Daily Archives: April 14, 2011

My body on sodium

I have a confession to make.  As long as I can remember, I’ve been a salt junkie.  I put salt on EVERYTHING.  I carry salt packets in my purse just incase I get lunch to go and there isn’t any available.  At D’s parent’s house, they even started calling salt shaker by my name, because I requested it so often.

Let’s just say it’s a family trait, passed down lovingly from my Dad.  In all seriousness though, every member of my family has a particular salt shaker that they like to use (this isn’t a joke i swear!).  My sister, R, likes to use the small one with the dots on it, my Dad uses the low-sodium potassium shaker, my mom and brother use the fancy salt grinder that when you push a button, it lights up and grinds the salt for you, and I love the salt and herb shaker that has a blend homemade by our family friend.

Recently though, with all this buzz about sodium in processed foods and the effect of salt on your system, I decided to take a good hard look at my little habit.  Or should I say addiction?  Not to mention that after dining with my cousin, who subsists on a low-sodium diet due to her lovely kidneys, I felt a little inspired to kick this thing once and for all.  For the past four days, I’ve gone salt free.

Here are the things I avoided:

  • Adding salt to any food, whether it be a big bowl of soup or grilled salmon.
  • Eating anything processed
  • Salty condiments such as ketchup, soy sauce (this is a BIG source of sodium), terriyaki sauce, and vegetable broths that aren’t low sodium
  • Cooked mostly my own food.  Even low fat restaurant fare is packed with sodium (those chefs love their salt!).

Here are the things I added:

  • Chugging water like it’s my job.  Starting in the morning, I’ve had a glass of hot lemon water upon waking, and carrying a huge waterbottle with me everywhere.
  • Eating low sodium versions of my favorite foods.  Amy’s split pea soup comes in low sodium?  Mmmm mm mm sign me up.
  • Adding tons of herbs and spices to my foods.  Just because there’s no salt doesn’t mean I can’t get spicy!
  • Eating a ton of fresh vegetables that debloat, such as celery, cucumbers, romaine (any veg with a high water content can help with bloat)
  • Adding different types of vinegars and citrus to foods.  This one is really important because it helps perk up food that doesn’t seem flavorful enough (where usually I would add salt I add citrus).

The results?

  • I lost three pounds…in FOUR DAYS.  What?  Ok so this left me completely shocked.  How the heck was I carrying around this much water weight??!!  My salt intake actually turned me into a human water bottle.
  • I felt totally unbloated and really great.  Talk about wanting to throw on my bikini again.  Seriously though, my clothes fit better and I just felt a lot happier in my skin.
  • Speaking of my skin — it actually looked brighter and clearer.  All that water that I was drinking seriously helped to flush out toxins.
  • I didn’t crave sweets at all.  With the salty taste out my mouth, I actually tasted the flavors of food a lot better and found myself reaching for fresh veggies and fruit rather than sweet things.  Rather than jumping from one extreme (salty) to the next (sweet), my tastebuds enjoyed a whole array of flavors.

The Verdict?

I had NO IDEA what an impact salt was having on my life.  Not only was I walking around all day like a human water balloon, I wasn’t able to enjoy food in its best state (and to me that’s just not living!).  While I don’t think I will completely take salt out of my life once and for all – after all our bodies do NEED a certain level of sodium to function properly, and salt does brighten some flavors, I think the added salt is gonna go for some time, especially as bikini season is right around the corner!

So the question is….are you ready to take the no salt challenge??