From Salt to Assurance

Today at lunch I was talking with a gal about salt – rather the absence of it, and it gave me pause.  It made me think of the words, “I can.”  There I was, a major salt lover from way back, describing various strategies for making food tasty without salt.  And I realized, wow I really can make changes I didn’t think possible.  It may not sound like a major change to people who use salt in moderation, but for me, it’s big.

I have been a heavy salt user all my life.  From the time I can remember, I always salted my food before I even tasted it.  When I was very young, I actually thought sprinkling salt on your food cooled it off when it was too hot to eat.  And as an adult, I have never – ever – cooked without it.

Thank goodness I don’t have high blood pressure, and when I came to Deerfield, it hadn’t even crossed my mind that I’d have a chance to cut my salt intake.  But when I learned they don’t cook with it here, and don’t automatically put it out on the table, I figured, well let’s try it.  I’m always hearing that too much sodium is not good for you, so what the heck.

The reason I thought, “I can,” is because I realized that a month ago, I would never have thought I could enjoy food without salt.  But I can.  And THAT made me realize that before I came here I wasn’t sure I could ever be satisfied with four ounces of protein at dinner or lunch.  I thought it would just be too painful not to eat as much as I wanted of even the healthiest foods, like fish or beans.  But in the split second  I thought “I can” about salt, I also realized “I can” about the 4 ounces of protein at a meal.

So it stands to reason that I can do all sorts of other things that are still on the frontier for me.  For example, I’m nervous about cooking healthfully for my family and myself once I return home and I’ve questioned more than once in my mind whether or not I’ll be able to do it.  Well, this mini-revelation made me think, “I can!”

Will I be able to balance work and family obligations with making time for exercise and social contact, both of which are critical to health and wellbeing.  Though in the back of my mind, I have doubts about it, I now have a couple examples of other things I never thought I could do that I now know I can, and it makes me answer my own exercise and balance question with “I can.”   It’s a nice thing to be able to say.

By the way, for those who are interested in reducing salt, I just substitute other seasonings.  I’ve been using lots of lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, herbs and spices, and even a little Dijon mustard to liven things up.

And I like the results.  I can tell I’m less bloated, which looks better in the mirror.  And I have a little more peace of mind because I’ve eliminated one more thing (even if a minor one) to worry about.

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