BETHLEHEM, Pa. - How much salt do you get in your diet every day?
Health experts say many of us are eating way too much salt and that contributes to heart disease and the risk of stroke.
The American Heart Association says we should get no more than about 1500 milligrams of sodium a day, but many of us take in closer to 4,000.
Chef and nutritionist Wendy Landiak, owner of Shankara restaurant and juice bar at 201 E. Third Street in south Bethlehem, is used to cooking with things other than sodium.
Her passion is vegan organic dishes made with local ingredients.
She has some easy suggestions on how to eat better.
"I use tons of spices, every fresh herb I can possibly use, parsley, cilantro and dried spices I love. I am also a fan of using fermented soy in place of salt." says
Shankara serves up Asian-inspired vegan dishes.
Landiak has owned restaurants in the past, including Balasia restaurant in Emmaus.
She gets most of her ingredients from local organic markets to get the freshest, healthiest foods.
Watching Landiak cook, you'll see she does use salt-- only the right kind of salt. She says our bodies do need salt.
"Salt in my opinion is actually good for you if you have salt with the minerals intact and it's not a refined salt. Refined salt actually go through a process that deplete it of the minerals that are actually in the salt." says Landiak.
She says healthy sea salts can be easily found and while they might be more expensive than traditional processed salts, the benefits of the minerals are priceless.
"Your body needs them for the nervous system to function and for blood pressure. You think salt increases blood pressure but when it's a balanced salt with minerals, it actually doesn't do that."
Landiak also caters and even specializes in vegan weddings.
She says she spent many years researching and perfecting her craft. She says she did have to get used to using sea salts.
"There' s a time in there where you have to get used to using this salt. It's more sensitive on the palate. The other salts are pretty harsh and they hit you right over the head, but I think once you get used to it, you'll really like it."
Another healthy idea for you is to try to stick with foods that are seasonal. Experts say they're more flavorful and nutritious.
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