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The Daily Beet: Tips, Advice and Stories

Chef AJ Talks Salt: Part 2

Read part 1. 

It takes about 30 days of abstinence from salt to neurodapt and appreciate the subtle salty flavors in whole natural plant food.  As long as you keep stimulating your taste buds with salt, you will never lose your cravings for it. For those who have tried the 6 tips above and still insist that their food is not palatable without salt, I offer these suggestions as a way for them to at least decrease the amount of sodium they consume.

1)     Never cook with salt.  That means not only not salting your water when you cook pasta or veggies, but leaving it out of the recipe entirely.  Salt, like sugar and oil, completely dissipates when you cook with it forcing you to use way more than you need to.  If you absolutely must use salt, use it as the finish.  Always taste your food first before salting.  Then, if you must add it, do as Dr. McDougall suggests and lightly sprinkle it on the surface of your food where your taste buds can really taste it.  You can also omit salt entirely in baked goods.  I was the Executive Vegan Pastry Chef at Santé Restaurant in Los Angeles for years and I never used sugar, oil or salt.  When a recipe called for salt I would simply omit it and it would still turn out perfectly.  I also use sodium free baking powder and sodium free baking soda.

2)     Instead of using salt, use products that contain salt but are much lower in sodium.  My two favorite products Raw Coconut Aminos (a soy free, wheat free soy sauce with 113 mg of sodium per teaspoon ) and low sodium miso (which has 110mg of sodium per teaspoon).  You can have 24 teaspoons (which is 8 tablespoons) of these products for the same amount of sodium found in a mere teaspoon of salt.  And these products are so much more flavorful that you would never use that much.  Both of these products can be found at Whole Foods Markets and on line.  Keep in mind that low sodium soy sauce is simply regular soy sauce that has been watered down.  You can save money by buying regular soy sauce and adding the water yourself.

3)     Consider a fast.  Dr. Alan Goldhamer of True North says that if SOS-free whole plant food doesn’t taste good to you, then you need to fast.  Once you stop assaulting your taste buds with so much sugar, fat and salt, fruits and veggies become mighty tasty.  If you can’t fast, try going one day eating nothing but fruits and vegetables. *Only fast at a medically supervised clinic like True North Health in Santa Rosa.

Just like human beings are the only species that drink milk after maturity and from another species, we are also the only species that salt our food.  Have you ever watched a special on National Geographic where a lion kills a gazelle?  Have you ever seen him salting his food?  As ridiculous as this may sound, the amount of salt that most people consume on a daily basis is also ridiculous.  We require only 50mg a day for bodily functions which we can easily get by eating whole plant food.  Consuming excess salt raises our blood pressure and has been linked to strokes and stomach cancer.

Most of the salt we eat is hidden in foods that don’t even taste salty.  There is more sodium in bread than in potato chips.  Salt is insidious.  It is one of four white powders that I recommend you avoid, the other three being white sugar, white flour and cocaine.   When someone quits smoking they often will temporarily consume more food.  Some say it is because they are no longer taking in the nicotine.  Another theory is that when they smoked they were literally burning their taste buds and so the food did not taste as good.  Once they stop inhaling the smoke their taste nerves regenerate and food becomes more palatable.  It’s the same thing with salt.  At first your food may taste bland without it.  As you stop using salt your taste nerves will actually become more sensitive and you will actually be able to appreciate the flavors in whole natural plant food.  So why not do a little experiment and see if you can ditch the salt shaker for a few weeks?  Your arteries will surely thank you.

About the author

Chef AJ
Chef AJ works as a Vegan/Raw Pastry Chef in Los Angeles and as a Keynote Speaker and Culinary Instructor all across the United States. She is author of the book, "Unprocessed - How to Achieve Vibrant Health and Your Ideal Weight".
  • http://www.lanimuelrath.com/ Lani Muelrath

    Awesome as always Chef AJ! And for AJ fans, please note that she will be my special guest on a Tuesday, September 11 Teleclass – we’ll be on the line for what I am sure will be a riotous and informative hour with our topic “Is the Fat You Eat the Fat You Wear?” You can send me or AJ a quick message (or ask on fb) and I’ll be sure you get the link to sign up for this free call.

    • http://www.facebook.com/chef.aj1 Chef Aj

      Can’t wait!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=710641422 Sandra Elanges

    I have been prescribed a high sodium (6-10 grams per day) diet by my cardiologist for orthostatic hypotension. My blood pressures usually run in the low 100s/60s then when I stand up it can get as bad as 70s/30s, but is usually more like 80s/50s. I have passed out before, countless times. I have written to as many people as I can to get an answer on this, as well as gotten third and fourth opinions from doctors as well. The doctors all say “high sodium diet”, even after I tell them what I normally eat, they still say “it shouldn’t be that hard”. What else can I do?

    • Tina

      I also have very low bp. It runs in my family. My son’s ped suggested not only salt, but potassium. (This was after my son turned white as a sheet, his skin got clammy, and he hit the floor. It’s happened to me a lot over the years, but it’s different watching it happen to your child.)

      I’m sure any google search will give you lots of suggestions, but some common sources are bananas, watermelon, orange juice. (I know OJ isn’t generally suggested anymore, but it’s something my son loves and it’s a quick fix when he needs it.)

      I find keeping my fluid intake works well, too. I drink lots of water.

      As for sodium, pickles were suggested to me. I was having extra trouble over the summer when it got so hot outside and I was sweating a lot when I worked out in the mornings.

      Anyway – I’m not a doctor so take all that with a grain of salt. (No pun intended.) I hope someone from E2 can offer some suggestions. I’ve wondered about the salt controversy as well. For people like us, it really seems to be the opposite of what we need.

      • http://www.facebook.com/chef.aj1 Chef Aj

        Again,I can’t give medical advice. If you have a unique medical condition you need to folloow your dcotor’s advice. I would be interested in hearing some of the vegan doctors weigh in on this. Still, even if you must consume some salt, no one needs to be consuming processed food, and that is where Americans are getting most of their salt, not from the salt shaker.

    • Tina

      I also have very low bp. It runs in my family. My son’s ped suggested not only salt, but potassium. (This was after my son turned white as a sheet, his skin got clammy, and he hit the floor. It’s happened to me a lot over the years, but it’s different watching it happen to your child.)

      I’m sure any google search will give you lots of suggestions, but some common sources are bananas, watermelon, orange juice. (I know OJ isn’t generally suggested anymore, but it’s something my son loves and it’s a quick fix when he needs it.)

      I find keeping my fluid intake works well, too. I drink lots of water.

      As for sodium, pickles were suggested to me. I was having extra trouble over the summer when it got so hot outside and I was sweating a lot when I worked out in the mornings.

      Anyway – I’m not a doctor so take all that with a grain of salt. (No pun intended.) I hope someone from E2 can offer some suggestions. I’ve wondered about the salt controversy as well. For people like us, it really seems to be the opposite of what we need.

    • http://www.vega-licious.com/ Elena

      Sandra, what is the rest of your diet like?

    • zeynep

      At least, you could use a very good quality salt such as himalayan pink salt which won’t harm you due to additives but has some minerals in too. Table salt is too toxic.

  • http://www.facebook.com/peter.baker.77398 Peter Baker

    I am fne-tuning my vegan diet at thé moment. This article really helps clarify my thinking.

    • http://www.facebook.com/chef.aj1 Chef Aj

      Great! As I always have said, going UNPROCESSED is a process. Best of luck to you with the tweaks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/don.casto.5 Don Casto

    Good article and advice. I gave up cooking with salt about 2 months ago and don’t really miss it all. I’m going to have to look for those Raw Coconut Aminos. For some people table salt is the only source of iodine they get, so a good way to get iodine is sprinkling some dulse flakes on your salad or in your salt-free soups.

  • Sara M

    Very interesting. I have been trying to limit my salt consumption, but sometimes it is difficult. My husband has chronically low sodium levels (pituitary issue) and has been instructed by his MD to salt his food. So it is a balancing act for both of us.

  • Kirsten

    great information. I’ve been leaving salt out and do find myself wanting to add to foods I’ve made…but have fought the temptation and told myself to just enjoy the food. Braggs does help!
    Thank you!