Being the educated fitness professional that I am, I know full well what is both good and bad for the body. I'm well aware of all the things you need to do to maintain a fit and healthy body and life, and for the most part, I practice all of those things. I exercise, I eat smart and well (on MOST days -lol), and I exercise my brain constantly by learning and trying new things.
However, in all my healthiness, I do have one nasty little secret.
I'm addicted to salt.
If you saw how much salt I put on my food, you would be shocked. I can make even the heartiest salt lovers gasp when I wield a salt shaker. And it's something I've done for most of my life - overuse salt. I salt my foods to death. In truth, I can't taste food unless I put a ton of salt on it. My fault for overusing it in the first place. Well, that all is coming to an end RIGHT NOW as we speak. Last week saw me successfully get through my first salt free week EVER, and now I'm on the road
to completely licking my salt addiction.
High blood pressure is but one of the harmful effects one can experience from consuming too much salt.
Excessive salt intake also has a negative impact on your arteries, thickening and narrowing them thus impeding normal, healthy blood flow. It can also increase the likelihood of you having a stroke, and also can lead to kidney diseases.
According to some studies, it can also interfere with the normal digestion of protein by decreasing the amount of Pepsin released into the stomach as meats and proteins are being digested.
The reason that salt makes your body retain water is because it's your body's way of trying to protect your organs from salt's harmful effects. Thus, edema (an abnormal accumulation of fluid beneath the skin, or in one or more cavities of the body) is sure to occur frequently in those who consume it.
Okay, so there ya go. I always knew that salt was bad for me, but didn't care. I just loved it so much! I keep it and hoard it like gold in my house. Those little packets you get from take out places? I bring them home and save them so that I never run out. To me, throwing away those packets of salt would be like throwing away nickels. If there is no salt in the house, I can't enjoy my food. At all. And I tend to eat things that require some salt on them. Hell, I even put salt on my salads! This has GOT to STOP!
So...last week, as I began my quest to rid myself of this nasty salt habit, I purposely choose things to eat that weren't "salt dependent" in my mind. I also forced myself to eat everything I prepared without adding salt afterwards. I still cooked with a little, but boy, did I cut back! I made myself very aware of how much I put in while pre seasoning my foods...something I have never done. Usually, I am heavy handed with the salt, both before and after the meal is prepared. Cutting back during food preparation itself was a big step for me. By the way, I cut my salt consumption back to almost zero. Last week, the ENTIRE week, I consumed barely a teaspoon of salt. That is HUGE compared to the cup and a half I'm sure I did before.
At first, yes, things did taste a little bland. I think that I've eaten so much salt over the years that I burned my taste buds out, because unless I put a ton of it on things, I can't taste it at all. But, with my new mindset, I am determined to change, so, I dealt with it. And you know what? After about 4 days, I was cool with it. After 6 days, I allowed myself to have a little sprinkle of salt on my eggs,
and immediately saw the difference! I could have eaten the eggs with NO salt, because it's like my taste buds have come back alive, and now the least bit of salt that is already in food, I can now taste.(simply because my tongue is now desperately searching for it!)
This is MAJOR for me! I have been over consuming salt since I was about 10 years old! My Aunt Sharon used to call me "Salt", as a joke. That's how well known my love of salt was. Well, NO more! I'm smarter than this, and dammit, I'm gonna act like it!
My goal is to ultimately use almost no salt, to begin using more herbs and healthier spices in my foods, and to find craftier ways to add flavor to my meals. Salt is on its way out the door!
My addiction to salt will soon be a distant memory, and I will be even healthier than I am now. I'm very happy and thrilled to be making this really important change in my life and eating habits! ;)