8 Tips to Shake the Salt

shake off the salt

The American diet is rich in high-sodium foods and, between processed foods and eating out, we are often getting much more than we need. Some say salt is a substitute for the flavor that used to exist when we consumed fresh, locally-grown produce. Though an easy way to flavor food, salt is a cheap and rather pedestrian flavoring agent.

Excess salt is a danger to the body and the brain. It can raise blood pressure, risk of heart attack and stroke, put a strain on your kidneys, and more. Did you know it can also lead to over-eating and cause weight gain?

Here are some tips to enjoy satisfying flavor in our foods, without added salt.

  1. Huddle up with herbs. What cuisines do you enjoy – Italian, Mexican, French, Indian? Choose some herbs that fit the flavor profiles and add them to your dish. For example, oregano, rosemary, and basil are go-to Italian herbs for elevating your pasta dish.
  2. Citrus zest and juices. Grate the skin of organic lemons, limes, or oranges for sweet and/or savory meals. Spritz fresh lime onto your tacos or lemon into a lentil soup.
  3. Roasted root vegetables. Lightly toss your favorite root vegetables (such as beets, parsnips, etc) in melted coconut oil and roast at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until tender, turning over once halfway through roasting.
  4. Eat slowly. Chewing your food well breaks down the carbohydrates, making it taste sweeter. Slowing down while eating introduces your tastebuds to the complex flavors in your food and makes for a more pleasurable meal experience.
  5. Caramelized onions. Sauté diced onions in some olive oil, stirring frequently until browned (about 45 minutes to 1 hour). Use in a French onion soup or on rice dishes, burgers or veggie burgers, omelets, and more!
  6. Organic food can be more flavorful. Try some organic strawberries or eggs and see if you can tell a difference between them and their conventional counterparts.
  7. De-glaze the pan. By simply using some balsamic vinegar, which combines with those sticky brown bits in your cooking pan, you can make a delicious sauce.
  8. Spice it up. Cumin adds a depth of flavor to a number of dishes, as does adobo, curry powder and even nutmeg.

Evaluate your salt consumption and then challenge yourself to incorporate one or more of these ideas. Your tastebuds and body will appreciate it.

 

Food Focus: Natural Sweeteners

http://blogthoughtforfood.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/naturalsweeteners.png

If you’re like me, sweets are something that are hard to avoid. However, if you indulge in the right way, you do not have to avoid them totally. One healthy way to get that sweet taste without all the harmful additives we find in most processed foods, is through natural sweeteners.  But what exactly are natural sweeteners and why are they better than plain sugar? Natural sweeteners are better than refined sugar because their nutrient content is not destroyed. Refined sugar loses the vitamins, minerals, and fiber and can tend to spike blood sugar and actually cause cravings. Natural sweeteners are made in a way that keeps their nutrient content intact. Some good natural sweeteners to use include raw honey, maple syrup, and stevia. When looking for a good honey, try to opt for raw honey because this is the most pure form and contains the most vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. Maple syrup is also a good substitute for refined sugar, however make sure you get 100% pure maple syrup with no added flavors. Finally, stevia is also a great substitute for sugar especially in cooking and baking. One thing to take note of when purchasing stevia is to make sure you get the green or brown liquids or powders because the white can be very refined. These natural sweeteners are great alternatives to refined sugar however, just like anything they should be consumed in moderation.