Low Sodium Recommendations

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Prof. Wagstaff
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Low Sodium Recommendations

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Fri Sep 22, 2017 10:22 pm

Doc tells me I really gotta get a better handle on my diet and sodium seems to be her biggest concern.

I can go into detail about my eating habits (how terrible they were/how they have changed) if anyone wants me to but was kinda hoping to just toss this out there blind so people answer without any preconceptions. Essentially, just wondering what low sodium foods and recipes folks recommend (and also tips on how to avoid salt in things I might not have suspected contained as much as they do. I seriously had no idea how much fucking salt there is in a slice of shitty-ass white bread, for example.)

fennel
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Re: Low Sodium Recommendations

Postby fennel » Fri Sep 22, 2017 11:12 pm

Make your own food. Don't eat processed foods (shitty-ass white bread, for example). Offset the need for salt by adding lemon/lime juice or vinegar and chili pepper. Taste before adding salt.

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Re: Low Sodium Recommendations

Postby Dust Mite Rodeo » Fri Sep 22, 2017 11:50 pm

Cilantro and Miracle Whip both go a long way in offsetting saltlessness.

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Re: Low Sodium Recommendations

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Sat Sep 23, 2017 1:07 am

fennel wrote:Make your own food.

Of course. And I've been doing that more and more for years already, but I also have a limited budget, so having to ditch some of my staples is gonna hurt both in convenience and in my wallet. I mean, if you wait for sales, you can get cans of good soup for $1.50 - $2.00 and that plus a nice hunk of cheese is a very satisfying meal to me. But it's also over half my daily allowance of salt, which is clearly a no-no. Yes, I can make my own soup -- and even before the latest doc warnings, I never added any salt when I did because it's just not necessary -- but that takes several hours usually. Once it's done, I can portion it out and freeze it, but still, I can store dozens of cans of many different soups in my cupboard; there's only room in my freezer for one kind of soup at a time, maybe two, for the most part, and I am a lover of variety in my diet.

I've probably addressed this on TDPF before, but the reason I eat shitty-ass white bread at all is also because of cost and convenience. A loaf of shitty-ass white bread costs less than $1.50 and as long as I keep my fingers out of the bag, it can sit on my counter for nearly 2 months without getting moldy. A loaf of high quality bread, on the other hand, costs around $4 - $5 and gets moldy after only a few days pretty much always. (And yes, I know you can freeze/refrigerate it for longer shelf life but I find that very off-putting; I know myself well enough to know that bread in the freezer will never get eaten.)

Another budgetary issue: nuts (the salting of which I've always found unnecessary) are fucking expensive, damn it. I could happily never munch another chip, Cheeto, or Chicken in a Biskit again (ok, I haven't eaten those last ones in years, I just liked the alliteration) if nuts were priced similarly. But, of course, they ain't. I really like snacking though, so I need to find other stuff to fulfill my constant desire to be shoveling food in my mouth. (I also obviously need to work on training my brain to not constantly instruct me to shovel food in my mouth. I've gained a lot of weight since I quit smoking in April and it's neither pretty nor comfortable.) I found a fairly low sodium microwave popcorn but should probably invest in a real popcorn maker so I can just cut the salt out entirely. (One of the very first things to go was my beloved Brady Street Cheese Sprinkle. That shit's like crack to me and popcorn was my favorite delivery system.)

fennel wrote: Offset the need for salt by adding lemon/lime juice or vinegar and chili pepper. Taste before adding salt.
I'm not much of a salt-adder just in general but I've always eaten a lot of already-salty foods. So not shaking is mostly no problem for me, I just need to begin with low sodium foods. That said, I certainly like flavor, so I will definitely take your suggestions above to heart when cooking. I'm also a big fan of celery seed as a salt substitute. It's delicious on popcorn, for example.

Dust Mite Rodeo wrote:Cilantro and Miracle Whip both go a long way in offsetting saltlessness.

Heh. Clearly you don't recall that I fall squarely in the cilantro is not food camp.
I don't really eat Miracle Whip or mayo much anymore. I didn't stop for health reasons (I don't think of either as being particularly unhealthy in small quantities, frankly) I just started swapping Greek yogurt in most places they were called for. I prefer the flavor and texture of the yogurt in most recipes.

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Re: Low Sodium Recommendations

Postby penquin » Sat Sep 23, 2017 11:34 am

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:Yes, I can make my own soup....but that takes several hours usually. Once it's done, I can portion it out and freeze it, but still, I can store dozens of cans of many different soups in my cupboard; there's only room in my freezer for one kind of soup at a time, maybe two, for the most part, and I am a lover of variety in my diet.


Crock-pot your soups and stews. Sure, it takes longer than on the stove but there isn't any watching/fussing needed and it turns out sooooooo good! I usually get whatever meat is on sale, grab some veggies that are in season (or a bag of frozen stuff if that has a good price on it), add a few spices and whatnot, and throw it all in there. Turn it on and forget about it for 6-8 hours. Will start my rice cooker an hour or so before I wanna eat, and that all makes for a good meal.

Are you using a dorm fridge? 'cause these containers stack up nicely in my freezer and they hold two (for me) servings each. Usually eat a couple bowls of it fresh and then freeze 2 or 3 containers for leftovers I keep about a dozen of 'em in my (regular-sized) freezer and pull one out the night before it's gonna get ate.

And thanks for the idea about celery seed on popcorn - will be trying that one out for sure! If you do eat a lotta popcorn then you definitely should get a hot air popper. Not only is it healthier than microwave popcorn, but the popcorn itself costs a lot less. Check out StVinnies or Goodwill if you wanna do it on the cheap; folks are always getting rid of stuff like that.

Gonna say "popcorn" one more time, 'cause I like the number 5 more than I like 4.

Heh. Clearly you don't recall that I fall squarely in the cilantro is not food camp.


Or clearly he did recall it...lol.

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Re: Low Sodium Recommendations

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Sat Sep 23, 2017 12:44 pm

penquin wrote:Crock-pot your soups and stews.

Stew I've always made in a slow cooker. That said, all the stews I've ever made were always loaded up with meat, so not exactly conducive to my attempts to eat healthier. Will need to revise that moving into fall, as I'll be craving a hearty stew soon enough. How I make soup depends on what kind it is. When I make chicken soup, I make the stock with a whole chicken first, for example. That's not gonna work as well in the crockpot, I wouldn't think, but I've made several other varieties in the crock over the years. I've done chili both ways but I am definitely a "There ain't no beans in chili!" kinda guy, so probably no more of that for me in the foreseeable future in any cooking vessel.

penquin wrote:Are you using a dorm fridge? 'cause these containers stack up nicely in my freezer and they hold two (for me) servings each.

I literally invested in a half dozen of those just last week; just haven't gotten around to actually making soup yet.
My fridge is pretty old, so it's not optimized like more modern ones for space. I also have a roommate, and he uses a lot of the freezer real estate as he eats a lot of boxed, frozen meals. Thankfully, I've never been too big into those, given how loaded they are with sodium, but I can't really tell him he can't eat what he likes just to make room for my diet.

penquin wrote: If you do eat a lotta popcorn then you definitely should get a hot air popper.

I really should. The reason I've never had one is my kitchen is small and there's not a lot of counter space, most of which is already taken up with other appliances. (For the curious: two crockpots of different sizes, toaster, indoor grill, rice cooker, electric kettle,and this fantastic little chopper. Oh, and the roommate has a SodaStream. He used to have a massive juicer but after it sat unused for a couple months, I told him it had to go.) Experience tells me if an appliance is packed away in a closet or cupboard, the likelihood of it being used is almost nil.

penquin wrote:
Heh. Clearly you don't recall that I fall squarely in the cilantro is not food camp.


Or clearly he did recall it...lol.

You know, you're probably right. :)

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Re: Low Sodium Recommendations

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Sat Sep 23, 2017 1:22 pm

Ha! Just wandered into my living room to grab a book and looked up on top of some shelves and . . .
OH YEAH! I TOTALLY ALREADY OWN A POPCORN MAKER!
How could I forget about this amazing garage sale find from a decade or so ago?

Image

I'll have to dig around in the basement for the second piece, though . . .

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Re: Low Sodium Recommendations

Postby Ducatista » Sat Sep 23, 2017 3:28 pm

penquin wrote:If you do eat a lotta popcorn then you definitely should get a hot air popper.

What? NO! Pointless appliance — unless it's of the Scooby Doo variety, and even then its only value is decorative.

Fat is NOT the enemy. The best popcorn is popped in oil (veg, coconut, flavored wok oil, whatever) in a basic, multi-purpose pot. No gadgets required.

Bonus: whatever you sprinkle on properly oil-popped corn sticks better than on air-popped cardboard.

I've never tried brewer's yeast as a topping, but I've heard good things. S'posed to be good for you.

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Re: Low Sodium Recommendations

Postby Dust Mite Rodeo » Sat Sep 23, 2017 3:38 pm

If your problem is high blood pressure, I was amazed by how much my regular alcohol use affected it. If I quit for two weeks, the numbers would be 20-25 mmHg lower, no kidding. Now I take a pill for it (blood pressure).

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Re: Low Sodium Recommendations

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Sat Sep 23, 2017 4:27 pm

Ducatista wrote:Pointless appliance . . . No gadgets required.

Ha! Every so often I receive a demonstration of how the older I've gotten, the more reliant I've become on technologies I got along just fine without for decades. I don't think my family owned a popcorn popper til I was in high school and we certainly ate popcorn on a regular basis. In college, I didn't have a decent pot (wasn't much into cooking back then) but I had a frying pan and aluminum foil, and that worked just fine.
So thanks! You just saved me some $$ and reminded me not to be so lazy in my thinking.

Dust Mite Rodeo wrote:If your problem is high blood pressure, I was amazed by how much my regular alcohol use affected it. If I quit for two weeks, the numbers would be 20-25 mmHg lower, no kidding. Now I take a pill for it (blood pressure).
I've been on a blood pressure med for a few years already (hydrochlorothiazide, in case you were curious) and yeah, obviously alcohol is not the greatest thing for me to be imbibing for a variety of reasons. That said, I'm not capable of living a super-healthy lifestyle; that's just not me. And whether it sounds like a problem when expressed this way or not, getting drunk a couple times every 10 days or so is important for my mental health. (Especially since my drug of choice -- marijuana -- is simply too expensive for me to keep on hand, what with my total lack of self control when I do have it.) Before I quit smoking, my doc was really insistent that I quit drinking altogether. Since I kicked the cigs*, she hasn't mentioned it once, I think because again, she's just so blown away that I quit smoking she decided to let the alcohol go for now. But when the concerns were first raised, I really did ask basically everyone I know if they thought my drinking was anything they'd ever been worried about. Not one person had even a single concern. That includes my immediate family, my girlfriend of 8 years, my bandmates, my Movie Night buddies, my uncle the doctor, bartenders I know, and my housemate. Most were puzzled why I was even asking.

The real problem for me blood pressure-wise is my sedentary lifestyle. I just don't get much (read: any) exercise. I work from home and sit in the same office chair to do that I'm also in when I play games, watch videos, surf the Web, write correspondence, etc. I have never been a physically active guy and it's only gotten worse as I've aged. That's gotta change, I know.

*Secondary only to the expense being too big a drain on my income, quitting smoking came about because my doc really, really, really wanted to prescribe me the patch, and I really, really, really hate the whole idea of that and did not want to do it. So I told her to give me 6 months to seriously curb my more-than-a-pack-a-day habit or quit altogether and if I failed, I foolishly promised, I'd try the patch. The attending physician actually came in the room at the end of that visit and not only reiterated how important quitting smoking was, she assured me I had to quit drinking too because they go hand-in-hand and if I tried to quit smoking without quitting drinking, I would fail. Obviously, that's just not true, but it struck as odd even when she said it. Isn't that exactly backwards? I know lots of ex-drinkers and they almost all smoke like chimneys and every ex-smoker I personally know still drinks. Drinking is just one of many triggers for wanting to smoke but I don't feel it's any greater than, say, my urge to light up when I get behind the wheel, or my desire for a nice puff after dinner, and I can't imagine a doctor suggesting I should also stop driving or quit eating.

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Re: Low Sodium Recommendations

Postby Bland » Sat Sep 23, 2017 4:58 pm

Ducatista wrote:The best popcorn is popped in oil (veg, coconut, flavored wok oil, whatever)

Got any recommendations for corn and/or oil that you think are the best or does it really not matter much? I've been doing the microwave bags for years but my girlfriend HATES the smell.

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Re: Low Sodium Recommendations

Postby fennel » Sat Sep 23, 2017 6:37 pm

The first rule of Kitchen Club, is that if you have anything on your counter that you use less than 3-4 times per week, remove it. Having sufficient counter space will give you space to prep, and space to think. We keep our toaster on the counter during the cooler months, for example. During the summer, we pull it out of the cupboard when we need it.

Ducatista is spot-on re popcorn. Keep it simple. Safflower/sunflower/peanut oils work well, since they have a high smoke point. We have an old enameled steel pot that serves only two purposes: a quick boil of water for whatever, or popcorn. It's a beautifully ugly pot.

Toss that microwave unless you have an infant or are nursing an elderly person. Or just toss it. You'll be glad for it.

Oh, and don't confuse cheap bread with bread. It's just schmutz. Fugget about it. Eat bread or don't eat bread.

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Re: Low Sodium Recommendations

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Sat Sep 23, 2017 7:31 pm

fennel wrote:The first rule of Kitchen Club, is that if you have anything on your counter that you use less than 3-4 times per week, remove it.

I appreciate you're trying to be helpful but that's a ridiculous benchmark for me.
I use the indoor grill about once or twice a week to grill fish; putting it away after every use would be more hassle than it's worth, it seems to me. (I used to use it for hot dogs, steaks, and other beefy things but since I've mostly eliminated those from my diet, it's really just fish these days.)
The crockpots only get used once every couple weeks, but not usually both; if I put either of them in a closet, who knows if they'd ever come out again? (They get used so rarely because most things I make in'em can feed me for a week or two.)
The toaster barely gets used at all, but when I want it, it's right there, not inconveniently stashed away.
I cook just about every day at least one meal, often two, but most of it gets done on the stove top or in the oven.

fennel wrote:Having sufficient counter space will give you space to prep, and space to think.

I have a built-in pull-out cutting board under one of my counters and a kitchen table. That's all the space I've ever needed to prep. I don't know what kind of feasts you prepare but I never cook for more than four people and usually it's just me. So again, hiding appliances to free up counter space I don't need doesn't really make much sense for me. The issue with limited counter space is, there's only room for so many appliances; I don't need the space for prepping. (And most of the appliances are under cabinets where prepping wouldn't make much sense anyway, frankly.)

fennel wrote:Toss that microwave unless you have an infant or are nursing an elderly person. Or just toss it. You'll be glad for it.
No, I'd miss it a lot, since I use it all the time. I don't cook in it very much, true -- it's for reheating, mostly. Tonight's dinner was all leftovers and took 3 min. in the microwave. There's no comparable way I could have done that with an oven and/or stovetop that wouldn't have taken considerably longer. Besides that, my entire meal -- which consisted of stuff from three different previous meals -- fit on a single plate. To reheat it any other way would mean several more pots/dishes to clean. How would that make me glad?

Not sure what you have against convenience but it's kinda weird. If your core advice is "cook more" but the rest of your advice is "adopt more inconvenient cooking practices", you seem to be trying to pull me in opposite directions.

fennel wrote:Oh, and don't confuse cheap bread with bread. It's just schmutz. Fugget about it. Eat bread or don't eat bread.
Eh, you can call it whatever you want and dismiss it as not even being food, but I've already explained the financial reason why I keep it around which I think is pretty reasonable. Beyond that, though, I like cheap-ass white bread. It's comfort food. Yes, I know the difference between it and higher quality stuff but I also know the difference between M&M's and chocolate I get from the local confectioner -- that doesn't mean only one of them tastes good, right? And I'll say this: I've had countless fancy-pants grilled cheese sandwiches over the years on all kinds of artisan breads with more kinds of cheese than I can recall but I've never had one as satisfying as a couple slices of American on white bread, frankly. Those others were (mostly) pretty good, but they didn't taste like the comfort of my childhood, that's for sure, and they sure as shit didn't cost less than a buck to make. Yes, I'm trying to eat healthier but I also need to have enough money leftover after I buy groceries to pay my bills, so there's gonna have to be some trade-offs.

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Re: Low Sodium Recommendations

Postby fennel » Sat Sep 23, 2017 7:56 pm

Clay is cheaper than bread — and you wouldn't be the first one to go that route.

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Re: Low Sodium Recommendations

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Sat Sep 23, 2017 7:58 pm

fennel wrote:Clay is cheaper than bread — and you wouldn't be the first one to go that route.

Hmmm . . . now that is something to chew on.


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