Sunday, January 29, 2017

Sunday Sodium Survey, Week Four

Days tracked: 1/22/17 to 1/27/17
Daily goal: less than 2000 mg sodium per day
Days goal met: Very nearly all

One day last week I went over 2000 mg Na by 10 mg. I very nearly reported that I met the goal every day, but if I'm going to fudge by a little it'll be easier to fudge by a lot. For me, the hard limit works best.

Avoiding hunger is key. I still resent having to eat low sodium. As long as I don't get too hungry I don't have to struggle as hard against salty food cravings. I have these cravings, of course, they're just easier to keep on the back burner.

Big news from this last week - I went to my bellydance class again! I hadn't been to Tribaret in ages. I can't dance the whole class yet, but I danced as much as I could, and it was wonderful :)

In even bigger news, I got to see a friend I hadn't seen in years! She's heading to TX for a while, but at least it will be less than 4 years before I see her again :)

Finally, the little news this week is that I have done a little bit of writing :) I don't have anything sharable, just some bits and pieces. I may share once I have a complete story done.

Have a great week, folks!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Sunday Sodium Survey, Week Three

Days tracked: 1/15/17 to 1/21/17
Daily goal: less than 2000 mg sodium per day
Days goal met: Every. Single. One.

This week has been every so slightly easier than the previous two. I would still be lying if I said that it was easy, but I am getting used to things. Preparing food ahead of time is a huge help. I still crave salty foods; thankfully the cravings are less urgent than they had been. Keeping low- and no-sodium snack foods handy helps me avoid getting too hungry. It also helps that I genuinely enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables. Unsalted butter and a collections of spices have kept my food fun and interesting.

The big excitement this week is on the home front; specifically the cat department.

My roommates have a cat, Prince - short for Prince Tunapaws, Lord of the Apartment. He's been with my roommates for years. Until recently he would either ignore me, or run from me like I was going to take him to the vet. One morning this week, though, he and I were the only ones downstairs. He didn't scramble away as soon as I came into the room. In fact, I got to pet and scritch him for quite a while. He purred! He even let me pet him a bit later that same day, in front of other people. That is high praise coming from Prince :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

(Belated) Sunday Sodium Survey, Week Two

Days tracked: 1/8/17 to 1/14/17
Daily goal: less than 2000 mg sodium per day
Days goal met: 6 of the 7

Wednesday I went over goal by 220mg. If I were grading myself, I would give partial credit for Wednesday since it wasn't a whole lot over my goal, and it would have been sooooooo easy to go over by a lot more.

Last time I pointed out the common wisdom that after 6 - 8 weeks of eating low sodium you won't miss the salt anymore. I am now 1/3 to 1/4 into that time frame. The health benefits of keeping my salt intake down are still very apparent, including my dropping blood pressure. At the same time, I do not at all feel 1/3 or even 1/4 less of a craving for how I ate before I started this low sodium journey. I hate this change at least 90% as much as I did when I started. I am getting a bit used to it, and finding some new options. I am not even close to being at peace with it.

My roommates have been wonderfully supportive. They listen, have good suggestions, help me keep things in perspective, and are generally lovely people. Even the dog tries to help - although her suggestion to give her all the food isn't especially useful, having a doggie to pet is always a good thing.

I do have fun things going on. I'm loving the new knitting needles I've started using. I bought two new dresses that are wonderful :) Time, energy, and technology willing, I'll post some pictures of both :)

Monday, January 2, 2017

Sunday Sodium Survey, Week One

Days tracked: 1/1/17 to 1/7/17*
Daily goal: less than 2000 mg sodium per day
Days goal met: ALL OF THEM

Lots of sources say that if you stick to a low sodium diet, after 6 - 8 weeks you won't miss the salt any more.  I am ... skeptical. However, since the low sodium thing is here to stay, we'll see if it happens for me.  After one week of keeping my sodium intake under 2k mg per day, I miss it ALL THE TIME.  The invective I direct at my sodium tracker would melt adamantium, I am so frustrated.  

At the same time, I am proud of myself for sticking to it.  I'm focusing on enjoying the foods I do eat, and making sure I have low-sodium options on hand.  I often ask myself if a food choice is worth the sodium in it.  For instance, I like cheese on my pasta.  Half a cup of the shredded cheese we have is about 300mg of sodium, which is totally worth it for me, especially if the rest of my meals stay on the lower sodium side.  Really, I can have a little of just about anything.  Some things just aren't worth having only a little, so choose something else.   I read labels, look things up on the USDA Nutrition Database, and calculate salt content of whatever it is from that information.  

I use a simple spreadsheet on Google drive to track my sodium intake; a column of what I've eaten, the sodium content next to each item, and a running total for the day.  It's easy to update on whatever device I happen to have at hand.  I originally planned to just track foods that have sodium in them, but I find it satisfying to list no-sodium foods as well.  Not out of a desire for a complete log - I track the 0mg foods as a kind of "f&ck you" to the whole low sodium situation.  It may only make sense to me, but I'll take whatever small satisfactions I can get :) 

*Yes, last week's Sunday Sodium Survey also included 1/1/17. Looking at the calendar for this post I realized my error. In my mind, a week starts on Sunday.**

**I know some folks consider Monday the first day of the week; they are welcome to it. The week starting on Sunday, like the two spaces after a typed period, or sorting paperclips by size, will always be correct to me, regardless of rational arguments to the contrary.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Sunday Sodium Survey, 0

Days tracked: 12/28/16 to 1/1/17
Daily goal: less than 2000 mg sodium per day
Days goal met: 12/30, 12/31, and 1/1/17
Grade: A++

You may notice that I met my goal on only 3 out of the 5 days; a 60% success rate. However, eating low sodium is REALLY HARD, so I'm grading on a massive curve. If my food frustration could be converted to electricity, this week would power the nation for a month. I only included the grade to comment on the grading curve; it probably won't be in any other Sunday Sodium Surveys.

I do not think everyone needs to cut their sodium intake, nor track it as closely as I am. Most people don't even need to worry about it. Without going into the medical details (that will be its own blog post), I will absolutely be healthier in the short and the long term by keeping my sodium intake down. In just a few days, my ankles are noticeably less swollen than they've been in ages. I feel better in general, although that could be the lovely placebo effect of taking any positive action.

Did I mention that eating low sodium is really hard? Because it's really, really hard. My poor roommates have been hearing about that a LOT lately. That is why I've started this blog series. Since I'm going to suffer, this tiny corner of the internet can suffer with me.

Well, no, I don't actually want others to suffer. If I find the magic wand that removes sodium without changing food's flavor, I will totally share it. To end on a positive, here's a list, in no particular order, of things for which I'm grateful:
~the USDA food composition database
~supportive friends, family, and roommates
~cute hair toys
~having access to good, consistent medical care
~downloadable ebooks and audiobooks from the public library

Question of the Day: For what are you grateful?