Sunday, July 25, 2010


I am on a crusade against too much salt. I don't remember what got me to thinking about salt the other day. It was probably that my fingers were swollen. That, my friends, is a telltale sign of too much salt. So I began to scrutinize how much salt I was actually consuming lately.

Green olives and dill pickles. I only mention them because they're delicious. I like olives in my red beer. Salt, salt, salt. Salt in the tomato juice, albeit an acceptable amount for a serving, but it all adds up quickly. No stretch, I was consuming at least 4000mg per day in the days before.

I am knowledgeable of the fact that processed foods are super salty. However, in my mind, I had already eliminated a lot of what I considered to be "processed food." I have a new definition now, and the results of my different perspective are tangible. How much salt was in the breads and tortillas I like? How much salt in all those other items I buy but never considered? I needed to find out. Too much salt is what I found.

It was in the diet soda pop I drank, the mayonnaise, and the salad dressing. I dumped three salty bottles of that mess down the drain in favor of a nice vinaigrette containing lime juice, olive oil, just the tiniest pinch of salt, ground black pepper, a little dijon mustard, and a bit of Duke's. I whisked those ingredients in a mixing cup and poured it over my Romaine. Mixed that with my fingers in addition to a tomato from Billie-next-door's garden and a couple croutons. Lemon would have made a tastier dressing, but I had limes today, and it was good regardless. The sodium content was acceptable.

Last night, I spent a little time on the couch watching TV with Hazelnut and Ginger. We watched cooking shows, and I happened upon one of Bobby Flay's shows, "Throwdown." The challenge was Chicago-Style Pizza, so I watched because that pizza looked really tasty, and I wanted to make a low-sodium version.

Now, this pizza is a little different than the style I usually make. I prepared the crust as I always do, minus the salt, but I left it a bit thicker, just large enough to fit in the cast-iron skillet that I baked it in. Using the skillet to bake the pizza was a good idea.

For the sauce, I had a few tomatoes that Billie had left on the front step in a plastic bag along with a few store-bought. I rough chopped them and threw them into the pan atop several shallots and minced garlic sauteeing in olive oil. I did use a fair amount of salt in the sauce, one tablespoon, but I will eat the sauce over several days. The cheese was to be the saltiest culprit in this meal.

So now I have pizza dough in an oiled cast-iron skillet. Chicago-Style Pizza places the cheese atop the dough, then spreads the sauce, then adds a little grated cheese on top when it comes out of the oven. I did these things. The differences are that I added no sausage (good-bye, sausage) and I added a handful of chopped fresh basil. This was a good pizza for a first effort, I guarantee. Next time, I might add a little unsalted butter to the crust for a bit more flakiness. I have no pictures because I am without camera currently, but it looked pretty. I will make one again very soon.

I spoke with Corey on the phone awhile yesterday, and we were talking about chili and pizza. How about a chili pizza then, he said? Sounds good. I'm making one tomorrow.

So yesterday and today, I calculated that I consumed approximately 1000 mg of salt each day. Yesterday, I watched myself deflate through the course of the day. Very, very interesting to observe. The body is quite responsive to any action, and it begin changing immediately. I have already consumed my thousand milligrams today, so I have laid out a few snacks for later when I venture into the kitchen in the form of three carrots, an apple, and an orange. I also have bananas and almond butter. All of these items are salt-free.

This morning, I stood on the scale to find that I have lost 30 pounds in the last 13 months. I would estimate that tomorrow morning, when I stand on the scale, that I will have lost 8 pounds of excess water this weekend, and that is good for me and my HBP. Science!