SaltSanity.com is your guide to living and loving your low sodium life. I’m here to teach people who love food how to embrace low sodium living, and to eliminate the confusion and fear families face when they are forced to transition to a low sodium lifestyle. My goal is to teach people who love food how to embrace low sodium living with delicious and simple low sodium recipes, tips for eliminating and reducing salt, and information to help you thrive, not just survive.
Who’s in the Salt Sanity Kitchen?
I’m Chef Danielle and I love food and my family. I love food so much I quit my job and went to culinary school in 2001. Since then, I’ve owned and operated a personal chef service, written freelance articles for numerous publications, worked as a food stylist, and taught cooking classes for thousands of students. Food has been at the center of my life for years. I love cooking it, eating it, writing about it, teaching others how to cook, and making it pretty for cookbooks, television shows, websites and videos.
My Family’s Low Sodium Lifestyle Journey
Fast forward 11 years to May of 2012, when my perfectly healthy husband (I call him Handsome Rob), who had no obvious risk factors and ran regularly, had a massive heart attack. Thankfully, doctors were able to save him. What followed was a series of health hurdles – a stent inserted to correct a collapsed artery, cardiac rehab, surgery to implant an ICD (implantable cardioverter defibrillator), a TIA (mild stroke) in 2015, and a diagnosis of congestive heart failure in March of 2018. It was A LOT to handle. It’s still A LOT to handle, but we have and still are making the most of each and every day.
Today, Handsome Rob is doing exceptionally well thanks to some truly fantastic meds, and a huge change in his diet. When he was released from the hospital after his heart failure diagnosis, one of his doctors casually mentioned that he’d need to be on a low sodium diet from now on. The wife in me was like, “Yes. We will do all the things to keep him healthy. All the things, no matter how hard, but what does low sodium mean?” The chef in me was like, “WTF?!” I knew nothing about a low sodium lifestyle.
WTF quickly turned into seemingly insurmountable feelings of overwhelm and fear. As a chef, I knew how important salt was in bringing out the flavor in food. I had flashbacks of poorly seasoned meals I’d endured and wondered how I’d cook that for my family and pretend to enjoy it for the rest of our lives. So many of the great times we’d shared with family, friends, and each other in some way revolved around food. Good food. With the limited information the doctor gave us and the sad stories I’d heard from others who’d been on sodium-restricted diets, I was terrified.
Obviously, Handsome Rob’s health and well-being were my top priorities. There was no question that I was going to do what was best for him, even if it meant a lifetime of bland food, but I knew this would be a big challenge for our family. I left the hospital with this information: less than 1500 mg of sodium per day. That’s it. No explanation of what that meant or how to do it, just make sure his sodium intake does not exceed 1500 mg a day.
Luckily for Handsome Rob, he married a crackerjack Googler. I immediately started researching and reading, and researching and reading some more. How much sodium is in stuff? What foods are naturally lower in sodium? Which heart-healthy foods are low sodium? Can you still enjoy food living a low sodium lifestyle?
Today, I am an Olympic-level label reader. I’ve navigated this path to low sodium living, not without missteps and a few recipe fails, and I’ve changed the way my family cooks and eats. By learning to identify and avoid foods overloaded with sodium, stepping up my spice game, and replacing some store-bought items with my made-from-scratch versions, I’ve managed to fill our plates with foods we look forward to eating.
I’m not gonna lie, adapting to a low sodium lifestyle takes some getting used to. Salt serves a purpose in cooking, and I’m not gonna BS you. Low sodium foods can be delicious but they do not typically taste the same as their salty counterparts. I keep my husband’s daily intake at less than 1500 mgs of sodium per day, but I still cook with salt, just in significantly smaller quantities than I did before. We still eat out occasionally, but because I prepare probably 90% of what he eats, we don’t stress out when he enjoys the occasional splurge.
I’m sharing recipes and information that have worked for my family. I am not a medical professional so any information shared here should NEVER replace what your doctor recommends. A diet with less than 1500 mgs of sodium works for us, but I recognize many people require a diet with less than 1000 mgs of sodium or even less each day. Use your best judgement when cooking from this site.
I am thrilled to have you join me here in the Salt Sanity kitchen, and I’m excited to share what I’ve learned, and continue to learn. My hope is that I can help your family skip the overwhelm and fear I experienced as I started my family’s low sodium journey, and introduce you to low sodium recipes, foods, and products that will help ease the transition. There is life after low sodium, a really wonderful and delicious life. Come taste it with us!
Start Your Low Sodium Lifestyle Here
If you’re just starting your low sodium journey, check out these posts to get your started. They answered the big questions I had when I first started and I hope they’ll help you. If you need help monitoring your sodium intake, don’t forget to sign up to get my Free Weekly Sodium Tracker here.
Are Salt Substitutes an Option?