I hate to cook; and what I hate even more than that is to eat bad food or to go hungry. So, when my husband was diagnosed with Meniere’s disease, security blankets were torn and I was left with little choice but to buck up and learn to cook. This sounds like I’m disgruntled about it, but it has turned out to be a huge blessing for all of us and our health! We joke that God couldn’t get Derrick to stop eating pizza, so He gave Derrick Meniere’s so he had to restrict those poor food choices.
I got the call from a very hungry Derrick one afternoon when I was out of town working. I could hear the desperation in his voice, “I don’t know what I can eat; everything has sodium in it! I’m SO HUNGRY!” I reassured him that I would take care of it the moment I landed back in Boise. Little did I know how difficult the transition was going to be; I found myself crying on the phone to my mom shortly thereafter, holding a jar of spaghetti sauce, wondering how I would ever fulfill the promise I had made to Derrick. How was I going to take care of it? With little to no cooking abilities and what seemed like very few ingredients, it was a daunting task. Even for those of us who love adventure and change.
Of course, one of the first things that I did was go online. Outside of dear Sodium Girl (who’s cooking was too intimidating for me to approach) I couldn’t find anything very encouraging or appetizing on the low sodium front. Discouraged, I turned to low sodium cook books (gag). I found these to be severely lacking in appeal and also pretty high sodium considering. I found nothing that I liked in them. After that failed venture, I started doing my own modifications to recipes, altering ingredients and coming up with new concoctions. Newfound success!
Many years later, here we are. We survived! And not only did we survive, but I feel that we thrived! I have learned many new skills that were once foreign to me, and our overall health has drastically improved from the simple restriction of salt. Derrick was on an extremely limited diet of 1,000mg or less of sodium per day, which made the challenge all the more exciting. Additionally, right before his restriction, he had been “bulking” by eating nearly 5,000 calories a day. Needless to say, the man can eat! So I had to come up with some options that would be delicious (after all I’m eating it too!), low sodium, and extremely filling to keep my handsome husband’s tummy rumble free.
In 2012 we welcomed a healthy baby boy to our family, which added another mouth to feed. I’ve included some “Toddler Bites” in this blog which are healthy alternatives to the store-bought baby goodies. Though many of those packaged foods are great, and we have certainly used our share, I felt that cooking for him was a better alternative so there wouldn’t be a massive pallet change when transitioning to our table food. Salt is an acquired taste, after all.
[Update] In 2014 we welcomed a second baby boy, who unfortunately was born with sever food allergies. We are working through his diet one step at a time, but it appears that he has a version of FPIES which was recently discussed in our first appointment with a gastroenterologist. It feels like the first step forward that we’ve had in a long time and I’ll be sharing his story, the ups and downs, along with some recipes here as well. This moves our family from not only low sodium, but egg and nut free home (his most sever allergies) along with gluten and dairy free options for our little tot. He has a long list of other foods we work around, but the main thing here is that we have lots of tips to share for people living in an allergy-friendly home and thriving on a delicious diet.
Oh yes, and by the way, Living with Hicks is largely about living with THE Hicks (which is us)! I’ve tried to include a few other things other than low sodium recipes about our life in general, but the focus is certainly the recipes. Honestly food is a central part of each day, so there are lots of posts about food with a little life thrown in!