Baking Soda (Sodium Bicarbonate)
Baking soda has approximately 821 mg to 980 mg of sodium per teaspoon. Generally used to leaven breads and cakes, baking soda is often added to vegetables in cooking, especially at restaurants, and is often included in antacids. A good baking soda replacement is available from Healthy Heart Market. It’s called Ener-G. It is made of Calcium Carbonate and works by using three times the normal amount (from any given recipe). The secret is to put it into the batter just before putting the recipe into the oven. It begins working right away and will “tire” if it stays out of the oven during prep time. Otherwise, Ener-G does a good job.
Having 320 mg to 480 mg per teaspoon, baking powder is used mostly to leaven quick breads and cakes. Yeast may be substituted for baking powder. A baking powder replacement brand called Featherweight has only 13.2 mg of sodium per tablespoon, and can be found in health food stores or Healthy Heart Market. The primary ingredient for Featherweight is Potassium Chloride. This is not salt. Some may refer to Potassium Chloride as “Potassium Salt.” Not so. But if you are monitoring your potassium then you may want to evaluate Featherweight more closely before using it. Again, it takes three times the normal amount for any given recipe that you may try to convert. Put it into the batter immediately prior to placing into oven. Mix it into batter first thoroughly.
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
A dangerous sodium for those who may suffer from asthma or migraine headaches. Used as a seasoning in home, restaurant and hotel cooking, MSG is present in packaged, canned and frozen foods. MSG is used extensively in Chinese restaurants, and often is the flavor ingredient in foods that advertise “Natural Flavorings.”
Disodium Phosphate (or Sodium Phosphate).
Used in processed cheeses and some quick cooking cereals.
Two products used in cooking low sodium meals for low sodium diets are Featherweight Baking Powder and Herb-ox Low-Sodium bullion (broth) as well as a few other substitute broths. (In the forthcoming book: The No Salt, Lowest Sodium Soup, Salad and Sandwich book, these broths are not used. Featherweight uses Potassium Bicarbonate, while Herb-Ox uses Potassium Chloride. Neither of these can be called “potassium salt,” although some tend to refer to them as such. Potassium does not increase sodium levels but an increase in potassium in your diet should be discussed with your doctor first.
However, potassium works with sodium in our bodies to regulate the body’s waste balance, and normalize heart rhythms. Potassium aids in clear thinking by sending oxygen to the brain; preserves proper alkalinity of body fluids; stimulates the kidneys to eliminate poisonous body wastes; assists in reducing high blood pressure; promotes healthy skin. All of these are why, when your doctor adds diuretics to your medications he probably also added a potassium tablet.
Potassium must be balanced though. Too much or too little can cause harm to your system and to you. Symptoms of too little potassium often recognized include, poor reflexes, nervous disorders, respiratory failure, cardiac arrest, muscle damage. If you have any signs of these, then you may want to call your doctor.