As a heart bypass surgery patient I have doctor instructions to consume less sodium, as little as possible, knowing that one’s body needs some sodium to survive and that some level of sodium is in virtually everything. This has been placed as an even higher priority than watching my carbohydrates (carbs) for my diabetes.
The key, of course, is to strike a sensible balance. Too many people freak out and try to do zero sodium, and that’s simply not realistic. On the flip side, many people completely ignore the advice and warnings and go back to what they’ve always done… go back to what got them where they are to begin with.
I’m trying to strike a reasonable balance, a happy medium, if you will. I want to be healthy, but I also want taste, and given that a person literally needs some sodium I think that’s a reasonable quest. Here’s my current plan of attack, as preliminary as it is…
- Virtually eliminating adding salt when cooking.
- Eliminating added table salt on most dishes where it really doesn’t make a difference and I was adding it for added flavor.
- On a small handful of dishes where it does make a difference, I keep adding table salt, just not as much.
- Seeking and trying various low-sodium recipes… which is a very hit-and-miss prospect.
This whole process doesn’t necessarily have to be rocket science. That’s why I’m thinking my approach above is reasonable… and realistic.
And be wary of various pre-packaged low/no-sodium and low/no-fat and low/no sugar. Read the labels. Read the ingredients. If they cut the fat, they might have increased the sodium. If they cut the sodium, they might have increased the sugar. You can’t win for losing. “Diet products”, I call them, generically. I prefer to eat the real thing and watch my portion control.
Here’s a recipe that I found that is quite tasty AND low in sodium, 150 mg per serving, Green Beans Amandine with Almonds and Garlic. The only modification I made was using regular fresh green beans instead of haricot verts. It was a nice edition to my Thanksgiving dinner.
For every yin there’s a yang. Another new recipe I tried was a low-sodium turkey gravy. Long story short, I’ll never do that one again. I’m going to guess that it is for people who have to aim for almost nothing in sodium because they’re in an even more dire health situation than I am. It literally had no taste, even after I added pan drippings to enhance the turkey flavor. My dressing and mashed potatoes actually tasted better without the gravy than with.
There’s going to be a lot of testing, triumphs and failures, as you work out your new diet. The primary point that I’m trying to convey here is to be reasonable and realistic. You will never find the ideal food or recipe, the one that combines perfect sodium, carbs, vitamins, and taste. Work out something you can live with… literally.
Note: This is just what I am doing. I am not a doctor, and this is not medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any changes.