AND NOW I DIGRESS…

Time to take a break from the health care crisis. After all, it’ll still be here next week, and the week after. Let’s talk instead about salt.

Why salt? Because I’m not a one-trick ranter, and because it’s getting more and more media attention. For example, the Los Angeles Times reported, “For decades, people have been ignoring advice to eat less salt — in large part because it’s hard to avoid. Processed and restaurant foods are simply loaded with sodium.” They go on to say that “under growing pressure from doctors, consumers, states, advocacy groups, and even national-level advisors, big-name food companies are slashing sodium from” various food products. Just last month, the FDA “announced its intent to reduce salt in the American diet, beginning with a call for voluntary cutbacks from the food industry.”

Now I, like at least half of my patients, suffer from hypertension (high blood pressure, for those of you who have been hiding under a rock, or a slab of salt). I reduced my salt intake years ago, and after a brief but moderately distasteful transition, found that my taste buds amicably adjusted. Now many prepared foods are just too darn salty. The up-side is that I now appreciate the subtleties of the various spices that define good food. Unfortunately, it means preparing more of the meals at home. My theory is that, besides catering of a country of saltaholics, the food manufacturers are hard pressed to make tasty prepared foods that are boxed, canned or frozen and still retain the subtle flavor of spices such as sage, thyme, coriander or rosemary. Salt masks a host of culinary deficiencies cheaply and well.

So I beseech my readers: Retrain your taste buds and eschew the salt. Together, the three of us will transform the prepared food industry over the next few hundred years.

Now, I’m going to go check my blood pressure.

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