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Trying to Train Taste Buds with less SALT ?

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4/28/13 6:08 A

It's a hard habit to break. I started watching how much salt was in processed food, I use a scant few. Those I do use I get low sodium and don't even taste a difference. No added salt when cooking or at the table. Watch out for the bombs like crackers and chips. Yesterday I had pizza for the first time in a long time, today I feel like crap! Let the natural good flavor of food come out and you won't miss salt for long. Good luck.

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4/27/13 3:46 P

I used to be a terrible salt addict. I was one of those folks who'd automatically use the shaker BEFORE even tasting the food !

However, you can change your taste buds with time. For a while, I did stop using salt and only used what was already in say a can of tomatoes. cans of soup I really have to watch since those are loaded with sodium. I do moderate my intake of canned soup because of that.

All in all, I'd say that over the years, because I reduced the amount of salt I eat, I don't crave it anymore. These days I do use more spices for flavor. So, what you might do is use more aromatic herbs like fresh parsley, garlic, chives, dill, rosemary, oregano, etc to flavor your meals. If you don't want an herb garden, you should go out and buy a bunch of different dried spices like red pepper flakes, rosemary, bay leaf, cinnamon, thyme, sage, tumeric, etc...

I think you'll find that if you increase the amount of spices you use, you're less likely to want the salt. But, I also find that it does take time to change our taste buds. So, don't beat yourself up if you find yourself lapsing every now and then. You are only human.

Posts: 5,853
4/27/13 3:43 P

I feel bad for anyone that has a salt addiction, I think I'm blessed because I don't even own a salt shaker , never cooked with salt and your talking to a girl who mom used a lot of salt as a kid and I use to think it was the thing to do to pour salt on a burger as I saw everyone else do it.
I use garlic and onion powders to flavor my food and my dad always asks for the salt when he comes over and I say no salt here (last thing he needs is salt they took 1 and a half liters of fluid out of his chest).
Even my son doesn't like salt, he picks up on it right away if its in others cooking or at school lunch. It amazes me because I have high bp and they say okay you have to quit using salt hahaha and I say what ??? I don't even own a salt shaker hahahaha

Posts: 702
4/27/13 2:27 P

Just thought I'd throw in an opinion from the other side --- I grew up in a low-salt household (thanks to both parents having hypertension), and never acquired a liking for it. I have low blood pressure and am supposed to eat more salt to bring it up, but have a really hard time regularly getting more than 1500mg per day because the salt taste just overpowers everything else for me! My little salt shaker hasn't been refilled in over 5 years, as I only use it for baking.

Honestly, the only high salt items that I can stand are dill pickles, tomato sauce, cheese, and some restaurant sauces since they have enough other strong flavours to hide the salt taste for me.

Hope this gives you hope that your taste buds can change to not liking salt! Now if I can just do the opposite....

Edited by: ICEDEMETER at: 4/27/2013 (14:29)

Posts: 11,629
4/27/13 12:57 P

thanks for that info ANARIE....
I do remember reading about a NATIONAL SALT REDUCTION INITIATIVE

21 Food Companies Met National Salt Reduction Initiative Efforts

but most did not comply claiming that consumers would not buy the products. But after reading SALT SUGAR FAT: HOW THE FOOD GIANTS HOOKED US by Michael Moss, it seems that many were unable to make their products appealing enough so they opted for non compliance.

money talks

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4/27/13 12:42 P

Try Mrs. Dash seasonings--lots of great flavor combos to really spice it up--all salt-free!

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4/27/13 12:39 P

I remember back in nursing school that we were taught that we are hardwired to like sweets because breast milk is sweet. So our first food is sweet.

Sour or bitter foods were frequently toxic so if something tasted "bad" it was likely to bad for us.

It used to be difficult to get salt ... it was a rare spice and very expensive. Funny to think of that now.

And since we need some salt in our diets, I would hazard a guess that we are hardwired to like it. Which is why manufacturers started manipulating it to make us want more of what they made.

I'm not sure we can change that hardwiring. I think we will always like sweet and salty foods.

Posts: 2,296
4/27/13 11:28 A

"For me to stick to healthy eating has to have taste."

BINGO. That is the only way I can make this a "lifetime endeavor."

I am not a "poached skinless boneless chicken breast with a side of limp celery" kind of person.

But... fish and vegetable curry? Pork chops sauteed with lemon and capers? Omelette bursting with sauteed peppers and garnished with a GOOD strong-flavoured parmesan? Thai chicken and basil stir fry? Ohhhyeah. I'm in, baby.... count me in!

Edit: I can confirm what Anarie says to be true - roasted cabbage is yummy. To be honest, I'm not sure that there is a vegetable out there, that isn't improved by roasting!

Edited by: BUNNYKICKS at: 4/27/2013 (11:31)

Posts: 12,376
4/27/13 11:24 A

Actually, I think it's good to try plain food for a while. Not that you need to give up spices (many of which are incredibly healthy), but because you really will be surprised at how good some things are when they're plain. It's funny that the previous poster mentioned cabbage, because cabbage was the exact food that drove this home to me. If you take cabbage and slow cook it, or roast or grill it, it's actually amazingly sweet and tender. I love it. I always thought the only way I would ever like cabbage was dripping in sweet mayonnaise-based coleslaw dressing, but I learned otherwise.

By the way, did you know that major food manufacturers have been cutting back on the salt? Over the past few years, Campbell's and Nabisco have both cut sodium in most of their products by 25% without saying anything about it. Every six months or so, they changed their recipe to have 5% less. It turns out that if they advertised it as "reduced sodium," people wouldn't buy it, but when they gradually cut 1/4 of the salt out of Ritz crackers and didn't say anything, sales went up. It's funny; in December I ate Ritz crackers for the first time in years and thought, "Wow, these are much better than I remember. I really like these." And about two weeks later I read an article about the sodium reduction program.

So maybe take that approach. Don't cut out the salt altogether; just gradually cut back. Maybe put a little piece of tape over one hole in every salt shaker, and when you're cooking, automatically decrease the salt in the recipe by 1/4 or 1/2. Most people don't need to cut out salt 100%; if you go down by 25 to 50%, you won't miss it and you won't have that rebound effect.

Posts: 11,629
4/27/13 11:11 A

@BUNNY.... I once booked myself at a vegan resort for 2 weeks not understanding the difference between vegetarian and vegan. I thought eating no meat, no fish for 2 weeks (and lots of exercise ) would do me a world of good.
And I confess...I lost almost 20 pounds in 16 days.

but let me tell was tough

they did not allow ANY animal products, salt, sugar, dairy, caffeine, or artificial anything.
And for someone who grew up on Spicy cuisine...
.it began as torture and ended up being interesting. But I could not do it long term.

For me to stick to healthy eating has to have taste.
spices or a dash of something keep me eating more of the healthy stuff and
not reaching for the junk

enjoy your weekend

Edited by: SHERYLDS at: 4/27/2013 (11:14)

Posts: 2,296
4/27/13 10:57 A

I disagree with that article! "Steamed veggies" ad nauseum ARE bland and uninteresting!!!!!

I don't think you can train yourself to crave steamed cabbage.

And I honestly don't know that there is any good reason that one "should" try to cultivate a love of plain foods served alone in their natural state. Why? What's wrong with mixing a bunch of colours together, and livening it all up with some lemon or basil or (shudder) SALT?

It does help a lot to add salt sparingly. Just like you can get used to drinking tea with a half-teaspoon of sugar instead of 2 tsp, you can get used to eating your dinner with a pinch of added salt and not a spoonful.

I do know what you mean, though, Sheryl, I too have gone through the process of weaning myself off excessive sugar and salt. I am one of those people who, if i have a sip of Coke now, will declare with a face, "that's so sweet! how did i ever drink so much of this stuff!" BUT!!!!!! My "new habits" are TENUOUS. As soon as I've tasted that overly-sweet-soda, something fires up in my head telling me, heeeyyyy soda... sodasodasodasoda..... soda-and-french-fries-and-burgersodasodaso
dasoda... and it takes me a couple of days to silence it. I KNOW the same would happen, if I sat down to a box of A&W Chubby Chicken (my nemesis). I'd be repulsed by the grease and caked-on-salty-coating, and declare "How did i ever eat this stuff 3x a week! gross!"............... and then, before the night was through, I'd feel the craving, and want more tomorrow.....

I don't know what the solution is. Should I NEVER eat with lowered-vigilance? Fearing that "one false move and I'll be back to square 1, fighting (and maybe losing to) the sugar and salt cravings? That's not... realistic. So instead I am going to focus on awareness. So that I recognize a "salt or sugar craving" is just that - a craving, probably triggered by a recent excess... look it in the eye and say, Craving, I See You and i'm not falling for your crap!

Will that be enough to manage them, stay in control? I guess time will tell...........

Posts: 975
4/27/13 10:42 A

Salt and sugar can have negative health effects, but I have to draw the line at trying to demonize herbs and spices. That's just ridiculous.

Posts: 11,629
4/27/13 4:43 A

I found an article that suggest that you train your taste buds

"1. Leave off the salt and spices. Most of what you read about making healthy food tasty is about covering it up with spices. It’s wonderful to know how to cook, and how to use a variety of spices, but it’s also a little like resigning yourself to the fact that steamed vegetables or salads are “tasteless”
and that something must be done to them to make them palatable. This is actually so far from the truth! Every single real food””that is, unprocessed food””has a unique taste. If you think it’s tasteless, it’s because your taste buds are, well, spoiled."

I can't do that.... If it's too bland I won't enjoy it and I won't stick to it
if it's really tasty...I want more

that's the dilemma

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4/27/13 3:35 A

I have to limit salt bcoz of medical reasons!

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4/26/13 11:50 P

Good for you!!!!

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4/26/13 11:47 P

Using herbs instead of salt is great.

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4/26/13 11:15 P

I don't use much salt at home, but when we go out to eat, the food sometimes tastes salty, it doesn't cause me to feel badly though. Any weight gain goes away quickly, not a big deal at all. Think lifetime, how much can you try to be perfect doing all of the time?

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4/26/13 10:21 P

I don't put a lot of salt on my food once it has been prepared but I find that many recipes I like and many pre-prepared foods contain LOTS of salt. I've been trying to pay more attention to my salt intake but haven't really committed yet to a real set number in reduction.

Canned foods are probably my biggest downfall in sodium intake.

Fortunately, my blood pressure is excellent, so I don't get the sodium lectures from my doctor just yet. Hopefully the raw veggies and fruits I eat will help to balance out the other foods until I take the plunge.

Posts: 11,629
4/26/13 9:16 P I've given up the sugar and now fruit tastes really sweet to me.
Even cottage cheese and carrots seem to taste sweet to me.

The same with salt...I've stopped cooking with salt (including soy sauce) and I try to buy low sodium or salt free items. And I confess...I use a dash of brown mustard (which has salt in it)
But I'm getting used to the low salt diet.

the result is....I'm getting used to it and the results are show in less water retention.
and my appetite is less.

But the minute I use sugars or salt.....I'm back to square one.
Anyone else have salt issues emoticon

Edited by: SHERYLDS at: 4/26/2013 (21:49)

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