Salt meet Meniere's

Salt, or as I learned in high school chemistry class, NaCl.

As a child I watched my father salt watermelon, grapefruit and almost anything else that landed on his plate.

As a high school drill team member, I sweated under the Texas August sun rehearsing routines and chowing down on salt pills that were handed out like Halloween candy.

Then there were those giant cans of pretzel sticks my mother bought and I gobbled down.

I was a savory girl.

Maybe it was genetic? For even as a child, my daughter loved savory over sweets. Mothers would return Jen to our home after play dates commenting, "I offered her a cookie, but she said she'd rather have a cracker. I've never seen that before."

In 1975, happy to be pregnant I focused on eating well. Opening a can of my fondly remembered childhood Campbell's tomato soup for lunch, I followed the instructions exactly. It was like eating a salt lick. Or at least, what I imagined a salt lick would taste like. Ick.

It made me think as I gazed at literature about how much salt was recommended for pregnant women. It also made me wonder, what else was too salty?

My father's heart issues had led to salt-replacements and to kidney stones. At least that was the story I was told. Since my darling mother-in-law had high blood pressure and her son had so much of her, I believed one day that he might too.

So it was time to cut salt in recipes. Despite living in hot, tropical lands my cooking had less and less salt. It was fine with me. You do get accustomed to it.

Over the years, I'd indulge in salty nibbles at parties or even buy packaged chips to accompany a sandwich for lunch, but it was a slippery slope. Like keeping ice cream in the house.

Then an ear and sinus infection caused a sudden hearing loss in my left ear with accompanying tinnitus that ranges from so-so to a 747 airplane motor in my head.

I hadn't intended to eat a heavily salted meal to see if it affected my ear, I just ended up in the wrong restaurant with the wrong amount of salt that I didn't know was on my plate. Within minutes of eating a very tasty, but over salted avocado, my ear became muffled, my tinnitus turned up the volume. Guzzling water, I found the volume of my tinnitus fell as my hearing improved.

At my ENT, I shared the story of the salt. His eyes popped in recognition, as he announced his diagnosis of atypical Meniere's, an incurable inner ear disease. It has various triggers he said, salt being a very common one. Would I like a prescription for a diuretic?

It was then I decided to go as salt-free as possible. We'd been on a low salt diet for years by now, how hard could it be to go down more?

Well, very hard I learned. I knew that many brands low salt products had more salt than other brands regular products having become an obsessive label reader in the past 18 years living in America. It was a game for me, to help my husband's blood pressure.

With the internet, there must be no salt sites? Yet no matter how I googled "NO SALT" the options came back for low salt. Amazon's algorithm being one of the most unhelpful.

So it's back to DIY for me. If I want potato chips-and I do from time to time-I'll damn well make them myself. Having spent years without processed foods, I know there are workarounds.

As for flavor, if there is one thing I learned living abroad, there is an herb, spice or hot pepper for that.




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    Candace Drimmer

    TIMELINE June 1972 to June 1973---Candace moves to Lima (Peru)----- June 1973 to May 1974---Candace and The Husband live in Glendale AZ----- May 1974 to August 1974---Living in Toronto, Ontario (Canada)----- September 1974 to May 1975---Living in Aberdeen SD----- May 1975 to July 1979---Living in Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada)----- July 1979 to June 1980---Living in Asuncion (Paraguay)----- June 1980 to September 1980---Living in NYC----- September 1980 to November 1982---Living in Connecticut----- November 1982 to January 1983---Living in Ponce, Puerto Rico (USA)----- February 1983 to July 1986---Living in Willemstad, Curacao (Netherlands Antilles)----- July 1986 to July 1989---Living in Guayaquil (Ecuador)----- July 1989 to July 1995---Living in Connecticut (yes, again)----- July 1995 to August 2001---Living in Mexico City (Mexico)----- August 2001---Return to Gringolandia (a.k.a. United States of America)----- I was an accidental expatriate; love and marriage led me to it. One day I was a bandy-legged kid sitting atop my dogwood tree looking out of my small backyard world in 1950s New Jersey, wanting to move somewhere--anywhere, different. Next thing I knew I met a young hirsute anti-war, soon-to-be-Peace Corps volunteer, fell in love and moved to Peru in the 1970s. WHAT an adventure it's been!! NOTE: I gave up Facebook, so apologies that I cannot answer any comments since it is only set up via FB.

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