Salt free marinades — are they available in my area?

I wrote recently about two salt-free marinade lines I found online, Mrs Dash and Mr. Spice. I wrote each company to see if they were available in any food stores in the Chicago area since I have not seen them in mainstream supermarkets or at places like Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s. Their answers are below.

Mr. Spice marinades
Mr. Spice marinades

Thank you for your interest and support!

We do not know of any locations locally for you to purchase our sauces locally.

You can order them on our site and get free shipping if you order 4 or more bottles.

Lang Pharma Nutrition, Inc.
20 Silva Lane
Middletown, RI 02842

Mrs. Dash salt free marinades
Mrs. Dash salt free marinades
Continue reading “Salt free marinades — are they available in my area?”

Salt free marinades — they do exist, search online

Restricted diets often mean no sauces on the foods you eat. Most sauces use a combination of the big three of death, salt, fat and sugar. So obviously they’re out.

Dry, boring food can be the result, so I’ve been searching for salt-free marinades to use in my cooking. I’ve found two brands and like different varieties in each.

The bad news is that neither of their salt-free teriyaki marinades/sauces does it for me, both compensate for the lack of salt with way too much pepper for my taste. I’m now using them sparingly on things like portobello mushrooms to finish the bottles.

Mr. Spice marinades
Mr. Spice marinades
Mrs. Dash salt free marinades
Mrs. Dash salt free marinades

The good news is that other varieties are passing my taste test and becoming regular parts of my new restricted diet. Continue reading “Salt free marinades — they do exist, search online”

Lobster and grilled vegetables — an illustrated guide

I’ve written about creating a meal of lobster tails and grilled vegetables. Here’s a step-by-step illustrated guide:

Cut veggies into strips and coat with a salt-free marinade. I use either Mrs Dash or Mr Spice, each of which is available for purchase online (If you find them in a local store, let me know, I haven’t found them in any Chicago food outlet so far).

Peppers and mushrooms cut into slices and marinading in a salt-free marinade.
Peppers and mushrooms cut into slices and marinading in a salt-free marinade.

Cook them either outside on a grill or inside in a frying pan coated with canola oil spray.

I'm using my gas grill here but have done them on charcoal as well for an outdoorsy taste.
I’m using my gas grill here but have done them on charcoal as well for an outdoorsy taste.
Continue reading “Lobster and grilled vegetables — an illustrated guide”

Lobster and grilled vegetables – a wonderful meal on a restricted diet

Lobster, as I’ve written before, is no longer considered the no-no it once was for people with heart and artery problems like me. A nutritionist who basically told me to eat only vegetables also said lobster is ok, in moderate amounts.

I’ve written previously that a four-ounce lobster tail has about 2.5 ounces of actual lobster meat in it. A serving, per American Heart Association guidelines, is 3.5 ounces, so a tail and a half will do but have two if you want to splurge.

That much lobster certainly won’t fill you up, but I supplement mine with a large amount of grilled vegetables, often made in salt-free marinades I’ve found.

Grilled veggies can help fill you when you reach your lobster, chicken or beef limits.
Grilled veggies can help fill you when you reach your lobster, chicken or beef limits.
Continue reading “Lobster and grilled vegetables – a wonderful meal on a restricted diet”

Can you stay on a restricted diet in the land of pasta and seafood?

I’ve been doing my best since I arrived in southern Italy to eat the way I’m supposed to on my restricted diet but doing that is proving impossible. I cannot avoid pasta here and I can’t find whole wheat pasta which is the only type I am supposed to eat these days.

What I am doing is eating smaller portions of pasta than would be served in American restaurants. Portions are smaller here because places serve the traditional Italian multi-course dinners. In those the pasta course is just a prelude to the fish or meat course and so not massive in size.

My first course, pasta with tomatoes and eggplants
My first course, pasta with tomatoes and eggplants
Continue reading “Can you stay on a restricted diet in the land of pasta and seafood?”

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.

Where can I find low-salt, no-salt food?

Finding low-salt and no-salt processed foods is a job, there’s no doubt about that. I wrote about it late last year when I was first beginning to create my new eating plans. Now, I’m constantly on the lookout for items I can buy and am discovering more and more to try.

As an example, I recently walked into a Menard’s near my home. Menard’s is a giant home center store, with locations across the Midwest. I normally go there for tools and home goods, not food even though it has a grocery section. So imagine my surprise when I walked in there recently and saw on the front-of-store food display no salt Hunt’s tomatoes!

My special find at Menard's
My special find at Menard’s

Hunt’s is a national brand in most mainstream supermarkets but in none of those had I seen Hunt’s no-salt tomatoes. Yet here they were at Menard’s and in large cans for $1.62. I’d paid that much at other places for cans half the volume. I filled my cart with eight of them and felt tears of joy fill my eyes. Here was something I had searched high and low for and paid exorbitant prices for, only to find them sitting right in the front of Menard’s.

A coworker tells me Walmart has low-salt items in its private label line, so I’m searching there next. Keep up the search and let me know if you find specials anywhere.

How Many Ways Can You Prepare White Meat Chicken?

Chicken legs and thighs have been my favorite parts of the chicken. I’ve been taking the skin off for years to save on fat intake. Now, after the new diet I’ve been ordered on since my angioplasty, the legs are out completely as well and I’m left to find creative ways to make normally dry breast meat taste like something.chickgravy

The only dish I’ve cooked in the past with chicken breast was a low-fat version of chicken Parmigiano in which I did not bread the chicken breasts and I used low-fat cheese. Now all cheese is out of my diet, so I’ve modified the dish again to simply chicken breasts baked in my own home-made tomato sauce.

Continue reading “How Many Ways Can You Prepare White Meat Chicken?”

What can I eat Super Bowl Sunday on a restricted diet?

Super Bowl Sunday is upon us, an annual ritual that has become more about eating and TV commercials than the game itself. All over this country, people will be gathering for Super Bowl parties and that will mean mountains of food — ribs, burgers, beer — and a cavalcade of other foods that those of us on no-salt, no-fat diets can’t eat any longer.

So does that mean fasting on the big day, much as you do the rest of the year? I have held a Super Bowl party at my house for many years, but will not be having it this year. That’s because I’m changing the menu drastically and people accustomed to my old ways would not understand.

But it doesn’t mean I won’t be eating. I’ve searched out alternatives that will still allow me to eat with the game and have some of the old food fun I was once accustomed to. Let’s start with some basics, like salsa. Salsa has become as American as apple pie, but it’s usually loaded with salt, so it’s generally a no-no now. But I’ve found low-salt salsa at both Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. Combine that with salt-free, tortilla chips from Trade Joe’s. Fourteen unsalted chips have seven grams of fat. I also have salt-free potato chips with nine grams of fat per ounce and a low-fat, low-salt popcorn from Trader Joe’s with three grams of fat per ounce.

My low-salt, low-fat Super Bowl treats.
My low-salt, low-fat Super Bowl treats.

Kroger has a fat-free cookie that has only 25 mg of salt per cookie, another treat I’ll have tomorrow.

And then for the main course, I’m making my own whole wheat manicotti filled with low-fat ricotta and covered with my low-salt homemade tomato sauce. My sauce has less than 200 mgs of salt per quart. Since I’ll likely use less than a pint on my manicotti, I’ll have only about 100 mgs of salt from it.

So I’m ready for kickoff and you can be too, just search out the low-salt, low-fat treats out there.

What Can Someone on a Restricted Diet Eat on Christmas Eve?

My days of eating ham or steak or a big rib roast on holidays are over, thanks to the angioplasty I had Aug. 13, 2012. So how can I continue to celebrate important days with food I enjoy? Have you been asking yourself that question too?

The answer for me is to go back to my roots. Italian-Americans at one point traditionally had a meal of seven kinds of fish on Christmas Eve. The tradition goes back to the old country and a time when Catholics could not eat meat on the night before Christmas. It also was a way for poor fishermen to feast with banquets that would have made the rich feel right at home.

Most seafood is allowed on my no-salt, no-sugar, no-fat diet. Cold water varieties like salmon are even encouraged because of the omega-3 fatty acids they contain, although I’ve already seen one study saying those aren’t the superfood some had thought they were.

Preparing salmon with Mrs. Dash no-salt marinades. Regular stores don't carry these marinades, order them online at
Preparing salmon with Mrs. Dash no-salt marinades. Regular stores don’t carry these marinades, order them online at

When my grandmother did the seven fishes, she included clams, eel, an Italian salted cod called baccala, squid, snails and I’m not sure what else, likely crabs and flounder.

I’m going with fish I prefer to some of those and which are available to me here in the Midwest — salmon, tilapia, crab, shrimp, mahi mahi, lobster, and a second salmon variety, coho salmon. I’m also making some squid for me, that’s a delicacy my wife doesn’t eat.

I’m using Mrs. Dash no-salt marinades to flavor some, tomatoes and lemons to flavor others. For side dishes, I’m making a pepper trio salad, portobello mushroom caps, broccoli and some small red potatoes.

When we sit down to that meal, we will have much to be thankful for, including all the new recipes I’ve created since completely changing my diet. I wish you similar success, keep reading and I’ll do my best to keep posting new recipes. Send me yours as well.

Buon Natale!

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