Saturday, April 18, 2009
Have you recently been told by your doctor that you had to
go on a low-sodium diet? You are probably finding this to be
quite difficult as you discover that sodium seems to be
everywhere? Well you are certainly not alone as the typical
American eats way too much fast food when away from home and
at home they tend to gravitate towards those high sodium
comfort foods. Processed foods such as frozen, canned soups
and vegetables, boxed noodles, salsas and chips are all
loaded with sodium.
Those on a low-sodium diet are usually told to consume
somewhere between 2,000 to 3,000 milligrams (mg) of sodium
per day. That is the equivalent of about one teaspoon of
salt or approximately 2,300 mg of sodium.
So how can you cut back on your sodium intake? Here are
some tips to get you started on the correct path. As with
all major lifestyle changes the most important thing is to
just get started. As Confucius said A journey of a thousand
miles begins with a single step. By following these simple
rules you will learn to master your new low sodium lifestyle
in no time. Keep it simple, don't stress and remember:
1. Don't beat yourself up. The goal is not to
eliminate all the salt entering your system, it is to reduce
your sodium intake down to the level your doctor prescribed.
2. Stop adding salt to your food. Don't add it when cooking and
remove the salt shaker from the kitchen table. While these
old habits are hard to break you also have to not feel like
you are depriving yourself of wonderful taste. So instead
learn to experiment. Fill the old salt shaker with some
salt-free herbs and spices " basil, cayenne pepper, garlic,
lemon pepper, onion oregano and parsley are all great
options. Begin with small amounts until you find a
combination that you enjoy.
3. If you dont already own a peppermill go out and buy one. The
flavor and aroma of freshly ground peppercorns is not only
amazing but there are also so many varieties to choose from.
The most recognized is a common black peppercorn which is
typically a variety like Lampong. A more upscale black
peppercorn is the gourmet quality Tellicherry. For those
that really want to embrace exotic taste sensations try
Pink, Green or Sichuan peppercorns. For a milder peppercorn
with a European twist go for a white peppercorn as these
tend to have less bite than the black peppercorns.
4. Learn how to analyze food labels. when you are comparing
products side-by-side you will soon see some amazing
differences between products that may at first glance seem
identical. A good rule of thumb is that all packaged food is
going to have higher levels of sodium than fresh foods. But
when you know what to look for you can still make healthier
5. Go fresh. Typically you don't have to worry about high
sodium levels in fresh fruits and vegetables and as an added
bonus you can eat about as much as you would like and not
have to worry about packing on the pounds. Fresh lean meat,
fish and chicken tend to be low in sodium as well.
6. Learn how to fully experience herbs. Before adding herbs to
your dish crush them in your hand to bring out the full
taste. Also most herbs provide the most flavor when added
towards the end of the cooking process.
While it will be difficult to change your eating habits,
remember to start small. Begin with just one meal a day.
Once you always eat that one meal as low sodium as possible
then add a second meal. This approach will have you on the
right path before you know it. While it may take weeks
before you have a solid understanding of low-sodium foods,
you will learn to adjust. And eventually you will hardly
even miss the salt and your taste buds will come alive as
they are exposed to a world of mouthwatering new tastes and