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Watching Sodium Levels to Heal Thyself

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Watching Sodium Levels to Heal Thyself

Danielle Smith, of Extraordinary Mommy, is joining the Sodium Blog as a Guest Blogger today.

I've always considered myself a healthy girl. By that, I mean, I'm fairly active, my diet has always included plenty of fruits and vegetables and I've been lucky to never find myself in an 'overweight' category. But for the past eight or nine months, something has been wrong.

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There has been pain and discomfort and for a girl who has always taken quite a bit of pleasure in eating, I've been sadly out of sorts. Food has stopped being the friend, the joy and comfort I've always enjoyed. I certainly know that as a mother of two small people, one of my roles in life is to model healthy eating, but as I've never viewed myself through the kaleidoscope of 'poor eating', I thought I was safe.

Fast forward through months of doctors, specialists, blood tests, cat scans, too much poking and prodding and I find myself faced with the thing I fear most: the unknown. So, I recently sat down and had a heart to heart with the person I know best: ME.

Until the doctors I'm visiting (and I have one I truly trust is doing everything he can to find the answers I need) can sprinkle me with magic solutions, I'm confident there is only one answer: Danielle: HEAL THYSELF.

What, you wonder...does that look like? For a mom who wants not only to set the very best example for the small people in her home, but also to take the very best care of her body, it is starting by making simple, healthy decisions like monitoring and cutting back on the amount of sodium in my daily diet.

About three quarters of the sodium in Americans’ diets comes from processed, prepackaged, and restaurant foods. Naturally, not all processed food has excess sodium... but in order to be educated, we need to check labels and watch for what the American Heart Association calls the Salty 6. Just take a look at the Salty 6 infographic (and yes, you will likely see a few of your favorites - but, trust me, you can make adjustments!).

I know it sounds like breaking up with sodium may be a challenge as so much of it simply 'appears' in our food - either via the pre-packaged foods we buy or as we head out to restaurants to eat with friends, family or on a much-needed date night, but it is possible. I promise. Here are a few tips on how to reduce sodium.

One of the first things I did was take the pledge to reduce the amount of sodium in my diet. And by proxy....I'm reducing the amount I feed my family - most specifically, my small people. Friends, I'm leading by example.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Choose prepared foods carefully - read nutrition labels and watch sodium levels.
  • Go easy on the condiments: so many of them are HIGH in sodium, so either look for lower sodium options or skip them all-together. Yes, I'm talking about soy sauce, mustard, salad dressing, ketchup, dips and salsa.
  • Look for products with the American Heart Association’s Heart-Check mark - Easy, right?

Another habit I have added to my 'healthy' list? Drinking more water. Something as simple as monitoring my intake on an app on my phone makes me feel accountable and allows me to compete against my 'best' from the day before. (or it allows me to challenge members of my family - to prove that I am healthier!)

What do YOU do to take care of you? I'd love to know. And do you monitor your sodium intake? I'd love for you to join me in taking the pledge to break up with sodium.

Danielle Smith, of Extraordinary Mommy, is joining the Sodium Blog as a Guest Blogger today. You can connect with Danielle on Twitter at @daniellesmithtv or via the Extraordinary Mommy Facebook page.


The views, opinions and positions expressed within these guest posts are those of the author alone and do not represent those of The American Heart Association | American Stroke Association. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them. The American Heart Association’s blog is not intended to provide medical advice or treatment. Only your healthcare provider can provide that. The American Heart Association recommends that you consult your healthcare provider regarding your personal health matters. If you think you are having a heart attack, stroke or another emergency, please call 911 immediately.