How old would you be, if you had no idea how old you really were?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

NO Salt or LOW Salt

A lady in a white coat caught my attention. I was only a few days out from an open-heart surgery that almost did me in. I was out cold for three days after the surgery, and it was 30 days before I escaped from the hospital. So when she told me that patients who took their medicine and limited their sodium intake tended to stay alive longer, I listened.

So I went home and tried to avoid eating or drinking anything with sodium. And of course nothing tasted right. I tried to cook with absolutely no salt and the results were just awful. But now, a couple of years later, the low salt restriction has become a little easier to live with. That is due in part to getting used to less salty foods and to finally realizing that 2000 mg of salt per day means low salt not no salt.

Cook up a pot of pinto beans with out salt and the result is tough to swallow. But when you add a little salt then the beans began to taste like something you might want to eat. How much salt? Estimate the number of servings in the pot. Eight servings? OK. What if each serving had 300 mg of sodium? 8 X 300 = 2400 mg, or one teaspoon of salt. That will work and the beans start to taste sorta like the ones mom used to make.

We bake most of our own bread now. A half teaspoon of salt per loaf means that if you get twelve slices from the loaf, you are looking at 100 mg of sodium per slice. Not bad, when every loaf you can buy off the shelf at Safeway has 180 to 300+. And the bread we bake, particulary the no-knead is really good.

I’ve also found that I can eat potato chips, and tortilla chips, if, I shop carefully and limit the amount I consume. Chips range in sodium content from 80 mg per ounce to 300 and more mg per ounce with some brands of chips topping out near 500 mg per ounce. Go for the low numbers and enjoy them chip by chip. Don’t inhale them. A small kitchen scale will really help you to know how many ounces of chips, or cheese you are eating, and will keep you honest in your estimate of a one ounce serving.

So I am gradually finding ways to eat and stay within the very stingy salt restriction 2000mg/day and at the same time enjoying what I eat. A little moderation goes a long way.

1 comment:

Joel said...

Hi Old Salt,

Have you discovered how much different kinds of vinegars can wake up the flavors of low sodium food? I put myself on a low sodium (<1500 mg/day) diet for blood pressure control without meds in January and now it's low normal (I have also lost 32 pounds and go to the fitness center 4 days/week). I enjoy your well done site. I have a few low sodium recipes on my blog you might find interesting .