Let me introduce Dr. Siva Vemana, an internist in Springfield, Ohio and close family friend who has been my personal physician for many decades. Dr. Vemana was the main reason I ended up coming to Springfield Ohio, and despite many trials and tribulations the main reason I have remained here since the early 1980s. He has been the go-to guy for all my family’s medical—and emotional support—needs.
Dr. Vemana, who moved to Springfield just a few years before I did, comes a part of Southern India where salt consumption is probably the highest that I know of. This part of India is famous for the saltiest and hottest pickles you can think of. People there start their meals with pickles and end their meals with pickles. I have known people from this area to eat these super hot pickles straight simply to demonstrate their manliness.
They not only love the heat, they love the salt. People from this area often ask me, “How can you eat anything with less salt?” or “What is point of eating without salt?” Some have even stronger reactions. ”What is the point of living if you have to eat without salt?” they want to know.
So although high blood pressure and heart problems are rampant in every household in this area, you can understand why I have not approached this group until quite recently. Not surprisingly, my news about the dangers of eating salt has not been all that welcome.
So imagine my shock when out of the blue Dr. Vemana, who happened to be sitting next to me just the other day, announced to me, “You know, food actually tastes better without salt.” I immediately pulled out my phone camera and requested that he repeat his words on camera.
People often have the impression that once you cut back on salt, food is tasteless. But the experience of many who have successfully cut out salt is quite the opposite. Once your tongue starts appreciating the natural tastes and flavors of the foods we are supposed to eat, you won’t want to mask them with salt.
Dr. Vemana reached that stage and you can too. Don’t give up without trying.