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Eating out on a low-sodium diet

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Fellow chowhounds:

I am afflicted with a genetic tendency for high blood pressure (currently under medication) and am also somewhat overweight. Aside from a need to exercise more, eat smaller portions, and ingest fewer calories, several specific dietary adjustments have been recommended by my nutritionist. Most prominent among them is to reduce my sodium intake to no more than 2000 mg per day (approximately the amount of sodium in one teaspoon of table salt). I have begun requesting that restaurants reduce the salt in dishes I order, but with limited success. It seems to me that part of the problem is simple inertia and the other part is a prevalence of previously-cooked sauces that already have salt in them. It is my nutritionist's opinion (well-founded, I think) that my intake of sodium when eating out is more difficult to decrease because of my liking for Chinese, Vietnamese, Malaysian, Turkish, and other cuisines that generally use significant amounts of salt or/and high-salt sauces such as soy and fish sauce.

So, short of the obvious solution of cooking more for myself (my nutritionist's preference, but not so easy for me because I am on the go a lot and also have problems of time and working space in my small apartment), what can you suggest for me? I do want to reduce my sodium intake, but I do not want to reduce my enjoyment of the food I eat, and still want to be able to eat out.

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  1. If I were you I would cook 90% of the dishes at home with little to no sodium(much easier than it sounds) and then the one percent that you do consume out eat what you like and enjoy it. My way of reducing my sodium intake was replacing salt with heat getting a low sodium hot sauce like Huy Fong with garlic.

    Short of that what about a restaurant like Heartbeat which is supposedly very healthfully minded and accomodating. Also there is a takeout place called the Pump in Manhattan which specializes in low fat/salt food. There must be healthfood type places where you live that have similar options.

    Good luck
    Frank

    1. Two healthy but delicious restaurants that I really love are Black-Eyed Suzy's on E.7th and Herban Kitchen on Hudson St. (near Spring, I think).