I had no idea.

Ever since finding Kelly’s site (which I love!), I’ve been using SparkPeople (which is free!) to track my calories, fat, protein, carbs and fiber.   You can add other nutrients, but I didn’t really think about anything else.  That is until I started putting together recipes and packaged products my friend at work can buy, so that she has no more than 1500 mg of sodium each day.  At first glance, I thought it would be no problem.  Guess again!

I never thought about my sodium intake because I don’t have high blood pressure, and my doctor has never recommended that I eat a low sodium diet.  Well, I added that nutrient yesterday and am SHOCKED at the amount of sodium I consume.  One day last week – while I was at 1440 calories, I had this much sodium!  6,217 mg of sodium!!

So I am curious if I should start monitoring my sodium??  Does the amount of water I am drinking even put a dent into washing away all that sodium??  Gina, Nicole and Melindaplease feel free to chime in on the subject!!

My breakfast yesterday, while it looks like ass, tasted amazing – I’ll call it green eggs on tostadas!  Two toasted tostadas, 1/4 cup egg white, one whole shredded zucchini, 1/4 cup diced green pepper, 1.5 ounce cilantro lime rice and .5 ounces taco meat – then drizzled with Taco Bell Sauce – I had two and these were surprisingly filling for the amount of calories!

294 calories, 10 fat, 37 carbs, 15 protein, 5 fiber, 291 mg sodium

Over the summer Tony and I discovered amazing butcher hot dogs – they were huge, so flavorful, and well, let’s just say we once decided to deep fat fry them and they were spectacular!  We don’t normally think of hot dogs in the winter, but Tony brought these home:

Maybe my friend Mel would know, but these may be from Wisconsin??   In any event, while not nearly as big as the butcher ones, these have a crisp casing that kind of “snaps” when you bite into it.  And while it comes in at 170 calories and 17 grams of fat – it is one delicious hot dog!  I had mine in a 1 point WW pita with American cheese, sauteed green peppers and sauerkraut, with Pam fried canned potatoes with green chiles on the side.  Lunch has a whopping 2,317 grams of sodium!

530 calories, 28 fat, 55 carbs, 26 grams of protein, 12 fiber, 2,317 sodium

Does your grocery store have a 50% off meat section? If not, you should ask.  I’ve mentioned it before, but around dinner time they put all the meat that is about to reach its sell by date 50% off.   I scored with this 1.3 pound ribeye for only $4.83!

Tony and I said last night that we really miss grilling!  While we are thawing a bit, it will be a while before all the icicles and snow melt off the Weber and the gas grill.  I used our indoor cast iron grill pan – only caveat is that it smokes up the whole house – at least everyone knows that Biz is cooking then!  I always think My Year on the Grill would be proud of these grill marks!

Since we like pretty rare meat – on high heat I did each side for 4 minutes per side, then 3 minutes the second time around.  I wrapped it in foil when it came off the grill for about 5 minutes while I pulled everything else together.

436 calories, 13 fat, 46 carbs, 33 protein, 8 fiber, 105 sodium

When Tony was at the store, he scored at the $1 rack!  He brought me home these lovely tomatoes – about 7 pounds for $3!

love the olives in the background! Those are for Tony's pizza tonight!

A few years ago, Tony brought me home a cast iron Dutch Oven – while I would some day love to own a whole set of Le Cruset, this pot is wonderful – you can simmer for hours, nothing burns – it weighs 15 pounds!   Well the other day I was washing it, and it started to chip on the bottom – it has a lifetime warranty which I still need to call on, but he ended up getting me a new one.  It is only $38 at Sam’s Club! So I christened it last night.

I'll have it seasoned up in no time!

they just fit! out of all the tomatoes, only one was bad

My Mom gave me an antique pasta maker and I have plans to try it out this weekend.  I was reading someone’s blog (sorry, I can’t remember!) but she was talking about chef Marcella Hazan and that her book Essentials in Classic Italian Cooking was a must have.  I first checked my library, but they didn’t have it, so I jumped on eBay and I won the bid for $16!   While my library didn’t have the one I won, they did have two others so I swung by the library on my way home from work.

I just started reading the introduction, but she was actually a biologist in Italy and when her husband got transferred to America, she spoke no English, had no friends and nothing to do until her husband got home from work.  So he gave her a cook book.   Every night she fixed a complete dinner in the Italian family sytoe, first course, second course, and a vegetable side course.  And virtually their entire conversation was about what they were eating!

My favorite line so far: “On those occassions when it seemed that my fforts had been especially triumphant, he would rush out of  his chair and throw his arms around me.

I can’t wait to read the rest!  And I love the pictures too – and as I looked at this picture, I realized I do not have ONE wooden spoon – all metal and plastic – how could I be a home cook without a wooden spoon?

Stats for Thursday:

  • 1,260 calories
  • 50 fat
  • 139 carbs
  • 74 protein
  • 24 fiber
  • 2,713 mg sodium
  • no exercise since I worked on my friend’s meal plan during lunch (so I have to work out Sunday)

Question of the DayHow do you feel about sodium??

Time to make the coffee and make my breakfast and lunch.   Come back tomorrow to find out how my Reuben pizza on rye pizza dough turns out! 😀

46 thoughts on “I had no idea.

  1. Your steak is making my mouth water. It looks fabulous. Steak is one thing I can’t cook worth crap. We like is rare and I always fudge it up!

    Sodium doesn’t bother me, but I don’t really consume many things with it. I occasionally have some canned soup, but other than that and cheese, I don’t get very much. I use sea salt on most of my food and I am ok with it. No bloat or anything.

  2. I am almost always over the recommended RDA for sodium – but not quite as much as you were. Thing is, I already cook from scratch most of the time and we don’t eat hardly any processed foods. I think most of what we get is naturally occurring so I’m not really sure how to reduce it. Maybe there are some changes you can make but I think as long as it’s not 6000 every day and you drink plenty of water to flush it out you’re ok.

  3. You must have wooden utensils! Going to check out spark people, thanks for the tip! I love your blog!

  4. I keep meaning to check out sparkpeople – I just always forget!

    I think it’s funny you have no wooden utensils – I think that’s what we have the most of!

  5. I just stopped using salt. Occasionally, I add salt to raw tomatoes and to cantalope, but those are the only two items that I feel needs extra salt. The rest, is a matter of getting used to low salt.

    In BBQ, there are so many high salt sauces and rubs that i eventually started making my own. Again, I just don”t add salt to them. They have a shorter shelf life, but other than that, the taste is just fine.

    Reminds me of a scene in “Super Size Me”, that movie where the guy ate nothing but McDonald’s food for a month… Terrible things happened to his body, among the causes of those terrible things was the amount of salt in his diet. There are only two items on the entire McDonald’s menu (at that time) that McD does not add EXTRA salt to… One is bottled water, it taxes the brain to try to figure out the second….

  6. Wooden spoons are the best – I love ours! I have low blood pressure so I use that as my ‘excuse’ to consume more sodium than I probably should.

  7. Oh my gosh, I don’t even want to think about how much sodium I consume…

    As long as my blood pressure is normal, I don’t worry about it.

  8. I generally never think about sodium unless I am using soy sauce! It makes me wonder how much we all are eating! How much are we supposed to get each day? Crazy!! I love Italian cooking, now I will have to check my library for this book or at least this lady. Sounds like a fun book with great stories and you know of course the recipe’s.. Who doesn’t love authentic Italian food?!

  9. Sometimes my grocery store has discounted meat. I love when that happens!

  10. I know! The sodium is not a big issue for me (yet) health wise EXCEPT for the fact that I get more easily bloated now that I eat a lot of “clean” foods and it messes with my WI. And hot dogs are one of my fave indulgences–PACKED with sodium!

    I have found that the Kettle brand chips are fairly low in sodium–and the buffalo flavor rocks! One serving has 7% of the daily recommended allowance for sodium. I think other chips have at least twice that much.

    Cheese, canned foods and processed foods can also have a bunch of sodium. I try to limit that by using low-sodium versions or dried beans.

    Also, I read somewhere that you don’t add a lot of flavor when you salt your food as you prepare it. Salt makes a bigger impact when the salt crystals actually touch your tongue, so it’s better to salt your food once it’s served.

  11. You made me curious about my sodium intake, so I updated the settings on my food journal and it went back in time to tell me that I am ok on my intake (gotta love myfitnesspal!). But I don’t eat a lot of processed foods anymore, with the exception being turkey lunch meat and canned soup once in a while. I would hate to HAVE to be under a certain number for health reasons, though.

    Your new Dutch oven is so pretty – I love the red! I saw Le Cruset pots and pans at my local TJ Maxx recently, so who knows…you may find something there. They ARE heavy, though – I have a 13×9 pan that I make lasagna in and dang, it’s hard to get in and out of the oven!

    Have a wonderful day!!!

  12. I’m not a dietician, but I know from the weight struggles of people in my family that their doctors have always told them that having a diet high in sodium will only make weight loss harder. Which is hard, since most prepackaged weight loss foods are loaded with sodium. I would try to limit it as much as you can though!

  13. Oh, where to start with this post?? So many goodies Biz!

    From the top – I never, ever would have thought to add grated zucchini to my eggs. I’m not a huge fan of zucchini outside of bread, but I’m thinking with all the zesty seasonings (sounds fab BTW) I bet it absorbs so much of those flavors that I’d like it. I wonder – do you have to drain it before adding? Hmmm.

    Sodium – erm, I should monitor better than I do, but I can say that I have cut back a ton on added salt with cooking. I rarely add salt when cooking anymore, & instead, have sea salt at the table. Some things just *need* a shake of salt – no matter the seasonings. Others, I’ve learned to appreciate with other seasonings.

    Wooden spoons are wonderful. Get some – you won’t regret it.

    Cannot wait to hear about the pasta maker. 🙂

    Have a great weekend!
    Lynn

    • Hey Lynn! Yes, you definitely need to squeeze out the water – I grate it into a paper towel, then squeeze it dry then add it – its delicious – give it a try! 😀

  14. I love to cook. I have so many cookbooks and recipes, I don’t know what to do with it all. I have started to slowly go through them and “redo” them into healthier recipes. Slow going, but getting there. Love the pot!

  15. I know what you mean, when I used spark people and saw that..yikes. The only way to cut it is to eat closer to the earth, much less processed foods.

  16. Your green eggs tostadas sound very yummy! We don’t typically worry too much about sodium as we all have low blood pressure and like to season everything nicely. Love the wooden spoons!

  17. so crazy! i know i consume way to much sodium but i am so busy looking at the rest of the nutritional profile that it’s the one thing that always slips my attention. bad kate i know but it’s amazing how many foods out there ARE high in sodium!!!!

  18. Your breakfast looks awesome Biz!

    I think you should watch your sodium since I have high blood pressure, just like I should watch my sugar intake since you are diabetic.

    I didn’t realize though that 2400 mg of salt is only 1/8 of a teaspoon. Does the cheeses you eat have a lot of sodium??

    • Hell’s yeah! Fresh mozzarella is the lowest sodium cheese.

      And for you (and anyone else who is borderline diabetic) its the carbs that matter, not the sugar 😀

  19. Personally, I don’t like anything salty. They way my parents raised us we never added salt to anything and also didn’t have junky snack food around. Even now, to this day, if I eat chips or something I have a problem w/ the salt – the same w/ processed foods like Rice a Roni, etc. But now I’m scratching my head thinking what on earth could you be eating to get up to 6,000!? You eat so healthy! Sure cheese has sodium, but that much!??

    We have a Bobak’s by us!!! I should try out those hot dogs! Mmm I love deli hot dogs!

    Your grill marks look awesome and I’m totally jealous of your pasta machine!! I love making pasta and posting about it – but ea. time has been using my mom’s machine. I keep consoling myself that one day I’ll win PW’s kitchenaid giveaway and can get the pasta attachment!! I probably have a better chance at winning the lottery, though! We have some wooden spoons, I grab a few every once in awhile at the Dollar Tree or Marshalls for cheap b/c we have non-stick pans and need to use plastic or wood.

  20. I try to watch the sodium, but honestly, it doesn’t matter when it comes to weight loss, so I really just stick with making sure my calories are in check.

  21. Interesting about sodium… I really don’t pay attention to how much I get because my blood pressure is always pretty low, so I’ve been told to actually eat more salt. It’s the one thing I use without much thought at all.

    Looking forward to this long awaited reuben pizza!! 🙂

  22. Thanks for the SparkPeople link. I’ve been looking for an easy-to-use calorie/nutrition counter and the site looks like it has much more.

    I watch sodium on general principles, which means limiting most prepared foods. AMAZING how much sodium is put into most boxed broths and soups!

  23. i only have one kidney, so salt is ALWAYS on my mind. unfortunately i LOVE salt, but i’m learning to use other things instead. it’s funny you bring this up today because dr. oz was talking about salt. he said a lot of things like herbs and spices like pepper, garlic powder, italian seasoning etc make great subs. and i try hard to avoid anything that comes from a box or can.

    i want one of those le cruset dishes so bad, what a wonderful find!

  24. Making pasta is so fun. I hope you got the chance to try it. It sometimes takes a bit of practice, but soon you’ll have it down in no time.

    Your blog is really neat, and needed! And your stack of tomatoes made me laugh lol. 🙂

    Laura

  25. Yeah, I use SparkPeople as well, and I’ve been tracking my sodium. I can definitely see a correlation between days when my sodium is high and my weight loss is not that great.
    I just heard on the Dr. Oz show that sodium actually causes a lot of other health issues, so we should monitor it even without high blood pressure.
    I try to stay under the 2,300 mg recommendation that SparkPeople has.

  26. thanks so much for the info about your pitas =)

    ahhh, sodium – i have soooo much to say about it! I seriously thinks it makes a huge difference for me to keep my sodium on the lower side, before when I didn’t watch my sodium intake, i would easily be at 5,000 mg a day – after i started monitoring it closer, i dropped 5 lbs easily (of water of course!)

  27. I don’t mind! I hope you enjoy it.

  28. Hmmm…that is a lot, but not shockingly so. American’s eat a lot of salt! I would work towards getting it down — buying low-sodium broths, halving the salt you put into recipe (you can always add more if it needs it!), and you can season with products like Mrs. Dash to get that sodium content lower in recipes and seasonings, especially for meats. The water does help to flush out the system, per se, but salt holds on to water, bottom line. It’s not unusual to see a weight fluctuation based on sodium intake, so just be aware of that. The recommended intake is 2,300 mg a day, so I would aim for that. : ) No frets — the good news is that you’re not hypertensive and you’re being proactive!

  29. I cannot say that I have ever seen those dogs before, but I think those are from Chicago. I can, however, bring you some fresh made deli ones.

    BTW, will you be around on Sunday 1/24? We are making the venture to Ikea and J wants to go the Lucky Monk, after he saw the pics of Tony’s burger… Let me know!

    • That’s awesome!! I’ll make sure I have no plans – pretty sure it’s still a football Sunday!

      I’ll send you an email later today – and J will love the Lucky Monk burger!!

  30. Wow, look at all those tomatoes! Your breakfast tostada sounds delicious–so many good ingredients all in one. I can’t wait to hear about your pasta making with that antique pasta maker. Sounds like so much fun! Cheers and Happy New Year!

  31. Thanks for the shout out! So glad you’re loving spark – I think it’s SO easy, especially since I cook so much to just add in groups and then track so easily!! I’ve never looked at sodium. Now i’m scared! haha

    I can’t wait to start grilling – YUMMY!

  32. What great buys! Love the new pan, and glad you christened it right away; LOVE mine! Sodium is such a horrible thing. I constantly look at the nutrition panel on products. Cooking things as fresh as possible is the way to go.

  33. Honestly, I’ve never really thought much about sodium. I don’t have a history of high blood pressure or anything like that, so I didn’t really gave it much concern. Of course, there was a time when I would be obsessed with logging down everything I ate, but I was really only concerned about the calories.

    By the way, GREAT deal on the fabulous meat!

    Oh, and another BSI submission: http://www.burpandslurp.com/2010/01/15/the-truth-about-truth/

  34. My family has a long history of heart troubles and blood pressure issues so I do keep an eye on how much sodium I take in.

    I always have to open my sliding glass door when I grill inside, so smoky! Something they don’t tell you about in the cooking shows. LOL

    How do you like that dutch oven? I’ve seen them at Sam’s and have been wondering how they were.

    • Andrea – worth every penny! It’s so thick, holds the heat well and I can simmer pasta sauce all day and it never burns. This size pot (6.5 quart) in a Le Cruset starts at $175!

  35. It’s amazing how much sodium is in things. I don’t really watch my sodium, but I try to avoid processed foods and canned items which tend to have way too high of a sodium content. I wish they could make healthier convenience food!

  36. I never add salt to anything and most days my sodium is over too. I was shocked to see a slice of processed 2% american has 360g for one slice. I would eat a slice or two and 2 slices of hormel natural choice turkey and that was like a salt lick( in mgs). Swiss cheese has the lowest amount of sodium btw. Its so hard to eat low sodium if you eat any packaged/processed foods.

  37. Although I don’t monitor my sodium intake on a daily basis, I’m aware of what foods would be high in sodium. If I were you, I would really avoid using canned veggies – stick to fresh or frozen. It’s an easy way to avoid excess salt from that. Obviously, cheese is a big offender, and so are breads.

    And just so you know – 2300 mg of sodium is equivalent to 1 tsp of salt. Remember that salt is not just made up of sodium, but that it also has chloride in it, so it can be confusing as to how much you really need.

  38. Sorry – just had to add something else.

    One of the reasons excess sodium is also bad, is because most people do not consume enough potassium. Your body needs an optimum sodium/potassium ratio, and if you are over consuming on sodium, while under consuming on potassium, you’ll run into problems. Just something else to also keep in mind 🙂

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