Sodium Girl

Try This Heart Healthy Recipe (You Won’t Miss The Salt!)

February 12, 2013 at 5:53 pm , by

We’ve been blogging and tweeting nonstop this month to get the message across: Way too many women are dying of heart disease. One of the things you can do to keep your heart healthy is cut back on salt to prevent high blood pressure. That’s why we tapped our friend Jessica Goldman Foung, also known as Sodium Girl, to share some delicious recipes from her new book Sodium Girl’s Limitless Low-Sodium Cookbook.

By Jessica Goldman Foung

Why not do something for your heart this Valentine’s Day? Not just your figurative heart—the one that beats for your special someone—but your actual heart that beats to keep you going. Back in 2004, when an aggressive attack of the autoimmune disease lupus caused my kidneys to fail, my eating habits had to change a lot. When you have excess sodium in your diet (and trust me, if you’re not paying attention, you probably do), the extra salt spills into your bloodstream, which makes you retain fluid and raises your blood pressure. Your kidneys normally regulate your sodium level, so for me, losing the salt was a must.

It took a life-threatening event to get me to ditch salt, so I know it’s hard. But what I learned is that nearly everyone can—and should—cut back. The average American consumes almost 3,500 mg of sodium every day, which is double the recommended amount.

Without salt, I became more daring and playful in the kitchen. I started eating vegetables that used to scare me like bok choy, leeks and Brussels sprouts, and I experimented with cuisines I’d never tried, including Moroccan, Indian and Korean. I was determined to make over salty meals that I’d always loved, which led to discovering many replacements for high-sodium ingredients, like soy sauce. Yes, even soy sauce! So I know anyone can do it.

I had to figure it all out on my own, so I’m happy to share a recipe to get you started. Read more for one of my favorite low-so recipes: Tamarind “Teriyaki” Skewers (pictured above). Read more


Guest Blog: Low in Salt, Big on Flavor

February 9, 2011 at 9:45 am , by

For the second installment of our back-to-basics heart health series we tackled hypertension: what it does and how to control it. One of the most shocking things I learned from the piece was the huge role sodium can play in raising your blood pressure and harming your health. Yet every day the average American woman consumes more than double the recommended amount of sodium without even realizing it. Cutting your salt intake can be tough. But one of our favorite bloggers, Jessica Goldman (right, also known as Sodium Girl), proves that low-salt living is doable and even fun. Here she shares her story and, after the jump, some good ideas for tastier, healthier eating—with no added salt.

Beating Bland
By Jessica Goldman

Growing up, my three favorite meals were fried chicken, Szechuan beef and macaroni and cheese. Like most people, I was a verifiable salt fiend. But in 2004, when an aggressive attack of the autoimmune disease lupus caused my kidneys to fail, my eating habits had to change a lot. Quick fixes like canned soups and sauces (often off the charts in sodium content) were out of the question, as were casual dinners out, since so many chefs throw salt around by the handful.

When you have excess sodium in your diet (and trust me, if you’re not paying attention you probably do), the extra salt spills into your bloodstream, which makes you retain fluid and raises your blood pressure. Your kidneys normally regulate your sodium level, so for me, losing the salt was imperative.

Losing the thrill of eating, however, was not an option. So I approached my dietary challenge like a game of charades. Think back to the last time you played. Without words, you had to find alternative means of communicating. Without salt, my culinary crutch, I had to find alternative means of creating flavor. Read more

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