Bread and salt — here’s how to break that troubling link

Most breads, whether packaged or made fresh at local bakeries, are loaded with salt. I’ve worked hard to find a salt-free whole wheat bread and other varieties like a brown rice bread.

Bread has largely been out of my diet since I began efforts to reduce my daily intake of sodium. Most breads, whether packaged or made fresh at local bakeries, are loaded with salt. I’ve worked hard to find a salt-free whole wheat bread and other varieties like a brown rice bread.

My rice bread find from Minneapolis. A nice low-salt alternative to high-sodium white breads.
My rice bread find from Minneapolis. A nice low-salt alternative to high-sodium white breads.

So I was intrigued to see a Bon Appetit e-mail with the subject line We Asked a Nutritionist: Which Bagged Bread Is Healthiest? Clicking through to the story, I found that headlined How to Find the Healthiest Bagged Bread at the Supermarket.

It’s an informative piece, separating out bread myth from reality and rating various types of bread. I’d hoped it would look at brands of bread too, but no luck on that front. It did take on two of the three food demons — salt and sugar.

“Aim for bread with less than 150 mg of sodium per slice of bread,” Carrie Motschwiller, a registered dietitian and wellness manager in New York City, says in the piece. I’d go further and try to cut out all salt in bread or simply skip the bread. Continue reading “Bread and salt — here’s how to break that troubling link”

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Stunning tomato recipes — maybe not stunning but worth checking

Cooking Light calls these recipes healthy too, that’s a stretch given the salt, fat and sugar content. So as always check recipes and delete the evil big three of salt, sugar and fat.

As a former online news editor, I’m always amused at the subject lines publications use in their emails to increase their open rates. I recently got one from Cooking Light, for example, that had the subject line “Stunning Tomato Recipes.”

MY cherry tomatoes on a baking sheet, ready for roasting
Given my love of tomatoes how could I not open an emailed with the subject line Stunning Tomato Recipes?

How could I not open that, given my professed love of tomatoes? Needless to say, I didn’t really find the recipes stunning. And several likely have more fat, salt or sugar than I want to eat, but there were some I may try and recommend to others to check out.

The tomato and cucumber salad looks tasty and I was intrigued by what “sweet peach dressing” was. Clicking through to that recipe, I founds it included sugar, which I would leave out. The peach should be sweet and vinegar fools our taste buds into tasting sweet, so the sugar is not needed. I’d also leave off the salt in the recipe for the salad itself. Continue reading “Stunning tomato recipes — maybe not stunning but worth checking”

Know your chicken — here’s a great guide

Sorry organic chicken lovers, you cans till buy it for the taste, or if you feel it helps the environment overall, but don’t expect massive nutritional benefits.

As red meat has become demonized because of high fat content in recent years, people are turning more and more to chicken, and specifically lower-fat white meat chicken. I’ve been eating more chicken since my 2012 angioplasty on orders from my nutritionists, leading me to continually search for ways to bring some taste to white-meat chicken.chickgravy

When you go shopping for chicken, remember all chicken is not the same and a lot of the things you think you know about what makes for healthy chicken may be plain wrong. Cooking Light recently put out a great overview of the chicken world, The Definitive Guide to Healthy Chicken, which I recommend you read.

It goes after the myths about chickens, which far too many people believe. Continue reading “Know your chicken — here’s a great guide”

Zucchini lovers rejoice — here’s 10 recipe options

A zucchini salad from famed French chef Jacques Pépin looked tasty. I’d leave off the salt, however, and substitute olive oil for the corn oil.

Zucchini is one of my favorite vegetables to grill. Normally I just spray on some olive oil and some Italian spices and leave it at that, eating it as a side dish for such main courses as swordfish, tilapia, salmon and Fourth of July cookout favorites.

Zucchini on the gas grill, basted with olive oil and Italian spices.
Zucchini on the gas grill, basted with olive oil and Italian spices.

So I was excited to see a recent New York Times Cooking headline: Our 10 Most Popular Zucchini Recipes. I expected there would be some in there that are not low-salt, low-fat or low-sugar and I was right. Continue reading “Zucchini lovers rejoice — here’s 10 recipe options”

Beware any ‘healthy’ food claims

The message here is one I often repeat, read nutrition information, don’t buy products without nutrition information on them or on their website.

I’m always wary of any food, or food maker, that claims to have a health food. Such claims are regularly debunked,as in this post I wrote back in 2014. So I wasn’t surprised to come across this latest list of so-called healthy foods that can be anything but.

Know what you;re buying when you pick a yogurt to eat.
Know what you;re buying when you pick a yogurt to eat.

This list comes from Freshdailyhealth.com which republished a piece Rodale Organic Life had in 2015.Happily for me, of the five listed I only regularly eat one, flavored yogurts, and am very careful to read nutrition information before making my selection. Continue reading “Beware any ‘healthy’ food claims”

The Garden Bar in Portland — a great spot for a salad

The atmosphere was fresh and exceedingly clean with a bit of offbeat humor in a sign I really enjoyed.

Sometimes, you just want a great salad for lunch, one that isn’t loaded up with a lot of the unhealthy items most restaurants put on them so they can think they’re being creative and charge you more in the process.

Portland's Garden Bar, one of its five locations.
Portland’s Garden Bar, one of its five locations.

That’s why I prefer make-your-own salad bars, I can pick — and pay for — only the ingredients I want, avoiding any high in salt or fat. Knowing my salad bar preference, my daughter found a really good one for us to have lunch at during my recent Portland, Ore., trip — the Garden Bar.

The Garden Bar isn’t exactly make your own. Ingredients are under glass and a staffer makes the salad to your specifications. Or you can choose one fo their pre-planed salads. Both the people I was eating with went with pre-planned house salads, I made my own since the menu salads often have one or more items, like nuts, that I don’t eat. Continue reading “The Garden Bar in Portland — a great spot for a salad”

Nick’s Famous Coney Island — a Portland gem

I ordered the Old-fashioned Dog, classic guy that I am, which was a hot dog covered with cole slaw and the Coney sauce, and of course mustard.

My recent trip to Portland, Ore., to visit with my daughter included some great places she picked out for us to eat. Knowing that I grew up in Coney Island, she decided to take me to a Portland classic locale — Nick’s Famous Coney Island Food & Cocktails.

IMG_2867Portland is a funky town, no doubt about that, and Nick’s fits right into its artsy cum blue-collar waterfront vibe. The bar has been on the same street for 85 years, most of those in the same spot and it looks it with its old-style bar and stools on one side and its dark interior. It reminded me of a place that could have been along the Brooklyn waterfront circa 1950.

We were there for the hot dogs and I was not disappointed — nor was my vegetarian daughter who tried their veggie dog offering. Note, of course, that hot dogs are not on my usual low-fat, low-salt diet.

But this was a vacation treat, much as Nathan’s is when I’m in NYC. Plus, oddly enough I was just getting over a bout of food poisoning the week before I visited that caused me to drop nine pounds in seven days, so I thought a food splurge was in order. Continue reading “Nick’s Famous Coney Island — a Portland gem”