Lets talk about salt all the salt in our food can we? WHY WHY WHY do they put so much in? I am probably one of the rare ones that does not cook with salt very much. In all honesty it has nothing to do with my education of salt and food it has more to do with I just never used it when I first started baking and cooking for some reason. Whenever I make soup Mike always says it is good but that it needed something. He asked me one day if I added salt and I was like ” hmmm no, I don’t even own any” Of course this was a few years ago, now one of my favorite things is popcorn with truffle salt. The issue with salt in my opinion lies in our packaged/processed foods. I am not a scientist so I really can’t say why there is so much salt in our packaged foods. This is an interesting article on one persons perspective. I am 100% in belief that there is an addictive component to it. I would love to hear what you think of this article. Here is another great resource for you on salt. One of my readers gave this to me. I have not looked over it in detail but it looked great so I wanted to pass it on to all of you.
In addition to the packaged and processed foods there is also the whole eating out thing. Salt has the magic way of making foods taste better and as we read in the article above it can play games with your brain. Restaurants want their food to taste yummy and they want you to come back again and again. Trust me they will do whatever it takes to achieve this even though it can be harming your health. Next time you are out to eat ask the server to prepare your food without added salt, no they will not spit in your food lol. The more they hear this request the better chances we have of them making the needed menu changes. Some restaurants are now posting the sodium content on the actual menu. It is kinda scary, kinda like when they started posting the calories of meals, OMG wasn’t that scary??????????
I think one of the reasons I am so grossed out with processed foods is their ability to be so shelf stable. If you have a processed food in your hand you can almost be certain you also have a bus load of salt. Salt works by drying food. Salt absorbs water from foods, making the environment too dry to support harmful mold or bacteria. I know this sounds like a great concept and I cant tell you why it grosses me out but it really does. I struggle with shelf stable milks and things. If you have to mess with my food by adding things into it so I can eat it then EWE I just cant, I really cant. However I must say I am blessed that I do not have to worry about having to consume these products. I know there is a big need for products like this around the world and I am thankful we have the ability to add salt and create shelf stable items for these needs.
How much sodium/salt is needed for our body is a much debated topic. I think salt has a place in our diet. It contains lot of trace elements that we need. Our cells need it, our tissues need it, our organs need it but how much is something I think depends on your own individual body. Besides using truffle salt on my popcorn, I am getting better at using “some” salt with cooking but I still prefer to use other herbs. I think it is just the way I am use to cooking/baking. I will occasionally put salt on my poached egg. 🙂
Here are some tips on how you can reduce your sodium/salt intake at home:
- Reduce your use of packaged foods
- Purchase packaged foods that say no added sodium and/or reduced sodium
- Rinse your canned foods like beans and veggies before you use them
- Use spice swaps such as dried and fresh herbs, and salt substitutes- Go visit your local spice store, it is an amazing experience
- Choose frozen over canned
- Taste your food before you add in any extra salt. Often you do not even need anything more.
- Avoid sauces- they are usually filled with sodium. Make your own. This is one of my favorite go to sauces. I do add in 1 /4 cup of non fortified nutritional yeast.
When I do buy salt I pick it carefully. Again, I am not a scientist but I do have a lot of clients with autoimmune conditions so I have studied it a little and I can say how much salt you ingest does matter. There are even some studies out there that show a direct link between salt and autoimmune conditions. Remember the Morton salt we all had on our table as kids? Well most of that salt has added iodine and for people with autoimmune conditions that is not normally a good thing so I avoid all table salt or any salt that has added iodine. I hate anything fortified actually, why the hell do we mess with food??????? Do not get me started!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Back to salt- I like to use unrefined salt. Unrefined salt without an added anti-caking agent also tends to clump over time as it absorbs moisture from the air – so it can‘t be put in those dainty salt-shakers we all have at home. I buy it from the spice store. I get grey, pink, purple and just buy in small doses and keep it in a small mason jar and just use a tsp to dispense it.( I dont know if the colors matter but they are naturally occurring and I think they are pretty ) I use a fine grind pink for baking. Your local spice store will be able to educate you on the different kinds of unrefined salt.
The problem with salt is it is in freaking everything so it makes it so hard to monitor how much we are consuming. If we only used unrefined salt in our homemade meals and our baked goods than I would say bring it on lets enjoy this amazing mineral. However the restaurant world and the prepackaged food world do not seem to get my drift.
How much salt is OK? I can’t answer that one because I do not know all your details. What I can say is stay away from the processed foods and sugary drinks and follow some of the tips above and you should be golden. If you have a health condition, talk to your practitioner on what he or she recommends you do in regards to your salt intake.
What are your thoughts on salt and how do you use it?
PS this is my favorite truffle salt