Monday 15 June 2015

Reducing the salt and home made burgers

I promised a recipe a week – you got one last Monday for Broccoli Soup. And today, you get one for Homemade Beef Burgers.

But first, the story…reducing the salt:

I’ve got high blood pressure. My sister has polycystic kidneys, which she got from my Dad. My eldest daughter has had a few kidney stones. So clearly, one of the things we need to do as a family is eat less salt. Not exactly rocket science. But easier said than done.

You may think that eating less salt is merely not adding it. Yes that helps. As does cutting out all processed and prepackaged food.  In fact, that probably solves most of the problem. Problem is, even once you have done that, you are still getting too much salt daily. There is salt in almost everything – carrots, celery, and even spinach. And even if you “never add salt”, you may be getting too much.

So “how much is enough?” I hear you ask. Less and less, actually. The more studies are done, the more research shows that less is more, in this case. When we consulted a dietician for kidney stones, she gave us some sound advice – For normal people no more than 1 teaspoon per day (or 2300mg). That is a third of a teaspoon with each meal. For those of us who need to eat less salt, it is half of that. You can achieve this if you eat foods with no more than 100mg of salt per 100g of serving. 

Most fruit and vegies are fine, actually. As are most foods that are fresh and not smoked or cured in any way. But how do you tell?
The label. You need to check the label. So after weeks and weeks of my shopping taking hours instead of minutes, because I checked every label in the store, I have learned that you look for the sodium amount per 100g serving. It should be less than 100mg (or, if they show g, less than 0.1 grams - you know its bad, when they show grams per 100mg serving)

My journey has involved making all the things that are too high in salt – everything from tomato sauce, to bread, to stock – chicken, vegetable and beef.  Mayonnaise can be made, as can muesli, and even crumbed chicken! I would love to report here that everyone loves my homemade food. But they don’t. They tolerate it. (Except my sister. And my mother. They love it.) Our before dinner conversations go something like this:

“What’s for supper, Mom?”
“Real lasagne?”
“Of course, real lasagne.”
“Made with meat?”
“Not vegetables.”
“And cheese on top.”
“Yes, just a little.”

Same for mayo and tomato sauce – they prefer the “real”, store-bought versions. But every now and again, I hit a winner. And this is it. Homemade beef burgers. We all love it, even my kids. I’ve adapted Jamie Oliver’s recipe, but google the original if you like, it’s also good. Served with Home made rolls. Yum. And I'm not a great baker, I promise you, but these are good.

You may also like My food journey - how it all started. Or part two of Reducing the salt - read the labels.

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