Letter: Salt, salt everywhere
I’m no authority on nutrition, but I have learned a thing or two on my hard-fought journey to health and fitness. Today, salt is on my radar. The Standard American Diet is so overloaded with (hidden) salt as an additive that it is no wonder many Americans are on blood-pressure medication and suffering from inflammation issues, and many others, due to uninformed lifestyle choices.
I loved salty foods, but I have chosen not to eat them in excess anymore. I have learned how to read labels, and as a reward, my taste buds have been “reset,” and I now find most processed foods too salty. It hasn’t been easy, but I feel much better and no longer crave salty foods.
A good place to start is to read the book “Salt Sugar Fat” by Michael Moss. If you’re like me, after finishing this book, you’ll be so mad at the food industry for duping us into eating excessive amounts of salt (for its benefit) that you’ll try harder to avoid it.
Then, look up the recommended levels of salt for your age. Salt is a little tricky in that it is a required dietary element. The goal isn’t to eliminate salt, but to not eat too much. The missing link to this salt thing is that labels are purposely misleading, but that is another topic. It took a chemistry project and a little digging to figure out that for me, less than 3/4 teaspoon of regular salt per day is my limit.
The point is, that if you want to, you can add up how much salt you are eating (often a can of beans is more than your day’s allotment). When you start looking for salt, honestly, you’ll be shocked.
OK, so the thing that prompted my letter is that in the Feb. 11 Post Independent were some recipes that illuminate my point. Both recipes are probably amazingly good for the taste buds, but not so much for your health (which was the stated point of the recipe). Take “Red Beans and Rice.” First, the “nutrition information per serving” does not even say how large the portion is. A 1/2 cup? A cup? And how much is 590 mg of sodium? A 1/4 teaspoon of normal table salt is 590 mg. But if you look at the recipe, there is added salt in the ham, the so-called “low-sodium” chicken broth and they don’t even tell you the quantity of kosher salt, so how could you possibly figure it? Lack of transparency is the whole point. The thing to know is that there are other delicious ways to make red beans and rice without this much salt. And a good salt tip if you’re interested in beginning to cut back is to check out Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt. It tastes great and has 280 mg of salt per 1/4 teaspoon, half that of regular salt.
Don’t even get me started on the other recipe, Muffaletta Flatbread. Sounds good, but check out the salt content … 1,120 mg of salt — nearly a day’s allotment of sodium for how much (again, no quantity listed), one piece? Who can eat one piece? Sounds good, but my health means more to me than the momentary taste of this toxic food choice. I’ll pass. Or, better yet, I’ll modify.
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