It is often said when talking about diet restrictions that one should avoid refined sugar, fats or carbohydrates, but how often do we talk about salt?
Salt is present in many foods such as dairy products, protein and, of course, snack foods. Salt is used to enhance the taste of your food in cooking, and it helps to maintain electrolyte balance in the body.
Having too much salt can be very damaging to one’s health as it can cause high blood pressure and even strokes.
The recommended amount of salt people should consume is approximately 1500 mg per day, which is more than enough for most people. Most of our salt intake comes from foods we eat when dining out and from processed and packaged foods. The best advice is to limit intake to 1 teaspoon of added salt per day.
Many other spices and fresh herbs add flavor to meals. Some of my favorites are cumin, garlic, red chili flakes, basil, parsley and oregano, all of which have amazing health benefits. Spicy ingredients, like jalapeño, chili powder and red pepper flakes are good for the flora of the gut and your metabolism. Using spices and herbs can improve the taste of food so that you won’t even notice that salt was omitted.
I also like the Frontier Co-op spice mixtures as they have really good combinations. My favorites are the Veggie Pepper and Herbs of Italy mixtures, both of which are salt free. Using alternative spices in place of salt is very easy and will only make the food taste even better.
With Marinated Goat Cheese and Spinach
- ½ cup goat cheese crumbles
- Lemon zest and juice from 1 lemon
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon Herbs of Italy
- 1 minced garlic clove
- ⅔ cup Greek yogurt
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 12 oz. whole-wheat pasta
Mix cheese crumbles, lemon zest, red pepper and 1 teaspoons olive oil; put aside to marinate
Mix lemon juice, 2 tablespoons oil, garlic, black pepper, Herbs of Italy and yogurt in a large bowl, and set aside.
Cook pasta, reserving ½ cup water from cooking.
Drain pasta and mix into yogurt mixture, adding some of cooking water slowly to make sauce.
Stir in spinach.
Sprinkle marinated cheese on top.
By Jamie Feit