loss of family, friends, wealth, reputation, and power. If the professor alienated half his acquaintances with his first hard-line beliefs, then alienated the other half of his acquaintances by his U-turn to a new set of hard-line beliefs he would soon find himself all alone with his shifting hard-line opinions. But now back to my first hand – I believe thoroughly in adapting to new ideas that seem to suit our beliefs. I am just not convinced that a shifting set of hard-line opinions is necessarily “authentic,” nor necessarily “right,” nor necessarily for the good. It is merely where we are at this moment.
    -- Mark V

  10. Hey Molly,

    I am reading that GAPS book too. It's fascinating isn't it? I am enjoying your posts, albeit silently until now. It seems that we are on similar paths and I know this because your recipes make me drool. That's gross, and an exaggeration, but keep your posts comin'. I like your writing style and your photography is awesome.

  11. This is a really interesting discussion (i.e. making U-turns)! Between your post and Mark V.'s comment it's definitely food to chew on as I find myself constantly in that tension zone of change vs. things as they are. and either position can feel authentic depending on the week, the day, the minute... i'm sure it has to do with mid-life and hormones. :)

  12. I had been introduced to the GAPS diet for my son who has serious celiac. There is a lot inside of that diet that I fully agree with, although admittedly there are times that I look at the list of foods on restriction and it makes me want to cry :). The salad sounds wonderful, so fresh and light, and it just might have to make it's way onto our table this weekend. Thanks for sharing.

  13. tried the celery salad tonight with a few modifications based on pantry contents... raisins instead of dates and lime juice instead of the lemon. super yummy. and the others who ate it all up will agree. it's interesting how all that celery love comes out of the closet when something like this shows up on the table. :)

    i'll be making another for the easter potluck today.

  14. Hi Molly,

    thanks for this recipes.. my family very like a salad.. i will try this ones..

    Strep Throat Symptoms

  15. Very nice, thanks for sharing.


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email: mollydunham@sbcglobal.net
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