The last few weeks, something funny has happened along this long journey to my dotage: I have suddenly become far more sensitive to the taste of salt in my food than ever before. Food that I used to eat without a second thought is suddenly too salty. I've found no physiological or psychological explanation, but it has made me acutely aware of the sodium amounts in the food I buy. And now I'm like Roddy Piper and those stupid sunglasses that allowed him to see aliens, except I see sodium everywhere.
I've looked at the sodium levels on food containers before, but not all that closely. I would see 900mg of sodium on that can of Hormel chili with beans and think that was not too bad for a lunch. I mean, it's not exactly fine dining, but it's only about 40% of the recommended daily maximum and I often eat only two meals a day with little snacking. What's the problem?
The problem is that little "per serving" I was missing. I wasn't getting 900mg of sodium, I was getting more like 1700mg. Yikes! With how many other foods was I underestimating the sodium content?
A lot. Oh man, a lot. Maybe by as much again as the daily maximum recommended.
That Cotto Salami I love? That isn't 360mg of sodium per package, it's 360mg of sodium per slice. Two slices per sandwich and two sandwiches per lunch, plus bread, cheese, and a little mustard...oooh, probably 1700mg right there, no? Holy crap.
One Ball Park Frank? Yeah, that would be 550mg of sodium, not 68.75mg. Do you know how easy it is for me to down 3 hot dogs? Let me put it this way, don't get your fingers in the way.
I suppose some of you who have paid attention to this stuff for years are laughing at me, but I truly am kind of horrified. At my own ignorance, at the amount of sodium everywhere I turn, that that smarmy son of a bitch Bloomberg might have a point...all I can say is laugh away. I'm going to do something about this.
This afternoon I made spaghetti meat sauce, but this time I paid attention to the labels on the tomato sauce and tomato paste I used. By switching from Hunt's brand on both of those I cut the sodium in half. I think it's too high still, but it's much lower. I did throw in a bit more spices and that seemed to work fine to compensate for any loss of taste due to lower salt. I think it tasted better even, now that my taste is so sensitive to salt.
I don't know where this will end up, but if you are not already aware of it, be advised: