This is the part when I play doctor (I think I’d be a lot more convincing if I was Meredith Grey.).
No, this post is not about a restaurant.
It’s about eating smart.
On Nov. 29, I heard a report on ABC’s World News Tonight about how the American Medical Association (AMA) is, “urging the FDA to take direct action by cutting in half the amount of salt allowed in processed foods and food served in restaurants.”
Lately, I’ve been paying more attention to the sodium in my food every day, and it’s made me aware of how much sodium, salt, MSG, baking soda, baking powder or disodium phosphate (many names, same thing) I’m eating.
So, (mostly) college kids, we are constantly learning about food. What to eat. What not to eat. How to cook. How NOT to cook. What’s cheap. What’s not.
Here are the facts about sodium:
- Tighter restrictions, or personal decreases, on salt could potentially save 150,000 lives annually
- High sodium levels in a person’s body helps contribute to severe heart problems
- “One in three U.S. adults has high blood pressure, and almost 1 billion people worldwide. Hypertension in turn is a leading cause of heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure. And while being overweight and inactive raises blood pressure, too much salt is a big culprit as well.“
- The recommended daily amount of sodium for adults is around 1,500 mg- about one teaspoon of salt
- The average American consumes about 3,000-4,000 mg of salt every day.
- Over a year, that adds up to three pounds of salt.
The question is: what are we to do?
I have a game plan.
If you’re watching your sodium, and you want to eat out, stay away from these kinds of places:
- Mexican– a lot of the canned beans, rice, meat and spices are extremely high in salt.
- Chinese- I found a good article on alternatives when you go to a Chinese restaurant. Here are some tips:
- Look for dishes that feature vegetables instead of meat or noodles. Ask for extra broccoli, snow peas or other veggies.
- Steer clear of deep-fried meat, seafood or tofu. Order it stir-fried or braised.
- Hold the sauce, and eat with a fork or chopsticks to leave more sauce behind.
- Avoid salt, which means avoiding duck sauce, hot mustard, hoisin sauce and soy sauce.
- Share your meal or take half home for later.
- Ask for brown rice instead of white rice.
- Italian- pasta, pasta, pasta. It’ll get you every time.
- Try ordering a salad or a light fish dish for a change.
- You can also ask the waiter to see if they can cut out some salt.
- Farm 255– Everything is organic, free range whatever. I’m sure they would be open to suggestions or any special requests.
- Shokitini, Rusans or Utage– Any good sushi place would be alright. Just don’t order a bunch of fried rice and then dip it in soy sauce. That would defeat the purpose.
- Jason’s Deli– Their salad bar is great. You can’t go wrong with fresh veggies NOT from a can.
So, while I’m not saying you’re going to die of a heart attack tomorrow, I’m challenging you to be more aware of what you’re eating.
What’s coming from a bottle? A can? A box? A package? A deep fryer?
I’ll be interested to hear what you have to say.