Mrs. Carla Monti

Mrs. Carla Monti

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Feeling Salty?

I am a total salt fiend. In my spinning spice rack, you will find no less than four types of salt: kosher salt (best for cooking), table salt (to top any already cooked foods), sea salt (dessert topping, anyone? Don't knock it till you've tried it!), and seasoned salt (of the lemon & pepper variety, I use this sparsely, if ever). Salt makes the world go 'round (or at least my world!). In fact, I proudly consider myself to be a supertaster! (Or at least, reading that Yahoo article made me feel better about my salt lovin'.) My lovely chef-boyfriend rarely uses salt in his cooking, choosing instead to flavor his meats and veggies with olive oil, butter, and herbs. To each his own. I use all of those, but pay particular attention to salt. My friend (blog: Test My Recipes) wrote a great post on what types of salt are good for what types of dishes here.

But did you know that many of America's beloved and popular restaurants are throwing everyone's daily sodium intakes out of whack? Many dishes at places like Macaroni Grill, Olive Garden, P.F. Chang's, and TGIF's feature a variety of entrees that can double, or even triple, your DAILY sodium intake! The U.S. Dept of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Information Center maintains a diligent and up-to-date website that lets you know what your daily intake should be for various vitamins and minerals, specified to gender, age, and weight type. A typical female between the ages of 19 and 30 (aka my category) should be taking in no more than 1500 mg of sodium per day (source). This may sound like too much already, but consider this: the average pasta and sauce dish at your local Italian eatery is bound to contain that much alone!

*Update* This article points out a more generalized sodium intake for typically healthy adults, saying one should have no more than 1500-2400 mg of sodium daily.

This article demonstrates some of the worst offenders in America's food industry. There are even some sneaky ones, like Macaroni Grill's whole wheat fettuccini entree - sneaky because the name alone implies healthiness and when paired with broccoli and chicken - takes on a seemingly innocuous nutritious appearance. WRONG! There are a whopping 1630 mg of sodium in this dish, along with 1060 calories.

The more I get into cooking, baking, and blogging, the more I learn about food and nutrition. It's fascinating, and sometimes even scary. It's also easier than you think to make so many things at home, versus buying super processed versions in your local supermarket (i.e. jams, marinades, salad dressings, etc). The more I go grocery shopping, or bakeware/cookware/cupcake liner shopping on Amazon, (and the less often I go online to or, the more I learn and love food and cooking in all their glory. But I am still learning and nowhere near uber-healthy; I still don't really exercise, and eat a healthy amount of dessert on a weekly basis - but I believe it's all about having the knowledge. Knowledge is power!

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