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Salt-free/restricted cooking


hazardnc
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My father-in-law has been put on a strict salt-free diet following a series of mild strokes. The good news for him is that hi BP dropped from 200/100 to 120/70 in a week! The bad news is he's coming to visit us at the end of the month and I have to rethink my meal plans.

One dish I wanted to make was a wonderful slow-roasted pork shoulder that has a rub or garlic, rosemary and salt. Do you think omitting the salt would affect the texture of the meat?

Anyone have other tips for me? Processed foods are out - no problem. But I can't find milk without salt. The chicken breasts I buy from Costco have salt in them, but I imagine I can get organic breasts that are plain.

Help is appreciated.

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My father-in-law has been put on a strict salt-free diet following a series of mild strokes.  The good news for him is that hi BP dropped from 200/100 to 120/70 in a week!  The bad news is he's coming to visit us at the end of the month and I have to rethink my meal plans.

One dish I wanted to make was a wonderful slow-roasted pork shoulder that has a rub or garlic, rosemary and salt.  Do you think omitting the salt would affect the texture of the meat?

Anyone have other tips for me?  Processed foods are out - no problem.  But I can't find milk without salt.  The chicken breasts I buy from Costco have salt in them, but I imagine I can get organic breasts that are plain.

Help is appreciated.

Are the chicken breasts you are buying from Costco the quick frozen ones? If so, then look there for fresh breasts -- the ones I get don't have salt.

And, be careful with the pork butt. Much of the pork at a supermarket has been injected with some sort of solution that has a lot of salt in it. Same with turkeys.

But, you can do a salt-free rub. Since you are slow roasting it, and if you season it with some other things, you should be OK.

Quite frankly, a zero sodium diet is almost impossible since for many things, sodium is part of them. It's not an added ingredient, but just part and parcel of, let's say, milk; your milk doesn't have salt added. Even an egg has sodium, whether you add anything to it or not. Even raw vegetables have some sodium.

You might want to hie thee to the library and check out some books.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Double check to make sure to see if it is a "no sodium added diet." Many unprocessed foods have naturally occuring sodium (fish comes to mind). If it is indeed a no sodium diet, then I would check with the American Heart Association cookbook or website and the FDA stuff to see what you can serve. This is not to make you anxious- a pertinent question would be, "How many mg. of sodium are you allowed in a given day?" He may have been given information like not to eat foods that exceed x number of mg of sodium per day.

Having said all that, I would shoot for minimally processed foods with low amounts of naturally occuring sodium prepared in beautiful and creative ways. Certainly you have the advantage of the season in choosing vegetables. Use fresh herbs, do neat tricks with lemon juice and wine, and as usual go for high quality. Watch, he'll want to be your guest all the time!

As per the pork, what other ingredients are in the recipe?

Best wishes!

Goldie

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Double check to make sure to see if it is a "no sodium added diet."  Many unprocessed foods have naturally occuring sodium (fish comes to mind).  If it is indeed a no sodium diet, then I would check with the American Heart Association cookbook or website and the FDA stuff to see what you can serve.  This is not to make you anxious- a pertinent question would be, "How many mg. of sodium are you allowed in a given day?"  He may have been given information like not to eat foods that exceed x number of mg of sodium per day. 

Having said all that, I would shoot for minimally processed foods with low amounts of naturally occuring sodium prepared in beautiful and creative ways.  Certainly you have the advantage of the season in choosing vegetables.  Use fresh herbs, do neat tricks with lemon juice and wine, and as usual go for high quality.  Watch, he'll want to be your guest all the time!

As per the pork, what other ingredients are in the recipe? 

Best wishes!

Goldie

Here's a link to the recipe - and it is fabulous! Six-Hour Pork Roast In addition to garlic and rosemary, there's fennel seed, sage and white wine. I always thought the recipe called for too much salt anyway! Luckily, I can buy pasture raised pork locally, so I know nothing has been added to the meat.

I imagine he was told "no salt added" but he heard "no sodium at all." I will have to push a little further on this.

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the pork sounds like it will be fab without the salt.

for chicken and veg, i find that a little squeeze of lemon does much of what a sprinkle of salt will do. especially if one has been eating hospital food or the equivalent, that little hit of citrus really perks up the tastebuds.

"Laughter is brightest where food is best."

www.chezcherie.com

Author of The I Love Trader Joe's Cookbook ,The I Love Trader Joe's Party Cookbook and The I Love Trader Joe's Around the World Cookbook

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A little splash of wine or white vermouth to vegetables has a salt-like affect, too.

Good luck - my mother was placed on a diet like this about 10 days before Thanksgiving and it really opened my eyes to just what a challenge this is, trying to put a traditional meal on the table without violating her dietary restrictions. Oy! We drove around for days hunting and gathering but it can be done, so take heart.

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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As others have said, it's virtually impossible to eliminate all sodium from one's diet because sodium is a natural component of most foods. Typically, a "low sodium" diet will restrict sodium to 2,000 mg a day; a "very low sodium" diet will carry a restriction of 500 to 1,000 mg. Find out which diet your FIL is on -- there's a vast difference in flexibility!

Easy changes include no salt added in cooking. (Find out if your FIL is allowed to have potassium-based salt substitutes. Don't use them in cooking, but if allowed, they can be sprinkled on at the table.) Use lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, herbs, and spices to add more flavor.

Avoid salty foods like pickles, prepared sauces, instant ramen (but you weren't going to use that anyway, right?), bouillon powder, etc.

Also watch out for "hidden sodium" in baked goods made with baking powder or baking soda. If you want to bake your own, health food stores carry baking powder that does not contain sodium.

One website I've used for recipes is HERE. It's written for congestive heart failure patients, but the recipes are all-purpose.

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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Oh that is a challenge. I am on a very restricted sodium diet. Always look at all labels. Fresh herbs are really a help. For potatoes I get little red ones cut them in uniform pieces marinate them in olive oil and fresh rosemary and grill them.

No salt added.

Chicken and sherry is good way to avoid salt. The sweet and sour flavoring also works on everything. I use apple cider vinegar and sugar. I flavor with a combination of fresh herbs a good bit. Tarragon, basil and mint together is good.

I remember shopping for turkey to roast and found that the cheapest (store brand) had less sodium. All the fancy stuff was loaded. Remember salt is a also a preservative and it is not always tasted. Going out to eat is rough, baked potatoe and unseasoned steak is all that is safe.

I fry apples with a splash of apple brandy instead of gravy. For poultry or grilled figs or such.

Think about your taste buds and add sparks to food to season them. A rub that has bite, heat, fire a little sweet will work.

Cheese has tons of salt, shop around. Great aged parm from the center is less salted. Brands vary a great deal. Low fat cheese tend to have less salt. Homemade salad dressings are the only way to go. (Think about those taste buds again.)

Put the salt shaker on the table for the rest of the family and did not add any salt or soy sauce to the food. Low sodium doesn't always mean much. No canned anything.

Unsalted butter or olive oil.

Grilling is great.

Best of luck.

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I cooked a couple of dishes out of a cookbook I got in Nice called something like "La Cuisine Gourmet Sans Sel." One was a really delicious roast chicken with red grapefruit and pink peppercorns. It was great, and I would make it again even for people who aren't on a low-salt diet, except that I probably shouldn't be eating grapefruit lest it interact with medication...

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Can you sub msg for salt?

You shouldn't eat grouse and woodcock, venison, a quail and dove pate, abalone and oysters, caviar, calf sweetbreads, kidneys, liver, and ducks all during the same week with several cases of wine. That's a health tip.

Jim Harrison from "Off to the Side"

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I am pretty sure MSG is contra-indicated. I found a salt-substitute that is made from potassium chloride, but the label says to ask the doc before you use it. I have been using Morton's Lite salt for years, and it is 50% potassium chloride. But I am not on a sodium restricted diet.

Fortunately, my father-in-law is married to an arab, who loves to cook with garlic, lemon juice and olive oil. Unfortunately for him, he was born in South Carolina and also loves things such as country ham, sausage, grits (with lots of salt and butter) and other now banned foods. It will be an adjustment, but I think he will make it!

Pan, if you can share the recipe for roast chicken, I would love to have a copy. Grapefruit interferes with cholesterol meds, but not blood pressure meds, right?

The in-law has wonderful cholesterol and is not on blood thinners or other meds.

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My Dad had a heart condition when I was a kid so I mostly grew up in a salt-free household.

He was advised to use Mrs. Dash. I never much cared for it.

Thirty five years later I still tend to underseason most foods (so say salt-lovers) or use more garlic/onion/shallot than a recipe calls for, or letting the onion/shallot brown a bit more than you might otherwise for a richer taste.

Rich Westerfield

Mt. Lebanon, PA

Drinking great coffee makes you a better lover.

There is no scientific data to support this conclusion, but try to prove otherwise. Go on. Try it. Right now.

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Can you sub msg for salt?

Absolutely not. The S stands for sodium, after all.

DUH!

You shouldn't eat grouse and woodcock, venison, a quail and dove pate, abalone and oysters, caviar, calf sweetbreads, kidneys, liver, and ducks all during the same week with several cases of wine. That's a health tip.

Jim Harrison from "Off to the Side"

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I am pretty sure MSG is contra-indicated.  I found a salt-substitute that is made from potassium chloride, but the label says to ask the doc before you use it.  I have been using Morton's Lite salt for years, and it is 50% potassium chloride.  But I am not on a sodium restricted diet. 

Fortunately, my father-in-law is married to an arab, who loves to cook with garlic, lemon juice and olive oil.  Unfortunately for him, he was born in South Carolina and also loves things such as country ham, sausage, grits (with lots of salt and butter) and other now banned foods.  It will be an adjustment, but I think he will make it!

Pan, if you can share the recipe for roast chicken, I would love to have a copy.  Grapefruit interferes with cholesterol meds, but not blood pressure meds, right?

The in-law has wonderful cholesterol and is not on blood thinners or other meds.

Hmmm...well, maybe I can eat grapefruit; my cholesterol is fine. But I think it's important to check on interactions for each medication separately.

I don't have the recipe here; the cookbook is uptown. The recipe is in French, with metric measures. I'll see if I can find the cookbook the next time I'm up at my folks'.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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My son (2 years old) has been put on a strick salt restrictions. No more than 1000mg per day. I would appreciate any ideas on adding flavor without adding salt for a 2 year old palet. Fortunately he like fruit and milk. Ideas on bread, meats (he loved suasage of all types and that is out and he was crying about not being able to eat ham today) would be greatly appreciated.

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My son (2 years old) has been put on a strick salt restrictions.  No more than 1000mg per day.  I would appreciate any ideas on adding flavor without adding salt for a 2 year old palet.  Fortunately he like fruit and milk.  Ideas on bread, meats (he loved suasage of all types and that is out and he was crying about not being able to eat ham today) would be greatly appreciated.

Check health food stores in your area. There are several companies that produce frozen foods (including sausage-types) that are very low in salt. The Mrs. Dash products are salt-free and there are several flavors. There is one with a cheese flavor that adds a lot of flavor without adding salt to meats. It is not carried at every supermarket, but can often be found in all varieties at health food stores.

I also recommend this cookbook?

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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