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food / travel

Mexico City Bans Salt Shakers



MEXICO CITY - About 200,000 restaurants, taverns and cafés in the Mexican capital removed saltshakers from their tables – permanently – on April 4.

The move, reports El Universal, is part of an effort to raise awareness on the dangers of a high sodium diet and its correlation to hypertension and other diseases prevalent in Mexican society.

When Armando Ahued, Mexico City’s Secretary of Health launched the “Less salt, more health” campaign on April 4, he assured restaurant owners that there would be no sanctions against establishment offering salt with their food.

He said he hoped that removing shakers from the table would help reduce the habit people have of salting their food before they even tasting it. If people need salt once they’ve tasted their meal, he added, they can just ask a waiter and salt will be provided!

According to Ahued, the World Health Organization recommends a daily consumption of 5 grams of salt per day, but in Mexico the average personal consumption is between 11 and 12 grams.

He said that one of the consequences of this high sodium intake is that 31% of the Mexican population has arterial hypertension, which combined with other diseases such as obesity and diabetes, causes cardiac attacks, strokes and death, reports El Universal.

Joel Estrada, Chief Cardiologist at the Siglo XXI Medical Center, concurred, saying that by removing saltshakers from tables in restaurants and at home, excessive salt consumption could be reduced by a whopping 50%.

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Salt and pepper shakers in Mexico. Photo Phrawr

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How Brazil's Evangelical Surge Threatens Survival Of Native Afro-Brazilian Faith

Followers of the Afro-Brazilian Umbanda religion in four traditional communities in the country’s northeast are resisting pressure to convert to evangelical Christianity.

image of Abel José, an Umbanda priest

Abel José, an Umbanda priest

Agencia Publica
Géssica Amorim

Among a host of images of saints and Afro-Brazilian divinities known as orixás, Abel José, 42, an Umbanda priest, lights some candles, picks up his protective beads and adjusts the straw hat that sits atop his head. He is preparing to treat four people from neighboring villages who have come to his house in search of spiritual help and treatment for health ailments.

The meeting takes place discreetly, in a small room that has been built in the back of the garage of his house. Abel lives in the quilombo of Sítio Bredos, home to 135 families. The community, located in the municipality of Betânia of Brazil’s northeastern state of Pernambuco, is one of the municipality’s four remaining communities that have been certified as quilombos, the word used to refer to communities formed in the colonial era by enslaved Africans and/or their descendents.

In these villages there are almost no residents who still follow traditional Afro-Brazilian religions. Abel, Seu Joaquim Firmo and Dona Maura Maria da Silva are the sole remaining followers of Umbanda in the communities in which they live. A wave of evangelical missionary activity has taken hold of Betânia’s quilombos ever since the first evangelical church belonging to the Assembleia de Deus group was built in the quilombo of Bredos around 20 years ago. Since then, other evangelical, pentecostal, and neo-pentecostal churches and congregations have established themselves in the area. Today there are now nine temples spread among the four communities, home to roughly 900 families.

The temples belong to the Assembleia de Deus, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and the World Church of God's Power, the latter of which has over 6,000 temples spread across Brazil and was founded by the apostle and televangelist Valdemiro Santiago, who became infamous during the pandemic for trying to sell beans that he had blessed as a Covid-19 cure. Assembleia de Deus alone, who are the largest pentecostal denomination in the world, have built five churches in Betânia’s quilombos.

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