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Oct 14, 2009 01:09 PM

Any thoughts on how to make an extremely low salt low fluid diet interesting?

After recent adventures I am limited to 2 grams of sodium and 1500cc of fluids per day (fluid = anything that is liquid at room temperature). I also have to try and maintain a steady level of vitamin K (from some of my favourite vegetables) each day for at least three months. I already have some ideas and I know how I can do it if I want to be bored stiff with my diet. I am wondering if any other folks on the board have experienced similar restriction or know any creative cooks who have managed to produce decent eats.


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  1. My wife is salt limited, so I cook a lot of Chinese food, leaving out salt, using low-salt soy, etc. It works for Indian food too. I don't know enough about Japanese food, but, because it emphasizes the flavors of individual ingredients, it should work too.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Joebob

      Um...I would not recommend low-salt soy's still pretty darned high in sodium, in my opinion! My son was on a low-sodium diet in early 2008 and I'll tell you, his doctor said NO soy sauce, period, regular or low-sodium.

      Vonwotan, have you consulted a dietician? Might be a very good endeavor for you; hopefully your physician can refer you to a dietician or maybe has one on staff. Vinegar and lemon add flavor similar to salt but neither contain salt, so that's what we used a lot. Mrs. Dash is also good--I still use it for everyday cooking just because!

      I hope that you are feeling better...your situation sounds very similar to my son's...please listen to your doctor (my son was seeing a gastroenterologist) and ask him or her if you can get some rec's from a dietician. Best to you!

    2. I restrict salt for my husband; the first thing you should do is remove anything from your home and fridge that doesn't fit in with your diet, including salad dressings, tomato juice, sauces, chutneys, etc. I make all sorts of things, starting with our own salad dressings, cabbage rolls, pasta sauces, etc., without added salt, and I always check the ingredient lists of canned items to check for salt content.

      1. Use lots of citrus, garlic, herbs, spices, and vinegars to flavor foods.

        Are some of the things you usually eat adaptable? If you can give examples of foods you enjoy now, I'll bet folks will come up with ideas.

        Good luck to you!

        1 Reply
        1. re: fern


          My nephew was on kidney dialysis and I helped cook some of his meals.

          Lemon & garlic chicken with parsleyed potatoes were a favorite of his.

          You could go to the American Kidney Foundation's wedsite, they offer dietary help there.

        2. Garlic can be helpful in lots of dishes instead of salt. I'm currently on a low K diet (hopefully only until the end of Oct). I'm on a high dose of Coumadin for my size and my INR won't stay within range (2-3) for two weeks in a row so since mid-June I've had broccoli once and nori once. Both times at restaurants when I didn't have other options (I'm also vegan and gluten-free). I'm not restricted on liquids or salt/sodium. Before this we would eat high K foods (broccoli, collard greens, kale, spinach) an average of 10 meals per week.

          We now eat lots of zucchini, carrots, mushrooms, snow peas, pumpkin, sweet potato, red bell peppers, peas, green beans, etc. We ate all these foods before just not as often.

          1. Thanks all for all of the suggestions. I generally make my own foods with fresh ingredients so there is still a lot I can do. I do however have small amounts of added salt in many of my recipies and I like to use salt in the water for my pasta. Some of it will simply be an adjustment, some will mean experimenting, usually pleasant, with the other ingredients and additional spices. The vitamin K piece is only temporary, and includes many of my favorite foods so I just need to make sure that the rough amount of vitamin K remains the same each day.

            As one person commented below, many of the low-salt items avaialble these days aren't that low or contain other types of sodium that have to be included in the day's total.

            Happiest news of all, my cardiologist said that if I still want to have one, normal sized, glass of wine with my meal it would be ok but to keep it minimal and somewhat consistent so it doesn't throw off the dosing for some of my meds.

            My cubbards are nearly bare at the moment thanks to my brother and sister so I can just focus on buying those things I can easily fit in to my diet. Over time I guess I'll re-learn how to make some dishes. My challenge is that I have spent a lifetime collecting recipes and cookbooks and studying many different cuisines - and I'm really a fan of nose to tail eating. Certain favorites like marrow bones with a little sea salt and parsley on toast just won't be the same...

            lgss - I'm trying to balance the vitamin K for a different reason - I'm very sensitive even to small doses of Coumadin so keeping vitamin K in my diet and trying to get that balance (INRs between 2-3) is proving difficult. They have held up my discharge for nearly a week now, until they get it right.

            Thanks again everyone!

            2 Replies
            1. re: vonwotan

              There is certainly going to be "palate adjustment." But you'll start tasting the REAL flavors of the good, healthy things --veggies--and I agree with lgss that garlic is a wonderful flavor enhancer, especially with vegetables. Balsamic vinegar in particular is a great enhancer, too, and contains no sodium.

              1. re: vonwotan

                It's good that you like to experiment. Some salt substitutes are potassium-based. Vogue Veggie base has 140 mg per tsp and can add flavor to a variety of foods. We generally use 1 Tbsp for 4 servings of food, so that would be approximately 105 mg per serving.

                I wonder if it's the aluminum (in all doses except 10 mg tabs) or lactose (in all doses) in the Coumadin that causes your sensitivity. IMO they shouldn't be allowed to put those in meds, particularly when there are no other options. If so, and you can get to a stable dose maybe you can have it compounded without the aluminum and lactose. As much as 1/4 mg dose change can throw me out of range. My current dose is 8 5/7 mg some weeks and 8 3/4 mg others depending on whether I can go for my draw on Mon. or Tues. based on my work schedule. The trouble with compounding is it's in capsules and can't be opened to adjust dose.