Six Days on the Road

I’m going to town tomorrow to pick up medication for the 14, 573rd time (I’ve kept count!) and I’ll probably eat lunch at a seafood restaurant that I really like. They do have good seafood; I ate there many times before being diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure (CHF). Now that I’m in CHF, seafood is off limits. It contains too much sodium.

Well… maybe it does. As a general rule, seafood is off limits, because it is sea food.. swimming in and breathing salt water. But if I go to my uncle’s freshwater pond and catch something there, I could probably have a small piece of seafood without doing much damage. But since you can’t guarantee the origin of every piece of fish you could order, the best policy is to avoid it. I’ll have the chicken strips at the restaurant, those are delicious!

Traveling with CHF can be difficult. A day out like I have planned tomorrow can cause problems, since there are so many things I shouldn’t eat. And I’m only planning to eat ONE MEAL away from home. When you’re gone for more than a few hours, it can drive you crazy.

Before you start packing your clothes for a trip, it’s best to stick a copy of Corrine Netzer’s Complete Book of Food Counts in your suitcase. The book(I have the 5th edition) contains thousands of foods and their nutritional contents, it even list brand name foods and the menus of popular restaurants. Just opening the book at random, I find a page and a half of listings for the various versions of Hamburger Helper. The sodium content of most of the Hamburger Helper dishes are in the 800mg to 950mg range, which is pretty steep for a 2000mg of sodium per day limit. The Reduced Sodium Cheddar Spirals has only 590mg of sodium… still high, but not as bad. If you eat light the rest of the day, you can handle 590mg of sodium at a meal.

The next page over lists Hardee’s menu items; if you start your day with a bacon and egg biscuit, you’re sunk: 1400mg of sodium. Ouch!

And don’t get me started on Jared. Jared may have lost all that weight by eating at Subway every day, but he didn’t have a sodium restriction. Go to the Subway website and look up the sodium content on some of their sandwiches. Go ahead, I dare you to. But you have been warned!

You better get used to the phrase “I’ll have the salad bar,” because often that is your best option. But use your common sense. Lettuce, and Tomatoes are good; adding a gallon of Thousand Island dressing isn’t. And it doesn’t matter if you spell it “Catsup” or “Ketchup”, there is a lot of S-O-D-I-U-M in it. Almost a full days allowance in a couple of tablespoons.

Don’t get me wrong, there is no reason you can’t travel and enjoy yourself. Just be sure to pack your walking shoes, you’re going to need to exercise more to counter the extra sodium that comes with “road food.” Use your common sense and things will go just fine!

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