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Old 04-10-2001, 12:38 PM   #1
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I am curious about anyone that follows a low sodium diet.

What do you eat, what do you not eat?

My dad has emphysema and has been in rehab/hospital for the past 8 weeks (for a bad bout of pneumonia). He comes home today!! His doctor told him he needs to follow a low sodium / low sugar diet. Mainly because he is on so many meds and they tend to make him retain water.

We went out and bought a bunch of good food for him (from the list his doctor gave him). But I am curious to know more.

Any info would be appreciated.

Thanks!

Tara

P.S. He is a big salt eater - but he is willing to change (thank god) and he knows he will feel better if he does.
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Old 04-10-2001, 01:07 PM   #2
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As a former registered dietitian, I would say that Dad needs to get more specific information regarding his diet. Doctor should be able to recommend a dietitian to see him on an out-patient basis and really he should have been seen by the hospital dietitian too.

Why is he being put on a "low-sugar" diet. Is he diabetic? If so, he really needs detailed information.

For the low sodium diet, besides avoiding table salt, watch out for pickles, olives, canned & dried soups, most prepared (frozen/dried, etc.) meals/foods. I'm sure you've gotten a list of foods to avoid/foods allowed.

It's a big change!
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Old 04-10-2001, 01:29 PM   #3
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LM - Thanks for your info. No he is not diabetic - but he eats alot of sugar (candy etc) and they want him to watch that as well as his sodium intake. This IS a big change for him - but he really wants to feel better - so he is going to do it.

We did get a listing of things - but I am curious to know how others deal with this.

Any good recipes? Good websites? Etc.

Thanks!!

Tara
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Old 04-10-2001, 01:50 PM   #4
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I don't eat much salt - not because I have a health problem, but because I just don't like it that much. I grew up in a southern family and we put salt on everything as a child. I didn't know cantaloupe, watermelon, etc., were sweet until I moved out of the house! Anyway, I use a lot of fresh herbs in my food and some of the salt-free herb blends of seasonings in the spices section of the store. One of my favorites in Schilling's Garlic and Herb seasoning. He may want to try a variety of those to find one he can substitute for salt. I also like curry powder and different kinds of chilli powders. Roasting vegetables in the oven also brings out their natural flavors and I find I don't need to use much flavorings at all - just lots of garlic cloves thrown in. Good luck - it is quite a change - my husband had to get use to my cooking, but now he likes it better without salt. We don't even have a salt shaker in the house -
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Old 04-10-2001, 02:34 PM   #5
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Default Low Sodium Diet

My father just started living with me after 2 heart attacks. He is also on a low sodium and low sugar diet. I found that using the weight watcher program and being extra careful not to use prepared foods did it for him. We kept track of his diet with a journal for about a week and found that the biggest offender was the prepared stuff. The worst things are chocolate (which he is not supposed to have of any kind) and canned tomatoes. Everything, fresh and prepared, has some amount of sodium but fresh has much less.

He eats lots of fresh vegetables and fruit (especially the fruits).

And, by the way, he also has congestive heart failure and diabetes.

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Old 04-10-2001, 02:36 PM   #6
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One other thing - a low sodium diet is one that has 2000 mg of sodium daily or less. This might sound like a lot, but look at some prepared foods - especially frozen - they sometimes have up to 750 mg of sodium - nearly half what the daily allowed is.

Stick with fresh stuff. You'll do well on Weight Watchers and he'll do better healthwise!

Arna
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Old 04-11-2001, 10:49 AM   #7
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I've posted some info in the Library at this thread:

Salt vs Sodium
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Old 04-11-2001, 01:04 PM   #8
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2 grams of sodium comes out to be no added salt to cooking or at the table and avoiding high sodium prepared foods. The 2 grams of sodium comes from the natural sodium of everyday foods and from bread, salted margarine/butter and items like that.

1 dill pickle has 1 gram of sodium!!
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Old 04-12-2001, 02:30 PM   #9
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Tara, my husband has congestive heart failure, and we are VERY salt-conscious in this house. He has a 2 gram restriction, which is quite easy to live with; simply watching prepared foods and making careful choices in restaurants (though we do limit how much we eat out) pretty much takes care of it. Following the WW fundamentals will go a long way toward meeting your father's nutritional needs----you just will need to pay a little extra attention to labels. You might wish to invest in a good nutrition counter, like The Most Complete Nutrition Counter by Annette B. Natow, PhD, RD and Jo-Ann Heslin, MA, RD.

One thought: unless there is a valid medical reason for eliminating sugar from his diet, your father probably is much like the rest of us: certainly, when sweets start pushing out more health-promoting choices, cutting back is a good idea; however, if his nutritional needs are being met, there's certainly room for a treat or two here and there! Even diabetics can learn to make allowances for sweets, incorporating them in a way that's less likely to spike blood sugar.

One note: If you feel that you would be more comfortable getting professional advice regarding diet and nutrition, I would strongly recommend asking your doctor for a referral to a registered dietician experienced with addressing the nutritional needs of patients with COPD. Unfortunately, most American physicians do not have an adequate nutrition background, unless they have taken a special interest in the subject. (This does not, unfortunately, stop them from making recommendations---and some of the advice I've seen given to patients--I'm an RN and former diabetes educator---has been downright erroneous. Fortunately, many medical schools are taking steps to correct this deficit.) Be aware that, as with any other profession, the level of expertise varies among dieticians (and in many states, anyone can call him/herself a nutritionist---so it pays to be extra-vigilant if you go the nutritionist route rather than with a registered dietician), as does the information provided by many facilities----we have been handed more than our share of preprinted, out-of-date food lists and diet info, but have also received some good counseling. We've also learned that sometimes, the best thing to do is hit the library or internet for concrete information from peer-reviewed scientific sources.

My mailbox is always open if you have questions!
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Old 04-12-2001, 09:24 PM   #10
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Thank you all for your info! I do appreciate it.

Betsy - I was going to email you - but you didn't leave your email address I have some questions for you - email me (my email addy is in my signature) - so I can email you back - if you wouldn't mind. Thanks!

We are dealing with this pretty good so far. One day at a time!!

Tara
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Old 04-16-2001, 06:35 PM   #11
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hi tara---check out the american heart association's website at www.americanheart.org.

they have a ton of recipes and shopping/restaurant tips for heart healthy foods that are low sodium.

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Old 04-17-2001, 10:06 AM   #12
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Thanks Lori - I will do that!!

Tara
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Old 04-19-2001, 09:24 AM   #13
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Tara, my husband is very strict about salt intake. He uses no salt added potato chips, no salt added canned tomatoes, (I use the tomatoes in goulash: 95% FF ground beef, chopped onions plus the tom.--add to pasta), very low sodium bread from the supermarket--when it is not available, I make bread in a breadmaker without adding salt (it's great).
Starkist makes low sodium tuna. Be careful. there are 2kinds. One had 100mg. The other has 35mg. My husband makes a tuna salad with very little mayo--bec. of the sodium but also because he doesn't like it much..but he adds a handful of raisins (!) This adds a sweetness but it doesn't taste like raisins.
Peanut butter is also made without salt. If you can't find it, all you have to do is put unsalted shelled peanuts in a food processor and you've got the best PB you've ever tasted.
No Salt added swiss cheese (chunk lasts better that sliced) Helluva Good Cheese has a NSA cheddar.
Delis have Roast Beef and Turkey Breast prepared wo salt.
Shredded Wheat, Cream of Rice, Cream of Wheat, Wheatena. Old Fash. Quaker Oats. All good choices.
Hope this helps get you started.
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Old 04-19-2001, 06:48 PM   #14
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Tara, I ran out of time--wanted to mention: If your dad likes turkey, most frozen turkeys are injected with a basting solution high in sodium. There are exceptions. Be sure to read the label...or buy a fresh bird. Also, you know that for stuffing, if that's an interest, you can't use prepared, of course, but if you're thinking that unseasoned bread cubes would be OK, don't forget that they are made with regular bread. You probably will want to cube Very Low Sodium Bread if you were able to find it, or use the bread that you have baked yourself.
I also make pizza dough in the Breadmaker wo using salt. I use Francesco Rinaldi Traditional pasta sauce, add garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, and anise seed. I use a small amount of mozzarella and other toppings like onions and peppers, mushrooms. My husband enjoys it very much.
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