Bread and salt — here’s how to break that troubling link

Bread has largely been out of my diet since I began efforts to reduce my daily intake of sodium. Most breads, whether packaged or made fresh at local bakeries, are loaded with salt. I’ve worked hard to find a salt-free whole wheat bread and other varieties like a brown rice bread.

My rice bread find from Minneapolis. A nice low-salt alternative to high-sodium white breads.
My rice bread find from Minneapolis. A nice low-salt alternative to high-sodium white breads.

So I was intrigued to see a Bon Appetit e-mail with the subject line We Asked a Nutritionist: Which Bagged Bread Is Healthiest? Clicking through to the story, I found that headlined How to Find the Healthiest Bagged Bread at the Supermarket.

It’s an informative piece, separating out bread myth from reality and rating various types of bread. I’d hoped it would look at brands of bread too, but no luck on that front. It did take on two of the three food demons — salt and sugar.

“Aim for bread with less than 150 mg of sodium per slice of bread,” Carrie Motschwiller, a registered dietitian and wellness manager in New York City, says in the piece. I’d go further and try to cut out all salt in bread or simply skip the bread. Continue reading “Bread and salt — here’s how to break that troubling link”

Rice bread — a nice low-salt alternative if you’re craving toast

I posted recently about trying rice toast on a recent visit with my son and daughter-in-law in Minnesota’s Twin Cities. I had the toast at  a farm-to-table place called the Co-Op Creamery.

My rice bread find from Minneapolis. A nice low-salt alternative to high-sodium white breads.
My rice bread find from Minneapolis. A nice low-salt alternative to high-sodium white breads.

Not sure what the nutritional profile was for rice bread, I sought it out later in my visit while we were shopping at the Seward Co-op my son belongs to and shops at.

Sure enough, I found some in the bread section and was pleasantly surprised to see it is a low-salt alternative to traditional wheat breads. Continue reading “Rice bread — a nice low-salt alternative if you’re craving toast”

Low-sodium Thanksgiving stuffing: here’s how to make it

Any bread stuffing you come up with for Thanksgiving will be loaded with the salt that was in the bread. Which is why I was thrilled last year to find sodium-free whole wheat bread at Trader Joe’s. I’ve looked many other places since but have not found a similar product.

Salt-free bread stuffing
Salt-free bread stuffing

I used the bread in a stuffing recipe that also includes celery, apples and onions. This year, I’m adding some chestnuts too because I enjoy them and want to see what they bring to the party.
John

Thomas’s multigrain English muffins: a tasty low-salt alternative

Bread is one of the biggest carriers of evil salt in our daily diets. If you’re trying to eliminate salt as I have been since my angioplasty, you’ve likely given up breads, indeed baked goods, of all kinds.

Thomas' multigrain English muffins
Thomas’ multigrain English muffins

I have found one alternative, a whole wheat, salt-free bread at Trader Joe’s that I use in my Thanksgiving stuffing now. But I miss baked goods terribly, so I’m always on the lookout for other options. Continue reading “Thomas’s multigrain English muffins: a tasty low-salt alternative”

Costco has switched bread crumb brands, shame on you Costco

I wrote early this year about a great panko breadcrumb find at Costco. Indeed, the giant box lasted me from February through August. But I was very disappointed when I went back to Costco recently only to find it had switched to a different brand of panko breadcrumbs — one that’s incredibly high in salt. Shame on you Costco!

Costco has dropped a low-sodium brand of panko and now carries this from McCormick, an offering loaded with salt. Shame on you Costco.
Costco has dropped a low-sodium brand of panko and now carries this from McCormick, an offering loaded with salt. Shame on you Costco.
McCormick panko breadcrumb nutrition information
McCormick panko breadcrumb nutrition information

The warehouse store now carries McCormick brand Tuscan Herb panko bread crumbs. Anything that has a name like that is likely loaded with salt. A quick check of the nutrition panel confirmed my worst fears. A half-cup of this brand has 560 mgs of sodium, or a third of my daily limit. That’s simply unacceptable. Continue reading “Costco has switched bread crumb brands, shame on you Costco”

Low-salt, low-fat breakfast options when entertaining guests

I recently had two cousins come visit us in Chicago, a wonderful time for me but one that had me wondering what I could make them for breakfast each day. Making dishes I can’t eat any longer because of my angioplasty, such as bacon and eggs or big stacks of regular pancakes or waffles, is a painful experience for me and one I would rather avoid.

Luckily, they understood this and also have some dietary concerns of their own that meant they weren’t expecting such classics. Rather, I went low-salt and low-fat, as well as low-sugar when it came to what we drank.

Breakfast takes on a light tone when you opt for low-fat, low-salt, low-sugar options. Pictured here is fat-free yogurt (regular and Greek), low-sodium English muffins, low-sugar orange juice, jams, fresh figs and Smart Balance instead of butter.
Breakfast takes on a light tone when you opt for low-fat, low-salt, low-sugar options. Pictured here is fat-free yogurt (regular and Greek), low-sodium English muffins, low-sugar orange juice, jams, fresh figs and Smart Balance instead of butter.

Continue reading “Low-salt, low-fat breakfast options when entertaining guests”

Fourth of July low-salt, low-fat, low-sugar cookout options

Happy Fourth of July, the most traditional of America’s cookout day’s. While you may not be able to have the traditional burgers and hot dogs because of their high fat and sodium content (for the dogs anyway), you can find tasty cookout alternatives.

I recently had my first summer cookout for friends in the two years since my angioplasty. It has taken me that long to develop a new menu I feel comfortable serving people without feeling I’m depriving them of tasty cookout treats.

Fourth of July party ideas, all low-fat, low-salt and low-sugar.
Fourth of July party ideas, all low-fat, low-salt and low-sugar.

The meal consisted of salmon with a salt-free teriyaki glaze grilled over a cedar plank for added flavor, grilled veggies that included zucchini and eggplant, and corn. A fruit salad complemented the main courses. I also made low-salt, low-fat turkey burgers (if you buy these pre-made, check the nutrition panels first, some are still loaded with salt and fat). Continue reading “Fourth of July low-salt, low-fat, low-sugar cookout options”

Bread on a restricted diet, finding one you like and can eat

Bread was never a major part of my diet, not to the extent of some of my Italian relatives anyway, but since my angioplasty, almost all bread is off my new restricted diet.

The first nutritionist I saw said the only bread I can eat now is called Ezekiel bread, an unleavened variety that tastes like sandpaper to me. I eat it only with my extra lean burgers.

My bread find,  a sourdough multigrain special.
My bread find, a sourdough multigrain special.

Bread that appears on restaurant tables is usually off-limits to me these days, so I normally sit there watching everyone else scarf it down while we wait for our meals. But I was pleasantly surprised by the bread that I had at Sepia in Chicago recently. Continue reading “Bread on a restricted diet, finding one you like and can eat”

Can you enjoy vacationing on a restricted diet?

I’m about to take the dream trip of my life — journeying to my ancestral homelands in Italy with my wife and six cousins. It’s exciting but all I can focus on right now is how will I be able to keep to my restricted diet while there? How much gelato, pasta, cheeses and other treats will I have to pas up while everyone around me eats to their heart’s content?

We'll be visiting Amalfi and Salerno, towns my grandmothers were born in, among other places on this trip.
We’ll be visiting Amalfi and Salerno, towns my grandmothers were born in, among other places on this trip.

In the 10 months since my angioplasty, I have rebuilt what I eat and become relatively adept at making meals at home, plus at searching out the usually one thing on any restaurant menu I can safely eat (like buckwheat pancakes without butter at a pancake house today). How do I transition to eating every meal out every day in a foreign country?

See how I do, or don’t do, here. I’ll be blogging whenever I can get Web access.
John

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