"The proof is in the pudding" is one of those seemingly clever catchphrases that you might say in the quick give-and-take of conversation. But don't ever write it unless you're compiling a list of the most confusing idioms.

That's because the saying is missing key words.

The original saying, "The proof of the pudding is in the eating," means things are uncertain until tested or in this specific instance tasted, which isn't what most people want to convey when they say the shortened version of the phrase.

That's why I'll imitate the original version to make the point that being aware and attuned helps your health even though my knock off certainly sounds unseemly: "The proof of the cottage cheese is on the bike shorts."

Before you decide column number 1076 of the Fitness Master was one column too many for the old guy, let me explain the strange saying and how it applies to the topic at hand.

In high school, I was an absolute basketball junkie who had a lesser addiction to certain salty fast foods, such as potato chips, French fries, and pizza with extra cheese. As a result, even though I never was one to use the salt shaker, I ingested far more sodium than need be.

And the proof of the unnecessary sodium was on the school-issued blue canvass Converse high-top basketball sneakers team members received during my sophomore year.

After a few weeks of hard use, mine could've passed for low-tops. Well, at least and from a bit of a distance. I was excreting so much salt in my sweat that the very tops of the sneakers were encrusted with the stuff.

The coaches were concerned enough to send me to the school nurse. She told me that while certain people naturally excrete more salt in their perspiration than others, I still probably needed to reduce the amount of salt in my diet.

I didn't heed the advice, so my sweat continued leaving heavy salt stains on sneakers, T-shirts, gym shorts, and baseball caps even after I first became a lacto-ovo vegetarian. It was only after I decided to significantly reduce my ingestion of processed foods in mid-20s that the salt stains abated.

They returned, however, this winter. When inclement weather forced me to do a rather long and hard bicycle ride indoors on a wind trainer, there they were again, crescent-shaped and flaky white, beginning at the crotch of the black biking shorts.

A second intense indoor bicycle ride produced the same. As did a third.

This was bothersome to me. Not only am I rather strict about what I eat, but I also have no desire to develop hypertension, something that runs in my family.

So I sat down and scoured my food journal.

But I didn't expect to find the answer there, however, for my eating habits rarely change. But my eating habits had changed a bit, I realized, after I fractured my femur in a biking accident last April.

To help the bone heal as quickly as possible, I increased my ingestion of protein to half of my total calories in a given day. To reach that goal, I started eating some different foods.

For instance, I started blending eight ounces of cottage cheese with a fat-free, sugar free chocolate syrup and two ounces of a milk substitute to create a snack that reminded me of chocolate pudding, well, at least a bit.

Sometime this fall, I tinkered with the recipe, tried freezing it, and really enjoyed it. It reminded me of chocolate ice cream, well, at least a bit.

Soon I was eating it about twice as often as before frequently enough that I was buying four 24-ounce containers of fat-free cottage cheese every week.

In December, I found a cheaper type of fat-free cottage cheese that worked just as well, but it had 450 milligrams of sodium in every four-ounce serving. With the sodium in the chocolate syrup and the milk substitute, each fake ice cream snack contained just over 1000 milligrams of sodium.

After a couple weeks of ingesting an additional 12,000 milligrams of sodium, was it any surprise that my sweat was once again leaving salt stains?

The point to this story is simple: everything you do especially everything you eat and all the exercising that you do leaves clues. Because of that, healthy living is not rocket science.

Healthy living is simply a matter of being aware and attuned to your body and reading the clues that your body and your experiences leave you.

Now the question is: are you willing to take the time to uncover and interpret the clues?