What’s Shakin’? Are you Reading your Spice Labels?


Lately, on social media, I’ve noticed people are posting or asking what type of spices they used to season their meats, poultry, seafood and vegetables especially the ones who are trying to make a healthier lifestyle change.

While it’s very commendable you’re trying to eat better, balance plates, while practicing portion control, what and how many different types of spices that you’re using to season your food plays a huge part in becoming successful with your diet, preventing chronic illnesses or trying to become medication free, especially those suffering from diabetes and hypertension.

Most people have only a few common spices in their pantry such as iodized salt, Lawry’s seasoned salt, black pepper, garlic salt, onion salt, no name brand soul food seasoning and lemon pepper seasoning. If you’re the real chef boyardee and grill master, you might have expanded your pantry to have Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning, Cavender’s All Purpose Greek Seasoning, Slap Yo Mama Seasoning, and all of the McCormick’s Grill mate seasonings lol.

Do you know what all of those seasonings I’ve listed have in common? The first ingredient on the label is salt! Most people tend to use more than one of those seasonings at any given time to season and cook their food.

That’s why you can’t lose any weight, your blood pressure is too high, your head is hurting, your hands and ankles are swollen, you look bloated, and you’re on kidney dialysis. It’s because you’re retaining water and eating too much salt. I’ve seen people put salt on their food first without tasting it out of sheer habit.

Opt for using fresh herbs and powders instead of those premade spices and seasoning packets that contain salt. Kosher salt or sea salt rather than lawry’s or soul food seasoning. Fresh lemons, black pepper and kosher salt instead of lemon pepper seasoning. Remember, you should still be mindful when using any type of salt. You can always add a little more, but you can never take too much of any spice away.

Make your own Jerk, Mediterranean, Moroccan, Indian, Asian or Italian spice blend. I make my own spice blends so that I can control the sodium content and my food is still flavorful. Expand your palate, pantry and shot at life by getting rid of all of those salt laden spices.

While grocery shopping this week, pick up some rosemary, cumin, smoked paprika, thyme, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, poultry seasoning, chili powder, and parsley just to name a few. Did you know that parsley is a natural diuretic that helps with hypertension?

This list is a good spice starter kit to go along with your kosher or sea salt and black pepper. There are so many more elaborate spices that are out there you can experiment with in your kitchen, but these few should help guide you along the way to a healthier you and cooking flavorful meals with less salt.

I hope you have a successful, productive and flavorful week. Happy cooking! Live and Be Well.