In early 2019, my husband was diagnosed with Meniere's Disease, a disorder of the inner ear that causes vertigo and hearing loss. There is no known cause, and there is no cure. There is, however, some evidence that these symptoms can be alleviated and controlled by eating less sodium.
After many months of trying different foods and diets, my husband found that he felt best when he was eating very little sodium. And so we started cooking and eating without adding any salt to our food, relying only on the sodium that occurs naturally in food (yes, there's sodium in vegetables!).
This was incredibly challenging because most of us eat much more salt than we should. The recommended daily value of sodium is 2,300 mg per day, about 1 teaspoon of salt. The American Heart Association recommends even less, just 1,500 mg of sodium for most adults. However, the average American consumes more than 3,400 mg of sodium a day, which isn't hard to do. For example, an In-N-Out cheeseburger and fries has 1,250 mg of sodium, and that doesn't even include ketchup! I love In-N-Out, but we just can't eat like this anymore. In fact, eating out is nearly impossible because almost all restaurant and prepared foods have salt already added.
The first few months of our salt free diet consisted of a lot of brown rice, vegetables roasted with just garlic and oil, and some very bland protein. I assumed that eating without salt meant no pizza, no bread, no sandwiches, soups, tacos, or any of the foods we love. I had never baked bread in my life, had one unsuccessful attempt at making my own pizza dough in 2005, and was reading lots of blogs saying you simply can't make bread without salt. Then my sister-in-law and her family came to visit over the holidays and made us pizza without using any salt. It was amazing and life changing! That meal inspired me to explore new ways to cook without salt and it led me to create this blog. It's also why my first food post is a pizza dough recipe. It looks a little scary if you're new to dough, but give it a try and I think you'll find it's not as hard as it may seem.
In addition to eliminating salt, we also cut out caffeine and alcohol so you generally won't find any recipes with either here. We've also stayed away from salt substitutes like potassium chloride for now. I don't love the taste and my goal is to create and adapt recipes that help us move away from our salt dependency. But cutting out salt is not for everybody. If you want to reduce your sodium intake without eliminating salt, these recipes are a great starting point for low sodium alternatives to many foods that are usually very high in sodium.
I hope this blog is a valuable resource for people with Meniere's, or anybody who wants or needs to reduce their sodium intake. Thanks for joining me as I continue to explore new recipes and ideas!