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Hello there, I’m so glad you stopped by. I’ve missed you. While away there were several little health dramas, all of which (I think) can be corrected by what one eats. After three weeks of that rotten cough and swollen ankles, calves and feet (I’ve never have swollen limbs), dizziness and exhaustion, I went to the expensive doctor, the one I’ve gone to forever until recently when she stopped taking insurance. My blood pressure was through the roof. Panic set in and unleashed my very vivid imagination. I’ll let you extrapolate where it went.

Anyhow, bottom line, I really need to ditch salt. That said, I already use little to no salt in my daily life, nor do I cook with it. The scary thing is discovering just how much hidden salt is stashed in processed, prepared foods. This is coming from someone who already reads labels! Well, read further because the average person ingests 3,400 mg. of salt (1.5 t.) per day. The current Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggests ages 14 to 50 limit intake to 2,300 mg. For those over 51 or with other health risks adjusting down to 1,500 mg. is prescribed. My doctor suggested 1500 to 1,800 till my blood pressure is reigned in.

Now that we have some numbers, we can realistically look at what we eat and it’s not good. Take for instance what passes on occasion for lunch at my desk. It seems healthy but is it?

Oven Roasted Turkey on 7 Grain Bread with Fresh Basil and a Teaspoon of Mayo

Oven Roasted Turkey on 7 Grain Bread with Fresh Basil and a Teaspoon of Mayo

Turns out we’re looking at 920 mg. of sodium! Over half of my day’s allowance. Who knew? I already knew that when manufacturers lower fat and carbs they pump up the sodium in products to make them palatable, but you really have no idea just how much this affects one’s diet till you have some goal numbers. (This is one of the reasons I believe in eating “real” butter, mayo and so on but in moderation otherwise it’s just smoke and mirrors trying to use “fake” foods for a low carb, low fat diet…IMO at least.)

My Trader Joe’s pre-packed Caesar salad comes in at 600 mg. without the dressing. So if I was planning on having that for dinner, I’ve gone over my limit if I add the little plastic container of salad dressing.

As a result, I’m rethinking (once again) what I eat. This week I bought fresh berries, broccoli, green beans and a chicken. I’m freezing half the berries in snack bags for use in smoothies (yes, those can be calorie bombs waiting to go off) and just to nibble on frozen. The idea is to rely less on prepared foods even though I thought I was being “safe” in my choices. When you’re faced with a specific limit, it makes a huge difference.

The way I see it, I’m going to have to eat in a more vegetarian manner and cook my own food. While this is a pain in the neck vs. popping open a container or bag, it is something I’ll just have to get used to. My salads will have to be made from scratch as will the dressings. Luckily I have collected a nice little stash of vinaigrette recipes from various food blogs in the last few months.

It’s also fortunate that a lot of the blogs I read are food and vegetarian oriented. Hopefully I’ll get inspiration there. I’m also glad in a warped sort of way that red meat prices are sky-rocketing since that has virtually eliminated them quite painlessly from my diet in the last year. Mind you, I won’t refuse a filet mignon ever, but I no longer treat myself to them at Costco.

So we’ll see where this little odyssey takes me and whether I get bored and fall back into my old ways. I really can’t promise anything but to do the best I can and if I fail, to forgive myself and try to get back on board somehow. It’s not that I want to live forever, I just don’t want to be sick or in pain. Yeah, I’m a wuss that way. 🙂 Besides, I can’t afford it given the healthcare system in this country. But that’s a whole ‘nother story.

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