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So my next health and diet goal I’m thinking is to markedly reduce my sodium intake. It’s not something I’ve really addressed as I’m still pretty young and chipper, but I can tell that my propensity to pour tons of salt on all my food is going to come back to haunt me one day. Genetically, I’m predisposed to a laundry list of heart problems, and high blood pressure is definitely a thing I risk from the paternal side of my family. Multiple incidences of stroke and high blood pressure on that side of the family makes me not want to take my chances.

I’ve actually been helping out a couple I know who have a child on the way out with cooking. Neither one of them have the instinctual urge to cook, but appreciate home-cooked food. They essentially hired me to work for them part time, which is awesome. One of the dietary needs I have to look out for in cooking for them is the husband’s high blood pressure, which means the food I cook for them has to be low-sodium. I have a tendency to find foods without salt in them bland. It’s definitely a challenge to me, but I know for a fact that it’s only because my tastebuds are no longer sensitive to salt.

I’m going to start retraining my tastebuds. I want to learn to be content with the flavors of herbs and spices, and get used to food without using salt to cook it. Right now I’m actually enjoying some roasted veggies that I added no salt to, and I’m finding myself appreciating the complexity of the flavors I’ve built with the herbs I used. I used to be one of those, “I like a little food with my salt…” types. But I really want to change that.

An uncle I’m particularly close to on my dad’s side of the family thought he was being healthy when he had his first and only heart attack at the age of 50. Upon examining his diet, he realized that his “addiction” to salt was more than likely a dietary culprit, and when combined with his genes was a disaster waiting to happen. He and my aunt still, 17 years later, don’t add any extra salt to their cooking, except for maybe a small dash of Bragg Liquid Aminos. In addition to that, they broil or bake most cooked dishes, and use maybe 1/4 of a teaspoon of oil (using a brush to brush it around) to pan-sear things. They also eat a lot of raw foods. My uncle’s health has turned around amazingly. He and my aunt also started exercising more regularly after joining the YMCA. My uncle’s blood pressure has stayed in the safe range for years now, and he hasn’t had any other heart problems according to his doctor. They are excellent health-food cooks on top of that! Come to think of it, I know for a fact they don’t add salt to their cooking but it’s always so flavorful that I never feel the need to add salt. Thusly, I’ll be emulating them. 🙂

It felt good yesterday to cook very healthy, vegetarian food for my friends yesterday that also tasted amazing. Not to toot my own horn, but cooking comes very instinctively to me. I almost never use a recipe, and most of my stuff is made up off the top of my head. I guarantee that if you have a well-stocked pantry, spice-rack, and fridge, I can make you a good meal. I do not consider myself a vegetarian, but I don’t eat much meat, either.

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