We all love salt. It is a natural flavour enhancer and makes every dish a little bit better. So why the hell would you stop using salt? – is what you are probably asking yourself right now. Why is this girl crucifying herself with tasteless food? And isn’t it essential for our bodies?
I will start by answering the last question. It is true that humans need a little amount of salt to survive. According to various sources, an average amount of 500 to 1500mg of sodium per day is recommended. Salt contains a lot of sodium BUT it is not the only source of sodium out there. To give you some examples, a medium stalk of raw celery contains about 50 mg of sodium, 100g of Swiss Chard contain about 179mg of sodium. What does this mean? It means that sodium is a natural part of planet earth and the environment and can be found in almost everything. This explains why it is an essential part of the human diet! Table salt is actually 40% sodium and 60% chloride. Chloride is another essential mineral, of which we need between 750 and 900mg per day. Just like sodium, chloride also occurs naturally in foods. And just like sodium, too much chloride can harm your organs and increase blood pressure to an unhealthy extent. To summarize, we need salt (sodium+chloride) to function properly on all levels, but we should avoid the intake of an excessive amount.
Why are we consuming too much salt? I know that the average American gets about 3,600mg of sodium per day, which is obviously way too much. I know that the reason for this excess intake is that salt is added to all processed foods nowadays. And I know that the food industry does this on purpose to increase sales because it makes food taste better and it is highly addictive. Yes, that’s right, salt stimulates the brain cells just like drugs. In fact, cocaine addiction uses the same brain paths as salt cravings. Now you probably understand better, why it is so hard to say no to high-salt foods.
The first step to breaking a salt addiction is becoming aware of it, which you just did. Since I have found out about the addictiveness of salt and its fatal consequences, it has become much easier for me to go for salt-free or low-sodium meals. In addition to that, even if you want to quit salt, it will nearly be impossible if you don’t want to completely give up canned vegetables or processed foods.
Now I’ll tell you how I do it and why my food still tastes amazing for me. When I cook food, I usually use canned tomatoes, tomato paste, ajvar, curry paste or any other spicing that already contains a small amount of salt and combine it with vegetables and other ingredients. In the beginning, I found that the taste of my food was less strong, but after a while (and also doing completely salt-free days or weeks every now and then) my taste buds adjusted and I started becoming more sensitive to salt in foods. It’s just like coffee, when you have it for the first time your heart starts racing and your hands get sweaty, but the more you drink it the more you get used to its effects. It is just the same with salt!! Since most of us have been eating TOO MUCH salt for a long time, they don’t even notice that they wouldn’t need that much!
That is basically the reason why I don’t use salt anymore. I have adjusted my taste buds to low amounts of salt for good. It is healthier overall and you save time when you’re cooking. Obviously, when I make sweet dishes like smoothies or ice cream, I don’t need to use salt anyway. And when I eat outside, I usually can’t control the amount of salt added. I can ask them to make use salt sparingly, but very often the chefs will add more than needed anyway. So instead of bothering, I just cut salt at home on a daily basis. A simple trick is to replace added salt with more spices and herbs.
I am not saying that I am in favour of a completely salt-free diet, as I am aware of our body’s need for sodium and chloride. However, since most foods already contain a sufficient amount of salt, the adding of salt via a salt shaker has become completely unnecessary.
I hope I could inform and inspire you with this article. If you liked it, feel welcome to leave a comment down below.