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Rubbing salt into the wound

My husband is a stoic person. He'd be great at poker (if he didn't go all macho and throw his whole stack in every damn round to prove a point), because he doesn't let on what he's feeling. When he was diagnosed, you'd think they'd told him he'd got a cold, not that two of his vital organs were on the fritz.

He was angry, and he was upset that this had happened to him, but he'd never tell me that. He'd never show anything other than mild irritation. Until, of course, our renal nurse told him he wasn't allowed to eat salt.

Well that was it. The whole world was against him and his life was over. Imagine being told you're going to need a new organ, you're probably going to need dialysis before that happens, and to top it off, Doritos are off the menu? For a bloke whose blood was one part haemoglobin, and two parts Big Mac, he was not a happy bunny. I remember being stood in the queue at Subway, telling him it was going to be fine, and healthy food did, in actual fact, taste great. What Curtis heard, however, was "You'll never taste again, for there is no joy without bacon."

He didn't handle it well at first, but eventually, things changed. There are a few simple tweaks you can make to your everyday meals that really reduce your sodium intake so the levels eventually become Na (see what I did there?)

I used to cook a lot of things from fresh anyway, but being pregnant at the time of the diagnosis, Dominos and the like had crept up my list of weekly preferences. I went back to cooking everything fresh and swapped pre-made sauces for passata and creme fraiche bases. Black pepper is also much more flavourful than salt, so I put more of that in our meals instead and paired it up with fresh herbs or chillies for extra flavour. You can also use celery salt if you 100% cannot live without it.

As for pre-made food and snacks, this is pretty much down to common sense. Don't eat crisps, and you've now got a legitimate excuse to eat chocolate - weyhey!! In all seriousness, go for fruit or carrot sticks - it's just bog standard 'eat well' knowledge. You'll also be amazed at how much salt is in a digestive biscuit - it's ridonk.

And you know what? You're going to be healthier for this. When you're cutting out salt, you're also reducing a lot of other junk that comes with the salt territory, so you're better off all round. After a while, junk food like Chinese becomes completely inedible because the first thing you can taste is the salt. I'm not going to lie, this has upset me more then anything else - I love me a good chow mein, but in the end, we're both much healthier for it, and if I'm desperate, I can make one myself. It doesn't make up for the fact that you've got this horrible illness, but in the grand scheme of things, it's not the be all and end all that you can't season your chips any more.

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