By Jessica Goldman Foung for HuffingtonPost.com
In 2004, just days after my 21st birthday, I survived an aggressive attack of lupus; my kidneys, however, did not. And from the beginning I vowed to do what I could, on top of receiving amazing medical care, to stay healthy and strong. That meant keeping a strict, low-sodium diet. But as a stubborn 20-something, I was also equally resolute to not eliminate the flavor, spontaneity, or social fun of eating from my life. I refused to eat bland food or feel like a second-class culinary citizen because of my diet. And in a world where salt sits on a flavor pedestal, I decided that it was time to rewrite the low-sodium rules (uninspiring) and prove that salt-free dishes could keep up (exciting).
The result was beet bloody Marys, pad thai with umami mushroom “fish sauce,” and my debut cookbook, Sodium Girl’s Limitless Low-Sodium Cookbook, filled with more than 100 other low-sodium twists on favorite salty dishes. Forced to explore a world of flavor beyond salt (and in turn, my food comfort zone, which was mainly pizza and traditional American fare), I quickly discovered I was a much more boring eater before my restrictions than after. And that, due to my restrictions, I opened my eyes and palate to a wider range of ingredients, cuisines, and culinary tricks that enlivened my kitchen, my plate, and my weekly dinner parties.
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