Salty Language!

Yes, be careful… this post is chock full of salty language!

If you have heart failure, you have to really watch your sodium. The standard Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) diet allows you 2000 milligrams of sodium a day, and 2000 milliliters of liquid. Now the 2000 milliliters isn’t hard – that’s a two liter drink. In fact, I know some people who monitor their liquid intake by keeping a two liter bottle handy. Whenever they drink something, they pour an equal amount into the bottle – the bottle fills up, they have to stop. Summer months can be harder, of course, but I’m figuring out that the trick is to drink throughout the day, just keep the amounts low. Instead of a 20 ounce bottle, why not just grab a six ounce bottle of Coca-Cola… what us Southerners occasionally call a “Short Coke.” (Specifically the 1991 bottle) Along with the reduced amount,  a lot of people swear that cold soda in a glass bottle just tastes better!

The sodium restriction is much more difficult – 2000 milligrams a day. A packet of Sweet ‘n Low holds a gram of sweetener, so you get two packets.

That’s depressing.

Open them up and pour them on the counter. That’s even more depressing.

Shopping is quite the adventure as you compare the nutrional panels on all of the products you want to purchase. Here’s a standard US Nutritional Value Chart, for those of you who may not live in the United States. One of the standard tricks for reducing the amount of calories, sodium, cholesterol, or whatever is bad for you is to reduce the serving size. And if you eat more than a “serving” – well, that’s your fault.

Some of our favorite things are out, as you may guess. Prepared meat is high in sodium, so no more lunch at Subway.  Forget that ad on their front page about being “Heart Healthy”, we’ve discussed that before. As a friend of mine once said in a moment of frustration, “If God were fair, he’d have made Spinach bad for you and made ice cream with three calories per gallon!”

But there are a few things out there that will surprise you – Heinz is making a No Salt Added Ketchup, and it tastes really good. Regular Ketchup is sky high in sodium, so it is on the no-no list, but now I can enjoy a little something on my no-sodium French Fries.

And watch out for those salt substitutes. A lot of them replace the Sodium Chloride with Potassium Chloride. If you’re taking Warfarin, you can’t use the salt substitute… heavy amounts of Potassium makes your blood clotting medication not work properly. (I usually use no salt Lemon and Pepper seasoning)

Pickles are strange. Pickle slices seem to have more – sometimes much more – sodium than pickle spears. Remember all pickles are not created equal, so read that label. Another treat that I miss is boiled peanuts. The recipe is simple: Peanuts, water, salt, a pot to cook in, and a heat source. Mix the water and salt – a generous amount of salt – in the pot and bring to a full boil. Toss in the peanuts, bring the pot back to a full boil, and reduce the heat. Let ’em simmer at a low boil, stirring occasionally. In a couple of hours turn the heat off and let them cool.

Trouble is, no one’s figured out yet how to make a decent boiled peanut without using salt. I keep trying, though. Discovering Salt Free Boiled Peanuts will be nearly as important as sliced bread and inventing the remote control!


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3 Responses to “Salty Language!”

  1. carolyn compton Says:

    try a few sticks of celery in the pot, steve!
    boiled peanuts. what a bizarre peanut recipe. surely you’d develop anaphylaxis from that! you southern americans!

    a friend of mine’s brother-in-law is in iraq with the australian army. he has put on heaps of weight (i can’t believe it!). he says its because he has to eat american breakfast cereals (loaded with sugar and fats) He says he can’t find a “sanitarium weetbix” (no fat, salt or sugar except what’s in the grains) anywhere.

  2. Steve Says:

    We love our boiled peanuts! 🙂

    Cereals are so full of sugar…. there is certainly no need to add any sweetener to them (though a lot of people do).

  3. 11ruecharlot Says:

    i’m to the point where i make a lot of my own things, pickles with just vinegar(i use rice vinegar) along with spices is not too shabby. italian sausages, normally loaded with salt can be easily made with a $20 hand grinder, plus you get to add any extras you want, yougurt is a breeze to make to keep sugar down.
    but i’ll be damned if i can find a redipe for dry cured sausage without salt, hopefully i plan to experiment with a smoker, curing meats to fake out my taste buds, maybe even bacon, you never know till you try.
    curious enough i never read the sodium level in splenda…hum?

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