Yes, I'll Take the Heart Attack Pasta with a Side Order of Stroke

Sunday night, my family and I celebrated Mother’s Day at a delish sushi restaurant. A number of ridiculous events unfolded soon after sitting down:

1) The waitress remembered me from the last time Dan and I had eaten there and told my family (at Dan’s request, I might add) that the very reason she remembered me was because apparently, while a teeny bit tipsy, I informed her that Hello Kitty has no mouth, and that the reason she has no mouth is to send a subtle subconscious reminder to women that they should be seen but not heard.

2) She also remembered that I had specifically asked for fake imitation crab in my California roll, not the real stuff, because I “like cheap drugstore sushi better than the fancy stuff.”

3) As I debated what to order for my third roll, she offered me the opportunity to go into the kitchen and “look through the garbage for scraps for my perfect meal.”

But perhaps the BEST, most ludicrous, Goldman-esque thing that happened was…FOY SAUCE.

What is Foy Sauce, you ask? Why, it’s homemade, salt-free, “faux” soy sauce.

I can explain.

About two months ago, my father had a bad heart attack. I haven’t blogged about it yet because I’m still too angry but will definitely address it in the future, I promise. (Including a blow-by-blow account of his journey on the new NutriSystem D weight loss program, which targets people with diabetes). Then, three weeks later, my grandma had a heart attack, too. That was fun. So salt (and sugar and fat) are now mortal enemies in our respective households. Japanese and Thai food are hardly bastions of low-sodium cuisine (two teeny spoonfuls of soy sauce puts you at your daily sodium limit), so my mom went online, Googled “no sodium soy sauce” and found this recipe.

Did it taste like soy sauce? No. But it was totally doable – it moistened the rice enough so it slid down our throats without asphyxiating us, which is the basic task of soy sauce. It tasted salt-y enough and I didn’t have to go home and unbutton my jeans like I normally do post-Philly roll because my stomach was so bloated (aka “The General Tso Puff.”)

At the restaurant, I asked the waitress to please not salt the edamamae. Her response blew me away. She said, “I can ask then not to add extra salt on top, but just so you know, we soak our edamamae overnight in salt water.”

That clunking-clanging sound you heard was my jaw hitting the table and knocking over the soy sauce dish.

I’m a food freak and majored in nutritional sciences in college and even I didn’t know this salty restaurant secret. So where does that leave people like my dad, who thinks a tuna fish sub is healthy because, you know, it has fish in it?
TheCenter for Science in the Public Interest recently examined 17 chain restaurants and found that 85 out of 102 meals had more than a day’s worth of sodium, and some had more than FOUR days’ worth, including:

-Red Lobster Admirals’ Feast with Caesar Salad, Creamy Lobster Topped Mashed Potato, Cheddar Bay Biscuit, and a Lemonade:  7,106 mg
-Chili’s Buffalo Chicken Fajitas (with tortillas and condiments) and a Dr Pepper: 6,916 mg
-Olive Garden Chicken Parmigiana with a Breadstick, Garden Fresh Salad with House Dressing, and Raspberry Lemonade:  5,735 mg

“Who knows how many Americans have been pushed prematurely into their graves thanks to sodium levels like those found in Olive Garden, Chili’s, and Red Lobster?” CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson said. “These chains are sabotaging the food supply.  They should cut back and give consumers the freedom to decide for themselves how much salt they want.”        

Moms, your kids are at risk, too. These meals have one or two days’ worth of kids' sodium:

-Chili’s Country Fried Chicken Crispers with Rice and 1% milk: 2,385 mg
-KFC Popcorn Chicken with Macaroni and Cheese, Teddy Grahams, and 2% milk: 2,005 mg
-Jack in the Box Chicken Strips Grilled, Buffalo Sauce, Fries, and 1 % milk: 1,980 mg
-Olive Garden Chicken Fingers, Fries, and Raspberry Lemonade:  1,835 mg

According to the Institute of Medicine, children aged 4-8 should consume no more than 1,200 mg of sodium PER DAY.

Remember, salt hikes your chance of developing hypertension, heart attacks, strokes, and kidney disease. Plus, it makes your belly bloat and your rings cut off the circulation to your fingers. People with high blood pressure, African Americans, and people middle-aged and older—70 percent of the population—should consume no more than 1,500 mg of sodium daily, according to the government’s dietary advice. For the rest of us, stick to no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day.  

Do you watch your sodium intake? Ever checked out the label on a can o’ soup? Could you stick to two measly spoonfuls of soy sauce with your sushi? PS Don’t even try to steal my mom’s Foy Sauce recipe – we’re getting that trademarked asap.

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