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”

Mushrooms get a memory boost from recent study

Mushrooms are a great add-in for salads and can make a great side dish for any meal. I use slices of large portobello mushrooms in my salads as a meat substitute because they give me something more substantial than lettuce to bite into. A recent study now is saying mushrooms also may aid with mental health as we age.

Trout, with mushrooms as a garnish.

I’m not one to believe in so-called superfoods because we really still know so little about how eating impacts our health or how that impact varies from person to person. Someday doctors may be able to custom tailor healthy diets for us based on our genetic makeup, but that day is far, far away.

Still, it’s always nice to see something positive written about foods that I like and that are healthier than most. Continue reading “Mushrooms get a memory boost from recent study”

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”

A crack is appearing in eggs’ healthy image

Food science is inexact at best. I’m constantly reminded that as different nutritionists or diet proponents say they know what’s healthy and it may not be what the other person is pushing. The humble egg is a great example of that. Once it was considered bad, then good, but now bad again, according to a new study.

Time to switch to egg white omelets, according to a new study saying eggs aren’t all they were once cracked up to be.

For years, doctors and nutritionists told people worried about their cholesterol levels not to eat eggs, or at least not egg yolks which contain relatively high levels of cholesterol. But then eggs started making a healthy comeback, spurred I’m sure by studies paid for by the egg industry.

The last few nutritionists I’ve heard from actually touted eggs for their protein content and their ability to make you feel fuller after eating them. Continue reading “A crack is appearing in eggs’ healthy image”

What the dates on food actually mean

If you’ve ever felt confused about the dates on food products, you’re not alone. Roughly 84% of consumers toss a product if the date on the package, whether called “Use by” or “Sell by” or “best if used by” is reached or passes, found a study of 1,029 consumers done back in 2016, reports the journal Waste Management.

The problem is those terms are not regulated, so food processors are free to sue whatever language they want. And they say the dates just indicate “peak flavor” or when a store should stop displaying a product. None of the terms relates to food safety, reports a story on the survey in Time.

So how do you know when food is spoiled? Follow the old expression “The Nose Knows,” the article suggests. If something smells bad, it is. If it taste bad or looks bad (IE visible mold), toss it.

It’s still consumer beware.

A quick spring salad — radicchio and asparagus give it variety

The trick to keep salads from getting boring for those of us who eat a lot of them is to mix up the variety of items to add to the basic lettuce. This salad, using bibb lettuce along with radicchio, and asparagus, popped up recently in a Cooking Light email I receive and I thought it sounded worth sharing.

Ingredients are simple and easy to prepare (leave out the salt as we usually advise):

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt  (who needs this)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups thinly sliced radicchio
  • 1 cup diagonally sliced asparagus
  • 1 head Bibb lettuce, leaves separated and torn (about 6 oz.)

Continue reading “A quick spring salad — radicchio and asparagus give it variety”

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.

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