SPICES

SPICES:

1.  SALT SUBSTITUTES:Most people do not like salt replacements due to the “chemical” flavor they give to the taste of foods.  In addition there are reasons to avoid using them. Most salt substitutes contain potassium chloride instead of the sodium chloride which is salt.  For people who have kidney problems or those on certain heart medications as well as those who are on certain medications for liver or kidneys, potassium chloride can be a huge hazard.  If you have poorly functioning kidneys they won’t process the potassium out of  your system and a dangerous build-up of  potassium could occur.  If you think you want to use salt substitutes PLEASE CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR  before using them.  Get his OK first.  You should also be aware that some salt substitutes are labeled “lite”  or “low sodium” and these DO contain salt (sodium chloride), just at a reduced level.  Switching to a “lite” salt and then using more of it could lead using the same total volume of sodium that you used when you were using regular salt but less of it.  When looking for salt “substitutes” you are better off just using the herb and spice blends, like Mrs. Dash or similar products.  Just be sure that what you buy does NOT have sodium chloride (salt)  in it and if it has potassium chloride in it check with your doctor before you use it.

Most of the sodium in your diet comes from prepared foods – bread, cereals, restaurant foods, packaged foods from the grocery store.  READ ALL FOOD LABELS before you buy products.  According to the Cleveland Clinic you should try to restrict yourself to maximum of 140 mg of sodium per serving with all foods.  The goal for the day is 1500 mg of sodium or less and that includes the sodium that is already in fresh fruits and veggies, dairy products and in prepared foods.  CHECK ALL FOOD NUTRITION LABELS, they are a big surprise.  (For instance, 1/2 cup of prepared spaghetti sauce, national brands, can contain from 450 mg of sodium to 700 or 800 mg!  1/2 cup!  and what do you eat it on? Spaghetti boiled in salted water.  Do you only eat 1/2 cup?  no.  Do you have a salad with that?  With salty salad dressing?  and Garlic bread w/ salted butter?  How about the Parmesan cheese you put on top?  probably another 250 mg sodium.) It all adds up.

Another point to think about is that some people would rather control the flavors themselves at the table.  In other words, don’t season too heavily during meal preparation, just let everyone add their own salt replacements/seasoning at the table.

Some websites to check out re: sodium, salt substitutes, etc are:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:        http://www.cdc.gov/salt/

Cleveland Clinic:         http://my.clevelandclinic.org/healthy_living/healthcare/salt_substitutes.aspx

Wikipedia:             http://www.wikihow.com/Follow-a-Low-Sodium-Diet

2.  “MRS. DASH” OR GENERIC VERSIONS  –  Again, I haven’t had time to complete this list.  Soon I hope . . . . .   !

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