Monday, September 29, 2014
My doctor asked me two years ago to reduce the amount of sodium in my diet in the hope that I could avoid increased medication for high blood pressure. One wouldn’t think that would be as difficult as it really is for most of us.
Some days I feel I am making little progress in my efforts to reduce sodium. Sodium seems to be in the most unlikely of products, and if the sodium is reduced, one can bet the sugar content is up. It takes forever to shop for food if one is reading labels properly, but I do believe my skills and understanding are improving.
Of course, one clue is to eat fresh fruits and vegetables. I do that. I buy organic when possible and even find some vegetables in cans with no-salt added. The most difficult canned product to find with little sodium is soup, so now I do try to make my own.
Processing seems to be the culprit. Why is it that even the most unlikely product contains sodium. Breakfast cereal? Really?
It turns out that companies add sodium to products for several reasons. First, salt is a preservative and it extends shelf life of the product. Second, the addition of salt can reduce the growth of food-borne pathogens. Third, it improves the taste by binding the ingredients and functions as a stabilizer. It also enhances the colors of foods.
So with all those benefits of adding salt, it makes the product last longer on the shelf and is more profitable to the company - a win-win for the company. Unfortunately, the product is not so good for people. The more processed the food is, the worse it is for you.
While the recommended intake is 1500 mg daily, I don’t even like to think of the effect of overindulging – i.e., stroke and weight gain. These are certainly not attractive in my mind.
So I keep trying and today I jumped up and down in the isle of my discount pharmacy when I found “Uncle Rays No-Salt-Added Potato Chips.” I expected them to taste like wood chips, but they don’t. They are really quite tasty.
In fact, they were so good I went to the company website and checked out the company. It isn’t a large company and I doubt it will put Frito-Lay out of business, but for a gal that has worked so hard on reducing sodium, I was really pleased to find one of my favorite foods without the salt. Thanks Uncle Ray.
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
As a quilter, you can imagine that I run into many a quilt, and I do meet great people and great quilts. Sometimes, both have great stories to tell. And then, sometimes, I just have to extrapolate on the information I have and imagine the story they have to tell.
Take this old blue quilt for example - it is one of three quilt tops that were delivered to my little quilting bee by an anonymous person. A guy showed up at the senior center one day and said he had found them in an old shed “out back” and wondered if anyone could use them. The director brought them to my quilting group asking if they were worth saving.
They made a smelly pile. There were water stains and all were badly dirt stained. All were “pieced” by hand and with varied stitch quality. Of the three, I thought this one had the best chance of being servicable, so I volunteered to see if I could tack it together and quilt it with my longarm.
I felt I had to quilt it before I washed it just to keep it together. Then I would do what repair work it needed. My machine was not happy, as the quilter had not squared the blocks and there was a bit of excess fabric to sew through. It was puffy and rough where she had eased the pattern along, but surprisingly, her corners met fairly well and the darn thing was almost square.
So here is what I think about this quilt. First, I know the person who made it was elderly. It was hand pieced and the stitches at one end were much better than the other end. She was probably in declining health. Second, I know it took a long time to quilt it. The fabrics on the better half of the quilt were not the same as the other. She had run out of fabic and had to “make do.” And Third, I bet she (or her family) thought it wasn’t worth saving or couldn’t afford to have it quilted.
You might ask, did it turn out well enough to use after I quilted it? Well, I think it did. The machine quilting tightened it up considerably and then I went back and hand quilted many of the corners to tighten the connections. It is still puffy, there wasn’t anything I could do about that. But all the stains except one little brown spot the size of a pea did wash out. All in all, it looks like a quilt your grandma would have made for you and I think there are lots of young kids out there that could use a grandma quilt.
The thing that bugs me is that I don’t know what the pattern is. At first I thought it was an “Xs and Os” but then realized it was a flower pattern. I’ve been through my books and just can’t locate it. If I could, it would help date the quilt.
If I ever get any further information on the quilt, it will just have to be for my own peace of mind. I will deliver it to my quilt group this week and we will probably donate it to Carpenter House, a local residence school for girls. I will also make a pretty doll quilt and wrap a soft plush toy to go with it. Somehow, I just know that’s what Grandma would have done.