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Information and opinions presented here do not always represent the views of the American Heart Association.

Exploring the Unfamiliar

Published: 12:38 pm CDT, January 16, 2013

The next time you tell someone that you’re on a low-sodium diet and they respond with something like, “that must be so flavorless,” I want you to ask the following questions in return: When’s the last time you made creamy dal? Or eaten matzoh brie? Or slow roasted pepper posole?

No matter the answer, the point is that salt is just one ingredient on the flavor resource list. And once you own and accept your low-sodium diet, you will start to discover a world of food that is brighter and more exciting than before. Which includes creamy dal, matzoh brie, roasted pepper posole, and other cuisines you have never dared to try.

Take my palate, for example. Before a low-sodium diet I was that girl who stuck to the obvious and comfortable. I liked pizza. I liked chicken. I ate plain, steamed vegetables only to get to my dessert. I never ventured beyond the familiar and I rarely (i.e. never) cooked. In sum, I was a super boring eater. And a pretty unhealthy one, too.

Then, enter the low-sodium diet. Forced by my restrictions (and my resolution to prove that salt-free food could be delicious) I started looking beyond what I knew. I bought cookbooks, I religiously watched food television shows, I read tons of cooking blogs. I started to metaphorically travel to new places (India, Morocco, South America) to learn about different ingredients, different spices, and different pairings. I tried new cuts of meat and strange looking vegetables. And suddenly, it was clear, that as a result of my restrictions, I was eating better, brighter, and more flavorful food than before.

So in week two of the sodium swap, I encourage you to make a meal that goes way beyond your food comfort zone. Skip the pizza. Can the soup. And plan an edible trip for a country you’ve never been to before. The new sights, smells, and spices will be so exciting that you won’t have enough time to miss the salt.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Read more about Jessica’s journey to a low-sodium life by going to www.sodiumgirl.com.

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