A mineral so elemental it’s a pillar of the Bible. Cordelia loses Lear’s love by comparing it to her affection for her father. And down here, it’s a major ingredient of our favorite heart-attack-in-a-brown-bag, cracklins. Hmm, maybe Mayor Bloomberg has a point.

The thrice-elected billionaire health nut, New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg is lowering the boom on the residents’ salt intake, now that he has banished trans fats and cigarette smoke from the Big Apple. The city’s administration is aiming to pinch salt levels in food, both packaged and served in restaurants, by 25 percent over the next five years, in an effort to lower New Yorker’s blood pressure and help prevent strokes and heart attacks.

Several national companies including Campbells, A & P, and Subway are on board with the Bloomberg plan. What does that mean for places like New Iberia, which bills itself as the saltiest, pepperiest, oiliest and sweetest city on earth? Will it affect production at the salt mines that pepper the region? Probably not. But your foot-long spicy Italian sub may not taste the same after it’s gone through a salt reduction program.

More reason to forgo fast food and patronize our local poboy joints. Why even bother with chain restaurants when you can get an amazing muffuletta at Cedar Grocery, a killer meatball poboy at Olde Tyme, and a shrimp poboy so overstuffed you can’t even get your mouth around it down at Bon Creole in New Iberia.

As for health, lowering salt intake may help folks with high blood pressure, but salt is a key component in human health. The two major components of salt, chloride and sodium ions, are necessary for the survival of all living creatures. Salt helps regulate water content and maintain the body’s fluid balance. Here, in the hot humid South, it is especially important to ingest enough salt, especially when exercising. We don’t drink Gatorade because it tastes good. 

So back to those cracklins. I don’t really think the salt is the problem, it’s the fried fat. Cracklins wouldn’t taste so great if it weren’t for the salt anyway. My solution: only eat three at a time. Then drink a beer, the alcohol is great for cleaning out your arteries. Then do a little dancing, just to mix everything up. You’ll have a great time and live to be 100.

Remember that survey that came out last month? Louisiana is the happiest state. New York is the most unhappy state. But we knew that before anybody counted. You don’t even have to take those numbers with a grain of salt.

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