January 5, 2018 at 12:27 pm #10495
A week ago my cardiologist put me on a low salt and restricted liquids diet. Yesterday was my first trip to the grocery store since this life-changing event, and I have to say I’m both depressed and f
[See the full post at: Beginning the low-salt journey]January 5, 2018 at 1:29 pm #10497
Mike: Did your doctor say anything about increasing your intake of potassium-rich foods? That might be another way to tackle the issue if it is allowed. That’s how I discovered that I really like butternut squash! Roasted butternut squash, combined with homemade chicken/turkey stock and a bit of heavy cream or full-fat yogurt, or whatever dairy or non-dairy you like, makes a tasty soup. I use the Penzey’s Now Curry (no salt, but does include garlic), but I noted that their Sweet Curry also has no salt AND no garlic.
January 5, 2018 at 3:57 pm #10503
- This reply was modified 8 months, 3 weeks ago by BakerAunt.
My potassium has been at the low end of normal, but if I start eating a lot more fresh fruits and vegetables, it should be fine. (I’ve been having a banana as my afternoon snack.)
I’m not really fond of squash or pumpkin. I did make spaghetti squash with meatballs several times this fall, but I’ll have to start making my own low-salt marinara, the canned/jarred stuff is way too high in salt. Even most canned tomatoes have a lot of added salt. I didn’t see any no-salt tomatoes at the store, I’m sure I can find them but they’ll almost certainly be in small cans at a high price.
I do have a number of quart containers of frozen tomato sauce I made last summer, no salt in it yet.
In the summertime I can make ratatouille, which uses eggplant, summer squash and zucchini, but that’s not something I usually make in the winter and I’ll need to change my recipe, because I usually start by sweating the moisture out of the vegetables by salting them after they’ve been peeled and sliced.January 5, 2018 at 4:09 pm #10506
I find the drippings from roasting chicken is notably salting even if I use salt-free flavoring, the brine which the store adds to the chicken gives more than enough salt to the drippings,
I am not surprised at the salt in the prepared food, but is there enough salt in bread to affect your diet?January 5, 2018 at 4:50 pm #10512
One slice of store-bought bread can contain 175-250 mg of sodium in it, depending upon the brand. That means just the bread in a sandwich can make up 1/3 of my daily sodium allowance.
So far I’m trying to stay well below the daily maximum on sodium, because a primary reason for the sodium and fluid limits is to reduce the amount of water in my body. In a week I’ve lost about 10 pounds, and I suspect virtually all of that is water weight.January 5, 2018 at 5:04 pm #10513
I totally understand, Mike, at how much sodium is out there. You are lucky not to have to cut out dairy, like I do. I’ve taken up cooking everything from scratch and even dabbled into vegan cooking. I’ve also given eating out as there’s so much sodium in everyone’s cooking.
One thing I’ve recently learned is to roasted cauliflower – seasoned with smoked sweet paprika, olive oil and just a 1/4th teaspoon for a whole head of cauliflower. I’ve actually done the roasted cauliflower with curry powder instead of the paprika. Of the spices, those two are my favorites.
January 5, 2018 at 5:19 pm #10517
- This reply was modified 8 months, 3 weeks ago by luvpyrpom.
With my wife’s allergies to garlic, red raspberries, curry and saffron (and probably a few I’ve forgotten to mention), eating out has been a challenge for years. During our Disney family vacation over Christmas whenever we went to eat my wife would have to check with the wait staff and often the chef came out to discuss what there was on the menu she could eat. I have to say that the Disney restaurants did a very good job trying to accommodate her, one of them even made a garlic-free version of their lobster mac and cheese for her.January 5, 2018 at 6:41 pm #10521
Most beans are a good source of potassium. My husband does not like most beans, but I can get him to eat lentil and split pea soups with me.
Walmart does have no-salt added tomatoes. It is the 14 oz. cans, but the price is less than the no-salt versions of other brands.
V-8 makes a low sodium version, but my husband pointed out that they use the kind of potassium that is in a lot of salt substitutes, and he read that one should be careful with it.January 5, 2018 at 7:37 pm #10523
Mike, yes, you should make your own marinara! I make about 40-50 quarts of frozen tomatoes with onion, peppers, and celery every summer, and use them a dozen ways throughout the year. I don’t use any salt, just other spices and herbs so we don’t miss the salt. I reduce the amount of salt in many baked goods, including breads, and don’t find any major change in flavor or rising times. I just started a while back with a cardiologist, and got a pacemaker 4 weeks ago. They found my heart was beating only about 40-45 times per minutes, and sometimes stopped for 10-12 seconds. So far, I’ve not had to make any changes in my diet, which has been a pretty healthy diet for many years. I do need to find a way to prepare eggplant without the salt prep, however!January 5, 2018 at 8:12 pm #10524
I always reduce salt in bread recipes by 1/3 to a half. It works. The prepared food industry as well as restaurants are salt crazy, which is why I make most of my meals from scratch. I remember watching some of the food shows, especially Emeril, who would add salt with almost every ingredient he was adding to any dish. BAM, too much salt sucker!
Swanson makes an no salt added chicken cooking stock that has only 130mg of sodium per cup, which really isn’t bad.January 5, 2018 at 9:02 pm #10525
I haven’t bought chicken stock in years, I just cut up a chicken, throw it in the pot to simmer, add aromatics and veggies (parsnips are a must!) and in a few hours I’ve got 5-6 quarts of chicken stock ready to be strained, plus boiled chicken ready for chicken soup or chicken salad. Leaving out the salt is no problem.
A new meat market in town can get chicken backs, but I’d have to buy a 40 pound box of them, at around 65 cents/pound. That’d make 4-8 large batches of stock, and I should be able to freeze them in 5 or 10 pound lots, ready to make the next batch. If you roast the chicken bones before simmering them, you get brown chicken stock, not usually used for soup but excellent when cooking and for sauces.January 6, 2018 at 5:43 am #10526
I typically keep the salt in my breads at 1% of dough weight. This works out to about 1.85% baker’s percent. It’s not a lot less but each little bit helps.
Mike RodgersJanuary 6, 2018 at 11:03 am #10529
I know from experience that you can cut salt down to about 1% by baker’s weight (eg, relative to the weight of the flour) before you start to notice any significant effects or difference in taste.
I’ve made Tuscan bread a few times, it is salt free. It’s pretty bland and tends to be very airy, because there’s no salt to inhibit the yeast. I’ve eaten in a Tuscan restaurant, the bread is meant to be dipped in spicy sauces.January 6, 2018 at 11:31 am #10531
It’s great to see you posting, pmiker. You have been missed!January 6, 2018 at 3:18 pm #10542
Hey pmiker glad to see you posting!January 6, 2018 at 5:38 pm #10546
Yes, welcome back Mike.January 6, 2018 at 7:08 pm #10553
Me three – welcome back Mike!January 11, 2018 at 8:14 am #10656
I like salt, but I have found recently that I have been cutting back, just trying to use it to enhance the flavor rather than blindly throwing it in. I find that Ina Garten uses a lot of salt so I almost always halve the amount in her recipes.
I also use kosher salt a lot, even in baking, but if a recipe calls for a teaspoon of salt, I’ll do a teaspoon of kosher salt, even though “they” say you should use more kosher because of the size of the crystals. I haven’t checked the nutritional values but I wonder if a teaspoon of kosher salt has less sodium than a teaspoon of table salt. It probably wouldn’t be much, but heyJanuary 11, 2018 at 8:26 am #10658
Most of us are salt junkies because so much of what we have been eating contains a lot of salt. I’m glad that we are exploring ways of cutting it back. When I made my roast yesterday, I sprinkled it with Tsardust seasoning from Penzey’s, which was either a free sample or came in a gift someone gave me. We liked the flavor in stew. I looked at the ingredients, and on that one, the first listed is salt. Sigh. The roast did seem slightly salty to me; I also used 1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce and 1 Tbs. tomato paste, so I know that those have salt. I did not add any salt. I will look at the ingredients on the Tsardust and see if I can emulate some of the flavors without the salt. I think that the cinnamon, which I would not think to use with a roast, is one of the flavors we are liking in it.January 11, 2018 at 9:18 am #10660
I checked the poultry seasoning yesterday before using it. Was surprised to see that nutmeg is one of the ingredients. So I guess I like nutmeg on chicken.January 11, 2018 at 10:17 am #10666
Most of the cooking schools teach cooks to add salt several times throughout the cooking process, it’s no wonder that their recipes are incredibly salty! Alton Brown, whom my older son adores, is one of the worst offenders. Some people, myself included, often refer to the Culinary Institute of America as the Sodium Institute of America.
It cracks me up to see something labeled as ‘healthy’ in the store and then see that it has 900 or more mg of sodium per serving. I’m especially leery of the ‘low fat’ versions of foods, because they often have higher salt content that the regular versions. (I guess it needs more salt to replace the fat taste.)
Graham Kerr, who many of us may remember from the Galloping Gourmet shows back in the 70’s, had a heart attack and subsequently revised and republished a lot of his recipes to lower both the fat and salt content. But I don’t think those later books sold as well, because they were a bit preachy.January 11, 2018 at 11:38 am #10670
Alton Brown has changed quite a bit since his Good Eats days. He found he was getting fat and unhealthy. He has supposedly changed his cooking/eating habits quite a bit since then but I haven’t seen him doing anything new other than being a host of shows where others cook.
A chef I knew years ago advocated taking all your spices and dividing them in 3rds and adding them at the beginning, middle, and end of cooking because adding spices at different times effects the flavors versus adding them all at once. I’m not sure if his recipes were too salty or not. But if you decide you want a tsp of salt or 12 mg and then divide it in thirds you wouldn’t be adding extra salt. He trained at the CA Culinary Institute.January 11, 2018 at 11:57 am #10673
I’m not sure what you meant, Aaron, but a teaspoon of salt is about 5690 milligrams (2300 mg of sodium), not 12.
Some aromatics need to be added later in the cooking cycle because they either dissipate if added too soon or turn bitter if cooked for a long time. Vanilla is always added at the end, and basil will turn bitter if added too soon. By contrast, bay leaf needs to be added early in the cooking cycle, because it has to be cooked a long time to extract the flavor.
Onion if added early will caramelize and turn sweeter, if added towards the end it retains more of the sharp ohion flavor.
Salt is a complicated ingredient, it has culinary purposes beyond just flavor. Because it is hygroscopic (it absorbs water), it affects the food it’s added to. For example, it is commonplace to ‘sweat’ vegetables like zucchini or eggplant by sprinkling them with salt to extract the moisture. What I don’t know is whether if you then rinse them off if that removes most of the salt. I’ll have to do some research into that.
Similarly, adding salt to bread dough will tighten the dough considerably. Kidpizza/Cass is one of many bakers who recommend waiting until towards the end of the mixing cycle to add salt to bread.January 30, 2018 at 2:27 pm #10945
How do you deal with recipes that call for brining foods? America’s Test Kitchen seem addicted to the procedre. I mainly ignore it. I look at recipes that call for coating beef or chicken with kosher salt a day before roasting and just skip the procedure. I had a recipe that called for grinding juniper and fennel and allspice and peppercorns and rubbing that on a beef brisket. This was actually quite tasty but the flavors didn’t penetrate very far in. ATK claims that brining makes meat more juicy.January 30, 2018 at 3:04 pm #10946
I don’t brine foods, so it hasn’t been an issue for me. Many marinades are also a bit on the salty side, but I haven’t done much of that lately, either.
Alton was big on brining, too, I wonder if he’s changed his mind on that? Graham Kerr wrote a few books after his wife’s stroke and heart attack on his ‘minimax’ approach to cooking, but I don’t think they were big sellers, the one I looked at was a bit preachy. (One thing I’ve found in my own cooking is that my wife doesn’t like it if I talk about how I’m not using salt, so instead I’ve been just talking about the spices and techniques I’m using to add flavor. She hasn’t noticed that I cut the salt in my honey wheat bread in half.)
I suspect brining doesn’t really add that much salt, because it only penetrates the surface a bit. Injection of salty broths could be a bigger problem with things like turkeys.
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