Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Embracing an Addiction

I recently stumbled across an article in the New York Times which responded to New York’s push for salt reduction; it hit close to home. I became conflicted. Many people eat poorly and have health problems all around, including hypertension. They should limit their salt intake as much as possible. People who are in good health, but have high blood pressure, need to watch their intake.

On the other hand, there are people who have very low blood pressure and eat a heap of salt (sweating most of it out during exercise). I am one of them. Should we be punished, too? Unlike many people, my salt intake does not come from processed food. Like the article states, processed foods contain so many chemicals that additional salt is a necessity, otherwise, they would taste horrible. The article mentions that chefs have a heavy hand with salt. Well, I love to dine out. I also love to cook and I will admit that my salting hand weighs a bit more than my left hand. Salt brings out a symphony of flavors that might not stand out, otherwise.

A heavy weight now rests upon my shoulders. Should I condone babysitting the unhealthy, at the healthy’s expense? Yes. I would fully support a “junk food tax” and I LOVE an occasional chocolate CHUNK cookie. The truth is that I am slightly uncomfortable with the idea of regulating any ingredient involved in a chef’s culinary creation. But... I still support the Big Apple in The Battle of Sodium Chloride. Heavy handed? Those laboratory results make me wonder if chefs use a ladle to add in the salt. Furthermore, this will also make it easier for those who are genetically hypertensive (many of whom regularly exercise and eat healthily) to enjoy dining out. The rest of us will just have to cozy up to the salt shaker; salt is much easier to add than remove.

See you in the salt mines... or not.

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