I Wrote A Low Sodium Cookbook
In 2014 when I launched my low sodium food and heart healthy lifestyle blog Hacking Salt, I had no idea I would one day be able to say that. I wrote a low sodium cookbook. Wow! I mean there were hints along the way I guess. I could hearken back to the 5th grade, when I first became a published author due to a poem I wrote. It could have been Middle and High School newspapers. I’ve done business writing, freelance writing, ghost writing, press, communications, and content creation for clients in my day job at Sterling Cross Communications, but not this. Until now.
The Story Behind The Story
I started Hacking Salt as a way to help share all of the tips, tricks, knowledge, products, and information I had found along the way when I started my low sodium journey after being diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) back in 2003. In 2014 I was blessed by a donor to receive a heart transplant, and that is why I am even alive today. I needed a way to pay it forward.
It started from an experience I had with a roommate during one of my many stays in the hospital. This gentleman was in his early 50’s, was a truck driver, and was in the hospital for a quadruple bypass. He was told he would be placed on a restricted low sodium diet, and from now on he would have to stick to that if he wanted to live a longer life.
No Real Low Sodium Resources Or Training
Doctors are brilliant, but their knowledge of nutrition is fairly limited. When they tell you you are going to have to be low sodium, they really don’t give you any training. At best there is a two or three page brochure that tells you about some of the foods to avoid.
When you try to call into the room service system to order from the hospital’s kitchen, they were not any better. They have a call center, with an operator sitting in front of a computer screen. You have your menu. There are nutrition numbers listed, but non of the choices are highlighted as low sodium on your menu. So you try to order what you think might be healthy (and still taste good). The operator will say either “no” or “yes” to your choices.
My roommate was going down the first page and kept getting denied. He was so frustrated when he got to oatmeal, at the bottom of the page. The Operator finally said “yes”, and resignedly said “OK.” Then, he hung the phone up and started to cry.
He Needed A Solution
I quickly asked him what was wrong. He lamented that he would only be able to eat oatmeal for the rest of his life. I told him it didn’t have to be that way and went over the menu with him. He had wanted a pulled pork sandwich. I told him the pulled pork would work, but he couldn’t have the cheese or bun as it would put it over the top on sodium. I asked him if he liked rice, and he said he did. So we called back and cancelled the oatmeal and built a bowl of pulled pork, black beans, and corn over rice.
He was so relieved, that he insisted I come to his house and do all his shopping and help him with meal plans. I told him my wife might object, but that I would start a blog to share this info. That is how Hacking Salt came to be.
From Low Sodium Blog To Low Sodium Cookbook
In the 2 and a half years Hacking Salt has been around, it has really taken off in numbers and readership. More and more people have become aware of it as a resource. I’m one of only a handful of active bloggers in this niche space, and the only male actively blogging about it. I knew the recipes were good. I mean my wife and kids have to approve them, or they don’t go on the blog.
So I probably shouldn’t have been surprised when I received an email from a publisher asking if I had ever thought about doing a cookbook, and would I be interested? To be honest, at first I thought I thought it was a prank. It was a real offer though, and one we agreed to do.
Writing From A Hospital Bed
I started writing and testing all of the recipes in the fall of 2016. Then disaster hit, when I contracted e-Coli and my heart went into rejection. I entered the hospital in January of 2017. After coming out of my coma and my head clearing, I finished writing the cookbook from my hospital bed by April. The book went off to the publisher for layout, design, and photography. It was published on July 18, 2018 (which happened to be my birthday as well). The book can be found on Amazon and in Barnes & Nobles Stores.
So here it is, and now I can say I wrote a low sodium cookbook.
I would love to hear from you in the comments about your stories of overcoming obstacles to get something done. I’m sure that there are some great ones out there.
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