Traverse City Record-Eagle

Edna Shaffer: Grandma's Kitchen

August 10, 2009

Grandma's Kitchen: Love around the table

Also, mind your sodium by reading labels

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If you are, along with me, part of the group of 73 million people working to lower your blood pressure, the American Medical Association has some advice for us. They want to remind us that sodium (salt) is often the culprit and it's something we can change. How? Read our food labels!

The AMA isn't talking about the salt shaker, we know that, but about the salt hidden in about all prepared foods, including delis and restaurants. Would you believe that Aunt Jemima's Original Pancake Mix has more sodium per serving than potato chips, and that two slices of deli turkey breast can have 380 mg?

By adding two slices of bread (250 mg), 1 T. mayo (95 mg) and, heaven forbid, 1 oz. of cheese (180 mg) you've blown 895 mg -- more than a third -- of your daily allowance of 2,300 mg.

We have to read our labels. Blood pressure is more than a number; it's our risk factor. Butter has 95 mg per ounce, unsalted butter has 0. Write down what you are eating just for one day, then look at the salt content. You'll be surprised.

Also, check your potassium levels. Low potassium can lead to sodium retention. There are many potassium-rich foods to help bring your levels up. Our medications will work better when we do our part.

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My friends Martha and Randy have introduced me to coconut oil. I've long been a user of coconut cream and milk for baking and love it. They use the oil almost exclusively, buying it in 50-pound containers. I've had fun researching it on the Internet. So far, I've only used it for popcorn and the flavor is great; you don't need any salt.

I plan to use it for a cookie recipe next and Martha says it makes great apple crisp.

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