Wednesday, May 8, 2013

No salt? No problem. Unless it's a margarita. Then yes.

A huge component of the Bob Harper, "Jumpstart to Skinny" plan, is reducing salt intake.  It's pretty tough too, and many people don't realize how much sodium they were eating/adding to their food until they take it out.  I sure as heck didn't. 

Last Friday, I ate some Greek salad at an event with the dressing they prepared it with and I couldn't believe how salty (and delicious) it tasted.  Before this little experiment, I probably wouldn't have shouted "THIS IS THE BEST SALAD I'VE EVER HAD IN MY LIFE" to all that were within earshot. 

Your taste buds start to adapt to the changes you make in your diet, whether it is cooking with less oil, sugar, or in this case ALL OF THOSE.  Thanks Bob :(

Now that Matt is home and I'm not cooking my crazy all-veggie meals for just me, he gets to be in on the fun.  Instead of the regular crackers I used to buy, I switched to low salt which is still pretty salty but every milligram counts, right?  He said they were pretty good too.

Another substitute was asking for low sodium soy packets the last time we got take out sushi.  They each have 170 mg of sodium and I'm thinking because they said low sodium Matt subconsciously needed more.  A regular packet of soy sauce has, 507 mg which means Matt's taste buds are impeccable as he needed 5 packets of the low sodium stuff to make up for the lacking salt.  Woof. 

I'm guessing that the normal person would use 2-3 packets of regular soy on their Chinese food (which is already a sodium bomb) coming in at over 1000-1500mg of ADDED salt to one meal.  That is crazy. 

1500mg is what the AHA recommends eating in a day. 

This is what the American Heart Association says about sodium and how it affects our health:

"Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide, and high blood pressure is a major risk factor. For the estimated one in three Americans  who will develop high blood pressure, a high-sodium diet may be to blame. In some people, sodium increases blood pressure because it holds excess fluid in the body, creating an added burden on the heart. Too much sodium in the diet may also have other harmful health effects, including increased risk for stroke, heart failure, osteoporosis, stomach cancer and kidney disease.

The problem is starting early in America: 97 percent of children and adolescents eat too much salt, putting them at greater risk for cardiovascular diseases as they get older."

The greatest way to stop taking in less sodium is to stop building our diets around processed food.  This is such a huge part of the average American's diet, which is nuts.  This doesn't mean you have to make everything from scratch, just consciously replace processed food with whole foods when cooking. 

A meal for a typical American family might be:

Spaghetti <-processed noodles even if they are whole grain
Spaghetti sauce <- processed
Ground Beef to add to sauce <-most is minimally processed, check the label for added salt
Garlic Bread <- even when making your own, bread is a processed food
Ice cream<- processed

A better option:

-Grilled Steaks/ Chicken
-Roasted potatoes and veggies
-Ice Cream <-unless you want to milk the cow hanging out back, grind up some sugar cane, and head to Madagascar for some sick vanilla, ice cream is a necessary processed food.  You could be really groovy though and blend up some frozen bananas in your food processor for a completely un processed sweet treat but it doesn't taste EXACTLY like ice cream as claimed on Pinterest.  It is pretty good though. 

I feel like the alternative meal is an option that no one would feel like they are suffering for the cause of less sodium and you control what goes into each part of the meal (aside from dessert). 

Another trick I learned in a Whole Foods cooking class (most are free, and really fun, sign ups are at the store) was to not add salt during cooking and add it to taste after you've helped yourself to a plate.  When cooking, the salt is absorbed into the food to flavor it, but when added it AFTER cooking, the salt is one of the first things you taste, meaning you need less of it to add flavor. 

1 comment:

  1. Yes...processed food so bad...just read the labels! And restaurant have no idea how much salt is added! Thanks for this important health info!