Spring Pea Soup and My New Salt Free Diet

My oh my…  I can’t express my sadness and disappointment after enhancing my knowledge within the past week on sodium intake.  Yes, sodium, which includes the beloved salt that makes our meals oh so tasty.  What would we do without it?

Ok, let me start at the beginning…  I was watching a health video that mentioned removing salt from the diet.  My immediate thought was that salt could not be that bad and maybe I just needed to reduce the salt in my diet.  Yep, that’s what I would do, reduce salt.  Also, I wasn’t just using any old salt, I was using high premium Himalayan sea salt which I knew was better than table salt.

Well, that was not the end of the sodium discovery.  I went to bed one night last week, slept soundly and woke up ready to go to the gym.  Unfortunately, but fortunately, my gym plans were halted when my best friend/roomie unloaded all of the information he learned that night about sodium.

News flash: First of all, the tolerable sodium intake level is 2,300 mg per day.  This is the HIGH end of the spectrum which is “likely to pose no risk of adverse health effects.”  For people of African heritage, over 51 years of age, with high blood pressure, diabetes and kidney disease the amount decreases to absolutely no more than 1,500 mg per day.  Now hold on to your seat… the average American sodium intake is 3,436 mg!

I was floored.

What’s even more crazy is that we had no idea that March 23-April 1 was World Salt Awareness week.  We’ve had the video that we were watching for years and just so happen to pay attention to the salt recommendation (maybe because we were working on other things over the past years).  What’s up with that?

Equipped with my new knowledge, I knew that I had to make a drastic change and reducing added salt in my diet may not be the answer.  I then went online to get more information about salt and it’s sodium content and learned that table salt and sea salt actually have very close to the same sodium content.  Well what is the sodium content in salt?  Do you reeaally want to know?  Are you ready to do something with this knowledge?  Ok, here goes…

There is about 2,400 mg of sodium in a teaspoon of salt.

Once you pick up your face off the floor keep on reading…

How could this be, I asked?  2,400 mg in 1 teaspoon of salt.  I could go through a teaspoon of salt easily in a day and since sodium is readily available in most fruits, vegetables and packaged foods I knew that I was getting well above 2,300 mg in a day.  There is only one thing to do, I thought, I have to remove added salt from my diet.

Honestly, that is easier said than done but I found information out there indicating that after about 6 weeks I will not even miss the salt.  I broke down the other day and used less than 1/16 teaspoon of salt in a recipe but realized that if I am going to share my new found knowledge to the world to provoke change then I needed to do it right.  With high sodium intake being directly linked to cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular disease being the leading cause of death worldwide, I felt I had to take this seriously.

The information did not come to me for no reason.

Just like I don’t like counting calories, I don’t want to count sodium levels; therefore, I am removing salt from my diet.  My salt shakers have moved to my cleaning cabinet and I am on a mission to share this information with all who will listen.  Being a vegan who eats loads of vegetables, I thought that I had a very good diet.  I guess with continued inspection there is always more to improve upon.

This is the way of life.  A continuous journey that I am quite enjoying.  Along the way I learn more and implement.  Sometimes not immediately.  What will you do with this knowledge?  Will you share this information?

With my new knowledge I decided to make a salt free recipe for lunch.  I also found a few sites including Sodium Girl that have some yummy looking recipes for my new salt-free diet.  The journey continues…


Spring Pea Soup

1/2 cup yellow split peas, soaked
1 small red onion, diced
2 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cloves
1 allspice berry
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
water/low sodium broth
1 medium carrot (1/2 cup), sliced thick
1/2 cup sweet potato with skin, diced
1 cup cauliflower, cut into small florets
1/2 cup green peas, fresh or frozen

Heat oil in a small soup pot, add onion and saute until soft. Add the ginger, garlic and dry seasoning and saute for another 2-3 minutes. Next add the split peas and enough water/broth to cover the peas about 2-3 inches. Bring to a boil and reduce to a rolling boil. Cook until peas are tender (30-40 minutes). Check to ensure that the liquid does not evaporate.

Once the peas are tender add the carrot and sweet potato and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add water/broth (if needed) so that the soup is at the consistency that you like, then add the cauliflower and cook until the vegetables are tender. Finally add the peas, turn off the heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Enjoy!

Do you have any salt-free recipes? If so, please share!

P.s. I looked up the sodium level for this soup and it is 157 mg for the entire pot.  I think I did good.  Say I would have added maybe 1/4 teaspoon of salt.  That would have brought the sodium level up to 757 mg.  Does not seem that bad since the soup was 2-3 small bowl servings.

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Becoming a healthy vegan was is still a challenge.
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