Be A Master Chef of Salt-Free Cooking5 years ago | Nutrition
By Joy Stephenson-Laws, JD, Founder
Sometimes we are forced to make lifestyle changes in order to enjoy a healthy life. This is what a young woman named Jessica Goldman Foung, who calls herself Sodium Girl, did.
Jessica is a blogger and cookbook author who shares salt-free recipes and salt-free cooking tips. She was diagnosed with lupus in 2004. Her kidneys were compromised as a result of lupus. According to the National Resource Center on Lupus, most people develop the disease between the ages of 15 to 44. It can affect the joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart and lungs. In Jessica’s case, her kidneys became so impaired that she had to receive dialysis treatment.
Due to her medical condition, Jessica was required to follow a low-sodium, salt-free diet. Reportedly, Jessica’s doctor suggested she cut back on salt because doing this usually lowers blood pressure and decreases fluid retention in dialysis patients. She was certainly up for the challenge of making the necessary dietary changes, but she wasn’t willing to sacrifice flavor and live a life eating bland foods. So she educated herself about salt-free cooking and became a blogger, author and self-taught chef.
Salt-Free Food Can Be Tasty
Jessica said the following about her cooking and recipes: “I didn’t want to apologize for the fact that it was salt-free. I wanted to make something so good, the fact that was salt-free would be an after-thought.”
In my opinion, one of the best ways to ensure that foods you prepare and cook at home are tasty is to use aromatic spices and herbs like basil, cilantro, parsley, cumin, sage, dill, ginger and more. Not only will these ingredients enhance the flavor of home-cooked meals and help you reduce the amount of salt you use, but they also contain many essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals such as calcium, potassium, folate, phosphorus and more.
Remember that sodium is a mineral we all need small amounts of and is naturally found in many herbs, spices and healthy foods such as parsley, cumin, beets and celery. However, excessive sodium is usually added to processed foods like crackers, burgers and fries to make them taste good, and this excess sodium may prove problematic for some people.
If you take a look at the many recipes on Jessica’s blog, you will see that her recipes incorporate many herbs, spices and natural foods that contain some, but not excessive, amounts of sodium.
Check out these fun, colorful “Low-So Purple Sweet Potato Empanadas,” perfect for the next party you host or for a tasty snack in between meals.
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 tsp salt-free garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp dried dill weed
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup cold water
- 1 tbsp cider vinegar
- 2 large eggs, separated
- 1/2 tsp cumin powder
- 1/4 tsp clove
- 1/4 tsp red chili pepper flakes
- 1 cup mashed, steamed purple sweet potato (skin removed)
- 1 cup no-salt-added black beans, drained
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
On her blog, Jessica shares what seems like an infinite amount of salt-free recipes. She even has a blog post titled “Top Low-So Ingredient Swaps,” which I think will be very helpful for people who need to step away from the salt.
You might also want to identify tasty, low-sodium snacks for those times when you choose not to prepare your own food. One of my favorite low-sodium snacks is dry-roasted spicy pumpkin seeds. It has cayenne pepper and garlic, which makes for a good tasting snack.
And It’s Okay If You’re Not Big on Herbs & Spices
“You don’t even have to go to the spice rack. You can get peppery taste from raw turnips and radishes, you can get bitter taste from chicories, and natural umami from tomatoes and mushrooms. And you can get actual saltiness from a lot of foods themselves,” Jessica said, in one report.
We Can Retrain Our Taste Buds
Remember that the more salt you eat, the more salt cravings you will likely have. And if you think you are limited by your dietary restrictions due to health problems you have, you are not. Your health issue is not a prison sentence. Trust the process of having to change your diet in a way that will make you feel better, and I think you will find that it introduces you to a new and better world. And pass on your new healthy cooking tips to your children, so that they are less likely to suffer from health problems that you may be currently battling.
“Once you really do adjust to less salt and actually start tasting your food, it’s a pretty stunning experience,” Jessica said. “After tasting, say, grilled meat or a roasted pepper for the first time after losing the salt, you need very little else.”
Do you have to follow a salt-free diet? Do you have any salt-free cooking tips? Please share!
Let’s enjoy our healthiest lives one bite at a time!
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