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How does one survive on a 2000 mg/day sodium diet?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I've spent 50+ years learning to cook. I'm a 280lb guy who loves to eat gourmet.  I make my own stocks per Escoffier, but I'm tellin' ya, no matter how good they taste and smell, there's no way I could eat them without some salt.

 

6 lousy Lorna Doone cookies contain almost 1000 mg of sodium just by themselves!

 

Even Jello has sodium in it varying in amount by the flavor selected.

 

Eat a 2oz hamburger cooked with no salt, lo-salt catsup, lo salt mustard, no-salt bun?  Give me a break.  And make it a really "BIG BREAK" and put me out of my misery.

 

Thanks,

doc

post #2 of 12

How you eat and season has to change. It was a surprising change for me.

 

Some of it is taste burnout. Most food is heavily oversalted and you will learn to taste food differently. You'll also get much pickier about where you go out to eat as so many places use pre-fab high salt stuff or just plain oversalt the food.

 

Mrs. Dash can pack a lot of flavor with no salt. It doesn't marry with every dish, but is surprisingly versatile. There are certainly other types of no-salt seasonings too and eventually you'll craft one of your own most likely.

 

You'll increase your use of herbs for flavor.

 

Work more with acid to accent food. A squeeze of lemon at the table adds lots of appeal and negligible salt. Similarly, I finish most of my soups now with some acid when I'm correcting seasoning more so than adding salt.

 

Increase your use of pepper. When I watch people cook on TV, I now think they vastly under pepper. So many people are afraid of this spice but it can add a lot without being overly peppery.

 

Find a mild hot sauce you like, but watch the sodium. Some are salty. Panola has a red sauce I like that is hard to find. Not hot but lots of flavor. Frank's Red Hot sauce is also good this way. My current favorite is Cholula with Garlic.  You don't necessarily want to add heat as much as flavor. 

 

Salsa can also be a good accent but many, such as Pace, are very high sodium.

 

The most influential book for me was The No salt, Lowest Sodium Cookbook by Donald Gazzaniga. He's written a few other cookbooks as well. http://www.amazon.com/s/190-3161526-2371824?ie=UTF8&tag=mozilla-20&index=blended&link_code=qs&field-keywords=the%20no%20salt%20lowest%20sodium&sourceid=Mozilla-search Lots of things to look for in the low sodium world though I didn't end up using most of them.  I don't actually cook from it much but he is doing real cooking in there.

 

Also read Paul Kirk's  Championship Barbeuce Sauces. The section on rubs will teach a lot about mixing and balancing spices for flavoring.

 

He turned me on to Hain Featherweight baking powder that has no sodium. It's only single acting so you'll use some extra. Can be tricky to find and overall, I've gone back to double acting for the better results but can be worth having on a limited sodium diet.

 

Pick the best sodium you can find for the dish. Real parm is high sodium but you don't use much per serving to pack in the flavor. 

Angostura has an acceptable low sodium soy sauce, though they got bought and have a different brand label. Still says angostura on it some where as I  recall. I mostly use Pearl River Bridge. It's not low sodium, but is not nearly as high as many others and has a top level flavor.

 

Lose some weight. Eating low sodium tends to cause this anyway. You have to eat more fruits and vegeables and whole grains to feel satisfied. So you tend to be eating fewer calories and better calories. This weight loss tends to improve the contributing condtions that merit low sodium eating in the first place. Exercise as well.

post #3 of 12

I think Phatch nails it on the head.

My mum was on a low salt diet and I used to cook for her (I was still a child).

Go heavier on the herbs (esp fresh) and spices.

If you like spicy food, maybe start using fresh chili's or make your own chili paste (which is what I do).

Use bay leaves in stews, they give you a bit of an idea of saltiness.

Red wine? I don't know if there is any salt in it, but I do know that stews with red wine taste salty to me.

Hope this helps

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post #4 of 12
Quote:
I've spent 50+ years learning to cook.

That is what is going to be your saving grace. You don't have to rely on pre-made and processed foods like the average person. Put your knowledge to work for you. Delve into extractions and reductions , spices, chilies, zests, steeping. Flavor can be found and expanded upon without salt.

 

I can relate to your initial dismay. A few years ago my wife was put on a, for practical purposes, a no salt diet. I am a professional chef with over 35 years experience. I thought my cooking at home was done, over, kaput, finished. WHAT NO SALT!

 

The experience has made me better in the kitchen. It pushed me to explore and expand on my knowledge base. There are no problems, only opportunities. Use this one as a starting point for accelerated growth of your culinary skills.

 

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #5 of 12

Great advice Phatch!  Mrs. Dash does have some great spice blends - I rediscovered Mrs. Dash three or four years ago when hubs started having blood pressure issues.  I also think that a sprinkling of fresh lemon or lime juice can do wonders for some low salt dishes.  Losing weight is the best advice ever - Hubs lost 50 lbs and has kept it off and has perfectly normal blood pressure now...but it was difficult for him to have to change his eating and exercising habits - took really about 6 months to change and a year to lose the weight but he did it (I'm proud of my guy).  Good luck...I think everyone here loves to cook and eat gourmet so the calories/salt issues are ever present for most of us.


Edited by Catt - 12/22/10 at 4:29am
post #6 of 12

Franks red hot has quite a bit of sodium I think.

post #7 of 12

Are you trying to reduce your sodium intake for some reason or another?

 

I used to be 418lbs, about a year and half ago I had a physical done and the doctors told me something I had already knew. I need to lose some weight!

I had high blood pressure, and was diagnosed with type diabetes 

 

I don't want to turn this post into patting myself on the back, but since I now weigh around the same as you do, I feel obligated to say that cutting out any and all processed food was 90% of the battle, I started eating with the mentality of, "if it doesn't have a mother or grow out of the ground" then I don't eat it. Your right, just about anything has sodium.

 

Wich lead me to a boring and tired regimen of protein and veg. wich in turn lead me here as I wanted to turn my "healthy" way of eating more exciting.

 

My point is if you cut out the sodium in processed food/junk food/etc. etc. then you probably need not worry about the salt you add to your food.

 

I have noticed that salt becomes addicting in a way, if you take a couple of days eating clean (no junk food) and minimize your sodium intake your palate should adjust.

 

My blood pressure is normal, and the diabetes is gone. For me now if I eat a chip or even eat some fries at Mcdonalds, they are too salty and I can only eat a few.

 

 

post #8 of 12



I am not quite the same, but I lost 50 pounds and got healthy by cutting out fast food, almost all hydrogonated oils eating lots more fruits and vegys daily eating. I agree eat naturally

Quote:
Originally Posted by jblade View Post

Are you trying to reduce your sodium intake for some reason or another?

 

I used to be 418lbs, about a year and half ago I had a physical done and the doctors told me something I had already knew. I need to lose some weight!

I had high blood pressure, and was diagnosed with type diabetes 

 

I don't want to turn this post into patting myself on the back, but since I now weigh around the same as you do, I feel obligated to say that cutting out any and all processed food was 90% of the battle, I started eating with the mentality of, "if it doesn't have a mother or grow out of the ground" then I don't eat it. Your right, just about anything has sodium.

 

Wich lead me to a boring and tired regimen of protein and veg. wich in turn lead me here as I wanted to turn my "healthy" way of eating more exciting.

 

My point is if you cut out the sodium in processed food/junk food/etc. etc. then you probably need not worry about the salt you add to your food.

 

I have noticed that salt becomes addicting in a way, if you take a couple of days eating clean (no junk food) and minimize your sodium intake your palate should adjust.

 

My blood pressure is normal, and the diabetes is gone. For me now if I eat a chip or even eat some fries at Mcdonalds, they are too salty and I can only eat a few.

 

 

post #9 of 12

I have the good fortune of being one of those scrawny chaps who couldn't put on weight if they tried. My diet consists of cassoulet, steak bordelaise, Robuchon-style mash, &c.

 

Toward the end of being helpful rather than just taunting: Michel Guerard, Cuisine Minceur. Who knew health-nut food could taste really good (and win some stars)? Herbs, spices, vinegars, vegetable purees, and so on minimize the need for a lot of salt. Of course, some salt is still needed; I firmly believe it is impossible to cook decent--let alone great--food without it.

post #10 of 12

Two ways to approach this situation.

 

1) cut out the salt.

 

2) Don't change a thing diet wise, just get more active, drink more water.

 

If you were to get more active, consult your doctor first because we like you doc and wouldn't want you to keel over on the jogging path.

 

"Ye can lead a man up to the university, but ye can't make him think."

Finley Peter Dunne
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"Ye can lead a man up to the university, but ye can't make him think."

Finley Peter Dunne
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post #11 of 12

Depending on your particular condition, being more active won't help in regards to sodium limits. In my case, it's strictly about the sodium, not the related cardiovasculuar issues. But yes, generally a healthier level of activity is good in affecting positive change.

post #12 of 12

What I remember from my mam was that she didn't find it very difficult to maintain a diet poor in salt.

 

There were just 2 things she struggled with:

1 - bread without salt apparently was inedible

2-  cheese with low salt is not nearly as good as cheese with salt (I wouldn't know. I hate cheese)

 

She cut out salt in almost everything else, just used more spices, and ate "normal" bread and then as a treat, the occasional piece of cheese.

 

It's not easy, but your taste buds get used to it (here I do speak from experience as we ate the same dinner as my mother and after a while I didn't miss the salt).

Good Luck !!!!

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