Do you have any guidance/direction for adjusting my cooking to low sodium requirements (under 2,000mg per day)? Conversion charts & subsitutions Tha

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4 Comments

withinseason July 12, 2019
Hi there! I went through something this when helping my mom through health related low-to-no sodium diet. She had to drop sodium almost entirely. We learned a few things along the way. One of the best options is to look for recipes that have a citrus element- that lemony zing can really carry a dish and help "replace" saltiness without needing a complicated substitute. Lemon zest, lemon juice , limes- these really helped.

We also tried things like fennel pollen that brought fun and complex flavors without relying on salt for heavy lifting. La boite spice mixes had some nice blends that we used to have fun with other kinds of flavor profiles.

I also found that some efforts at subbing wasnt worth it. Baking without sodium is hard. And they do sell sodiumfree baking powder but it had an odd chemical taste (imho). I only used it once ..just an odd aftertaste.
 
linda T. July 15, 2019
Thanks so much for taking the time to reply. Your approach is the one I have tried and so far, so good. The citrus addition is the best idea - especially for so many vegetables.
Again, thanks for your help.
 
Smaug July 12, 2019
Just poking around on Amazon, there are a lot of books available, but I have no real recommendations- I was hoping for one from James Beard, who lived on a salt free diet for a period, but no soap. There were a couple from the American Heart Association, which would likely be good sources for tables etc. I've always felt that when approaching a new skill, it's better to work from a book which will give you a more coherent viewpoint and consistent principles, than to go for random sources on the internet. Of course, you need to keep aware of, and eventually look into, different viewpoints, but it's easier to focus on one to begin with. I started cutting way down on salt years ago (though without any specific goals), by simply using less- we are accustomed to atrociously high salt levels through long standing practices, particularly in commercial cooking, and chefs are now determined to find ways to get us to eat even more- and preferably to pay $10 an ounce for it. However, you soon stop missing it when you don't consistently overdo it. Best of luck with your quest.
 
Nancy July 12, 2019
Speaking only as a home cook (not a nutritionist).
I have found that in adjusting diets to eliminate ingredients (about a handful in various cases), it is generally better to work around than to work 100% to replace the reduced or eliminated ingredient. Also, for myself, I often find substitutes have chemical tastes or fall short of the texture/taste of the original. So I'd rather do without.
If you eliminate the ingredient cold turkey, a few things happen, in roughly this order...
1) great discomfort, missing the ingredient
2) grudging or reluctant adjustment (physical & emotional withdrawal)
3) new taste sensitivity
4) enjoyment of a new taste sensitivity
5) reintroduction (if permitted) of small amounts of ingredient gives huge impact as taste & sensitivity have been increased.
6) learn new recipes eliminating or strongly reducing the specified ingredient.
A few concluding thoughts
• there ARE salt substitutes out there and some people like them;
• find and use reputable low-salt cookbooks;
• if this is a medical requirement, your doctor may be able to recommend & your health plan pay for nutritionist consultation to help you adjust diet.
 
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