13 food and beverage items not to keep in your frig

We’ve worked hard over the years to find condiments that aren’t overloaded with salt, sugar and fat. So we’ve found low-salt ketchup, low-salt salsa and even a low-salt teriyaki marinade. So I thought I’d be in good shape when I saw this post about the 13 Worst Foods in Your Fridge

I've found two brands of low-sodium,low-sugar ketchup, Westbrae and LocalFolks Foods.
I’ve found two brands of low-sodium,low-sugar ketchup, Westbrae and LocalFolks Foods.

Sure enough, regular ketchup is there, as are pickles (I’ve found low-salt pickles to substitute). I knew regular soda was loaded with sugar but tonic water surprised me, it made the list because of calories. Continue reading “13 food and beverage items not to keep in your frig”

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20 healthy Easter sides? Check the salt and fat content first

Holidays are always difficult when you’re trying to minimize your salt, sugar and bad fat intake. Easter — traditionally a ham or lamb day — is no exception. We’ve posted about trying seafood instead, something we plan. But what about the side dishes? The Food Network recently ran this piece on 20 Healthy Easter Side Dishes which, of course, got my attention.

I regularly use pepper on grilled veggies such as these asparagus and zucchini.

But how healthy are they, really? The first, Provencal Potato Gratin, isn’t if you’re worried about sugar level since it starts with potatoes and also includes cheese, which is salty and fatty.

The steamed artichoke is good, if you leave off the melted butter shown. Try some lemon juice instead. Continue reading “20 healthy Easter sides? Check the salt and fat content first”

Meals kits are getting popular but beware the hidden salt!

Meal kits, which have all the ingredients for a given night’s dinner, are gaining in popularity, especially among younger consumers who may not have very developed cooking skills. Several companies will deliver them to people’s home and now supermarkets are stocking their own versions. The idea may sound appealing, but beware and, as always, read the ingredient labels before buying any.

Doing that myself, I found what seemed like a relatively appealing kit — with pasta and tomatoes, was a salt bomb, containing 1,320 mgs of salt per serving or 2620 mgs in the entire package which is supposed to be two servings. Continue reading “Meals kits are getting popular but beware the hidden salt!”

Looking for a low-salt Easter dinner idea? Try fish

Fish is a traditional Friday dish for Catholics on Friday during Lent, the 40 days leading up to Easter. Easter Sunday itself is usually reserved for salty main courses, like ham, or fattier ones like lamb. But if you want to avoid high-salt, high-fat meals, why not try fish for an Easter Sunday main course instead?

The New York Times recently ran an easy-to-make recipe for Sheet-Pan Roasted Fish With Sweet Peppers.

You can use hake, cod or flounder as the main ingredient. I’d leave out the salt called for, but include everything else, except look for low-salt olive instead of regular salty ones. Ingredients are: Continue reading “Looking for a low-salt Easter dinner idea? Try fish”

Here’s all you need to become an asparagus master chef

Asparagus has a variety of health benefits but can be intimidating to some to prepare and cook. If you’ve been in that group, fear not, this Food Network guide, How to Cook Asparagus, will turn you into an asparagus master chef who will soon be dazzling your friends with your asparagus prowess.

It gives you a basic rundown of how to prep asparagus for cooking, how to steam them and how to grill them.

I regularly use pepper on grilled veggies such as these asparagus and zucchini.

Once you’ve reviewed it all, move on to my recipe page to see how to make asparagus with balsamic tomatoes, or asparagus as part of a grilled veggie selection that will dazzle all your friends. The photo I’m using for this site shows asparagus cooking on my outdoor grill, one of my favorite ways to make them.

 

The latest diet fad — the 21 Day Meal Plan

My blanket advice about any diet plan that promises amazing results is to avoid it. Any “diet plan” will not help you long-term because it’s by nature a short-term fix for problems with how you eat.

I have opted to cut salt, fat and sugar from my daily food intake because those are thought to have negative impacts on my heart health. Heart disease has plagued me since my first stent in 2012. I’ve seen cutting salt impact my blood pressure in a positive way and so stick with that. The others, fat and sugar, have been much more difficult for me to give up because it’s difficult to see a direct correlation to my heart health.

So the 21 day meal plan intrigued me because it too looks at cutting salt and fat. It also talks about eating whole foods and eliminates eating out, more difficult goals to achieve. So I was interested in reading this Cooking Light article headlined: I Lived Through the Entire 21 Day Meal Plan—Here’s How It Went

The author, who calls herself an avowed foodie, had her problems with the meal plan, mostly because she missed the salt. Her thoughts on that just affirm how hooked most of us are on salt, chefs included. Even celeb TV chefs routinely talk about how salt “brings out flavor” in meats and other dishes. All it brings out is the salty flavor. Continue reading “The latest diet fad — the 21 Day Meal Plan”

Salt is salt, isn’t it? I say yes

Salt is my food arch-enemy, driving up my blood pressure and likely contributing to my need for two stents in the past seven years. That’s why I have an entire page devoted to low-salt recipes and another that looks at how to minimize salt when eating out. But some people like to distinguish between types of sale, saying the most highly processed kind we normally consume is worse that other, more raw products that have other minerals in them.

Himalayan pink salt, yes there really is such a thing, fits in that category of the supposed better-for-you salts. Or does it? This article recently caught my eye on the website care4you.com.

Is pink salt better for you than regular salt? Don;t count on it.

“Many ads for Himalayan pink salt claim that it contains 84 minerals. This appears to be true, based on spectral analysis of the salt. But, most of these 84 minerals are found in very trace amounts. Also, not all 84 are beneficial minerals. Himalayan pink salt also contains trace amounts of toxic and radioactive substances, such as arsenic, mercury, uranium and plutonium,” the article states. Continue reading “Salt is salt, isn’t it? I say yes”

Women may benefit more from low-salt diets than men

Women may benefit more from low-salt diets than will men when it comes to reducing their high blood pressure, a study published in the research journal Hypertension.Salt can lead to stomach cancer, one more reason to get it out of your diet.

As all too often happens, past research has looked primarily at men and their reactions to salt, the study authors note.

The researchers worked with male and female rats and found It all has to do  with levels of a hormone called aldosterone. If you want the scientific specifics, click here.

The point is women need to watch their salt intake, especially if they’re already dealing with high blood pressure. We have plenty of low-salt and salt-free recipes on our recipe page, start your efforts to dump the salt there.

Ever eat at Corner Bakery? If you’re cutting your salt, don’t

Life can have unexpected consequences sometimes. Since the New Year began, I’ve been on a cleaning and organizing binge, likely because of Japanese-super-organizer Marie Kondo and her new Netflix series. My wife and I even organized our kitchen junk drawer, usually a no-mans-land of forgotten items.

And in that drawer I found I had an old Corner Bakery gift card. Corner Bakery was an early entrant in the fast casual category of restaurants — places that tried to be a cut above hamburger joints and positioned themselves as healthier with fresher ingredients than tradition fast food.

But as always with such claims, the devil is in the details. Or should I say the salt is the devil in the menu? The reason I never finished using my Corner Bakery gift card was because of the high salt content of most Corner Bakery offerings. So I’ve had this card for years with about $7 left on it to spend.

So I visited the Corner Bakery site today to see if by chance its menu has changed from the high-salt offerings I remembered. Sadly, it has not. It does have some very cool nutrition search functions, including one where you build a meal and another where you can rank all the menu items by salt content (or any nutrition content). Continue reading “Ever eat at Corner Bakery? If you’re cutting your salt, don’t”

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