Author and productivity expert, Tim Ferriss (of 4-Hour Work Week fame), wrote a book called The 4-Hour Chef. It’s designed to turn readers into impressive and independent cooks in next-to-no time. But, despite what the title might suggest, he’s not actually into cutting corners. One of his prerequisites for becoming a truly good cook is to go easy on the salt. Actually, he goes as far as to say that salt is a cop out, a cheap trick for lazy cooks.
I guess I’m in the lazy cook club then… Heck, I even use salt in cake!
While salt instantly peps up a lacklustre dish, using it as a go-to will eventually dull tastebuds, and can lead to:
Our gorgeous (inside and out) writer friend, Ariane, recently had us over for dinner, and made the most divine aubergine and potato curry. And the best part was that, in addition to being totally vegan and organic, it had absolutely no salt. She explained that she almost never cooks with salt, using spices instead for tastiness.
This got me thinking, and for the past few days, I’ve been experimenting with salt-free cooking. The following four foods are what I now use instead of salt to pep up my meals. Of course I still use salt, but with much more care (and wouldn’t dream of leaving it out of these little babies).
The best way to avoid over salting yourself is to avoid all packaged food, which is pretty much always loaded with hidden salt and sugar.
Cleanse your palate from what food companies think you should find tasty, by shunning anything in a packet, and making your own food. Be a renegade; don’t let anybody decide for you what’s delish!
Then, try the following:
Celery is naturally salty, and the sodium in celery is considered a ‘good’ salt. It gives a salty lift to any meal, and is yummy in salads, or combined with avocado in just about anything (except maybe the last one!).
Celery is a detoxifying and anti-inflammatory veggie. It’s also brilliant for relieving stress and soothing your mood, because it’s rich in calming magnesium, so it’s a great bedtime food.
In traditional Ayurvedic cooking, coriander is paired with lime juice, and they are used as the finishing touch on a dish, for pizzaz. This dynamic duo could be your new, upgraded salt and pepper.
What’s more, coriander is super detoxifying. It rids the body of heavy metals and is super rich in blood-cleansing chlorophyll. If you hate the taste of coriander, use parsley, which is also powerfully detoxifying. Both of these herbs add a lovely zing to soups, salads or smoothies, especially when combined with lime/lemon juice.
Rosemary has a lovely aroma that will pep up any salad. I used it this weekend on a beetroot, carrot, courgette, and red pepper salad. The vinaigrette? Just olive oil and raspberry vinegar, with some rosemary sprinkled in. Totally yum!
Rosemary has antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antiviral powers, and it’s also great at cleansing the liver. It stimulates circulation which in turn helps the body rid itself of waste and toxins. (What’s more it’s amazing for hair!)
Cayenne is powerfully spicy, and will give a tasty punch to curries, sauces, and soups, allowing you to go sans sel with ease.
It’s also great at boosting blood circulation and metabolism, and is a wonderfully detoxifying spice. That’s why we use it every morning.
After a few days off salt, I’m feeling perkier and better hydrated. And I’ve been enjoying rediscovering the taste of unadulterated food – yesterday I had a moment of bliss eating an unsalted avocado. Totally divine, sweet, and creamy all on its own, it turns out!
Let us know how you get on with these salt replacements in the comments below, and how cutting down on salt makes you feel! And do give it time – food may taste bland initially when you cut out salt, but it won’t take long for your tastebuds to regain their sensitivity.