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January 2010

Salt This! New York Health Department: An Open Response

To Whom It May Concern:

I'm on a salt crusade and anyone who wants to join me is more than welcome. If you don't like salt, or want it banished from your plate, that's your choice. But you have to agree that we all have the right to eat what and how we want. It's like the first amendment right to freedom of speech - only it's about freedom to eat.

But New York City Heath Department is now trying to take that right away by trying to control how much salt we eat -- whether we are eating out at restaurants or at home. Who are these people? Why the need to exercise supremacy over others? Tell me...what happened to freedom of choice in this country? It's getting more and more difficult to live decadently and I live in the City of decadence (well, one of them).

The New York City Health Department is asking the food industry to voluntarily lower salt in their products over the next five years. Their goal is to decrease salt level by 25% - TWENTY FIVE Percent! Ouch! And they have this inane idea that if they decrease it slowly over time, people's palates will adjust, get used to the lack of flavor, and won't notice that their food doesn't taste good anymore. That's ridiculous! What do they take us for - idiots? (That's a rhetorical question... of course they do and, unfortunately, many of us are.)

We've been here before:

Seriously, the idea is that it's somehow more healthy to eat less salt? People will believe anything! Don't they know that decades ago they were telling people not to eat so much pepper? That pepper produces hardening of the arteries and liver damage - In fact, it's six times as active as gin in producing cirrhosis of the liver. But there is no way we're going back to the days of prohibition. So, gin and pepper stay! 

It's not trendy to reduce pepper (or gin) in people's diet, not anymore. Now, it's much more popular to focus on salt as the evil. But does it really seem right to blame death and destruction on a natural substance like salt? Isn't it worse to put synthetic things in our system? Not according to the Health Department. What arrogance to think that we can do better than nature at providing good preservatives and flavor enhancers!

Many people buy into the idea that salt causes high blood pressure, heart problems or whatever the current rhetoric is; fear tactics that have little base in reality. What they consider healthy eating is, incidentally, not necessarily accurate. The truth is we need salt to live. Creating a salt deficiency is unsafe. But the Health Department thinks we're so stupid that we will believe anything they claim and, with this, they attempt to "handle" us.

They claim that people get 80% of their salt intake from the way the food is cooked or packaged not from table salt...well, they've never sat at a table where I'm eating. I grew up on processed food and have used (what would be considered by their standards to be excessive amounts of) table salt on that food - all my life...and guess what? I have LOW blood pressure. If I ate less salt, my blood would simply stop pumping and that would be a tragedy. I could die. So stop the silliness and let us eat food we like and need. Let us determine what's healthy for our own bodies. And, quite honestly, if it does kills us - which it won't - isn't that our choice? I'd rather die of salty food than a flavorless life.

Oh, and then, one of the worst arguments comes from Dr.Thomas Farley (New York City Health Commissioner) who said, “Consumers can always add salt to food, but they can’t take it out,” True, you can always add salt - and I do. But has he ever tasted food that was not prepared with enough salt and then tried to add enough salt to it after preparation? It never works right - the food always just tastes bland or weird. You try this and you'll see what I'm talking about.

And think of the cost to the food industry to implement such a feat...taste testing and recipe changing takes time and money. Who will bare the cost of this? Us - the consumer! We will have to pay more for food that is not delicious.

I know some people who have been wooed by the Health Department's claims and are trying to lower their salt intake. These people will not be impacted by this "out with the sodium" incentive.


Again, my argument is:

We should have choice - about lifestyle, about beliefs and about food!

People can currently buy less-salty packaged food goods and low-sodium menu items if they choose to now. So why force all of us to do that? I mean, I'm not going to make you eat your vegetables, and I certainly won't eat them. But I will, absolutely, fight for your right to eat them, no matter what anyone else thinks!

What's a sodium deficient girl, like me, to do?
...Start a salt crusade! Join me in maintaining our right to be salty.

Click here to go to our facebook SOS (Save Our Salt) group - let's change the world


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Never Settle


No matter what the situation or circumstances in life, most of us are taught to compromise in order to get what we want (or what we are told we can have). We’re encouraged to be satisfied with the way things are. If we not, we’re labeled as ungrateful or entitled. We're seen as expecting too much.’ We believe that good enough’ is the best we can expect; we make due, because we think that to want more is unrealistic.

I do not think that wanting more is unrealistic, but I do believe that we often convince ourselves that it is. 

When we believe that we shouldn't expect too much, we protect ourselves from disappointment by lowering our expectations. So, we settle for things that are not completely fulfilling. We tell ourselves that anything more - is impossible. Thus, generating a life of mediocrity. By not allowing ourselves to expect more, we relegate ourselves to a life in which ‘having it all’ cannot happen. 

What we expect, is what we get. We stay safe by closing ourselves off to a better option because we’re afraid it's not available to us or that it may not exist at all; or that the path to get to it is, well - too wrought with strife or too difficult or too - whatever...unreachable. 

I don’t believe that living life halfway is what life is about. For me, that is not enough.

It’s not that I’ve never lived by the rules, or believed that I’m asking too much to want more. It's not that I've never been afraid to hope because I might face disappointment or pain. We all get drawn in to this mode of thinking at times. But I found that putting up with things that are good’, but not good enough’, is not a life I'm interested in living. I can have something more -- something better. So, I refuse to accept anything less than the possibility of everything.

I’ve risked everything in my life to live beyond the status quo… and I have no regrets.

I don't settle in my aspirations, or my relationships - because I'd rather have a life full of failure and loneliness, than a life without hopes and dreams. I may not get everything, but I can never complain that I did not live a life filled with rich experience that moved me, challenged me and enriched me.

By not settling, I’ve made room for opportunities I didn't even know were there and created a life that is beyond anything I could ever have imagined.

Open yourself up to things you never thought possible, things that others may call pipe-dreams, and you will be amazed. There are no guarantees that you will get everything. But I can absolutely guarantee that if you settle, you'll never know the endless possibilities of a life without limits.

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