Whether you’ve been told to cut the salt, gluten, nuts, or any other ingredient, the misconception is that if you have dietary limitations your life must be miserable. I’m not going to lie, during the withdrawal stages, you WILL be miserable. But I’m almost through my withdrawals and I’m starting to see the light.
Since my blood pressure issues we’ve cut back on sodium dramatically. Did you know that ONE TEASPOON of salt a day is more than your body needs? And the average person ingests approximately 3 times or more the recommended daily amount – every day without even realizing. (One teaspoon [5 mL] of salt has 2,300 milligrams of sodium, and my dietary goal is 1,500 mg per day.)
Why is salt bad for our health?
Salt puts up our blood pressure, raised blood pressure (hypertension aka my issue) is the major factor in strokes, heart failure and heart attacks, a major cause of death and disability worldwide. There is also increasing evidence of a link between our current high salt intake and stomach cancer, osteoporosis, obesity, kidney stones and kidney disease.
Why is cutting back on salt so hard?
It’s so hard because:
1. I’m PREGNANT, if I could have my way I would eat burgers and pizza all day. BURGERS AND PIZZA GOSH DARN IT. Never mind the saturated fat content, the sodium content of those foods alone is astronomical.
2. It’s DELICIOUS. I grew up adding salt to meals before even tasting them. I use to add salt to bread and butter, on top of pizza, on my salad… I just love the darn stuff
3. It’s in almost everything. Yes, everything.
Therefore, as you may have already experienced in your own low-sodium adventures, finding different things to eat that are delicious, filling and inexpensive are hard to come by. I’ve been eating a lot of salad- trying to sexy it up with different sodium free dressings or olive oil. But I’m pregnant, and salad doesn’t keep me full or happy for long.
The hardest part for me so far is going somewhere for lunch/dinner. I typically try eat zero salt the entire day before and after eating at a restaurant or someone else’s house. Because unless that person or place is conscientious about their salt intake already, I can easily eat 75-200% of my recommended salt intake in one sitting. As I’m growing another human being in my belly, I think I’m finding it extra hard.
Amidst the torture, I am realizing that taking the rules and rewriting them is how to make the most of this low-sodium diet. You have to challenge all the limitations and find creative ways around them. Learning to cook and season entirely with herbs and spices (not relying on salt for flavor), is teaching me to think outside the box and opening my palate up to something quite fabulous and far more healthy.
So, I challenge you to cook something today or tomorrow with either little (less than 1tsp) or no salt, and try seasoning or marinading in more creative ways. Any great low sodium recipes? I’d love to hear them!