It’s Hypertension Day: lower your blood pressure.

Blood pressure increases with age and sadly plagues over 50% of Canadians over the age of 50 according to the Canadian Community Health Survey, 2011. As you are probably aware, sodium intake is a key culprit. Last year I wrote about having a gene variant that increases my chances of developing high blood pressure if I consume a diet high in sodium. Luckily I am pretty vigilant and with it being Hypertension Day today, I’d like to share some strategies, along with a guest post from personal chef Elaine Wilson, to help you manage your sodium intake.

1. The old adage— Eat more fruits and vegetables— is more important than ever. All fruits and vegetables contain potassium which lowers blood pressure.

2. Decrease fast and processed foods. Most of the sodium Canadians consume actually comes from processed foods.

3. Cook more meals at home. Restaurants add lots of salt (and fat too) to make dishes taste good.

This last point is what we’re focusing on today- thinking outside the box when it comes to seasoning foods. This is why I am so pleased to introduce Elaine Wilson of Allium Foodworks.  Elaine has created a great line of sodium free spice blends and has written a guest blog for us to share her knowledge about cooking salt free foods that pop with flavor! Take it away:

The key difference between a personal chef and a restaurant chef is treatment of ingredients.  As one of Edmonton’s busiest personal chefs, I prepare delicious and nutritious meals, helping people eat great without excessive sodium or fat.

The goal of restaurant chefs is to keep diners coming back.  Some find the easiest way to make food taste good is by adding lots of salt and fat (butter, oil, cream, etc.).  It’s an inexpensive way to make low-quality ingredients taste great.  It’s the same trick used by processed food manufacturers – those boxes and tins are full of salt, sugar, artificial colours, flavours and preservatives.  This is especially true of diet, low-fat, low-carb and sugar-free products.

It has been proven that healthy people are those who take time to cook using quality ingredients, lots of vegetables, seafood, legumes and small portions of meat.  They eat little processed food.  Elimination diets don’t work in the long-term because along with food, they eliminate balance.

But who wants to spend hours in the kitchen?  Not me.  Most of us want food that tastes great and is satisfying, but is also fast.  Food You Can Cook was launched in 2012 as a solution.

An alternative to commercial spice blends and sauces, Food You Can Cook products help make meals quick and delicious with lots of flavour and little to no salt.  We have almost 30 different salt-free spice and herb blends – Mexican, Italian, Indian, BBQ rubs, French, Cajun, and more – bursting with flavour.  There’s no salt, sugar, MSG or preservatives.  Food You Can Cook marinara sauces have no added salt or sugar, and Food You Can Cook Thai curry sauces and marinades made with fresh ingredients and are lower in sodium.

Through cooking classes and our product line we encourage folks to take control of their eating by preparing quick and delicious meals at home.  I don’t like to spend a lot of time in the kitchen either, so the recipes that I teach and share use easy-to-find ingredients.


Here’s a recipe for a tasty low-sodium side dish for your weekend grilling. Visit me at the City Market Downtown to pick up the blends you’ll need, or just come say hi! I’d love to visit with you. Most of all, I encourage you to have more fun in the kitchen and not be so serious – who says you can’t play with your food!