It’s been 5½ weeks since I cut way back on my salt consumption in order to get my blood-pressure down after a scary visit to the cardiologist. And while the B.P. has come down, that’s not the real story. The real story is that I’ve dropped 17½ pounds in the same period, and this, completely painlessly.

My wife is a very down-to-earth person; my business partner has jokingly nicknamed her “Just the facts”. This morning she weighed in and announced that, miraculously, she too has lost about 5 lbs. in the same 5½ weeks! “I can’t believe it”, she said over our morning coffee, “It’s been almost imperceptible”.

This morning’s Montreal Gazette carried a very important story in its Business section. The article describes how Campbell’s new CEO, Denise Morrison, plans to “put back the salt” into Campbells’ soups in order to drive sales upward. Apparently, the company’s efforts to reduce salt and appeal to a more health conscious audience has been a failure. In essence, what Ms. Morrison points out by her decision, is that salt drives taste, and taste drives consumption.

The rather strange phenomenon that I have encountered is that if you dramatically reduce your salt consumption, you rather quickly lose your appetite; you move from “living to eat”, to “eating to live”. And in a wonderful Yin-Yang dichotomy, when you do eat a “caution-to-the-wind” restaurant meal, you enjoy it all the more in contrast to the rather pedestrian flavors of your daily routine.

This doesn’t mean that our daily food is bland and tasteless. We still buy only the freshest organic vegetables and fruits from the Hippies, terrific organic meats and poultry, fresh fish, great cheeses, etc. But everything is prepared very simply, bringing out each food’s natural flavor; it tastes really good (even better after the first few weeks’ adaptation period), but lacks the OMG flavor that drives you to want more even if you’re full.

And in my previous report a couple of weeks ago, I had noted that around the 3 week mark I felt rather listless and almost depressed, as if my mind were mourning the loss of its preferred stress outlet. I’m happy to report that that feeling only lasted a few days, after which my food seemed to taste better (as the mind also adapts to the lower salt expectation), and I found new stress outlets that weren’t previously very pleasant due to the higher weight, e.g. biking, kayaking, walking.

Man, the weight makes a difference. My bike speed has moved from an 18 kph average to almost 21 kph; a huge average speed increase in such a short time-frame. I used to struggle to keep up with my svelte and athletic wife on walks; now I can at least keep up without her having to slow down for me.

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