Do the Math

Now that we have had ample time to adjust our cooking to very low sodium, its time to start looking at actual measurements of sodium.  We did our homework and learned the minimums and maximums of sodium an average, healthy adult should have.   2300 mg is the maximum amount of sodium and can be found in just 1 teaspoon of salt.  The minimum is 500 mg.  We need sodium, just not an overabundance.

Take the hamburger, for instance.  At Chilis, the Old Timer, which is most like burgers we make (or used to make) at home.  I thought the calories were bad until I saw the sodium.  Go ahead, guess………………………………. Ready?  3,050.  Well over the recommended maximum.  Then add fries, appetizer, etc.  In one setting you could have over 4,000 mg.

Well, we can’t have that, now can we?  No siree.  I set out to completely take the sodium out and help the swelling go down.  It did, and then I decided to keep Old Rooster withing a 500-1000 mg diet.  Now, I need to make sure we are keeping to that level but still manage to add flavor to our meals.  One of our success is a hamburger, modified to fit low sodium.

Ground turkey hamburger patty (3.2 oz) seasoned with Mrs. Dash, salt substitute, and pepper (60mg), with lettuce (0mg), purple onion slices (0mg), bun (190mg), dill pickle (70mg) and low sodium bacon (95mg).  Total 415mg.   Almost half his daily.  But if we make fries they have no salt.  Our ketchup has no salt.  We did without cheese because a slice is extremely high.

Now, I need to go figure out the measurements for the killer spaghetti sauce I made tonight using the left over turkey burgers.  I mean, it was to die for.


Thansgiving: trial and errors, and hospitals

Thanksgiving was, more than years past, the most stressful time of my entire year.

First, trying to duplicate my MIL’s most wonderful dressing sodium free/low sodium was a success and a failure.  The success was in the form of a perfect outcome in appearance and texture; the failure was in the taste.  I had all the ingredients set at either low sodium or no sodium.  I made the rolls and cornbread from scratch so that I could eliminate all sodium from them.  I had the low sodium chicken broth and drippings from my unseasoned, roasted turkey.  The herbs, celery and onion, even a no sodium cream of mushroom soup (recipe calls for cream of chicken, but can’t find that low sodium).  Followed by my SIL’s instructions that it should resemble soupy oatmeal when all ingredients mixed together and baked til golden brown and slightly firm.    It came out beautifully as did the turkey.  Nice and moist……  Test run for Thanksgiving dinner was made about a week before the food fest with family on Black Friday.    See…









Looked wonderful and smelled wonderful.  Taste? EPIC FAIL!!!  Even with herbs and poultry seasoning and broth, low sodium as it was, no flavor whatsoever.  In thinking over what could be done differently, I decided that the next pan of dressing to be made for Thanksgiving dinner would have low sodium breads that I would still make from scratch, the low sodium  chicken broth and regular cream of chicken soup.   Plus, more of the herbs, celery and onion because when you are cooking without salt, you need to increase the other seasonings.  By volume, the sodium in all the ingredients should still be low on a per serving basis.

Alas, the next batch wasn’t made as we never made it to the family dinner.  Old Rooster ended up in the  hospital night before Thanksgiving.  And that began a whole new set of problems that added to the stress of Thanksgiving 2012.  And not just because he was in the hospital (he’s fine and was only there 4 days), but because of what happened, healthwise, at the hospital….. But that’s a story for another post.

So, next attempt shall be postponed and prepared for Easter dinner.  No ham; either chicken or turkey will be roasted for that.


What’s for dinner???

Old Rooster works from home; I work outside of the home.  Dinner is, of late, a very much joint effort.  However Sunday dinner and Monday dinner were all Old Rooster.

On one of the last grocery trips he made solo, he found an unprepared brisket.  Just what we needed and at a great price.  Old Rooster took it out Saturday, and seasoned it with some Mickey & T’s Rib Rub, spices by Frontera, Mrs. Dash Teriyaki Marinade and course ground pepper.  He covered the dish and let it marinate over night in the fridge.  Put it in a 275 deg oven for about 3 hours and bumped up the temp to 325 deg for another 2 hours.  Opened the foil to reveal tender, fall apart brisket.  Put about a teaspoon of bbq sauce (not sodium free) over the entire brisket.  PERFECTION!!!!  Served with homemade sodium free bread and fresh cantaloupe.

Monday I get home from work HUNGRY!!!  He has laid out some white fish and plans to fry it and make his red sauce (made with the low sodium horseradish sauce (Sandwich Pal), no sodium ketchup (Heinz), and garlic to taste), red potatoe w/salt free butter, and red grapes.   Practically a completely sodium free meal.



Wow, that’s salty

Old Rooster, the hubs, has been low sodium this whole time.   I am taking the journey with him, well, because I love him and care about him.  And, frankly, its easier than preparing meals separately.  However, I still get some processed foods; I take my lunch everyday and use lunch meat and store bought bread.  Otherwise, I’m eating what he eats.

I took left over spaghetti for lunch today (recipe posted in the category of Recipe).   Ordinary day, right?  Ordinary lunch, right?  Well, it wasn’t.  I took some bread to eat with my spaghetti.  I hadn’t buttered it when I packed lunch because the bread would stick together and well, I am a texture person.  There was butter in the fridge at work.  Not unsalted butter, regular creamy, sweet butter.   I added some to my bread and went to eat.  I wasn’t expecting the taste I got.  It was waaaaaay tooooooo salty.  What happened to the sweet creamy taste of butter?  Nothing, actually.  I had changed, not the butter.  I have been using the unsalted butter long enough that when I used “regular” butter, it tasted bad.

Not a sad tale though.  Truly one of hope.  When we first learned of the changes we were going to have to make and chose to make, we were sad.  All that flavor gone…..  How wrong we were.  There is flavor out there, so much that you really don’t need to add salt.  Endless vegetables, fruits, herbs and other seasonings like pepper, cumin, celery, garlic, etc.  You don’t have to suffer.

Our advice… Experiment.  Take recipes you like and de-salt them.  You don’t need to get rid of all sodium, but you sure can lessen the salt by taking it out and using no salt added/no sodium products.  If there is an epic fail, don’t despair.  Figure out where you went wrong, and try again.  Soon, you will have wonderful dishes to serve that you can enjoy.

We are adapting and having a new kind of fun… Cooking together and experimenting and just enjoying life.

Spaghetti sauce

1 can no salt tomato sauce, lg

1 can no salt tomato paste

1 can no salt diced or stewed tomatoes

1 lb ground meat of choice, we have used both beef and turkey and like both

1/4 chopped onion, white or yellow

minced garlic, 1 t

1 T basil, dried

1 T oregano, dried

1 t Mrs. Dash original

chopped mushroom, however much you want

sugar to taste (we like our sauce just a bit sweet.  warning, without salt you taste the sugar more, go slow)

Combine all ingredients, except meat, mushrooms and onion, in pot and simmer.   While that is simmering, brown meat, mushrooms, and onion together.  When meat is browned and onions and mushrooms tender, drain if necessary, and add to sauce simmering in pot.  Continue to simmer and let the flavors marry.  Taste and adjust as needed.  Cook pasta, drain and plate, then spoon over sauce.

It will not taste salty, so don’t be disappointed.  There is minimal sodium in this recipe.  It comes from the canned tomatoes, which have about 15mg per serving.  Even no salt has low amount of sodium.  As you need some sodium, approximately 500mg a day, it won’t hurt. Especially if you’ve been keeping to low sodium in your other meals as well.  You will taste the tomato more and other seasons.  Use fresh, even herbs, where possible.   It will increase the flavor and overall taste.

I plan to start an herb garden for my kitchen window.  Those that already use fresh herbs regularly will now what a difference fresh makes.

Enjoy and Mangi!!!

It has made the news

From Huffington Post, here is the link to an article on Americans and their salt intake.  Also a quiz to see how well you know where the hidden sodium is.

Success story

We found several items in the grocery store this last visit.


We also found these taco shells and tortilla chips





Last from these past two trips and online search, we found Mrs. Dash Teriyaki Marinade and its yum (0nline), Hunt’s no msg/sodium/high fructose corn syrup ketchup (bought online, but then found in local grocery store), no sodium baking powder as we now must make our own tortillas and biscuits (0nline), and fruit spread without sodium found in store.


I hope you find this helpful and hopeful that you can succeed in this lifestyle change.

Share any of your finds, we are constantly looking.