Today, too many people are suffering from the consequences of high sodium diets.  According to the Mayo Clinic, “The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting sodium to less than 2,300 mg a day — or 1,500 mg if you’re age 51 or older, or if you are black, or if you have high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease.” According to the same article, most Americans far exceed the recommended amounts, averaging 3400 mg per day. Eating too much sodium can cause many health problems that can easily be avoided by swapping out salt for herbs and spices.  Many of the health problems that are associated with high sodium intake are high blood pressure, water retention, heart disease, kidney problems, and strokes, to name a few.

In some food, salt is naturally found in them, such as in vegetables, shellfish, and dairy products. These cannot be avoided. In other areas of our diets, we can control how much we consume.  Canned foods are very high in sodium because they use the salt to preserve the foods.  If you choose to eat canned foods, one way to lessen the amount of salt intake is to rinse off the food before cooking and cook without adding additional salt.

Another source of high sodium is in our sauces and condiments.  Examples include soy sauce, steak sauce, bouillon cubes, garlic and onion salt, ketchup, and BBQ sauce, to name a few.  If you choose to use sauces, read the labels to find the “low sodium” options.  Better yet, make your own sauces from scratch to control the salt content.  For starters, try out this fresh, Homemade BBQ Sauce recipe:

 


Homemade BBQ Sauce

 Ingredients

1- 15 oz can tomato sauce (no salt added)

½ – 1 small grated onion

2-3 cloves grated/chopped garlic

1-2 tsp Liquid Smoke

1-2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1-2 Tbsp brown sugar

¼ – ½ tsp ground black pepper

 

Preparation

  1. Place saucepot on stove set to medium heat.  Then add tomato sauce, onion, garlic, Liquid Smoke, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and pepper.
  2. Mix thoroughly.  Serve with meatballs, chicken, ribs, brisket, pork, beef and more.  Makes roughly 2 cups.

 

Tips

– Grate onion over zester/grater to make onion paste.

– Simply grate garlic with a zester/grater to make garlic paste.

– For an alternate way to make garlic paste, peel and finely chop garlic.  Add a pinch or two of salt on top of garlic and rub garlic repeatedly with sides of knife.

– Rub fingers on stainless steel underneath water to remove garlic smell from hands.

– Mashing/cracking garlic first allows for easier peeling.

– Using agave nectar in place of brown sugar won’t cause a drastic change in insulin levels.

– Prevent brown sugar from hardening by storing it with a terracotta disc that has been soaked in water for 15 minutes and dried off.  If hardened, place a damp paper towel or apple slice in airtight container for several hours to make soft again.

Alternatives

Original Ingredient:

Replace With:

tomato sauce

ketchup

onion

½ -1 tsp onion powder

garlic cloves

¼ – ½ tsp garlic powder or ½ – 1 tsp minced garlic

Liquid Smoke

Worcestershire sauce

balsamic vinegar

white balsamic vinegar, rice wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, sherry vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or any type of vinegar

brown sugar

agave nectar