Friday, January 22, 2010

Reducing Sodium

There has been quite a few things in life, both professionally and personally that have come to pass recently. The general gist of most of the conversations has come back to the dieting programs that we follow (or worse yet, the ones that we believe in…)

So, let’s talk about Salt…

I had recently had in depth conversations about dieting programs with a friend of mine that is a personal trainer in Anderson, SC; we agree that it is important if we care about this vessel we call a body…we discussed salt, water, minerals, fiber, nutrients, what to do with it and what to do without it…cool stuff…

To avoid going into the cheffypsychobabble on salt history and commonly asked questions about salt you can refer to for a pseudo-in-depth babble about salt’s history and miscellaneous tidbits of CheffyBabbles…this is not the purpose of this rant, but there is some good information there as well…

The essence of my latest babble is about salt and dieting…

Salt attracts itself to water…common fact…the more salt you consume the more water is going to be retained by this intricate system some of us refer to as our body…  It does not cause you to gain or lose fat, it provides no calories. Salt retention aids in temporary weight gain because it retains water, and when on a sodium restricted diet you will shed some pounds…why???  You are expelling water…especially if you are on a relatively active regiment of burning your calories through exercise or daily routine…

Let’s do the math…

·         Restricting overall kcal’s. Check.

·         Consuming kcal’s that are going to be easy to burn. Check.

·         Training our bodies to enjoy the exercise that is necessary to burn these kcal’s. Check.

·         Reducing sodium so that water retention is at a minimal or at least to a point where they may be excreted during exercise or daily routine. Check.

·         Add one sound mind…Ahhhhh…Victory!!!!!!!

·          Checkmate!!!!





Always think LEAN!!!!

Anything is possible…why change your lifestyle if you are not going to change your life…?

Salt is closely related to such issues as high blood pressure, weight gain and a numerous other anomalies that our bodies experience. Weight loss programs that focus on foods with little or no salt content, depending on how they are exercised, will decrease your weight gain and may even aid in a temporary weight loss because your reduction of sodium has led to a reduction of water retention. The problem I have with this goes back to my lifestyle statement-this is only a quick fix…why change your life if you are not going to change your lifestyle…

Once you start consuming those higher sodium foods again, guess what? you’re going to gain some of that weight back again because you are inviting that water back into your metabolism…If your metabolism is not going to be able to work off that additional water, scales don’t lie…a gallon of water weighs 8 pounds….period…

Almost every processed food known to man contains a good amount of sodium, granted that this sodium is not there for taste but as a preservative, the fact remains that it is still there. There are many, many studies that have connected salt with obesity and being overweight, the best place to start is right in your own refrigerator and pantry.

The foods that generally come with high sodium are generally calorie dense, fiber poor, processed foods, be it in the name of fast food, grocery store purchased convenient products, canned foods, frozen foods, the local pizza joint or whatever, these bad choices occupy our televisions, the grocery store shelves, our children’s minds and unfortunately our future unless we make the self commitment to spend some time on our health.

Before I go further, sodium along with potassium and electrolytes are necessary nutrients to our bodies, it prevents dehydration and helps maintain a healthy fluid balance in our bodies. The Recommended Daily Allowance of sodium is no greater than 3000 mg. The American Heart Society recommends around 1000mg. There is 2300 mg of sodium in one teaspoon of table salt…the math isn’t hard to do. Scared? You should be…

So what do I do and how do I do it?

Reducing sodium intake is not an easy task, especially for us westerners that consume an ungodly amount of salt (on an average American’s consume 5-10 times the amount of sodium we need). Here are a few tips to help you on your way…

·         Stay away from packaged, processed foods

·         If you must use canned vegetables, wash them and do not cook them in the liquid that is in the can. Also stay away from the soups, broths and bouillon cubes.

·         Remove the salt shaker from your table…that way if you do grab for it then at least your mind is programmed to ask yourself if you really want it.

·         Use a salt free substitute like “Mrs. Dash” and incorporate the use of herbs and spices into your dishes instead of salt.

·         Avoid fast food like the plague

·         Use fresh proteins-fish, meat, poultry

·         Eat your fruits and veggies!!!

·         Choose to make your own salad dressings instead of store bought

·         READ LABELS!!!

·         Nuts, Chips, Munchies---don’t even think about it…

·         The best place to start on a low sodium diet is on your next trip to the grocery store, look for words such as Sodium Free, Very Low Sodium, Low Sodium, Reduced (or less) Sodium, Light in Sodium, Unsalted

·         Reduce sodium while cooking, you don’t need the salt in your pasta water, or in your rices, grains or cereals

·         Use fewer sauces unless you are making them yourself or understand the sodium content of what is in the sauces that you are using.

Anyway, I could go on and on about reducing salt. I think that if this subject matter pertains to you then you kind of understand what I am trying to say. Reducing sodium is not an easy task, like any dieting program it takes discipline to make it successful. If you have any questions feel free to email me and I will attempt to address all questions.

Peace, Hugs and Low-Sodium Cookies,


Saturday, January 16, 2010

And the Winner is Robert and Stacy Dirr!!!!!

Sitting down to eat at a Stump the Chef class I gave in Mineral Point, WI

In November, I had organized a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society at NV Salon in Greenville. Everyone that participated in the event had their name thrown in a hat to win a "Stump The Chef" class in their home.

The winner of the class is a big winner in Cheffy's book not only because she is a stellar individual but also because Stacy had done so much work and donated so much time to make the fundraiser event a success so I am pretty stoked about having Robert and Stacy win this class...

Stay tuned...the party is only beginning....

Friday, January 08, 2010

The Story of SHIT

This info and the other post about the 1500's came from my buddy Chef LouAnne...this is a great story...

Amazing fact that you probably did not know...yet everyone should!

In the 16th and 17th centuries, everything had to be transported by ship and it was also before commercial fertilizer's invention, so large shipments of manure were common. It was shipped dry, because in dry form it weighed a lot less when  wet, but once water (at sea) hit it, it not only became
heavier, but the process of fermentation began again, of which a by
product is methane gas.

 As the stuff was stored below decks in bundles you can see what could
(and did) happen. Methane began to build up below decks and the first time
someone came below at night with a lantern, BOOOOM!

Several ships were destroyed in this manner before it was determined
just what was happening. After that, the bundles of manure were always
stamped with the term "Ship High In Transit" on them which meant for the
sailors to stow it high enough off the lower decks so that any water that came into the hold would not touch this volatile cargo and start the production of methane.

Thus evolved the term "S.H.I.T " , (Ship High In Transport) which has come down through the centuries and is in use to this very day.

You probably did not know the true history of this word.

 Neither did I.

Life in the 1500's

While spending the day organizing the office and purging emails  found this email that someone sent me back in 2003 when I was doing some research on  food history for a series of articles that I was writing for my old website "RestaurantEdge" is some fun reading, so I thought I would share it.

>The next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature isn't just how you like it, think about how things used to be. Here are some facts about the 1500s:
>These are interesting...
>Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May, and still smelled pretty good by June. However, they were starting to smell, so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor.  Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.
>Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it. Hence the saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water."
>Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and off the roof. Hence the saying "It's raining cats and dogs."
>There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection.  That's how canopy beds came into existence.
>The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying "dirt poor." The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet , so they spread thresh (straw) on floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they adding more thresh until when you opened the door it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entranceway. Hence the saying a "thresh hold."
>(Getting quite an education, aren't you?)
>In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while.  Hence the rhyme, "Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old."
>Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off It was a sign of wealth that a man could "bring home the bacon." They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and "chew the fat."
>Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.
>Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or "upper crust"
>Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up. Hence the custom of holding a "wake."
>England is old and small and the local folks started running out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a "bone-house" and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the "graveyard shift") to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be "saved by the
>bell" or was considered a "dead ringer."
>And that's the truth... Now , whoever said that History was boring ! !

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Chicken Head Lemon Garnish

Tried a couple times to do this vid, will post the finished product and get rid of this one once we have it done...this is a pretty bad vid, but the next one will be better...

Chicken Head Lemon Garnish Video