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1/28/14 2:37 P

SPARKLEYSHINE is right. When you eat foods you make yourself then you don't have to cut back on salt. I even get to add salt to my food!

CAMEOSUN SparkPoints: (86,617)
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1/28/14 2:19 P

Have cut way back on salt because I'm allergic to something [iodized salt?]. I get itchy bumps from it. Not a lot, but still annoying.

BLUENOSE63 SparkPoints: (108,021)
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1/28/14 2:05 P

I count my blessings when it comes to salt as I don't put it on anything. My Mom drilled it into our heads that you eat the meal they way the chef serves it.

GOALIEGRANDMA3 SparkPoints: (118,832)
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1/28/14 1:41 P

very...that is why I have not done it

SPARKLEYSHINE SparkPoints: (29,927)
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1/28/14 11:48 A

The easiest way to cut down on sodium intake is to not buy processed foods! Shop only the perimiter of the grocery store. The more foods you make yourself the better off you'll be. Track Sodium on your calorie tracker to keep an eye on how you're doing. Soon enough you'll get used to it then you'll no longer like the over salted processed foods you used to like. Use Mrs. Dash as you have planned to flavor your meats and you'll find that your taste buds will adjust quickly and you'll find just how flavor foods have without the need for added salt!

Good Luck!

DOWN135 Posts: 842
1/28/14 11:40 A

Not at all. don't use it anyway.

SUZZQ4LIFE Posts: 1,232
1/28/14 11:35 A

I was diagnosed with hypertension many years ago so I knew I had to adjust my sodium intake. It wasn't difficult at all. We never put the salt shaker on our table. I purchase low sodium items all the time. When I cook, I use herbs and spices to flavor the item. We don't miss the salt at all in foods now. In fact, when we dine out many of the choices have way too much salt and I don't like the taste. We don't eat often at all because of the sodium and fat content.

OBIESMOM2 SparkPoints: (236,760)
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1/28/14 11:28 A

another idea - I like cashews. First I switched to the 'lightly salted'; now I mix 'lightly salted' with unsalted.

OBIESMOM2 SparkPoints: (236,760)
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1/28/14 11:17 A

I just cut back...then cut back some more. As I got away from eating out and paid close attention to sodium content on labels, I didn't really miss the salt.

I rarely use salt in cooking. I like lots of different spices. But I still put a LITTLE sea salt on my popcorn.

since my taste has changed, when DH cooks I usually can't eat what he fixed because it's way too salty for me. Same with eating out.

one thing you can do if you DO have some favorite processed foods - dilute them with no salt added stuff. Example - I really wanted chili for dinner one night; it was late and I didn't have time to make it from scratch so I stopped at Publix on the way home from the gym. They had chili on special in the deli, but the sodium content was pretty high. I bought 2 containers, added some no salt added kidney beans and no salt tomato sauce, and ended up with enough for 2 or 3 meals for DH & I - with MUCH less sodium per serving.

you're a tough gal, Abi. YOU CAN MAKE THESE CHANGES!

SHERYLDS Posts: 17,287
1/28/14 8:40 A

I grew up with a mother who salted everything even before tasting...I copied her. At 23, I found out I had hypertension. I had to learn not to salt things at the table. Then I had to learn to add less salt while cooking. I had to switch to adding herbs, lemon, lemon zest, lime, vinegar, or other spices to compensate for what I thought was a bland taste. It took a while to adjust my tastebuds...but it finally became a habit. Now I buy low sodium, or unsalted items. If I add any salt at all, it's minimal. I have learned to use low sodium broth as my 'salt' seasoning while cooking...and the added flavor more than compensates.

JEFFGIRL Posts: 10,973
1/28/14 8:29 A

I use very little salt to begin with

WALIDGAZALA Posts: 8,106
1/28/14 7:54 A

Food is tasteless without salt
I reduced it to the utmost minimum

DEANNA0725 SparkPoints: (22,611)
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1/28/14 7:53 A

I haven't owned a salt or even salt in years at my house. The one problem that I have with salt is that I like the darn meatloaf smart one and have cut back to only having one of them a week for lunch. You need salt in your diet so like everything else salt is okay in moderation.

EMPRESSAMQ Posts: 5,077
1/28/14 7:42 A

It's pretty easy to cut back, I've had to do it, too.

Limiting processed foods as much as possible is key, IMO.

NISSANGIRL Posts: 23,800
1/28/14 6:58 A

moderation is the key emoticon

MISSRUTH Posts: 4,223
1/28/14 6:48 A

Like pp's have said.... you're not really giving up salt completely. Just cutting back. And I daresay that although a bunch of people have posted that it was "no problem" for them..... there are a ton of people here on Spark who either haven't attempted cutting back on the sodium yet, or are still struggling with it. Don't let the flurry of "it was no problem" responses get you down!

It DOES get easier with time, but there's no way to say *exactly* how long it takes, to get used to it. I'd agree that fast food, and most restaurant food for that matter, has a lot of sodium. A lot of packaged food is high in sodium-- jarred spaghetti sauce, for example. Even just plain canned tomatoes. So for me, cutting back on the sodium meant a real commitment to cooking from scratch. And looking at the nutrition labels on food.

The Nutrition Tracker can be really helpful, in watching your sodium. But you have to be really careful about the brand names on stuff, as the sodium content of something as simple as canned green beans can vary widely, depending on the brand. If you dump the opened can into a sieve and rinse them really well under running water, you can remove up to 40% of the sodium. Depending on where you live, you may be able to find "no salt added" canned things, in your local grocery store.

Even some frozen vegetables have sodium added..... you really do need to look at the info on the package.

We still eat meat every day except the 2 days a week we do meatless. Not as much beef (it's gotten really expensive here), but I include pork, chicken, fish when I say "meat". It is entirely possible to not add salt to meat, if you use herbs & spices. Black pepper is really useful. We happen to like a lot of garlic and I cook with onions a lot too.

You do not have to add salt (or butter or oil, for that matter) to cook rice or pasta. I've been cooking those things in just plain water for years. I reckon I'd say that the first thing I did, to cut back on the sodium, was to stop with the salt shaker. I quit adding salt to anything except the occasional hard boiled egg.. Even if a recipe called for salt, I didn't put it in. Didn't salt my meat at the table (that's where putting a bunch of herbs & spices or garlic powder on it while cooking it, really helps). Personally, I don't care for Mrs. Dash but a lot of people like it, it comes in different "flavors", and it's definitely worth a try.

The DASH diet (and by "diet" they are referring to a way of eating, not necessarily a calorie-reduction "diet") is low sodium. There are versions of the DASH diet that are reduced-calorie. Spark also has sections for "healthy heart" and "high blood pressure". You can find them by looking under the "Articles and Videos" tab at the top of the page. Click on "Condition Centers" (it's on the right-hand side of the list, in the drop-down box).

JOHN_SKIM Posts: 216
1/28/14 1:34 A

I switch to salt free garlic and herbs. It works 95%. The rest 5% is not that bad.

PEACEFULONE SparkPoints: (73,789)
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1/27/13 3:19 P

After several years of cutting down on salt l now leave salt off of the foods I prepare at home and find it ok. But restaurant and processed foods now are too salty for my taste.

SHERRIE59 SparkPoints: (54,049)
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1/27/13 12:52 P

Not THAT difficult......just like everything in life, once you have made up your mind that you want to eliminate if from your diet.

HLTHAPPINESS4C Posts: 26,536
1/27/13 12:01 P

I don't have high blood pressure, but I know I would have a hard time monitoring my intake if I had to. What I do now is lay off adding salt to my food. I figure it's salty enough without my adding any extra. Sometimes I add Mrs. Dash to things and such.

BIGPERM47 SparkPoints: (6,625)
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1/27/13 11:42 A


NWFL59 Posts: 6,140
1/27/13 11:34 A

not difficult at all as I was willing to make the change

NEPTUNE1939 Posts: 16,215
1/27/13 11:27 A

no problem

GLITTERFAIRY77 Posts: 8,023
1/27/13 11:20 A

MexGal, I have become borderline obsessive about label-reading, so good thing I read fast when it comes to shopping! LOL. Thanks for the suggestion. Limes are one of my favorite citrus fruits.

BECKYSFRIEND SparkPoints: (256,272)
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1/27/13 11:20 A

it was very hard. My mom salted everything- so when I grew up I'd salted my food before tasting it.
Four years ago I made the decision to stop and I did it but I sure struggled.

Edited by: BECKYSFRIEND at: 1/27/2013 (11:21)
GLITTERFAIRY77 Posts: 8,023
1/27/13 11:18 A

@ ReyningSunshine-I am totally a Type A. I try not to be, but it's a hard habit to break free from. I'm glad I came back to read other responses. You gave some amazing advice and I thank you for it. *throws glitter and gives you a hug*

DELRIO1 Posts: 6,366
1/27/13 9:45 A

not hard at all

MEXGAL1 SparkPoints: (563,754)
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Posts: 16,145
1/27/13 9:39 A

It isn't easy giving up salt for sure. I love the flavor. I do go light on it and read labels like crazy as there is so much salt in everything. I use a ton of squeezed limes on everything! So you might want to buy some limes to go with the Mrs. Dash.

DAKOTA4411 Posts: 1,009
1/27/13 8:55 A


HAPPY_TRAVELS SparkPoints: (16,033)
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1/26/13 11:20 P

As my Mom never put salt a lot of meals having no salt doesn't really bother me. I enjoy other spices.

LUCKYCOMET SparkPoints: (260,164)
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1/26/13 11:17 P

i don't notice it.

BOBBBI_97 SparkPoints: (0)
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1/26/13 11:03 P

It wasn't that hard to do?

I just used black pepper instead of salt and soon enough I could care less about salt,
after all these years I was using the salt until recently lol...but my dr told me that I need,
a lil salt in my body or I will salt getting dizzy spells and pass out which I did...but I just
dont like salt anymore I think salt sucks now lol...tomatoes and watermelons even taste
good now w/o salt lol...oh did I just say that lol....I do eat my turkey breast and so that
has a lil salt their so I can deal with that lol.

"Best of luck to you and ur salt or salt free"

REYNINGSUNSHINE SparkPoints: (20,387)
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1/26/13 10:50 P

Whoa now, don't get angry. Your initial question was about how hard it was to give up salt... it's a free message board. Some people will be helpful, others won't, and it's not harmful for somebody to say they didn't feel like they had to give it up, so take a DEEP breath... Something interesting- Type A personalities (those who feel time-rushed, constantly on edge, high-stress, etc) have more heart problems than others, even with similar diets... so look for relaxation techniques too, that'll help with the blood pressure as well.

Personally, I have the opposite problem- Can never seem to get ENOUGH salt. That is, of course, because my diet is naturally low in sodium- so my "too low" might be your "just right."

First things first- your body needs some amount of sodium, so you aren't giving it up completely. I mean, I still salt my hard boiled eggs, and I can still eat under 1200 mg/day. The secret is to pick your seasonings wisely and not eat processed foods or a lot of meats.

Fast food is terribly salty, so make it a priority to make meals at home.

Don't eat lunch meats unless necessary. Now and then it's OK, but in addition to added sodium, they contain nitrates and nitrites. While most will say it's OK to eat those... it is recommended that you don't while pregnant, so I figure, if I wouldn't feed it to my child, why would I feed it to myself?

Typically we season meat with salt. That's fine in and of itself as long as you don't use a lot of it and you don't EAT a lot of it. Meat is relatively expensive, calorie-dense, and the way most Americans eat it- unnecessary. I eat meat sometimes, but truly only fish and poultry, with the only occasional red meat (and then, it's only venison). I know it's more expensive than say, beef, but look at it with the "health-price" standpoint. The cheap meats tend to be higher in fat and are poorer cuts of meat, so they aren't as tasty by themselves and need to be seasoned more- which could mean more salt. You can eat less of skinless chicken breast and get the same amount of protein- but for healthier- for the same price or just a tiny bit higher. This means you don't need to eat meat so often- which means.. you need to fill up on fruits and veggies!

Yes. Load up on fresh fruits and veggies. Canned veggies tend to have high sodium content, so be aware of that, but really, if you eat mostly fruits/veggies with some lean meats and good carbs (like brown rice!), not only will you just naturally see a drop in sodium levels... but you'll see a rise in potassium levels. Sodium and potassium work together but kind of opposite. Check your K levels in your diet. I aim for about 3000-3500 mg/day minimum. Some doctors recommend 4700 mg/day, but I've never been able to do that.

Oh. Cheese is also typically loaded with sodium without much else there (micro-nutrient wise). A better way to reach your calcium needs would be with milk, if you aren't lactose intolerant. I find milk is pretty cheap ($5 for 2 gallons at Costco, which lasts me about a week the way I drink milk), plus it is really good for protein and potassium (further undercutting your need for salty meats). It does have sodium in it- but it's only about 300 mg for my day's worth of milk, so that isn't too high.

Now, I know you won't want to cut out meat all the way (can't blame you there- I know many people simply love the taste and texture, especially if they have to cook for men), but the other tips you were given on seasoning without salt are really good. I personally only use salt for hard-boiled eggs. Herbs and spices go a LONG way, and it's up to you to find what you like. I don't much care for cilantro, but I LOVE basil and rosemary. For things that do need salt... some people I know have had success trying potassium salt (instead of sodium chloride, it is potassium chloride, so it doesn't just lower Na values, it raises K!). Others find it tastes awful. Just try it out.

You will probably think food tastes a little bland without salt for a while, but remember that while taste is important, so is your health. Over time, you will adjust to it, and you'll find it easier to feel satisfied with low-sodium foods- you may even find foods that you used to love to be too salty!

FAWNZIB SparkPoints: (10,643)
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1/26/13 10:19 P

it is!

KARITR1 SparkPoints: (1,218)
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Posts: 62
1/26/13 10:10 P

Its too hard and I have not done it, I love salt and there are some things I don't think I could eat without it.

LIBBYL1 Posts: 5,933
1/26/13 9:50 P

not hard at all.... substituted with lots of flavours - herbs, spices and lemon juice is great to add flavour and as a salt replacement. Very quickly found that I hated foods with too much salt

1/26/13 7:49 P

Salt is manageable now since we have Ms Dash (of all flavors) and No Salt. I've never been as much of a fan of NoSalt (it seems saltier to me)but my husband loves it. We both need the help since we have blood pressure issues.

I noticed an article: "Easy ways to Cut Sodium Intake" here on Spark. Also, I like the site: Eating Well and they have some good ideas.

Good luck in your journey amiga! I've hope this helped!

"Ten mucho cuidado" means "take good care"!!
Riisa emoticon

HUFFYWALKS SparkPoints: (0)
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Posts: 94
1/26/13 7:24 P

Salt was easy to give up once I discovered Ms Dash.

I wish I could find salt free sliced turkey breast though. Lunch meat is the only thing I cant find without salt.

KITTY20 Posts: 8,155
1/26/13 6:51 P

Not, hard since I never really used it much to start with growing up.

VICTORY2XS SparkPoints: (43,402)
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Posts: 1,471
1/26/13 6:45 P

not as hard as i thought it would be

SOTIREDOFTHIS SparkPoints: (4,969)
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Posts: 191
1/26/13 6:32 P

I think Mrs. Dash is definitely one way to go, or other herbs and spices.......also, look on all of your prepackaged food. It contains a lot of sodium.....I have been tracking my sodium and it is amazing how much of it is in processed foods.

When I was doing one of the weight loss programs we were allowed one teaspoon of Morton's lite salt per day. It has half the sodium of table salt in it. So, if you can not kick the habit cold turkey, at least switch to this. I honestly, could not tell the difference between it and regular salt.

Also, you may want to consider drinking more water than the recommended 8 glasses a day, if you are not already.....and keep your feet elevated when you can, if your feet and ankles are swollen.

I have noticed a big difference in the swelling of my feet and ankles since I have been drinking so much water and curbing my salt intake.

Hope this helps!

SPOORK Posts: 1,193
1/26/13 4:54 P

It was very easy. If you cook all or most of your meals from scratch you shouldn't have any problem limiting your salt intake.

Don't forget about fresh herbs! They're incredibly cheap, flavorful, and easy to grow yourself.

JOYCECAIN SparkPoints: (137,158)
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1/26/13 2:26 P

I still use some salt.

BEARLYBOO SparkPoints: (0)
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Posts: 816
1/26/13 2:14 P

Everyone's experience is different. It sounds like you're on the right track with Mrs. Dash. Using herbs is a great way to increase flavor in place of salt. Are there any articles on here about decreasing salt intake?

GLITTERFAIRY77 Posts: 8,023
1/26/13 12:55 P

Okay. Forget it. I'll just blog. I'm looking for help.

TRACYLYNN853 Posts: 490
1/26/13 12:50 P

I have not given up salt. I have just cut back on it alot. I don't think I will ever be able to give it up. Salt is a must have!

GLITTERFAIRY77 Posts: 8,023
1/26/13 12:35 P


I have a genuine issue. I am seeking wisdom. I don't need asinine responses from people seeking to get points, thanks. Go to the game room if that's what you want.

UMBILICAL Posts: 12,786
1/26/13 12:30 P

I gave up nothing

MNNICE Posts: 17,003
1/26/13 12:25 P

Salt was easy -- chocolate is another story!

GLITTERFAIRY77 Posts: 8,023
1/26/13 12:19 P

I have been EXTREMELY stubborn up until this point about giving up salt.
I am battling high blood pressure
I am battling pitting edema when I have too much sodium
This cannot possibly good for my kidneys and other organs.
I like breathing. It is one of my favorite pastimes.

When it is time to grocery shop again, I plan on stocking up on Mrs. Dash and other salt-free herb blends, and going to make a concerted effort to change not only my eating habits, but my cooking habits.
How long did it take you to grow accustomed to the natural flavors of foods without throwing salt on everything?

Edit: If you didnt' see from my angry response, I am looking for help and wisdom, some advice, some suggestions...This is a complex problem to me.

Edited by: GLITTERFAIRY77 at: 1/26/2013 (12:36)
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