Sodium is a big health issue and not a day goes by that we hear about this or that company reducing the sodium in their food products. Just today, Heinz announced that its ketchup would be 15% less salty in the near future.
However, here’s the issue that I see when it comes to sodium. Change needs to start with our taste buds. Our love affair with eating salt-rich options and over-salting our foods must stop. Personally, I can’t take it any more. Salt is killing too many Americans. For me, it’s killing my buds. In fact, my tongue hurts today because of last night’s meal. I’m uncomfortably parched and my buds are screaming “UNCLE“!
I started this blog today in light of the dinner I had last night. It started with a trip to Chicago’s flash DMK Burger Bar. I was in love as soon as I walked in and read the “grass-fed beef” sign, creative beer list, fried okra and pickle starter, deviled eggs and the proclamation that they have the best veggie burger around.
Without warning, my meal began to spiral out of control.
My “best veggie burger ever” was deep-fried like a hash-brown and as I sank my teeth into the perfect bun topped affectionately with a slice of eggplant, my tongue writhed in pain from a salty sensation that made my eyes cross. I took a sip of my beer. Mild relief.
I breathed deeply and the inner dialogue began. Don’t panic, it’s a grain-based burger and good even though it’s fried, look at the eggplant, eggplants are good. No, not when they soak up fat. My hash-brown burger is wearing a sponge!
I could handle the fattiness of my veggie burger, but the sky-high sodium of the entire meal was another story. There must be some mistake. Did someone put too many holes in the saltshaker? Then it hit me. Everyone else was fine with the food, except me.
In fact, not one person in my party described their burgers or fries as salty.
So, I sit, recovering, reflecting on my salty night out, tongue still sensitive, fingers swollen. I’m glad to hear that the food industry is starting to lower sodium across the board in most processed and restaurant foods. I think that will be the only way most people will ever notice just how salty the food is that we’re eating.
— Jenna A. Bell, PhD, RD, CSSD, is a dietitian living in Chicago. Check out her blog, Eat Right Around Chicago