I took a call the other day from a gentleman who was concerned about the sodium levels in the entrees of his food storage. He had heart problems and his doctor had put him on a very restrictive diet that included low amounts of sodium.
He wanted to know if it was possible to order food storage that had little or no sodium added. The answer was both "yes" and "no".
Now before I get into the details of my answer, in the spirit of full disclosure, I must admit I'm a salt-aholic and proud of it. I'm not trying to overcome it and have no desire to be a "recovering" salt-aholic.
My wife is convinced it will be the death of me and at one point in our marriage, in an attempt to appease her; I went off salt for about three months. I was promised that over time, the natural flavor of food would become more pronounced and I wouldn't crave salt as I had before.
Guess what - it never happened. I never got to the point where I didn't feel the food I ate would have tasted so much better with a little salt. So I eventually went back to associating with my life-long friend, salt.
It's interesting to note, the latest medical studies now show that sodium or salt isn't such a bad thing. It's funny how these medical studies seem to constantly change how we think about things like cholesterol, fats, sugar and salt.
Anyway, back to the sodium question. Let’s address the “no” first. Every single food storage entrée has sodium added. Why? It’s really very simple – salt is a flavor enhancer. Every food storage company wants their entrees to taste as delicious as possible so sodium, or salt will be added.
There is a delicate balance that most companies try to reach – that of enough salt to enhance the flavor but not so much as to raise the sodium levels to a concerning amount for some.
May I make a side note here? Far too often, individuals confuse food storage with groceries. They are not the same. Food storage is for survival when there are no other options on how to feed your family. I’m totally on board with individuals who want to purchase groceries that are organic, low fat, low sodium or whatever their dietary choices are. Everyone should have the freedom under normal circumstances to eat the type of foods they choose. But when it comes to survival, all of that gets thrown out the window.
There are countless stories and examples of people who due to war or famine, are placed in a survival environment with very little or no food. When food is finally secured, the last thing on their minds is whether the food is organic or what the sodium levels are. In fact, salt and fat are craved and desperately needed by the body to survive.
Now this doesn't mean you have to totally ignore all your current eating preferences. It does mean, however you may need to be flexible, understanding that your daily routine and environment may be totally different when the time comes you need to rely on your food storage.
So trying to duplicate your day to day eating preferences with your food storage won’t be easy and possibly shouldn’t be your goal. Not that one shouldn’t try, it’s just going to require a lot more effort and cost than most folks are expecting and in some cases, may not be possible.
Now let’s address the “yes” part of the answer. If one is very sensitive to sodium, then simply avoid the entrees. You’ll need to purchase all your food storage al a carte.
If you purchase individual fruits, vegetables, grains and meat, these items will have very little or no sodium added. Then one can add whatever seasoning they’d like to flavor their food. Now this begs the question – is flavoring even necessary? From my perspective – absolutely!
Especially if you have a lot of bulk grains and basic food storage items, if you want to keep the troops happy, you’ll need to be prepared to season your food.
Not having seasonings and spices on hand is one of the most overlooked items in food storage. Many people build up their food storage and plan on eating a lot of rice, potatoes, and pasta, but they do not think about what they are going to do to make it taste better. Eating rice is good; eating rice for days on end without seasoning becomes very, very boring and monotonous.
Most food storage plans do not offer additional seasoning packages as the entrees are already seasoned. Therefore, you should plan on stockpiling as much additional seasoning as you can as it will become extremely important when the time comes to use your food storage.
Here’s a list you may want to consider. You may keep different things depending on your tastes and cooking preferences.
1) Salt – Yep, salt. I don't believe you can have too much salt. Salt has an indeterminate shelf life and will help you keep the appropriate sodium levels when you are working hard and sweating more. I keep Kosher salt, sea salt, pickling salt, and table salt on hand.
2) Black Pepper – Keep coarse ground black pepper on hand as well as peppercorns to grind and for canning.
3) Chili Powder
5) Onion Powder and Dehydrated Onions
6) Dried Parsley
7) Dried Basil, Oregano, Thyme, Bay Leaves, Dill Weed
8) Garlic Powder and Garlic Salt
12) Ground Ginger
13) Italian Seasoning
14) Pumpkin Pie Seasoning
15) Seasoning Salt
16) Steak Seasoning
18) Ranch Seasoning
And any other seasoning you may currently like and use. Seasonings take up very little space and typically have a great shelf life so spice up your life and be sure and store plenty of seasonings.