Help With Low Sodium Diet?

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Assistant Cook
Oct 9, 2020

Thank you for taking your time to read this!

I'm trying to better my health, especially after missing quite a lot of work due to illness and one method I deemed best was to cut my sodium intake. I've eaten quite a lot of ramen (as it's cheap and easy) and I believe it has become a possible reason as to why I've fallen so horribly sick in the past. (After looking at all that I've eaten, I noticed pretty much everything had high sodium and I've never really had these kinds of problems before.)

I noticed there were discussions already about this topic, but many recommended dishes that I'd probably never eat, or wouldn't even know where to begin to shop, let alone, how to cook some of the things they recommended. (I've never cooked squash, for example.)

The biggest problem I'm facing, however, is financial. I'm on a low budget (think close to $50 for two weeks, which is why Ramen had become such a go to) so it's difficult to find recipes, or meals that are healthy, but also won't break my bank. I've searched several sites, but most recipes call for a lot of components that, for one meal, is just too costly.

Any and all tips and recommendations is highly appreciated!

I sadly don't have a taste for any seafood (I've tried several times to like fish/shrimp/etc, but just can't. Tuna is fine and some of the low fishy taste can be okay depending how it's seasoned).
I can't stand cooked cauliflower, or broccoli. Raw is perfectly fine though. Brussel sprouts and asparagus I've found repulsive and, for some reason, I can't find a way to like mushrooms. Kale and seaweed are a hard no.

Hopefully that isn't too picky... I try to keep an open mind on food and I'm the type of guy who'd try anything at least once.

Again, any help is much appreciated and I thank you for your time!

Best regards!

Welcome to the forum!

You are right about the sodium in ramen - they are very high in sodium, as most prepared are, unless they are listed as "low sodium". Seafood is somewhat high, while fish is much lower, but canned tuna can also be high...unless listed as low sodium! Since you don't seem to like any of these, are you thinking of including them in your diet for protein? Beans are a cheap source of protein, though canned beans can be high in sodium, though some are fairly low, even though they aren't "low sodium", which are always more expensive. As for trying to save money in food, as well as being able to keep your sodium low, cook from scratch! There are all sorts of recipes out there you could start with that are listed as "5 ingredients or less", or something like that. I didn't have all of the spices and ingredients I have now, when I started out, but we always start out somewhere! The main reason I got into cooking, waaaaaaay back in college, was to save money - even back then, prepared foods cost more, than making things from scratch.
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Quick question. Has a doctor told you that sodium is your issue or is that a self-diagnosis?
Thanks for the tips!

Yeah, I figured some fish would be good, protein wise, as well as the other health benefits they provide. Chicken has been my go to, as well as beans on occasion. It's not a priority, as I don't care for them. I figured I'd let people know I don't care for seafood in case they recommend any seafood dishes.
I've been making sure to check the labels and to up my water intake.

Do you have any recipes, or know a place I can check out for some? Most places seem to like to post recipes with quinoa and such. I wouldn't mind trying it, but would rather more... "Classic" dishes.
Sadly, it's more self diagnosis. I've been to the hospital, but can't afford to go to the doctor, till my employer opens up enrollment for health insurance. Should be soon, hopefully. It just tells me in the Fall. The medical bills I have from my one visit is already tough to deal with. They performed several tests and found nothing, so I assumed it might be my diet, which, to be fair, has been bad thanks to work and my lack of money, or time.

I've been trying different diets for a few months now, just to see how certain foods been treating me. I have a food diary and everything now. Judging by how things had been going, it seems like a good suspect.
Even if that turns out not to be the issue, it's still a good thing to try and cut back on anyway. So, either way, it'll still benefit me.

Again, hoping for my work to open up enrollment soon. I plan on going to the doctor ASAP when I do finally get it.
Prickly, On the subject of beans, other legumes that are quick to cook, and very nutritious, are lentils. No pre-soaking required, and most are finished in 20 minutes, maybe less. The red lentils are available just about everywhere now, in addition to the regular brown/green lentils. And even the chana dal are available in some supermarkets now (I used to only find these in Indian markets), and these are actually a type of chickpea, which are very nutritious. Still, if you happen to have an Indian grocery in the area, legumes will be normally be cheaper there, as they have larger bags, and a much larger variety, as well.
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Very much appreciated! Sadly, we don't have much in grocery store variety here, but Aldi's do tend to carry more "exotic" groceries than others. (We're a small town, with majority of the population involved with mining, it's to be expected.)
I do believe we carry some of the lentils you mentioned at Walmart... Obviously not the large bags, but still, better than nothing!
I thank you for all of your help!
Aldi was going to be a place I was going to mention! They do have those red lentils, and I remember that some of their canned beans are lower in sodium than some other store brands - their black beans are less than half what Shop Rite's have in them! And they also have low sodium beans, though they are 79¢ a can, versus 45¢ for some of the regulars. I only know they have those because they had sales on them twice for 29¢/can, and I bought large amounts both times! Not for the low sodium, but because of the price!:LOL:

And if I recall, Walmart is a place where I first saw those chana dal, besides the Indian markets. And I was surprised at the variety of legumes they had in my Walmart; though I still buy most at the Indian market, that's where I get my Mexican black beans - the shiny, almost round ones, that years ago, I could only get in a Mexican grocery store! How times have changed...
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Definitely can't beat that! I honestly love Aldi's... Can always find great value there and they do tend to carry things you never see elsewhere. Can get a cart full of groceries there and it seems like you pay hardly anything at all! Next time I have some extra cash, definitely going to stock up there.
You can look up nutritional information on salt here, based on scientific studies and facts:

Your tastebud regrow every 11 days, once you stop using salt (or sugar or oil), you will start tasting the taste of food.

Doctors are trained to prescribe medications and do procedures.
On average, U.S. medical schools offer only 19.6 hours of nutrition education across four years of medical school, according to a 2010 report in Academic Medicine. In a 2016 study, researchers at Case Western Reserve University examined data from 25 family medicine, internal medicine and OB-GYN medical residency programs throughout Ohio: What they found is that these programs averaged 2.8 hours of instruction on obesity, nutrition and physical activity counseling, and only 42 percent of them taught the residents techniques for how to perform health behavior counseling.

and many more links to many blogs and recipes sites.

Interesting book: Salt Sugar Fat by Michael Moss, How the food industry has kept consumers addicted to salt, sugar, and fat. Most of it from processed foods.

Diced baked potatoes, salt free corn, green beans, and salt/sugar/oil free mushroom gravy. Dinner.

The information you are seeking is available, if you watch videos and read material.
I appreciate the help! I figured it'd be best to ask people, versus scouring the internet for various food blogs that turn out to be 10% food, 90% life stories.

Especially as most recipes tend to use... Interesting ingredients, or one meal requires so many items that for just one meal, I'm spending about $10. I was able to find a few simple recipes in my search, before the food blogs got annoying... Seriously, why do so many try to hide the recipe in a mountain of text? For more ad space?

I knew about taste buds and how they change and develope. After all, I used to hate peppers and onions, but now I love them! Shame they never developed a looking to fish yet, lmao.

Thanks for all of the information. I'll check it those pages and see if any are what I'm looking for.
If you like salt but have to reduce the amount, get some unrefined sea salt.

Other than salt you have advantages available. First of all is spices.

There are types of Mrs. Dash you would probably like, they do not usually have salt but if you use alot it might taste salty.

Also just spices. Thyme and celery seed for two. Used properly they add enough flavor to take your mind off the salt.

There are others. You can spice it up so much you'll never need see a salt shaker again.

Thing is to try many, see which ones you like. Another thing is that while some spices do have sodium, most are so nutritious it is worth it anyway.

Some years ago I haunted the USDA website where you get the mineral and whatever content of the food. I found that there are good veggies, if grown in good soil. Then nuts have many times the nutrients in them. Then spices are another order of magnitude. So spice it up, it is good for you.

I'm Not Preaching

Been a long time since anybody actually asked about how to manage sodium, so this is addressed to anybody who might stumble on this thread.

If after you've severely restricted or completely eliminated processed "foods", and you want or need to make further progress, you might try a scale that can measure tenths or hundredths of a gram.

I've been using this one for over three years.
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skilletlicker, I have a similar small scale, that I use far less than my larger scale, when I want to weigh very small amounts of things, like when I make solutions of chemicals. I just used it today, to make a 1,000:1 GA-3 solution today. Not the type of things you can do on a regular scale - even grams aren't a small enough scale for many recipes I see that give small amounts of spices, yeast, salt, and the like, converted to grams. You add the stuff very slowly until it goes to 3 g, for instance, it takes quite a bit more to get to 4 g, so the % of the amount can vary quite a bit.

I bought it to measure nutrient supplements to the small aquaponic system in which the goal was to manage parts per million of various nutrients.

But when it was it was recommended that I reduce my own sodium consumption to about 1200 milligrams per day it became the only way to measure sodium added to my almost exclusively scratch home cooking.

Such persnickety measurements take some serious getting used to, but like anything else, you get pretty good at it with practice.

My main food scale will weigh a fifteen-pound turkey in grams, but, as you well know, that is NO help measuring milligrams of sodium.
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