HOW IT STARTED . . . .

I am of German descent and we Germans LOVE to eat!  We also LOVE to cook! My Mother and Grandmothers handed down a legacy of wonderful recipes, all loaded with trans fats, salt, and sugar.  For years I cooked and fed many people, all of whom enjoyed my cooking!  It was great until medical science made us, the public, aware of the hazards that lurk in our kitchens – the dangers of butter, margarine and fats, refined sugars or any sugars for that matter, and SALT!
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Way back when, about 25 years ago, I began to reduce my use of salt in cooking but I still used many canned foods (high in sodium) as ingredients in many of the dishes I made.  As my husband and I hit middle age we began to be more aware of  the need to make changes in our eating habits.  We gradually began to increase our already ample consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables.  We cut back further on salt and reduced our sugar intake.  Food still tasted, well,  . . .  tasty!  We DID use some salt, but not a great deal.  I still used canned veggies, mostly canned tomatoes for making sauces and soups and, fairly frequently, a jar or 2 of spaghetti sauce for lasagna.  I estimate that our sodium intake at that point was in the neighborhood of 2000 mg/day, a little below the then recommended daily amount of 2400 mg.  We felt we were doing good!
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Then the “wake-up call” came – in the form of my 61-year-old husband having a heart attack!  He was fortunate in that it was fairly mild and was not due to having high levels of cholesterol, but…..
changes needed to be made.  His blood pressure was high.  My quest had begun.
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My first goal was to eliminate as much salt as possible in our diets while maintaining excellent flavor and palate appeal.  I read EVERY FOOD LABEL in the store when buying products.  I found that even a can of green beans, used to make bean salad, had 390 mg or more of sodium per 1/2 cup!  The current recommended daily intake of sodium is a maximum of 1500 mg, making that 1/2 cup of green beans over 1/4 of the daily allowed amount of sodium! I searched online for books, articles, anything that would lead us to recipes for salt-reduced or salt-free foods that were also low in fat and sugar.  I bought books     — lots of them.  What I found was that in ALL recipes, even those from the American Heart Association, if salt/sodium was reduced then FAT and SUGAR were either left the same or were INCREASED!   No, that was not particularly what we had in mind!  First we knew that fat was also a NO-NO.  And my husband’s genetics put him in line for diabetes, so we wanted to avoid sugar as much as possible.
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It seemed to us that in the recipes I found or in prepared foods, trying to “squeeze out” the salt resulted in increasing the fat and sugar.  No matter which one of the 3 we squeezed the other 2 would pop out!  And if they managed to squeeze out 2 of them then the 3rd would really pop out, even more strongly!
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So, I began creating my own recipes, taking old favorites and modifying them to eliminate (or drastically reduce) the offending 3 ingredients.  I did continue my search and found a number of websites that were of value.  Some were sources for purchasing sodium-free/sodium reduced foods, some with new recipes that would lend themselves to modification, but NONE had reduced all 3 areas at the same time.  (Later I will list the websites that were of value.)  Because of this “attack” on 3 different areas at the same time my husband began to call my “new” recipes “TRIFECTA RECIPES,” referring to the fact that all 3 areas were being attacked at once.
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Actually, the term ‘TRIFECTA” is usually used in horse racing, referring to a bet in which one has to predict which horse will come in first, which one second and which one will be third.  I am using the term in a somewhat different way – I am still referring to the top 3 “contenders” – SALT, FAT, and SUGAR –  but this time in the cooking and flavoring of foods. Also, instead of these 3 being at the “top” or predominant in foods, I am trying to ELIMINATE (as much as possible) those items in food or to use variations of them that are less “negative” to our well-being, i.e., small amounts of olive oil rather than using the less desirable fats.  Although most of the recipes turn out being meatless, there are some made with chicken or turkey and a few that use roast and steaks.  Most also have some reduced-sodium or sodium-free bouillon in them for flavoring.
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So that is how it started.  I am NOT a nutritionist, I am NOT a chef  – just a wife concerned about her husband’s life and my own health.  This blog is an attempt to share what I have learned over the past 6 years with anyone who would benefit.  I have, over my many years of work as a registered physical therapist, seen MANY patients suffer from the effects of High Blood Pressure, Cardiac problems, and Diabetes, frequently all 3 at once. If any of this can be avoided by a change in diet, one that doesn’t require eating “tree branches” and “hay,”  but flavorful foods, then by all means, we should ALL be doing that!
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Please let me know what you think of the ideas and of the recipes.  If you try them and have suggestions to improve the flavor (other than adding salt!) or ways of simplifying the process, please give me some feed-back!
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Thanks for looking in and participating!                                   Mary Ann
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PS – By the way, my husband is doing fine, his high blood pressure is under control, his cholesterol remains very low and he still does not have full-fledged diabetes!  Although we eat foods that are much better for us we both have to watch how MUCH we eat, as the food does taste good!!!

am of German descent and we Germans LOVE to eat!  We also LOVE to cook! My Mother and Grandmother handed down a legacy of wonderful recipes, all loaded with trans fats, salt, and sugar.  For years I cooked and fed many people, all of whom enjoyed may cooking!  It was great until medical science made us, the public, aware of the hazards that lurk in our kitchens – the dangers of butter, margarine and fats, refined sugars or any sugars for that matter, and SALT!

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3 Comments to “HOW IT STARTED . . . .”

  1. The site looks great!! You have done a TON of work and Chelo and I were both really impressed. Good writing, clear and interesting. The tools and recipes look good too. I think it will be a lot of help to people looking for this info.

    I am really proud of you Mom!!

  2. Wow! This is great, Looks fantastic. The Picture at the top is professional quality,and I can smell and taste it already. I had trouble on my old comp zooming in to be able to read the recipes right now, but will work at this later today. I think on last line in paragraph at “attack” add word “different” before word “areas” or ingredients. Like three different horses trifecta. I will reread it later to see if what I just said made any sense. Don’t change anything yet. I am proud to say I know the Author of this exciting new cooking page. The recipe titles make my mouth water. I will open my test kitchen after I LEARN HOW TO ZOOM. June

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