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RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
7/31/14 11:23 A

I have CHF and need to keep my sodium below 1800 mg, but stay between 1000-1500 a day.

I find that if you make food from individual ingredients, at home, you can control sodium easily. Calories too. Sounds like a pain, but I cook up my meals in about 45 minutes a day, all at the same time. I tend to have some meat, and a can of No Salt veggies. My chicken is boneless, skinless, and I get it from an Amish market, where it is simply wrapped in Saran wrap, and sold on two days a week. It isn't soaked in salt water, like Tyson chicken is, so it has 80 mg of sodium per 4 oz. serving, instead of 340 mg. So, when I eat 12 ozs for lunch, it has 240 mg of sodium, instead of 1020. Makes a big difference. Fresh meat has much less sodium.

I probably should eat fresh veggies, but I think canned is easier, and so i buy No Salt veggies. These tend to have about 50 mg sodium per can, so I have 2 cans a day, which is 7 servings of veggies, and add 1/2 an onion, and 2 pineapple rings to my breakfast eggs. So 9 servings of veggies a day.

If you are making your own dish, you can just add another can of veggies, which are mostly low-cal, and up your veggies servings. Meat and mixed veggies, cooked in 1/2 a cup of water, is kind of like vegetable beef soup, just a little extra beef, and a lot less sodium. The beef is probably the highest source of sodium I consume. Fish, and chicken usually are lower, as long as the chicken isn't in a 15% salt solution.

Pre-track your foods. Get your proteins, and fruits/vegetables in, and then add in your other carbs to fill out your tracker. Five servings of fruit veggies is a MINIMUM, so don't be afraid of 10-15 servings. Your goal should be that after you have any pasta, cereal, proteins, and fruit/veggies, there isn't much left.. because most everything else IS high sodium, or high sugar.

I tend to use a lot of strong spices to make food edible, without sodium. Sage, pepper, garlic powder, cumin, curry. Check your spices for sodium too.

Plus, you should be drinking 8-12 glasses of water, even on days you don't eat high sodium. Cheers! emoticon My trick is to freeze the water, and pull five 20 oz. bottles down in the morning, and then drink them as they melt, so they are cold.

Edited by: RUSSELL_40 at: 7/31/2014 (11:27)
EELPIE Posts: 2,700
7/31/14 11:01 A

I try to keep my sodium at about 1500 a day. I do that by avoiding processed foods.

When I cook, I rely very heavily on herbs and spices - and grow a lot of herbs (fresh is best!).

That being said, I still occasionally sprinkle a little salt on my food (steamed carrots and butter? yeah, gets a sprinkle of salt. Peas? same thing.) Unless you are going crazy with the shaker, it's not the couple of sprinkles of salt on your veggies - it's primarily the salt in processed foods that creates the overload.

NSKYLINE115 SparkPoints: (50,453)
Fitness Minutes: (1,256)
Posts: 808
7/31/14 7:20 A

Thank you for everyones comments, last night I made a veggie dish to go with my chicken and rice. I sauteed garlic and onions, added spinach and tomatos, and seasoned with pepper, basil, parsley, oregano and italian seasoning (didnt add any salt). My dinner was delicious! I did notice however the veggie dish could have used some salt, but not to the point where it NEEDED salt. The rice and chicken had the right amount of salt so it wasnt bland, with those together the veggie side dish didnt need any extra seasoning

NIRERIN Posts: 14,102
7/30/14 8:00 A

how about you start looking around for some dash diet recipes for chicken? or if you like a certain kind of ethic food, look for that kind of chicken recipe or ones that prominently feature peppers, spices or garlic. lots of strong flavors might not eliminate sodium right now, but if you have all the flavor already then why would you need to add more salt?
sodium is difficult to get under control, but it's one of those things that the more you slowly reduce it the better foods start to taste with lower amounts of it. in other words, you get used to the lower amounts, particularly if you're actively looking for non-salt more flavorful ways of cooking things.
and the sodium in not basic [meats/veg] foods is one of the easiest ways to cut sodium. buying jarred pasta sauce? buy the vegetable flavor instead of the cheese or meat and you can generally save between 100 and 300 mg sodium. if you expand your label reading to the top shelf you'll likely find a "heart healthy" brand than only has 160 mg per serving. like salsa? store brand or newman's own can be under 200 mg per serving as opposed to the 300 + of brand names. skip the shelf stable stuff in favor of the fresh stuff in the produce or deli section and that can be 100 mg sodium and under per serving. it's not something that you need to throw everything in your pantry/fridge out, but as you use up your condiments, spend three minutes reading labels when you buy the replacement. most frozen vegetables have some sodium added, but that also means that you can find one with the least added.

NSKYLINE115 SparkPoints: (50,453)
Fitness Minutes: (1,256)
Posts: 808
7/30/14 7:44 A

emoticon It seems like everything has salt in it =(
I know thats not the case, I am guilty of picking up the salt shaker as well, especially for my chicken.
Would you guys agree that sodium is a hurdle for a lot of people when it comes to weight loss? I know its not fat fat, more water retention, but do you think alot of people dont see the scale go down because of this factor?

SUNSHINE6442 Posts: 2,165
7/30/14 7:25 A

There is a lot of salt in bread and cheese and breakfast cereals...Puffed rice and Kashi Whole Grain are both sodium free or stick with plain oatmeal topped with fresh fruit/

Even 1 bagel can contain 460 mg of sodium

Some Canned veggies, canned soups, spaghetti sauce, potato chips, cheese puffs, pretzels, ketchup, relish, anchovies, capers, headache or heartburn medicines can contain sodium carbonate or bicarbonate. French Fries and fast foods are high in sodium, fat, and calories.
Chicken also may have lots of sodium and salad dressings or barbecue sauce may pack 300 mg of sodium....and veggies with sauce frozen mixes can add nearly 500 mg.

Sure, excess fluids can leave you feeling bloated...Look for no-salt-added cottage cheese. Greek yogurt, which contains just 60 mg of sodium per serving ...canned soup, buy low-salt versions whenever possible...labels to look for are "low sodium" (with 140 mg of sodium or less per serving) and "very low sodium" (35 mg of sodium or less).

Yes, salt in our diets usually come from calorie dense, fiber poor, processed foods

Garlic and Curry give food flavor without salt.

NSKYLINE115 SparkPoints: (50,453)
Fitness Minutes: (1,256)
Posts: 808
7/30/14 7:21 A

Thank you NIRERIN, thats a great idea. I try to stay away from the processed meats... I dont buy grass fed organic chicken, but I do stay away from lunch meats and meat in cans. I try to cook at home as much as possible, I try to have veggies with dinner and drink lots of water throughout the day. Maybe I should start becoming more aware of sodium on labels like you mentioned.
One thing that stuck out to me that you mentioned was how water helps balance out the sodium but not 'flush it out'. It might be common sense, but I never thought of it that way, even with water it still stays in your system... hmm...

Edited by: NSKYLINE115 at: 7/30/2014 (07:22)
NIRERIN Posts: 14,102
7/30/14 7:15 A

drinking water helps balance out the sodium, but your body lacks the toilet-like capability of flushing out sodium. really the only way to do anything about it is to limit it in the first place. reading labels [don't do everything at once, pick three items that are usually your highest sodium to start and keep working down] is the best place to start. sometimes buying a different brand or flavor can save you several hundred mg sodium. i've started seeing a lot of chips and pretzels in the 100-160 range instead of the 320 +. and even some of the jarred salsas are coming down closer to the fresh kind's 100 than the 400+ they used to be. low, lower and no added sodium are becoming increasingly more common if not the standard. if you find that every brand or flavor is high, then switching to something else is a way to work around that. so buying a chicken and cooking it yourself instead of buying lunchmeat. skipping ham in favor of chicken. using lemongrass, ginger and garlic or mushroom broth to flavor your stir fry instead of soy sauce.

NSKYLINE115 SparkPoints: (50,453)
Fitness Minutes: (1,256)
Posts: 808
7/30/14 7:13 A

Great article, thank you! The article did mention instead of focusing on one nutrituion you should focus on your veggie/fruit intake which I am guilty of not doing
Very true MISSRUTH, there are hidden sodium in foods that just add up. I dont track my sodium intake, maybe thats something I should start doing. I dont have any health issues that restrict me from eating sodium, I just dont like the bloated feeling I get after. I tend to drink lots of water after having a salty meal, I believe I read that somewhere on SP that if you take in alot of sodium its good to drink lots of water for the rest of the day.

Edited by: NSKYLINE115 at: 7/30/2014 (07:16)
MISSRUTH Posts: 4,172
7/30/14 7:07 A

Do you track Sodium on your Nutrition Tracker? It's pretty easy (if you track it) to then go down the list of foods you ate that day, and see which ones are the "heavy hitters" for sodium. Any kind of restaurant food (doesn't have to be just fast food) is usually high in sodium. And processed food (boxes & cans of stuff) can be high in sodium too. You can eliminate a lot of that, by cooking things yourself from scratch. Spaghetti sauce, for example. Or choosing frozen vegetables instead of canned.

Keep in mind that something doesn't necessarily have to taste "salty" to actually have a lot of sodium in it.

SPARK_COACH_JEN Posts: 64,753
7/30/14 7:01 A

Here's an article you might find helpful:

Coach Jen

NSKYLINE115 SparkPoints: (50,453)
Fitness Minutes: (1,256)
Posts: 808
7/30/14 6:52 A

I've been reading alot of posts about sodium intake, and how sodium retains water leading to temporary weight increase. If I eat something salty, I try to drink lots of water to 'flush it out of my system', but in turn that makes me feel bloated and blah. What are some other ways to prevent this, it seems like sodium is in everything

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