Everyone talks about low calorie, less sugar, low carbs, etc. You can stock a whole bookcase in a bookstore with diet books. But “no one” talks about salt. That has a lot to do with the fact that if you eat too much calories, sugar and carbs it will show in the form of fat on your body. Eat too much salt it will only show in a medical test.
When like me you were forced to really think health wise about food before you even got out of college, you realise that we still have a long way to go to really healthy eating habits. If you never eat out, cook all your food with fresh produce, no store bought bouillon, no spice with salt or sugar in it, no processed sauce, etc. You are golden, you control all your food intake. You get platinum if you grow your own veggies. If only I had a garden.
We don’t have to eat salt free, your body needs salt, some more than others. The daily recommendation is 6 grams for a healthy adult. Low salt diet means eating less than that. Most people eat 9 grams a day according to studies 1. The European Union is actively working on getting salt levels in processed food lowered.
I’m a personal believer that we should stop automatically adding salt to everything. Think about what you are cooking and the ingredients that already contain salt. Cheese, processed meats(even unprocessed meats), ketchup, mustard, mayo, etc. Just put salt on the table and let everyone decide for themselves how much salt they want in their food.
Ever watched the Cake Boss, Buddy Valastro’s cooking show on TLC? Every time he adds salt, he says: “Now we add a pinch of salt” and he proceeds to scope 3 fingers full of salt and dumps them in the dish. Believe me if you are cooking something like pasta with sausages your sauce for sure doesn’t need added salt. The sausages and the salt you added to the water for the pasta will make the dish salty enough.
When I cook and eat at home I can easily stay within the salt limits appropriate for my health.
The dish pictured above is a recipe from Thug Kitchen. I did not add salt to the pasta cooking water(I never added/add salt to cooking water) and did not add salt to the sauce plus I skipped the nutritional yeast. The only salt comes from the beans because I got them canned instead of dry and cooking it myself and the canned tomato sauce. Even so it was less than 0.5gr of salt for the whole dish from which I ate two days.
I’m a foodie tho and I like eating out, actually I like eating out when not in the mood for cooking and a sandwich won’t do. But mostly, I finally started reaching that fase when I can make certain dishes better than when I eat out. It’s when I crave ethnic foods like Vietnamese, Indonesian and such that I really dine out. But on that those day that I’m tired, lazy or in no mood for cooking I’ll get a burger or something like that.
I tried several burger places and some of them add a lot of salt to the meat. I mean the burger already has processed sauce on it, some cheese and one strip of bacon. There is no need to add salt to the meat.
The fact that so many food contains a lot of salt, every time I eat out, for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I have to balance, balance and balance even more to keep the salt intake within limits. The culinaire world might scuff at using less salt, but salt is as addictive as sugar. We are just not used to eating less salt. Once you are used, which takes one to two weeks. You won’t miss the excessive salt and will find a lot of food taste better with less to no salt.