Salt and its substitutes…

A little while ago I waxed rather angry about being instructed to eat a salt-free diet. Good food means a lot to me – hell I have only one meal a day – I’m not going to ruin it by eliminating salt. Anyway, we need salt – without it we die – and as I eat little in the way of salt-laden processed food, not using it at all isn’t an option I’ll even consider.

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Rescuing Hospital Food…

Today I’m reinventing my Harissa recipe as I think a return to the cardiology ward might be lurking in my future. In fact, I’d put money on it, as this problem isn’t going to go away.** Above all else, other than survival, I need protection from its hideous, saltless, food.

**I won’t say I’m not still scared of dying – the only people who are honestly not are the young who, for the most part, are decades away from having to confront their own mortality. Me? Resigned, I suppose. And scared. Not of death, per se – that’s inescapable (but if it happens it would be nice to go to bed and not wake up), but dying of pulmonary oedema, as I almost did last week, is a terribly hard way to go.

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The end of seasoning?

I am not allowed salt.

This is a crime against nature – everyone needs salt.

It’s particularly cruel as many of us with Addison’s Disease crave salt more than usual. What hasn’t been explained is whether this craving is driven by an actual need – I must find out. (I did, see*** at the end.)

In hospital last week, in the heart ward while the pulmonology tossers tried to claim me and the heart people – in whose hands my recovery resided and in whose ward I was – just quietly got on with their thing (I’d have preferred a more hands-on approach, like consulting me before prescribing a drug, Ramipril, I can’t take).

That my heart really is a serious problem is reflected in the fact that the pulmo pillocks have screwed up my meds while announcing no further treatment or support is needed, while the heart people have consigned me to the care of the Heart Failure Nurse service, who are scheduled to put in their first appearance on Thursday. I have no idea how this works yet – whether they will routinely visit to monitor me, in much the same way as the Community Nurses, or whether I call them at need (though, really, if I do need help I need to be in hospital).

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Need to reduce your salt intake? Try this…

Looking for a way to reduce my salt intake – my current heart meds won’t allow me to use the usual suspects, like LoSalt, as the buggerdly things concentrate potassium to toxic levels**, and LoSalt is two-thirds potassium chloride – I had a flash of inspiration.

**Update, June 19, 2012: As things turned out, they don’t. What I have is one drug that allegedly concentrates potassium, versus 4 drugs which I know cause potassium depletion, leaving me dangerously short, and my heart would clatter along like a broken sludge-pump. Reintroducing potassium – I’ve covered it in detail elsewhere – at 100mg a day stabilises my heart very nicely.

Towards the end of last year, I bought some dried vegetables, which didn’t work out too well in the state in which they came. However, reduced to a powder, and used as flavouring agents, they’re proving to be remarkably versatile, adding flavour without the additional salt of a stock cube.

So where’s the inspiration, I hear you ask? Well Continue reading