Saturday, March 26, 2011

Starting with the Basics!

The Low Salt Queen's first trip to the grocery store yielded a plethora of goodies to stock the larder!  As a young princess, I remember the Queen Mum's frustration in the '70's and 80's as she try tried to find product's without added salt to feed her aging King. Back then, they were few, and hard to come by, and often of questionable quality from unusual brands.

Today, most grocery stores offer at least a basic selection of products suitable for a low salt diet.  Most cities now have a Whole Foods Market, and although we've all heard the legendary "Whole Paycheck" nickname, this store, and others like it, are a godsend for anyone trying to reduce their sodium intake! An internet search reveals an abundance of sites offering low-salt and no salt products, and The Low Salt Queen intends to explore many of those in the coming weeks and share her findings with you! 

On this first mission as The Low Salt Queen, I was looking mostly for basic pantry items to replace the many hidden sodium sources that lurk there. Our goal, of course, is to find the foods with the most nutritional benefit with the least amount of sodium. Knowing the health history of the Royal Family, as well as her own blood chemistry stats, the Low Salt Queen's ultimate goal is to achieve a sodium intake of around 1,500 mg per day. She is willing to accept baby steps on her way there!

Reading nutritional labels proved, as she suspected, to be an exercise in frustration! There are so many variables in the way foods are labeled, nutrients are measured, and servings are estimated!!  There were a few things that she had to learn along the way:

SODIUM FREE means there are fewer than 5mg of sodium per serving.  These foods are obviously great to find.  Most of them occur in the "fresh food" aisles that form the perimeter of most grocery stores.

VERY LOW SODIUM mean 35mg of sodium or less.  This is the label one would seek for condiments, spices, flavorings, mixes, etc.

LOW SODIUM means no more than 140mg per serving.  These labels are about the best one tends to find on chicken broth, beef broth, etc. 

LIGHT SODIUM means at least a 50% reduction in sodium when compared to a similar "standard" product.

REDUCED SODIUM means a 25% reduction in sodium when compared to a similar "standard" product.

NO SALT ADDED means that no salt was used in the processing of the food. If the food contains more than 5mg of sodium per serving, the label must state "not a sodium-free product". No Salt Added is the label to look for on canned goods.

The Low Salt Queen was extremely pleased to find no salt added varieties of the most important canned pantry staples at Whole Foods Market.  Using NSA Black Beans, NSA Corn, and NSA Diced Tomatoes, as well as a can of standard Rotel Tomatoes, a lime, and some spices, the Low Salt Queen was able to create a Black Bean and Corn Salsa that tasted great and has only  81mg of sodium per 1/4 cup serving, making it a LOW SODIUM food! 

In a colander, drain

1 can NSA Corn
1 can NSA Black Beans
1 can NSA Diced Tomatoes

In a glass bowl, combine the 1st 3 ingredients with 1 can Rotel Tomatoes with Chilies and the juice of 1 large lime or 2 small limes. 

Stir in:
1 medium onion, chopped finely
1 Tbs chopped garlic
1 tspn cumin
1 tspn cayenne pepper
1 tspn Mrs. Dash seasoning

For Salsa Fresca, refrigerate overnight to allow flavors to blend.  Serve as a dip with NSA tortilla chips, use as a topping for salads or tacos, or use as a filling for a delicious omelet!

For Canned Salsa, simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. While salsa simmers, sanitize 6 1/2 pint Mason jars in boiling water, along with 6 lids and 6 rings.  To preserve, drain jars and fill within 1/4 inch of rim. Wipe rim with a clean paper towel, apply hot lid, and secure with ring.  Boil prepared jars in boiling water bath for 15 minutes, ensuring jars are covered by at least 2 inches of boiling water.  After 15 minutes, remove from water bath and cool until lids "pop", indicating a sanitary seal.


  1. Get this under control so we can have some good eats in May :o)

  2. I have an app on my phone called Lose It. I used to use it to count calories. Now I use it to monitor my daily nutritional intake. I am surprised that Zombie Mom has not talked to you about switching to the Paleo Diet. Ever since starting it three weeks ago, my sodium intake has dropped to about 1500 mg per day. So check with Zombie Mom. She knows about all kinds of websites with delicious recipes.

  3. i am so going to make your salsa! i make my beans from scratch and seal-a-meal them n the freezer rather than using canned beans- i can find the recipe if you are interesting. my dr.'s after me to lose more weight too, so let's make this a nationwide health-improvement effort!