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|Health and Fitness|
By LeRae Haynes
Interior Health states that March is Nutrition Month--a time to ‘bust common food and nutrition myths and reveal the facts.’ They say that nutrition information has never been more accessible than right now: that millions of Canadians head to the internet when they have questions about nutrition, but not all the information they read is credible.
(Interior Health says that it’s a myth that the best way to limit sodium intake is to stop using the salt shaker.)
“Only 11% of the salt we eat is added by the salt shaker; over 75% comes from processed and restaurant foods. You can reduce your sodium intake by reading and comparing food labels and by choosing fresh foods more often than processed ones,” states Cindy Bossio, Registered Dietitian with Interior Health. “When eating out, ask if nutrition information for the menu item is available.”
Local Red Seal Chef Alison Mann said that cooking from scratch definitely reduces the amount of sodium in your food, and that cooking with herbs and spices ‘builds the flavour’ and helps food taste good with less salt.
“Some salt is OK—I prefer to use sea salt,” she said. “You don’t have to use as much because it has more ‘depth.’ I also really like to use spices like cumin that add a nice, rounded flavour.
“I also use a lot of cayenne—small amounts—it adds such a nice flavour without having to overuse the salt.”
She said that she carefully checks all packages when she’s buying food: even soup bases. “I get the lowest sodium levels possible and if using a pre-made base I almost never add salt,” she said. “Make sure you cook a soup base down and ‘reduce’ it. That will co-mingle all the flavours and that’s when you’ll find out what you need for flavour.”
Making homemade food for you and your family might seem impossibly time-consuming, but Alison said that for her, it’s a matter of balance and organization. “I do menus and shop from that. On my day off work I often cook for the week, and then everything is in the fridge or the freezer,” she explained. “It’s just as easy to access as fast food, but it’s less expensive and you know what you’re eating."
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