For Jessica Goldman, an adjustment to a sodium-free lifestyle came after kidney failure. Diagnosed with Lupus and working toward a full recovery, Jessica dropped the shaker for a new salt-free lifestyle. Thereafter, her kidneys regenerated, she stuck with the diet and she’s never felt better. Her blog, Sodium Girl, and her fresh-off-the-press book, Sodium Girl’s Limitless Low-Sodium Cookbook, document her favorite salt-free recipes and cooking adventures.
Tell us your story. Why did you embrace a no-salt diet?
Shortly after my twenty-first birthday, I went from wrestling for the perfect dorm room to fighting for my life. The autoimmune disease, Lupus, was aggressively attacking my kidneys and brain. After three months of chemotherapy, dialysis, and amazing medical care, I survived; my kidneys, however did not.
From the beginning, though, I was determined to do whatever I could, on top of medicine, to give myself the best chance of staying strong. That meant taking on a strict, no-salt, low-sodium diet. But as a very stubborn twenty-something, I was equally resolute to taste and experience everything life had to offer me. That meant rewriting the low-sodium rules.
Today, I live on medication and diet alone, having been off of dialysis and the kidney transplant for over seven years. I cook with love and respect and joy. I eat more adventurously than I did before restrictions.
How do you go about altering your favorite recipes?
I love the task of “salt-freeing” super salty recipes. Like an Iron Chef challenge, I feel like I get total creative license in order to successfully use the secret ingredient (or, in this case, not use it). Which means that I start with a traditional dish, and using imaginative and playful swaps, then I end up with something familiar but new and fun.