Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Wurst Case Scenarios

Recently, at my annual check-up, the doctor discovered my blood pressure was higher than it should be. The doctor prescribed some medication for me to try, which worked very well, but I also found out that it may be possible to lower your blood pressure by making some better lifestyle choices—more exercise, losing weight, and reducing the amount of salt in your diet.

I started checking the labels of the foods I buy and was shocked to learn how much sodium (salt) is in many of my favorite things. This is expressed on the labels as “% Daily Value” meaning what percent of your daily recommended “allowance” of salt is in that food. For most foods, the percentages are in the 5-15% range, but when you add up all the different things we eat each day, and all the ingredients we might use to make the dishes we cook, it’s easy to end up consuming 200% or more of the salt we should.

Luckily, there are low sodium alternatives to many brands of foods, even things like bread, bacon and cheese. And, you can of course completely eliminate some of the major sodium-laden culprits like soy sauce from your cooking. Or simply not eat as much of certain items. Have just a little sprinkling of cheese on your chili instead of the usual cheddar blizzard. Fast food is another good thing to eliminate from your diet in order to lower salt intake. Many restaurants make up for lack of food quality and culinary skill by liberally applying salt to everything.

So far, so good. But then I discovered something that came as a major shock: MY FAVORITE BRAND OF BRATWURST had a sodium value of 30%--much more than I should consume. Imagine a Green Bay Packer fan who is not allowed to eat brats. This is bad, bad news, truly a wurst case scenario. I can’t imagine watching Packer football without eating brats. It’s almost unthinkable. Some foods naturally go with football, some don’t. Think about during the game broadcasts when they take you into the luxury boxes at the stadiums and show you all the gourmet food the rich folk are eating like filet mignon in bĂ©arnaise sauce or duck confit. It doesn’t seem right somehow. Brats seem right.

But then I thought, next football season is months and months away: it’s no time to panic or feel sorry for myself. I enjoy experimenting with recipes, so I’m going to attempt to create the next generation of wurst:


Wish me luck.

No comments: