Monday, April 22, 2013

My Salty Tears of Dispair.....Mmmmm....SALT

So what do my health challenges mean for me?
For now, I am on a low sodium regiment.
Low as in 2,000mg a day......for everything I eat.
That equals to about 1 teaspoon per day.

Oh, how I am going to Enjoy this.
Said. no one. ever.

We are not "salters".....aka people who pour salt on all their food when served.
Yes, I do season with salt during the cooking process and I use fancy pants salts when salt it called for.
Often when we eat out, we notice how salty the food is normally.

I've always been a label reader, but I've always concentrated on the fat and carb content.
The sodium content is a whole other ball of wax as they say! 

A myriad of foods are off limits to me now--

*Anchovies(which I love on occasion on pizza)
*Green Olives(black ones are ok in moderation, not Kalamata  black olives)
*Almost all cheeses  sniff, sniff
*Chinese food sauces(not so much the food, just the sauces on it)
* Dill Pickles
*Soy Sauce(obviously)
*Bouillon Cubes
*Commercially prepared or cured meats/fish(sausage, bacon, hot dogs, sardines, ham, etc.)
*Worcestershire sauce
*Salty snacks like chips, pretzels, crackers, salted nuts
*Salt of any kind-Iodized, Sea Salt, Kosher, Himalayan, Pink, etc.
*Pizza with meat toppings

That's just the short list.

Last Wednesday was the first day I was able to drive myself somewhere.  As a side note it was so nice to be able to get behind the wheel and not have it too close to my middle! lol

And since we've been subsisting on drips and drabs the Hubs and Daughter have picked up from the store for the last 2 weeks and no real meal all., I went out for groceries and to read labels to see what I can find that I won't have to make for myself now.
You know shortcut foods, processed/low sodium foods I can have here to use when I can't possibly make everything from scratch.

I spent 1.5 hours in the store on Wednesday reading labels.  It's a small store with not variety beyond "regular" items, so I came home with only 4 "shortcut foods".....

* No Salt Ketchup
14 oz. for $3.39
5mg sodium per 1 TB serving versus 160mg in reg. ketchup 1 TB serving

Ketchup is the lifeblood of the American diet.
This will help me add a bit of flavor to a dish or make my own healthier version of "processed" foods without the salt.

* Crazy Richard's 100% Natural Peanut Butter
16 oz. for $3.65
0mg sodium per 2 TB serving versus 150mg in reg. PB 2 TB serving
(Skippy makes a 75mg sodium version & Jif an 80mg version.)

Another versatile food, good for cooking and a great protein source on a slice of bread.
While the sodium content is not very high normally, it adds up over the course of a day's worth of eating so best to cut the salt where you can.

* Gazebo Room Lite Greek Salad Dressing and Marinade(made locally)
16 oz. for $3.59
90mg per 1 TB serving versus 140mg Kraft Greek Dressing

While the lower sodium one is still high and 1 TB isn't nearly enough for an entire salad, it was the lowest  salt content dressing on the shelf, even including dry mixes like Good Seasons.
I know.....I checked every blessed  variety/brand and there must have been 120 different dressings on those shelves!
One of the first products I'll be making from scratch will be a healthy salad dressing but I'll keep this for emergencies.

* Bear Naked Granola
12 oz. for $3.00-on sale woot!
l0mg sodium in 1/4 cup serving versus 60mg per serving for Kellog's Granola

Another case of the regular version of the food isn't high but why take in extra sodium when you don't have to?

The take-away from all this?
My grocery bill will be going up.
Better to be paying more at the store now if I can avoid paying enormous amounts to the healthcare system later on.

The American Heart Association says the average American consumes more than 3,000mg of sodium a day and recommends you consume no more than 1,500mg daily.  That's less than one teaspoon. Salt in all forms, especially those hidden in foods(hello processed foods!)can take names other than salt.  When reading labels, look for these salts by any other name......sodium chloride, sodium citrate, disodium phosphate, baking soda and monosodium glutamate.  If the ingredients listed don't include salt but include any of these, it's still got salt in it.



  1. We have been watching sodium content in food for years. It's why we rarely buy anything pre-processed, make most of our stuff at home. You can put salt on stuff if you don't started with canned ingredients packed with it! But I feel your pain, major food upheavals suck.

    Making your own salad dressing can help a lot. But sodium is hidden in places like frozen seafood -- not fair!

    1. It's also hidden in frozen chicken and turkey.
      Ask me how I

  2. I have the opposite problem, my blood pressure is always crazy low and i'm told to salt my food as I don't eat any processed foods whatsoever, so i'm not getting any sodium in my foods. lol!

    Hope you're able to keep your grocery bill under control and keep your sodium levels nice & low! :) Feel better!!

  3. My landlords were told they needed to lower their sodium content... they eat about 90% fast food, and they were surprised/upset their stats were so bad. They have done little to change things other than take medication, and that scares me... I'm glad you're really listening to your doctors and paying even more attention to what you eat. I mostly look at trans fat and carbs on my labels, but also at sodium, as long as it isn't crazy high (like 800 for a can of soup... per serving!!! when there are 2 servings in a can!).

    1. No canned soup is at reasonable sodium levels.
      That you have to make from scratch, and then only using stock and not broth(as the latter is loaded with salt.

  4. Wow, I didn't know peanut butter had so much sodium in it! These labels are definitely an eye opener...and I LOVE pickles too :(

    1. I have my mother's recipe for "Almost new Pickles" which contains no salt. Because of that, I can deal with loosing commercial pickles.... ;-)

  5. I have been watching my salt/sodium content for about 35 years, just because. I just felt it was the best thing to do. And, I have always had low blood pressure--90/60, 97/58. Lately, it has been 120/70, probably because I am overweight. and old

    You do realize you can have any of the foods on the list as long as you adjust your intake of the other foods?

    The only thing on your list that would hurt me to give up would be cheese. I eat too much, but love it.

    You might need to add celery to the list of no nos. I know several people who have to limit sodium, and celery is on the list of things they cannot have or must limit.

    I have never made salad dressing, but it seems olive oil with stuff added could have no sodium. Maybe I am wrong.

    I eat Smucker's Organic pb. But, the sodium content is still high, compared to your brand.

    The idea of making all this from scratch must be overwhelming. However, just make one thing, say catsup or pb from scratch and see how it goes. Add another thing in two weeks or a month. It might be like adding one child at a time, not like having a houseful the first time.

    You are so right about spending more now to avoid health problems that will cost later.

    I rarely salt anything. When exbf was bf, he salted the whole plate of food. Gradually, he has quit this, and he realizes my food is very tasty. Try summer savory or winter savory in beef dishes. A touch will do.

    Getting your family to adopt a lifestyle that involves less salt might be a good thing for all of you. Now, I want potato chips!

    I will look for the low sodium catsup. Thanks.

    Spend the money and live well and long. Okay, lecture over. We all love you.

    1. Celery is not a no-no. Vegs range from almost 0-30 mg sodium. Celery is at 30 mg per stalk so it's at the high end for a veggie, but still very reasonable.
      Of course, not so much if the celery is just a vehicle to convey dip or cheesy sauce to your mouth, then it's a problem. lolz

    2. LOL...then I wonder why these women were told not to eat celery. ??? I never even questioned it. Homemade hummus without salt might work...extra garlic.

  6. Thanks for the heads up on salt. I'll have to pay closer attention to the labels! Hopefully you'll be feeling better soon, and get used to your lower sodium diet. I know it can't be easy.

    1. thanks Sharon.
      Adjusting to low sodium isn't so's the combined with low fat and carbs diet where it gets tricky. 8-)

  7. Hubby has high blood pressure, I have extremely low blood pressure, so I really don't salt our food. We also notice the salt content when we eat out. But you will get used to this.

  8. Oh my dear woman!!! You can't get coupons for those things!
    I am a saltaholic... there I've said it!
    If the food ain't crunching, then you haven't put enough on yet...
    I am feeling for you and will probably be there someday...

    1. Don't wait too long to cut down on the salt. ;-)

  9. Keep reading those labels. I quite eating much salt years ago after watching a friend salt her entire lunch tray...including her cake. UGH! I rarely sprinkle and rarely salt when I cook. And Hubby has cut out most of the salt when he cooks.

    We will be cheering you on!

  10. I'm bummed to hear about green olives. Maybe the vodka or gun washes the salt off??

  11. Luckily Michael cooks all of our food from scratch and he makes everything HOT HOT HOT but no salt. I keep asking him if cayenne has to go into EVERYTHING! as I know I'm having MORE hot flashes than when I cook. The only time I encounter salt is when we eat out and boy oh boy the salty taste is overwhelming. Prior to Michael cooking I used to salt EVERYTHING I ate - I grew up on British cooking and its the only spice my mother ever used!! I guess to make up for the blandness of everything she made.


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