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My first day cooking no-salt, no-sugar....well, whaddya know.....

sunshine842 May 13, 2012 03:57 PM

Because of some medical issues at our house, we're under strict orders for no-salt, no sugar for the next month or so....and we were having company -- a challenge! Note that nobody in the house is diabetic, it's so that everything plays nice with the meds for a while -- so there's no blood testing or anything along that line.

I wasn't too fussed about it, as I use very little salt anyway -- and at the table? I dropped and broke the salt shaker about 6 weeks ago and nobody's asked for it yet.

So I roasted a saddle of lamb with lots of garlic, rosemary, and pepper, all muddled together with a mortar and pestle.

Ratatouille - pepper, basil, and Herbes de Provence

A tricolor rice blend (this one was a little wobbly, but quite edible with no salt)'

cheese (a bite or two, as one of the cheese was *very* salty to the non-diet folks)
Bread

And sliced fresh strawberries (which are on the allowed list)

You know what? Other than the rice...I didn't even notice that there was no salt added to any of it.

There's another few weeks to go...so I'm sure there will be some real clunkers appearing on the table...but the first night was a genuine success!

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  1. Kajikit RE: sunshine842 May 13, 2012 04:19 PM

    I add very little salt to my cooking. I used to not use any, but DH is a salt-fiend. So I just add a tiny bit and let him go to town with the salt-shaker on his own. If you use tomatoes and celery in your cooking, most of the time you won't even notice that there isn't any 'extra' salt, but depending on the nature of the medical reason, you might have to restrict them too. Vinegar makes up a lot for lack of salt too - it gives things the expected 'zip' in your mouth without the sodium. We've been no-sugar and low-carb for the last month, and we're getting used to it much more easily than I ever would have expected.

    1. goodhealthgourmet RE: sunshine842 May 13, 2012 04:43 PM

      amazing, innit? i've been a low-sodium cook for many years, and even salt fiends love my food.

      glad you got off to a positive start, it decreases the likelihood of a revolt at the dinner table ;)

      1. sunshine842 RE: sunshine842 May 14, 2012 01:30 PM

        tonight was a lemon-chicken tajine -- couscous made with the low-sodium bouillon I found (1g of sodium in 2 cups of the stuff -- and canned stock isn't available here...) -- another tasty dish, with no complaints about salt.

        Hoping I'm on a roll here...

        7 Replies
        1. re: sunshine842
          goodhealthgourmet RE: sunshine842 May 14, 2012 02:02 PM

          that's great! just watch out for your mathematical conversions. 1g sodium = 1000mg, so while it's lower in sodium than tradition bouillon or stock, it's not salt-free. you're looking at about 125 mg per quarter-cup of broth.

          1. re: goodhealthgourmet
            sunshine842 RE: goodhealthgourmet May 14, 2012 02:22 PM

            Thanks for the warning -- I have tried making couscous with no salt in the past, and it's pretty bleh on its own... it needs *something*!

            Is there a way to make one's own stock without sodium/minimal salt? I've tried it a couple of time in the past, and it was just, well, lacking. Any suggestions?

            If nobody minds, I'm thinking of using this thread as sort of a micro-blog for a few weeks...so that anybody else who's found themselves on this path might glean a few ideas -- whether for things to try or things to run screaming from....anyone in a similar place is welcome to join in.

            We were having this discussion tonight -- that if the mandated time period for cutting the salt and sugar comes to an end, and nobody's complaining...well, we'll just make it the new normal. I'm guessing that by the time we're done with the required period, the new habits will have had time to become fairly firmly rooted -- and we'll enjoy the "forbidden" treats all the more when they're well and truly special.

            It's only been a couple of days, but I'm pretty amazed at how simple it has been to just skip the salt...and how nobody seems to miss it. Like I posted above, we are pretty light on the salt anyway...so we don't have as big an adjustment to make as a lot of folks might have.

            1. re: sunshine842
              Kajikit RE: sunshine842 May 14, 2012 02:58 PM

              The less salt you use, the more you get used to it. Food has all sorts of subtle natural flavours that are entirely drowned out by the amount of salt traditionally added to them. Once you're used to eating low-sodium, that homemade broth will taste just fine to you.

              1. re: Kajikit
                sunshine842 RE: Kajikit May 14, 2012 03:01 PM

                I did mention that I use very little salt anyway...so "the amount of salt traditionally added to them" is far more than we usually eat, whether we're on a restricted diet or not.

              2. re: sunshine842
                m
                magiesmom RE: sunshine842 May 14, 2012 05:32 PM

                I never add salt to stock when cooking it and rarely after. herbs, dried mushrooms, variety of veggies makes a great stock.

                1. re: sunshine842
                  goodhealthgourmet RE: sunshine842 May 14, 2012 05:47 PM

                  If nobody minds, I'm thinking of using this thread as sort of a micro-blog for a few weeks...so that anybody else who's found themselves on this path might glean a few ideas -- whether for things to try or things to run screaming from....anyone in a similar place is welcome to join in.
                  ~~~~~~~~
                  sounds good! i'm thinking that posting a link over on the Special Diets board might be nice to direct others here if they want to contribute.

                  as far as flavoring your stock, here's a thread that might be really helpful to you:
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/845219

                  1. re: sunshine842
                    kubasd RE: sunshine842 May 14, 2012 05:57 PM

                    I think the micro-blog is a great idea, I know I for one could use your experience to better the healthfulness of what I cook on a day-to-day basis.

              3. sunshine842 RE: sunshine842 May 15, 2012 12:22 PM

                Meal of the day -- risotto with chicken breast and asparagus.

                This time I used the no-salt-added vegetable bouillon I found at the organic supermarket -- it's pretty tasty, but it does need a little more oomph. I found a jar of dried morel mushrooms in the pantry, so threw a handful of those into the broth to add a little more depth of flavor, then chopped them fine and threw them in with everything else.. Thyme, fresh parsley, ground pepper, and a healthy grate of nutmeg.

                It was a little on the bland side, but pretty darned tasty....and everyone went back for seconds.

                (Yes, it had parmesan in it -- with the dr's blessing -- and I used quite a lot less than I would have otherwise.)

                It's been a chilly, wet, blustery day here -- so something creamy and warm was extra nice.

                (and lunches? I've been making a little extra so there are leftovers...to which there have been no complaints.)

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