Last year, I had a lot of medical problems. Nothing life-threatening, all of them treatable. I don’t want to write a litany of woes, but I will discuss one of my issues in this post – Meniere’s Disease. If you’ve never heard of it, and want to know more, look it up. Vertigo, loss of balance, and hearing loss are the common symptoms. Tinnitus is a constant companion.
I’ve had Meniere’s for years, and it’s been well-managed. My doctor told me to go on a low sodium diet, which I assumed meant 1500 mgs. a day, the limit set for anyone over 50, African Americans, and those with high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease. I followed that for years, likely going overboard now and then, but not so much that it triggered another attack.
Then I spent a couple of weeks with my parents who run a witness protection program for hidden sodium. Everything comes out of a container. Food that one would think had no sodium, in fact had sodium – a lot of it. I came home barely able to walk because of intense vertigo.
Then I got a new doctor who told me I need to aim for 1000 mgs. a day of sodium. I was desperate enough to do this, but I needed a way to be accountable. So, I used a nutrition app and found out how much sodium I was eating. Plus I figured out that I had been fooling myself if I thought my previous diet was low sodium. I am just guessing, but I am pretty sure I ate more like a person who was under 50 (2300 mgs per day). I “got away with it” until I went to the great sodium haven at my parents.
Now I am back on track, and walking in straight lines. But something about this is bothering me, which is why I am talking about this: When I mention my sodium restriction to people, they all say, “I don’t eat salt.” Well, neither did I. But look at the label on capers, olives, salsa, hot sauce, catsup, mustard, pickles, canned beans, yogurt, cheese, salad dressing, milk, matzo balls, crackers, bread, soup, broth, soy sauce, seasoned vinegar, and so on, and you will find out what I found out – you are eating salt.
You can wait until you have high blood pressure or chronic kidney disease or any of the other sodium-related medical conditions. Or you can join me on the road to wellness. That’s a big reward for such a small sacrifice.