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,


1 comment:

Suzanne said...

Cheffy, Great article, just one thing I disagree with and that's the nuts - nuts are VERY good for you, in moderation of course - just get the unsalted variety! I eat almonds pretty much every day. Love your blog!