What’s cooking?

Hello all! Happy weekend to you! What’s cooking? 

Speaking of cooking, I have been wanting to share a little bit about my new eating regime. There’s a sentence I never expected to type. 

I’ve now been following a low sodium path for almost three months. 

You know what they say; time flies when your heart’s enlarged. Bahahahaaaa. 

But seriously folks… 

When I was told to radically reduce my sodium consumption, after being diagnosed with heart failure, I felt quite daunted by the prospect of it. I’ve always had a combo sweet/salty tooth and I was worried that going #loso would mean banishment to the land of bland. 

I have had to make some big changes to my shopping, cooking and eating habits. The first thing I did was clear out my fridge and pantry, getting rid of so many every day things, from benign looking pasta sauces to chocolate biscuits that had crazily high levels of sodium. Self-raising flour, forgetaboutit. Tinned soup, buh bye. So many things you’d never think we’re loaded down with sodium – bread, salad dressings, peanut butter, mustard, even some brands of tinned corn. Tinned chickpeas didn’t even make the grade. 

The “grade” by the way, is 200mg of sodium per 100g. That’s the dietary advice I was given before I was discharged from hospital, so that’s my standard. If I wanted to be super hard core, I’d ratchet that down to 120mg, but I am allowed to ease in at 200mg. In a perfect world, I should consume less than 1 teaspoon of salt per day. That’s not as easy as it seems. Turn a few tins over, you may be mightily surprised by what you find. 

Those first days were truly eye-opening. I think often the only salt people pay any attention to is table salt, which when combined with salt used in cooking, accounts for less than 25% of the salt/sodium we consume, according to the Heart Foundation Australia website. Just 25%! 

Shopping for groceries used to be an opportunity to zone out, just me and my trolley, starting in the fruit and veg section and winding our way unhurriedly to the milk and eggs in the opposite corner of the supermarket. 

Once I started reading every single label, and avoiding the chip aisle entirely, grocery shopping became a chore, and a frustrating bore. 

It took a while, but I found my feet and didn’t have to spend 40 minutes shopping to return home with only tinned tomatoes and not very loso at all bread, which was the only exception I allowed myself. Overall I’m grateful it hasn’t been as difficult as I first anticipated, but it was a big adjustment. Big.  

In the past almost three months I have eaten:

zero McDonalds, 

no pizza, 

not a single more-ish piece of KFC popcorn chicken, 

nothing involving soy sauce, oh I miss you Asian cuisine…

not a bought from a cafe/fast food joint/nestled-beside-a-juicy-piece-of-restaurant-chicken chip or french fry or a paper wrapped fish and chip shop burger… none of these things have passed my lips. 

I haven’t even had a scraping of Vegemite on toast. 

And, I have lost NO WEIGHT AT ALL! Going #loso is not the next 5:2 diet, I assure you! 

I went completely cold turkey on potato chips, which I ate mostly every evening as an after work snack. This withdrawal made me cranky enough to kick a kitty on several occasions. Properly, swearily cranky. Thankfully, that’s passed now.

In fact, a couple of weeks ago a friend sent me a message saying she’d noticed a particular brand of potato chips had only 200mg of sodium per 100g…. (right on the edge of the gold standard). Intrigued, I bought a packet. I weighed out a small bowl of chips (65 grams to be precise) and sat down on the couch, raised a chip to my mouth and cough, splutter, choke, they were SO SALTY, they actually burned my tongue! Potato chips. Weakling 200mg sodium potato chips, I found them almost inedible. 

Proof positive that our tastebuds regenerate pretty darn quickly. 

Those chips got binned a few days later. So that’s over. 

The thing that I can’t get over is that the brand and varieties I used to devour daily had three and four times more sodium than those weakling, tongue burning ones. Triple and quadruple the sodium. Almost every night. For years!  

Poor heart.   

I’m sorry. 

For everything I’ve had to give up, there’s been a gain, or a new discovery. 

I bake my own bread, and it’s delicious! I use this recipe. Works every time. 


I have replaced the savoury crunch of potato chips with lightly pan-fried wholemeal pita breads. There’s even a low sodium sweet potato dip in my fridge at the moment! I do miss the ease of a thrown together dinner of bakery bought bread, ham, olives, dips, and cheese. Beloved cheese… but there’s always a cheeky slice of Swiss, which is one of the lowest sodium cheeses, or a teensy sprinkling of parmesan on my crispy pita bread. 

I’ve discovered Sophie Dahl’s wonderful recipes. Her cooking is robust, simple and vegetable driven, and delicious! 

Lentils and pumpkin and kale, oh my! 

Fooled you – I don’t eat kale. I haven’t gone bonkers. 

I do eat these… absolutely scrumptious, super low in sodium, full of flavour chicken meatballs. Thank you Jamie Oliver! 

They’re my favourite fake-away dinner, and I get three meals from a $5.50 tray of 20! Frugal AND #loso! 

Also on high rotation, loads of mushrooms, sautéed with leeks and olive oil, a little garlic and some passatta – heaven. Perfect with the one brand of low sodium gnocchi I’ve found, or atop a crunchy slice of home baked toast. 

Tomorrow I’m going to make BabyMac’s chicken and vegetable soup. I haven’t had soup for almost three months, as I’m on a daily fluid restriction. It is crazy cold in Melbourne at the moment, so I’m going to give it a whirl, measuring cup in hand!

Thankfully, I found a super low sodium (but quite expensive) chicken stock at my local Coles, and the Coles brand salt-reduced chicken stock is close enough to 200mg to pass muster. 

Tip: home brand products are often lower in sodium than their fancy shelf mates. Organic doesn’t mean low sodium. Foods labelled “low sodium” can still be off the richter scale if you really need to cut back. It’s all about reading every label, until you get the lay of the land. 

Like anything, change takes time. I’m changing one pantry clear out, one shopping list, one home baked loaf of bread, one label, one new recipe at a time, and I’m happy about it. So is my heart. 

It’s good for me to have a reason to take better care of myself. I am worth the extra time and effort. If only I could find someone to do the dishes for me. So. Many. Dishes. 

So that’s a little insight to what’s been going on in my world. 

What’s cooking at your place this weekend? Let me know, I love it when your comments keep the conversation going. 

Cheers, and don’t forget to read your food labels! 


Annette ❤️


Update: That BabyMac soup, it’s utterly EPIC! Here’s a progress shot. Oh so good! 

13 thoughts on “What’s cooking?

  1. “Heartiest ” ❤️of congratulations for your transition and acceptance of the many changes you ‘had’ to make!
    So proud of yout efforts , which I followed and knew were a big challenge to meet in terms of that familiar food that was going to harm rather than help.
    Changing patterns of behaviour is so hard but you are…and helping others at same time.
    Denyse xx


    • I see what you did there! Nice one.
      I’m pretty happy with my progress and ability to keep with the program. It has surprised me actually.
      Yesterday I ate a small quiche (bought from a cafe) and it was HEAVENLY!! Mmmm ham and pastry and definitely more salt than I’m now used to. Oooohhhhh so good. Occasionally, totally fine, but it’s better for my ❤️ to treat it right.
      Happy home going day!


      • Yep home right now…and working out how we get the cooking me something done…it will all work out. Have a couple of little potatoes on now. then B will scoop out the flesh, mush in some butter (and salt) and some cheese which we’ll then throw in the microwave to melt…it’s hard doing this because I could in a flash but B doesn’t want me to do too much,,,yet I am the ‘creative cook’. Working out how to do this together will be for tomorrow…& my IBS tummy is still trying to work out what to do with food after 7 without it. D xx.


      • I have a recovery sing for you Denyse:

        Let it go, let it go, you can’t do it all right nooooww….

        Your lovely hubby will be doing some of “your” jobs for a while, go with it, that’s true partnership, right? Give AND take!


  2. You are really getting in to your Loso way of life.
    Good work!
    I am now cooking my own chick peas and borlotti beans. Easy peasy. Cook up a pack and freeze in potions. No salt added 🙂


    • Thanks Pam, I’m cooking beans from scratch too, using black beans in chilli con carne has been a revelation! I must stock up on dried chickpeas and borlotti beans too. Mmmmm I love to eat!


  3. I read kale and nearly shrieked!!! Fooled, but one day who knows. I really loved this post because food changes are so hard and you have done the grandest job from pantry clear out to label queen.
    I saw a photo of you a couple of weeks ago and exclaimed at the reduction of oedema in your face… I was totally impressed in a nurse like fashion! I nodded a lot.
    I think you should be super proud of your efforts. It’s hard when you’re hit with stuff like this and it knocks you sideways.
    Also you are now the actual bread baking queen.
    I don’t know if this would suit your diet as I’ve never looked at the sodium count in yogurt??? But we sometimes make these things… we just mix flour and yogurt to a dough… roll out as thin as you can and fry in a pan with some coconut oil or olive oil, great with beans and stuff. I might have told you that before, anyway it’s a thought.
    Cooking this weekend… not much, the Pony is running her first half marathon so we are off to stay in the daggiest motel by the sea. We saw it last year and said that it could be hilarious to stay in for this race. I imagine it’s all beige inside.
    I’m not running this one so I get to be the hype girl 😎
    Hope you have a lovely bakey, arty weekend. Oh and Sophie… adore. Xx


    • That motel sounds fab! Instagram the shit out of it please!!

      Thank you for your encouragement Lady Edie. I appreciate it, and I need it. Yep. I do.

      The yoghurt flatbreads sound good, must try those.

      Soup is on my radar this afternoon. I’ve got chicken pieces to roast and then I’ll shred them into the soup. I want it to be mostly veg and chook with a little broth, so I don’t blow past my 1.5 litre liquid limit. That said, it’s after 1pm and I’ve only drunk 250mls so far. Been busy decluttering!

      Run like the wind Pony, cheer well Edie!

      My medically pleasing face and I thank you ❤️❤️❤️❤️


      • Hurrah for the decluttering! The soup sounds good and easy to make it not too brothy. Always here for encouragement, the food shamoz ain’t always easy.
        LOL about the motel, I’m like please let there be a pottery pineapple and beige stuff. I hope it’s not a total let down 😃 Thanks for the Pony well wishes, she’ll be right 😎


  4. This just makes my heart sing, Annette! You are so worth the time and effort, and well done you, for all that you are doing! Much love! X


  5. I’ve loved seeing you embark on your #loso journey, Annette. Dietary change is hard, even when you know you have to for health reasons, so I admire your revamped eating and cooking habits. And it is amazing how tastebuds change, isn’t it? Ended up going out for a quick bite tonight but tomorrow will be homemade meatballs, mash and veggies or spag bol and salad depending how enthusiastic I feel!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s