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I’m always looking at various areas of my life and fine-tuning them as necessary. Wardrobe, health habits, how I spend my free time. And one of the things I definitely have to keep in check is my salt intake—more to the point, my sodium intake (salt is made up of about 40% sodium). If I didn’t care about my health, I could easily salt everything in front of me. And I do mean everything: bread (which usually is already made with salt in it), nuts, salad, you name it. Salt is easy to overdo because it’s readily available and goes with so many things, but unfortunately, it can wreak havoc on our system.
Sodium in the proper amounts is not evil. It is an electrolyte that our bodies need, along with potassium, in order for our system to perform basic functions. But when the balance gets thrown off, that’s where the trouble starts. The American Heart Association recommends 1,500 mg of sodium per day for the average adult, and they also state that if Americans cut their salt intake in half, we would see a nearly 26 percent decrease in high blood pressure. There is also the fact that salt can make it difficult for us to lose weight, as it encourages the body to retain more water than it needs, leading to bloating in the body and the face. For an example of how much sodium is in the foods we eat, an ounce of packaged potato chips features 85 mg, 2 ounces of fast food hash browns has 345 mg, and 4 ounces of fast food French fries has 270 mg. Add to that an average of 800 mg of sodium in many frozen dinners, and you can see how smart it is to avoid oversalting when you can control it.
One way to stop salting foods is to make sure they have enough other flavors. Take for example, fried potatoes. All forms of fried potatoes, be it hash browns, French fries or baked potatoes, are popular places for people to go nuts with the salt. So I’ve found this recipe for Savory Sweet Potato Fries that takes the focus off salt and puts it on spices.
This recipe comes to us courtesy of the American Heart Association. And when it’s time to clean up, try Seventh Generation’s Dishwasher Packs in new Lemon scent. The packs are easy to use and are made with a biodegradable formula.
Savory Sweet Potato Fries
Makes 4 half-cup servings
139 mg sodium per serving
Cooking spray (or make your own with a Misto sprayer)
2 small sweet potatoes (about 1 pound total)
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
Cut the sweet potatoes in strips about 4x1/4x1/4 inches. Put the sweet potatoes in a medium bowl.
In a small bowl, stir together the remaining ingredients. Sprinkle over the sweet potatoes. Stir gently to coat. Spread the sweet potatoes in a single layer on the baking sheet. Lightly spray the tops with cooking spray.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown on the outside and tender on the inside, turning once with a spatula halfway through.
Lisa Ferber is a prolific multidisciplinary satirist, blogger and journalist. Her nonfiction has appeared in Crain's New York Business, Hypervocal and The New Inquiry. She wrote and stars in the feature film The Sisters Plotz (coming 2014 and based on her hit web series), and her artwork has shown at National Arts Club, Mayson Gallery and Governors Island Art Fair. Find out more about her at www.LisaFerber.com.
Photo: Dean Sebourn