The Triton

Career

Culinary Waves: Shaking free of sodium takes time, awareness

ADVERTISEMENT

Culinary Waves: by Chef Mary Beth Lawton Johnson

We as yachties are surrounded by saltwater. We swim in it, fish in it, boat in it. We scrub our bodies with it to freshen our skin. Yet we spend a lot of energy trying to control this mineral it in our bodies.

One teaspoon of salt contains 2,300 milligrams of sodium. The facts surrounding salt intake are disheartening. It affects more than just the feeling of extra weight gain. That is why we need to seriously take another look at sodium, where it is found and what we can do about it to live a healthier life.

Everything we consume has some form of sodium in it. For those of us watching our weight or on a heart-healthy diet, sodium is first on our watch list. I had two crew members and many guests over the years who suffered from heart problems.

The more sodium we consume, the more fluid will accumulate, putting excess burden on the heart and blood vessels. Too much sodium can lead to spikes in blood pressure. With that, the risk of stroke increases, kidney function decreases and our cognitive abilities take a hit. About 10 percent of all deaths in the United States are related to too much sodium intake, resulting in about 1.65 million deaths a year.

When the body has more sodium than it needs from nutritional sources, it will excrete it in the urine. But consume too much, and the body can’t keep up, resulting in swollen feet, puffy eyes, swollen tissues and fluid around the heart.

The ideal amount of sodium for a man with heart problems is 1,200mg a day. That’s about half a teaspoon, not much for those who enjoy the flavor of salt.

As chefs, we have to find healthier ways to flavor food. Start with the absolutely freshest foods available, steering clear of prepackaged or frozen meals. They contain a lot of added sodium as preservatives. If buying frozen veggies for the boat or crew, buy them without sauce and make sure the package says “Fresh Frozen.”

In fact, any product that will keep for weeks in the refrigerator should send up a huge red flag that it is loaded with sodium. Bacon and other processed meats are a big culprit here.

When cooking with chicken broth or chicken seasonings such as bouillon, be aware that those can have a lot of sodium, too.

Consider making homemade chips by dehydrating veggies. Slice veggies paper thin and slowly bake them or using a dehydrator. Sprinkle with herbs instead of salt.

Be sure to read all food labels. High sugar content can mask the sodium content so be sure to check every line on the food for sodium.

For healthier guests and crew onboard, limit prepackaged foods and ready-processed meats. And start weaning diners off the salt shaker. Mix some herbs in with it, a little at first, then more and more until there’s very little salt but lots of flavor.

A little known fact: It takes about eight weeks for our taste buds to adjust to less-salty food. In the meantime, step on the scale each day after going to the bathroom to see just how much of a difference sodium can play in weight gain through water retention. Seeing that benefit will make those weeks getting used to less salty foods just fly by.

Mary Beth Lawton Johnson is a certified executive pastry chef and Chef de Cuisine and has worked on yachts for more than 25 years. Comments are welcome below.

Related Posts...
Culinary Waves: by Chef Mary Beth Lawton Johnson I remember Read more...
Culinary Waves: by Chef Mary Beth Lawton Johnson Too often the Read more...
Culinary Waves: by Chef Mary Beth Lawton Johnson We need Read more...
Culinary Waves: by Chef Mary Beth Lawton Johnson London has Read more...
Culinary Waves: by Chef Mary Beth Lawton Johnson I recently Read more...

Share This Post

About Chef Mary Beth LawtonJohnson

Mary Beth Lawton Johnson is a certified executive pastry chef and Chef de Cuisine and has worked on yachts for more than 25 years.

View all posts by Chef Mary Beth LawtonJohnson →

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please answer the question below to leave a comment. * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

Editor’s Picks

Triton networks with Culinary Convenience

Triton networks with Culinary Convenience

A brisk South Florida evening was the perfect setting for outdoor Triton networking with Culinary Convenience on the third Wednesday in …

Refit18: Show focused on refits grows 28 percent

Refit18: Show focused on refits grows 28 percent

As yachts age and yacht owners personalize them, the refit industry continues to grow. The third annual Refit International Exhibition …

Hot trip on the Hudson highlights perils of procrastination

Hot trip on the Hudson highlights perils of procrastination

By Capt. Bruce Gregory I've made 40-plus offshore passages from 50 miles to 1,500 miles in boats from 8-foot dinghies to 80-foot tugs; …

Top Shelf: The Birth of Aki-Maki

Top Shelf: The Birth of Aki-Maki

Top Shelf: by Chef Tim MacDonald Many years ago on Huntress, I was taught about the theory of “POP”’ on a yacht. The owner …