The funny thing, Brent, and all, is that I don't like salt and I am not tempted by it (or any other spice) in the least. In fact, I find the taste of salt repugnant generally and the only time I tolerate it is with smoked salmon. Salt is my green eggs and ham. The problem is that, unless I cook from scratch in my own kitchen, or get lucky and/or very selective purchasing food at restaurants or prepared foods at supermarkets, or eat only vegetables, I know the food is salted.Last month, I came down with a wicked case of sciatica from foolishly overdoing "bear crawls" indoors for cardio one rainy morning. I was homebound for two weeks, ate the same amount as I eat normally while working and, obviously, got almost zero exercise. I nevertheless lost three pounds. When I returned to work the following week, and returned to full activities at the gym, and eating my lunches at area restaurants,I regained the three pounds in a few days, even though I wasn't eating any more than when I was incapacitated. My conclusion: the three pounds were water weight related to hidden salt consumption.This, in short, is the problem, and I increasingly am coming to the view, but am not there yet, that I need to become a vegetarian. Either that or eat the way our ancestors ate before the advent of processed foods and additives (impossible, I submit, unless you live on a farm or in a primitive society, and probably why the obesity rate in our country is reportedly 40%).
Many people find that low sodium diets "just have no taste", and they are often right. We have a couple in our Chapter #61 (Dayton OH), Mike and Jeannine Diano, who were on a low sodium diet. Mike started baking peppers, then ground them up and mixed them to make his own spices. Eventually Mike and Jeannine started selling their spices (called Big Axe Spices because Mike said he had a big axe to grind with sodium), and they now sell on Amazon as well as some grocery stores. They have a range of about a dozen flavors from mild to wild, and they are all "no salt" as well as vegan, kosher, and meet several other standards. Great on popcorn, salads, and all kinds of foods.
Other than that, I find that if I stick to fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and hard cheese (although goat cheese is soft but low in sodium), you can have a healthy and tasty diet. I bake my own bread because most low sodium bread tastes like cardboard. I found the recipe in "The No-Salt, Lowest Sodium Cookbook" by Donald A Gazzaniga.
Restaurant food is a problem, often heavily salted. A visiting nurse told me to remove the top half of sandwich buns and eat the sandwich as an open-face sandwich to reduce the sodium.
I hope this sparks a few ideas. Eat well.
Ray Steck, VP, MH Chapter 61
It can be done. And that's speaking as a guy whose Three Basic Food Groups had been Pickles, Pretzels and Pastrami.
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I'm able to keep between 1500-1800mg/day for the most part, but it did mean cutting out a lot of foods I used to eat, and changing a lot of others. I didn't have to go full vegetarian, but...almost? I still eat chicken (grilled, breast, no skin) and fish (tuna, low sodium), and even the occasional burger. But I eat a lot of veg and fruit cuz they're mostly negligible in terms of sodium. I do eat some prepared foods, too, because at NYHA Stage IV, I don't have the energy to do much prep work.
Trader Joe's has some good frozen meals I like that are low enough sodium to work into my diet: the cauliflower bowl, paneer tikka masala, pad thai, etc. TJ's has prepared grilled chicken that's fairly low sodium, so I buy that to add to their frozen, microwavable rice packets, along with some roasted veg (the kind that comes in a bag of carrots, cauliflower, broccoli at the market? Just spray with olive oil, pop in oven for 45minutes) and toss with Yumm Sauce. Instant dinner.I've even found that at Taco Bell, the shredded chicken burrito is fairly low sodium, so it hits the craving for fast food that hits occasionally. I hardly eat out at all anymore, but very occasionally, if I do, I try to ask for no added salt, and I go for baked or grilled, not fried, options. I don't eat bread (except for a 21 seed, thinly sliced organic sandwich bread for tuna; 65mg/slice) or cheese or sauces (aside from Yumm.)Ice cream is low sodium. It's become my one real indulgence.The diet is doable, it just takes a good deal of label reading, willingness to change, and seeing what substitutions are available. Feel free to ask me for clharifications.
I couldn't've done it with out my wife. She has found low sodium bread, low sodium tuna, and low sodium cheese. But, yeah, most restaurants prepare food with too much salt and most packaged food is loaded. You have to keep an eye out – and being an obsessive has it's good points. I can honestly say that within a relatively short time, I didn't give it a second thought. I haven't had a pretzel in about a decade and I used to think nothing of snacking on an entire bag of them, the saltier the better.
Co-author, with Adele Le vin, of "I Will Keep You Alive: A Cardiovascular Romance"