Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Sodium intake/My "diet"

Well...here I am...

 ...thinking about my sodium intake.

It's kinda surprising actually, but my sodium intake for the day is over 6400 mg.  Reckon that's having much of an affect?  Head --> desk!  That's way too much - so yes, I know this.

I try to keep my sodium levels within a normal range and I can always tell when I've had an abnormal amount of sodium - and it happened today.

This morning was the sausage/cheese/almonds and I had made a salad for lunch - romaine, grilled chicken, feta cheese, artichoke hearts, olives, and Greek vinaigrette.

However, I had forgotten that there was a cookout at lunch today for a charity fundraiser - hotdogs and homemade chili.  I decided to go with the cookout instead.  The woman who made the chili is a friend of time and told me she didn't add any sugar at all - so the only sugar would be coming from the tomatoes - so that's okay - tomatoes are either frugies or veguits (botanically - they're fruits, but the U.S. Supreme Court - yes, THE U.S. Supreme Court decreed that tomatoes are vegetables - you'd think they'd have more important things to do!)

But I digress.

Anyway, I had two hotdogs - no buns - they're were very well-cooked with a lot of char - just like I like them, some of the chili - maybe 2/3 - 3/4 cup, onions, and some cheese.  I totally skipped the bread, the cole slaw, the chips, and all the other white carb shit they had.  It wasn't the most nutritious lunch, particularly when compared to my salad, but it was okay.

Almost as soon as I had finished eating, I could just feel it in my hands and feet.  Of course, today I worked in areas where food and drink wasn't allowed, so I didn't get the chance to try and dilute it with liquids.

I've been drinking like crazy - unsweetened tea and water - since I got home and decided that I'd figure out the sodium intake.  Holey moley - over 6400 grams - that's NUTS!  The bigger surprise is that my salad had more sodium than lunch!!!  The olives had a crap ton of sodium (1340 mg) in them and, surprisingly, the chicken (Costco rotisserie) had a lot of sodium - 635 mg for 5 ounces.

A few folks have asked if I'm on a low carb diet.  Technically, yes I am - very low carb.  My carb intake for today is 44 total carb, so net is even lower.  However, my goal is not a necessarily a low carb diet.

My goal was to cut out ALL added sugar.  I think I've done a pretty good job of that.  Cutting out the sugar means that processed foods are necessarily removed from my food repertoire. While I can't swear to it, I think the hot dogs today were the first processed food I've had in a LONG time - that I can remember at least.  Alright, so I just lied - I do have salad dressing, but it's usually some form of Newman's Own.  Out of everything that I've learned over the last year, I think I'm pretty sure the sugar is gone for good.  Folks have written all sorts of flowery, superlative descriptions about getting rid of sugar.  Let me just say that it makes my life easier, makes me saner, and I feel better without it.

I also cut out white food - rice, potatoes, bread.  On a rare occasion, I'll have a bite of bread or a small serving of potatoes, but like I said.  The hardest time for these was when we'd go out for steak.  There's always the bread ahead of the meal and then the potato with the meal.  We no longer get the bread basket unless we forget and the server brings it anyway.  As for the potatoes, I order either a double salad or an extra veggie.

All veggies above the ground - particularly the green ones, are a green light for me.

Many folks assume that if you're on a "low-carb" diet that you must be eating a high protein diet.  This is not the case with me at all.  I keep my protein around 25-30% of my total intake with at least 30 g protein each meal (note this is not ounces of food, but grams of protein in the food).  I don't think I need more protein.  And while I don't have an issue, folks with kidney issues are generally told to minimize protein.  Being that I've only one kidney, I wanna take care of it - just in case.

The one kidney thing is also the reason I drink like a mad woman.  I drink A LOT!  On a slow day, I have at least a gallon on liquid.  Most days, I push two gallons.  When I get up in the middle of the night to potty, I drink a big ol' glass of water.

So this leaves fat.  My diet is at least 60% fat, sometimes as high as 80%.  I try to get my fat from real foods, like cheese and meats, but I do have salad dressing.  I don't eat low-fat anything...at all.

Is it perfect?  Nope - it's ever-evolving and I'm always trying to make it better and make it my way of life.

And there's something weird here that I can't put my finger on - it's really not about the food at all - the food is food.  It can't do anything at all.  It's what I do with it and how I react to it that's the important thing.  There's a bunch of "whys" that I'm trying to figure out - Why do I overeat?  Why do I want to overeat?  Why can't I just stop?  Why can't I put it in its proper place?  Why do I give food importance?  Isn't that stupid when you think about it?  Other than providing nutrients for our bodies, it doesn't do anything.

I've made some big strides, but there's more steps ahead of me for sure.



  1. I have tried to convince myself for years that food is just fuel...but I maybe we're off on that? Read this blog, a Canadian obesity's expert opinion on the matter...really made me think...


  2. yeah, the sodium in chicken is one more reason I limit it these days. Sorry you salt overloaded. :: hugs ::

  3. I think your wise to be careful of the sodium since you have the one kidney. I think a lot of us overload on the protein. Is your doctor OK with your high fat diet?
    About emotional eating: I grew up in the south I learned early on food=love. Its never says no, is always there for you to comfort you, make you feel better no matter what whether your happy or sad, good or bad. I had to learn some better coping strategies so I could quit turning to food for comfort and love. I read a lot of stuff in the recovery movement. Geneen Roth's book when you eat at the refrig pull up a chair really spoke to me. I read it years ago and I still remember it:) I hope you figure out your emotional triggers and find the answers you seek. After 15 years on this maintenance journey sometimes I still stumble the important thing is you get back up brush yourself off and learn from it so you don't repeat it again.

  4. Sodium is a tough one, because it's so easy to get too much! I find over time it sneaks up but I rarely have the patience to cut down until my taste buds readjust.

    The key for me seems to be to prepare as many things myself as I can, and I cheat and use one of those "light" salts that's half potassium. Has a slightly metallic taste but I got used to it. However, if we're on the road and I'm eating out, all bets are totally off!

  5. We all have to find out what works for us. We can learn from others, but it is still an individual journey. Good for you for doing what works and not worrying about how it appears to others.

  6. Until I started making myself read labels I was not aware of how much sugar and sodium most foods have. I try to keep my sodium in check as well because I can see how it trips me up. I am now working on getting rid of the white starches.

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  8. Sodium is my nemesis too! I love salty, crunchy stuff but I am already taking a diuretic for high blood pressure so I really need to stay as low as possible on my salt. But I have such a hard time with that. Like you, I have cut out most of my processed foods and seldom eat anything white or from a box - like very rarely. I'm all about the veggies and keep the protein at a reasonable portion size. But I am still not losing. I have started counting calories on my My Value Diary ap and I think that helps me at least see where i'm going over the line. Like you, I just keep pushing ahead, asking the same questions and knowing that if I keep exercising and eating well, it is going to all line up. Great post! I identify with all you said!


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