It is no news that salt is unhealthy when consumed in high amounts.We hear announcements from health organizations all the time about its dangers and the diseases it can aggravate or even cause. Consuming too much salt can lead to stroke and heart disease. The American Heart Association says that about 98% of Americans consume over twice the amount of sodium than is recommended for a healthy diet. They also say that if the amount of salt consumption was cut even in half, then high blood pressure would decrease.
But abstaining from salt is almost as difficult for many than abstaining from sugar. It’s so easy to become addicted to these extreme tastes in foods. Avoiding eating at fast food places and requesting low sodium when you’re out is a start. But the best place to start is at home to reallyget into the no-salt or low-salt habit.
Everyday salt traps
The first place to avoid adding salt is in the food preparation itself. When cooking, it’s such a habit to throw a shake of salt into the water when boiling vegetables, rice or pasta, or shaking some onto vegetables, when sautéing, etc. We shake salt onto meat, eggs and tomatoes. This everyday, free-wheeling, addition of salt when preparing foods, is the first area to stop the habit.
The second spot to avoid adding salt is at the table itself. This is the toughest area because once the food is tasted and found lacking, the salt shaker is the immediate go-to response. However, if the salt is nowhere in sight, and a handy shaker of garlic powder, oregano, chilli flakes and/or pepper are there instead, avoiding salt will be a good deal easier.
Begin at the grocery store
Low sodium and salt-free food items are now fairly ubiquitous. They’re available in quality grocery stores in every city. Soup stock that is salt free and/or low sodium can easily be found, along with low-sodium tuna, salmon, special sauces and flavourings.Today, with ready-made low sodium food items available, it is easier to avoid salt than ever before. And the best place to incorporate all these good intentions is while you’re preparing a meal at home.
Creative ways to flavour meals
Oregano, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, sage, tarragon, fennel, chilli powder, cumin, curry, ginger, nutmeg, and pepper are all an excellent selection of spices that add a robust taste to any meal. Learning to use these spices properly is important when trying to cook without salt. Here’s a quick rundown on how best to use these spices. If you can get fresh, they’ll pack an even bigger flavour punch!
Thyme goes really well in stews, soups and even sauces. It lends a peppery taste. Rosemary is superb with poultry and pairs well with citrus flavours. Ginger is excellent in any Asian dish and has a wonderful, slightly hot taste. Sage, of course, is a good standby with fowl and stuffings. t
Tarragon is a unique flavour and a nice change with poultry or soup. It lends a slightly licorice taste.Fennel has an even stronger licorice flavour- use on fowl and fish.Nutmeg adds a special peppery note to creamy or egg dishes.As for the cumin and chilli powder, they make any Tex-Mex,or Mexican food special and curry spices speak for themselves!
Many of these spices are super anti-oxidants, especially if fresh, so heavy-handedness is not a problem.
Foods that add flavour
Even without the spice, there are several food items which, in themselves, add a punch to a meal. Citrus, of course, especially lemon, is an undeniable flavour-booster. Onions and fresh garlic are also naturals and very efficient in the taste department, as is tomato and tomato purees, no-salt tomato juice, sauces or paste.A surprising flavour enhancer is green pepper. When this vegetable is added to a stew or soup, it packs a surprising hit of delicious taste.
In the South USA, the cooking base trio is green pepper, carrot and onion instead of celery, carrot and onion and it works very well. There are many excellent low-sodium recipes available for those who want to get started on this new life plan. It may be an eye-opener to see how easy it is to swap flavour for salt with these easy changes in your kitchen routine. You will be eating healthier and so will your family!
I have lived in Ontario, Canada all of my seasoned life and am comfortable both in its cities and in its rugged northern country.
When I realized I wasn't going to make it as a famous actress with a large following, I turned my efforts into my early inclination-freelance and creative writing. It has proven a satisfying career move and a compelling one. Thanks for meeting me here where I live- on the keyboard.