Pour it on chef!

Image via cliparttoday.com
Image via cliparttoday.com

“And here’s your gift,” my boss said, setting a large shaker of salt on my desk. He’d just returned from a trip to San Francisco. Co-workers who’d received t-shirts and coffee mugs were trying hard not to crack up, stupid grins plastered on their faces as if painted there.

I didn’t get it. I looked at my boss cross-eyed. “Salt,” that look asked, “Why do I, the woman who makes sure your work life is smooth as a baby’s bottom, get the cheapest gift?”

He looked like I’d just smacked his hand and sent him to the corner. Apparently a shaker of salt was a lot more important to him than it was to me. He let out a big Uh. “Because you love salt so much!” he said, incredulous that I wasn’t more grateful.

“Oh!” I smiled, picking the glass container up and holding it with both hands as if it were the most precious diamond I’d ever received. “Thank you so much!” I deserved an Oscar for that performance.

I sat the gift on my desk and thought no more of it until, a few weeks later, I picked it up to pour some salt on my fries and realized it was nearly half empty. “Wow,” I thought, “I guess I really do like salt.” I was touched then, truly grateful my boss had taken the time to notice such a seemingly small habit. But my next thought was frightening: should I be eating so much salt? Probably not. But did I try to cut back? No, I liked to be able to see the snow on my food.

In the twelve years since my cholesterol numbers have always been idea and my blood pressure only increases when I’m having a fibromyalgia flare. Yes, now and then I’ve felt I probably should cut back on my salt intake, despite those “good” numbers, but it’s such a hard habit to break!

Then I found this article: Salt, healthy? Why it might no longer be Public Enemy Number 1 on Reader’s Digest, and felt I’d been handed a clean bill of health. The article, written by Gary Taubes, argues that government recommendations for sodium intake are not only low, they’re most likely too low, and that we should all be consuming more salt than we are:

“…the evidence from studies published over the past two years actually suggests that restricting salt can increase our likelihood of dying prematurely.”

Because of the USDA’s and the CDC’s counsel, the average person takes in too little sodium to flush out the necessary amount of renin, (stored by our kidneys), which increases our risk of heart disease.

Huh……Of course the article ends with an editor’s note to talk to your doctor before either increasing or decreasing your salt intake, (which we should do when considering any change in diet), but because of all the evidence – or lack thereof in this case – I believe I’ll stop worrying about whether or not I should cut back on the salt. After all, it’s proven that worry in itself can increase our blood pressure, so I’m already taking a positive step, right?

The man who gave me the salt shaker has moved on to another company, but I still keep the salt on my desk, and think of him every time I pour it on my lunch.

I encourage you to read Mr. Taube’s article in full (its short) and tell us what you think. Will you too stop worrying so much about your salt intake?

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8 thoughts on “Pour it on chef!”

  1. An interesting post, Deanna. I’v backed off on my salt intake over the years, though I still use it during cooking. My BP tends to be on the high side so I’ve been easing up on (some) things. 🙂

    I do agree with you, salt does add “punch” to food.

  2. Haha, that was funny Deanna. Poor man thought he’d brought you a gem. 🙂

    As to the salt issue, I try not to overdo it. But I use Sea-salt rather than regular salt. BUT come to find out that Sea-salt does not have the necessary Iodine in it, so I will now alternate between the two. When Bo was 5,6,7? he would steal all the little packages of salt I kept in the cupboard and eat them in his bedroom. I had NO clue until I found a wrapper in his room one day. I couldn’t believe how sneaky he’d been. No, I was shocked at how sneaky he’d been. 🙂

    1. Oh, I hate to hear that about sea salt ’cause I like it even more than ‘regular’ salt. How funny that Bo actually had you fooled. I guess his body must’ve been crying out for lots of salt. 🙂

  3. This was a cute story – that’s some passion for salt. I’d still be concerned about the amount of sodium I take in versus the amount of water, and how much I exert myself. I’m also not sure just how well I metabolize it. But then, I never used it too heavily anyway, so it wasn’t a keen worry. Usually it’s that it tends to appear for high-fat or high-cholesterol meals, which are their own problems!

    1. That’s for sure John. I tend to believe the amount of anything we take in varies so widely from person to person that it’s got to be challenging, to say the least, for the CDC and FDA to come to a conclusive number for general recommendation.
      We’ve all got to be mindful of how whatever we put in our bodies makes us feel, and be sure to keep on eating the foods that make us feel good. For instance, even though I have a really bad habit of drinking too many diet Dr. Peppers, I also must have at least two oranges every day or my body fights me. So, it’s all relative I suppose.

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