The recommended cap of 1,500 milligrams of salt a day for those with hypertension is left in the dust with processed foods. Hypertension (high blood pressure) leads to many health problems, but salt is one of the easiest foods to cut back because we quickly grow accustomed to the lower level. The trick to lowering our salt intake and keeping it low is to stop eating processed foods.
Salt contributes tremendous benefits to the processed food industry but is one of the most difficult ingredients for them to lower or eliminate. This is because the abundant effects of adding salt to foods are irreplaceable and salt is cheap. Salt enhances flavors, delays spoiling, and is largely used in the industry for masking bitter flavors. In fact, without salt, no one would buy processed foods because they don’t taste very good when salt is eliminated. Salt is a key ingredient of baked goods because it slows down the reaction of sugar and yeast, making the bread rise more slowly for better baking. Any processed meats will taste like cardboard and develop a rubbery unpleasant texture without a lot of salt. By far the most salt we eat is not from the salt shaker on our tables but from processed foods.
Jesus Christ said, “You are the salt of the earth.” Our Christian lives enhance the lives of those around us in our actions and words. We as Christians are of very little use by ourselves but are useful in many ways around others. Perhaps our words of hope in Christ or our gentle healing touch has “delayed the spoiling” of someone’s heart. Bitterness against the harsh realities of this world are “masked” by the promises of Christ for a new life and even a new world. Just as the processed food industry would end without salt, what would our world be like without Christ? Often we feed off of the effect of Christ in our world so much that we no longer see Him as we should. We forget the ways he changed the world and how great his mercy is to us that we are not the cruel heathens we once were.
Failure from trying to understand God can devastate us so that even our visual awareness is affected: our world looks drab and colorless, and the beauty around us is no longer pleasing. Many of our efforts can be directed at trying to “enhance” our lives to find beauty and pleasure. If we truly understand what Christ’s forgiveness means, we would not seek other things to take His place in our lives. The kindness of other Christians helps us to understand that Christ Himself will help us to live as we should, and that He covers all our short-comings so that God only sees us as His children. When we live in the light of Christ, pleasure and beauty abound in and around us, but many of us will never forget the loneliness and the drabness of a life without Him.
Two thousand years ago the need for salt was nearly as great as a need for air or water. Salt was so useful that wages were sometimes paid in salt. A life in Christ is such an abundant life that it attracts all those who are seeking Him. To those who seek to know Christ, we are like salt to food and as important as air or water. When we finally find Him, our gratefulness pours out to others and we cannot help but to reach out to them.
Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4:6