Soup that’s low-salt: this brand didn’t really make the grade

Canned soups are some of the highest sodium per serving products you can buy today in your local supermarket or food shop. One cup of Progresso chicken noodle, for example, has 690 mgs of sodium, more than half my daily recommended level. And a can often is more than one serving.

Imagine low-sodium soups: I applaud the effort, but taste is lacking, big time.
Imagine low-sodium soups: I applaud the effort, but taste is lacking, big time.

So I’ve missed soup terribly in the 18 months since my angioplasty. My wife has tried making some with only vegetables, but it didn’t really taste all that inviting to me. So I was excited to see some soups at my local Jewel recently calling themselves “light in sodium.” The soups, under the Imagine brand and made by Hain Celestial Group, an organic processor, even came in interesting flavors like garden broccoli. Continue reading “Soup that’s low-salt: this brand didn’t really make the grade”

Noyes Street Cafe: a neighborhood gem

The Noyes Street cafe sits tucked next to the El tracks in a part of Evanston that I think of as student-y, dating back to my own student days there. So it’s always surprises me how sophisticated the menu can be. I also was pleasantly surprised on a recent visit about how easily they were able to accommodate my low-salt/no-salt requests.

Noyes Street Cafe trout, a great low-salt special.
Noyes Street Cafe trout, a great low-salt special.

I asked about a butterflied trout special. The menu described it as seasoned, and that usually means lots of salt. The waiter said he would check and returned quickly to tell me they could make it without the salt in the seasoning, so I said let’s try it. I also opted for carrots and roasted potatoes as side, passing on the likely high fat mashed potato options; I also asked for a salad with oil and vinegar. As it turned out, the waiter brought the salad with a vinaigrette dressing but I had my oil and vinegar packets with me, so compensated with those. Continue reading “Noyes Street Cafe: a neighborhood gem”

Naturally sweeten soda: what is that anyway?

Diet soda was a mainstay of my pre-angioplasty life, giving me daily hits of sweetness with no calories and I thought no harm. It comes in for much derision these days and is off my diet now except for once or twice a week, my now special treats.

But let’s face it, water, which I now drink a lot, is boring and tasteless. So I keep searching for low-calorie diet alternatives.

A recent trip to Whole Foods brought one to my attention, something called Honest Fizz naturally sweetened zero calorie soda (made by a unit of Coke of all places). Twelve-ounce cans were on sale for four for $5, or $1.25 a can. Not cheap, but the hope they would be tasty caused me to buy some of the root beer and lemon lime varieties.

Honest Fizz soda tasted good, how do you feel about stevia?
Honest Fizz soda tasted good, how do you feel about stevia?
Continue reading “Naturally sweeten soda: what is that anyway?”

Low-fat cookies: here’s one to try, from Hannahmax Baking

Cookies, especially chocolate chip cookies, were one of my favorite binge foods but since my angioplasty, cookies have been largely out of my diet. I keep searching for low-fat, low-sodium varieties, but few exist. I did find one variety at Whole Foods, but buying those requires a special trip to the one (of three) Whole Foods in my area that carries them regularly.

So I was excited to see a cookie that seemed relatively low-fat and low-sodium at a local Jewel supermarket. The offering, from Hannahmax Baking, was relatively tasty and if you look at the nutrition label on the package, you’d think it was low-fat and low-sodium. Five of these chocolate chip cookies has only six grams of fat.

Hannahmax cookie chips
Hannahmax cookie chips: tasty but tiny
Hannahmax cookie chips nutrition information.
Hannahmax cookie chips nutrition information.
Continue reading “Low-fat cookies: here’s one to try, from Hannahmax Baking”

Low-salt Easter dinner: how to enjoy the holiday meal

Easter dinner traditionally means one of two main courses — either ham or lamb. But neither is an acceptable choice if you’re on a low-salt, or a low-fat, or a low-salt, low-fat diet as I am. That can make being a guest at someone else’s Easter feast a problem for you.

So do what I did this year. Invite family and/or friends to your house where you control the menu. Then assemble a low-salt, low-fat meal that everyone will enjoy, even if some guests are missing the ham (they can buy some at their houses).

My low-salt, low-fat Easter dinner
My low-salt, low-fat Easter dinner
Continue reading “Low-salt Easter dinner: how to enjoy the holiday meal”

Eating right after you turn 50, bah humbug, but worth reading

One of the things that upsets me most about the eating changes I’ve had to make since my angioplasty in 2012 is that I’m now on what I feel is an old man’s diet. No salt, no sugar, no fat, just give me some gruel and put me in a corner and watch me slowly go senile as my hair falls out for lack of protein. That’s how I feel some days when I’m watching other people eat big steaks or other restaurant dishes.

These days it's the fruit market, not the steak house, for me.
These days it’s the fruit market, not the steak house, for me.

But the reality is even if you haven’t had heart problems as I have, your eating needs to change once you turn 50. How? Well the so-called science about that seems to change daily, which is why I never give medical advice here or recommend a certain list of foods for you. Continue reading “Eating right after you turn 50, bah humbug, but worth reading”

Salt is everywhere, beware; become a smart shopper & diner

My doctor for years told me to cut the salt in my diet and I would always respond that I didn’t cook with salt or add any to my meals, what else could I do? It wasn’t until after my angioplasty that I found out — what I could and now have to do is read every food label and check every restaurant menu for salt content. Everything we tend to eat in America is loaded with salt, meaning one meal, even one dish in a meal, can easily give us more than the 1,500 mgs a day someone in my life position should have.

This infographic recently came to my attention and I thought I’d share it, it says nearly 25 percent of the salt we eat comes from restaurant food. I’d say it’s much higher if you eat how regularly.

Salt is everywhere in restaurant food, check all menus before eating out.
Salt is everywhere in restaurant food, check all menus before eating out.

Here’s a handy guide for where sodium lurks in our foods and what to eat to minimize sodium intake. You also should check our ingredients, recipe and eating out pages. I’m constantly wringing sodium out of my diet these days, of the three food demons — fat, sugar and salt, it’s the one I miss the least.

Low Sodium Stir Fry

Substitute a salt-free teriyaki sauce for the soy sauce here to cut salt even more. See my review of salt-free teriyaki sauces available and how their sodium content compares with low-salt soy:



Stir fry is one oif my favourite dishes. I love that it is quick to prepare, fresh, tasty and by slightly adjusting and experimenting with different ingredients, a whole new dish is created! Stir fry’s can be high in salt especially if you use oriental sauces like barbecue sauce, fish sauce, soy sauce, hoisin sauce or oyster sauce to flavour the dish. Today, I took my stir fry to my ‘lab’ and created a low sodium, but tasty, full on flavour stir fry! Here is my recipe:

1 T canola oil

2-3 cups vegetables of your choice

2-3cm piece ginger, sliced into thin rounds

1 lemon grass root, rinsed, and chopped into big chunks

2-3 chillies, depending on the flavour intensity you want

2t cumin seeds

2T low sodium soy sauce

1T fish sauce

1tsp tomato paste

1/2 cup water

1 ice cube block pesto of your choice

2-3 stalks…

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