Friday, March 23, 2007

The Phasing Out of Salt: Day One

Breakfast: Standard Smoothie
Lunch: Green Soup (greens & lentils, garlic, tomatoes etc.)
Dinner: grilled cheese (CRINGE!)

Well day one of the de-salting of Nicole went ok. I should have had salad for dinner but just didn't. It's lunches (soup) that are the real issue for me with salt. Breakfast smoothies or blended salads aren't a challenge with salt and I can be happy with salad without salt as well (and usually am). It seems to be hot foods and beans that I find myself wanting to add salt to. I usually make my soups without salt and use no-salt canned tomatoes and all - but then I end up adding Bragg's to the soup before eating it. I'd like to think that it is lower-sodium overall to add the Bragg's but even some added salt/sodium is more than I need.

Dr. Fuhrman has referenced studies that have shown that people who eat a Vegetarian diet without regard to salt intake have a risk of stroke that is higher than those who eat the Standard American Diet (i.e. junk). Furthermore, effects of salt consumption can manifest in high blood pressure later in life. I recently checked my blood pressure in one of those pharmacy blood pressure machines and it was something close to 130/80, which is higher than the "normal" 120/80 - it's not too much higher but I know that I can bring it down by continuing to exercise and cutting out the added sodium in my diet. Salt is addictive and dangerous to my health and I don't want to be dependent on it or put myself at risk for hypertension or stroke any longer.

I'd really like to retrain my tastebuds so that I'm not addicted to salt for soups and other hot foods to taste good. Fellow ETLers who have cut out salt have said that after a while food no longer tastes bland and the flavor returns and things taste even better than they did before. I tried to cut out salt last summer when I first started Eat to Live and was miserable. I decided that it would be ok to use Braggs in my food because it is lower sodium than table salt and I could easily stick to keeping the added salt to around 300mg a day.

Now that I'm in a place where I'm comfortable with the diet and working out I am ready to kick the salt addiction. In the last 9.5 months I've made a lot of improvements to my diet by working to eat for nutritional excellence. It's another step toward becoming the healthy, athletic person that I am striving to be.