High blood pressure runs in my family so “to salt or not to salt” has been a hotly-debated, topic
of conversation at many of our Sunday dinners.
Cousin Joe grabs the salt shaker and covers his food with a coating of white grains before he
even tastes it–even though he is still recovering from a mild heart attack.
Aunt Mamie always complains about her pressure-swollen legs and feet, but refuses to eat
her collard greens unless they are floating in a brine of ham hock or fatback-laced broth.
Old Uncle Johnnie flatly refuses to “touch any of my healthy, low-salt, ‘health food’ with
a ten foot pole”–even though he knows I am just trying to prevent him from having
And even when I remove the salt shaker from the dinner table and hide it in the pantry,
My favorite Auntie Betty will grab her walker, struggle up from the table in a huff and
shuffle to the kitchen cupboard to retrieve her drug of choice.
“Food just ain’t worth eating
without some salt!”
Auntie Betty fumes as she plops
back down in front
of her plate and rolls her eyes at me
with serious attitude.”
I just take a deep breath. Keep my mouth shut and mind my elders.
My heart was in the right place, but I am going to have to find a better, more
flavorful way to help my loved ones kick their salt addiction.
Or watch them slowly die while I’m trying.
Does this scenario sound familiar?
Do any of them remind you of someone you know and cherish?
I would do anything to keep them in my life forever, however the sad truth is…
I love them and they love me, but they love salt better!
Every time we read the paper or watch the news, we are reminded of the perils of high
In earlier times, salt was used as a way of preserving food and preventing it from spoiling.
It has also been used as a flavoring for many food dishes.
But, salt can be detrimental to your health in large amounts.
“What are the two main condiments
on most dining tables?
In our home it is usually salt and pepper.”
While pepper is left alone, salt is often scrutinized.
The daily dosage for salt recommended by federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans
is about about 2,300 milligrams- which is the equivalent of one teaspoon of salt.
Can you honestly imagine seasoning your food with one teaspoon of salt per day and
enjoying your meals?
Many will say no.
The majority of people have at least two or three times that much each day.
Where is it coming from?
Read your food labels.
While you may be using salt to flavor, manufacturers are still using it in prepared foods.
Frozen meals, processed foods and anything else that is pre-packaged will contain some
measure of sodium.
Even the so-called healthy food meals can contain sodium content that is above the
daily intake level.
For people with high blood pressure, kidney issues, obesity and heart problems, eating
too much salt can be a major issue.
“The best way to bring your salt intake
back into acceptable limits
is to reduce or eliminate it from your diet.”
You probably won’t be able to go cold turkey, but you can work to reduce your salt
consumption, one day at a time.
I know it won’t be easy, but…
Here are a few simple ways to reduce your salt intake:
Get rid of processed food
The major source of hidden salt is processed foods.
Read the food labels carefully before buying.
Know how much salt you are getting with each serving.
Use Fresh Herbs
Learn to cook with herbs and change your world!
Fresh herbs like cilantro, parsley, dill and mint can bring powerful new tastes to your palate.
Try them with vegetables, soups, stews, sauces and dressings to enhance taste.
Use Low Sodium Alternatives
Do you like to season rice with chicken broth or use beef broth for stew?
If so, try using low-sodium broths to cut your salt intake.
Even most vegetarian broths are high in sodium.
You can further dilute the broth with half a can of water.
Experiment with Other Spices
Salt and pepper are not the only spices in the flavor arsenal.
Try something a bit spicy like cumin or cayenne pepper or chili powder.
Stimulate other taste areas of your tongue and experience new flavors.
Also, lemon juice can provide a tangy taste that may be close to what you taste with salt in food.
Try salt-free seasonings like Mrs. Dash, but always read the labels to check sodium content.
Explore Fresh Garlic
It smells wonderful and tastes even better.
Press it to release the goodness.
Chop it for stews or soups.
Learn the Taste of Food
When you learn to recognize the natural tastes of food, you will need less salt
to enhance it.
That is what salt is really for – enhancing natural flavor, not masking it.
Buy and Prepare Fresh, Organic Food
Learn to appreciate the sweet, savory, bitter and pungent flavors of fresh, lightly-cooked
or raw foods.
Try new recipes for low sodium or salt free meals.
If you need to lose the salt, don’t despair.
Learn new flavors so you don’t miss it at all.
Do Your Homework
Research healthier salt-free and low-sodium options in the library or on the internet.
A quick online search with return links to hundreds of low-sodium recipes.
Learn how to protect your health with proper dietary changes.
The American Heart Association’s website (www.heart.org) offers a wealth of valuable
information on the reducing salt intake along with recipes.
Yes, You Can Use Less Salt and Love It!
Here’s proof that you don’t have to say goodbye to fries completely, just upgrade the way
you make them.
Try this low-sodium recipe for sweet potato fries from The American Heart Association’s
low-sodium recipe resource:
Savory Sweet Potato Fries
Cooking spray (or make your own olive oil or coconut oil spray)
2 small sweet potatoes (about 1 pound total)
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon salt (optional)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
Cut the sweet potatoes in strips about 4×1/4×1/4 inches.
Put the sweet potatoes in a medium bowl.
In a small bowl, stir together the remaining ingredients.
Sprinkle over the sweet potatoes.
Stir gently to coat.
Spread the sweet potatoes in a single layer on the baking sheet.
Lightly spray the tops with cooking spray.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown on the outside
and tender on the inside, turning once with a spatula halfway through.
Take a bite and savor the flavors.
Imagine, all this taste and only 139 milligrams of sodium.
Now I’m not going to lie, I, too, have “loved me some McDonald’s Fries” for
many, many years.
They’re my secret, guilty pleasure.
But these savory baked “fries” are so delicious, I bet you won’t miss the
other ones at all!
And if Auntie Betty tried them, I think even she might approve.
What is your favorite salty food? How have you conquered your salt addiction?
Share your tips and suggestions with us.
Sharing is caring. Feel free to share this post with friends, family, fans and followers.