1950s high blood pressure meat loaf

Gladys Fedelia Kendrick Hinga and children around 1930 in Holland, Michigan

My grandma Gladys was a well-educated woman and lovely hostess.I have to give credit to her for instilling me with an appreciation of new scientific advances. She wove such horror tales of life without technology and antibiotics and the difficultly of being a wife and mother during those times. See that cute little girl? That’s my Aunt Connie who was born before antibiotics. She’d get ear infections and puss would drip from her ear! No wonder I rushed to board the lifeboat that was scientific progress.

Grandma was a wonderful cook. But when pre-packaged foods came about she had no qualms about using them — freeing up time to go dancing or take her grandchildren on educational outings. I still remember when she took me to a museum and I saw a whole display of shrunken heads.

Here’s her meatloaf recipe. Easy, tasty, and loaded with sodium chloride!

3 lbs ground beef

2/3 cup oatmeal

1 1/4 cup V-8

3 eggs

1 pkg Lipton onion soup mix

2 tablespoons mustard

1/4 tsp pepper

3 tsp salt

Worcester sauce

Bake at 350 for 1 1/2 hours.


Salt is both good and bad. It can help retain fluids in the body but too much will cause kidneys and arteries to overwork and thus create hypertension and damage to kidneys and arteries. In fact, my grandmother suffered from artery damage later in life. Biologist Dr. Ellen Dupree explains it this way “Salt is essential for normal functioning of our cells.  Too much or too little salt affects water balance in our cells, affects our blood pressure, the ability of our nervous system to function properly and can affect kidney function.  Salt levels are so important that we have multiple hormones designed to maintain proper salt concentrations in blood (and around cells).”

I can’t sleep when I’ve eaten too much salt and I’m not the only one. Endocrine Abstracts published a study that found that salty foods will keep people awake and give them restless sleep. In graduate school I used to eat a hot dog the morning of an exam to wake me up after a night of cramming–especially for organic chemistry, oh what a killer.That was in the 80s when people said things like “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” Would I pull an all nighter today? Na.




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