On October 6 of 2017, a week after my 46th birthday, I had acid reflux. Really, really bad acid reflux. It felt like a tiny ball of molten metal floating around my upper torso. On top of that, I was burping and hiccupping like a cartoon drunk. I took 7 Tums and 2 Tylenol and a Prilosec, but nothing worked. If I tilted my body and raised my arms in a Y, I could get the pain to settle down for a little while.
After six or seven hours of this, the pain localized in the lower-middle of my chest. My survival instinct finally tingled. I googled "telling the difference between acid reflux and heart attack" and the very first link said “You can’t tell the difference. Go to the hospital. Stop screwing around!”
So I immediately... waited another half hour. When I could no longer deny rational thought, I took a joy ride in an ambulance. After a night of testing, and lots of pains, and some nice pain meds, I was telling a cardiologist how great I felt... and then my 4th EKG wobbled a bit.
I was having a heart attack.
An hour later a surgeon snaked a tube through my body, inflated a balloon, and left a metal pipe in my artery. I lived, but just barely. My excellent doctors found a 90-95% blockage in my Left Anterior Descending artery, aka “The Widowmaker.”
In the next few months, I had to change many of my attitudes and habits. In addition to everything else, I had to reduce my sodium intake. I had to cut down on salt.
I really love salt. French fries, potato chips, sauces, soups, rice, bread, potato chips (did I mention them?) I had to find a way to eat less salty.
I turned to the friend that had saved my life, Google. And I found almost nothing to help me. All the sites I found said “Buy Kale. Make all your food from scratch. Repent your sodiummy ways!” But… what about all that other stuff? Food I could eat out of a box? Food I could snack on all day? Food that I could eat as a real person with a busy life?
I did hours of research at grocery stores, reading hundreds of labels. It turns out that most of food products had way too much sodium for me to be eating. But I also realized that there are alternatives -- food products out there that have a reasonable amount of sodium that I could eat without risking my life. Why was this so hard? Why wasn't there a website to help me find this stuff?
I finally realized that I had to get it started, or it would never exist.
Welcome to NotSalty.net, a website dedicated to helping you control the amount of sodium in your diet. You can take joy in eating and find yummy foods while cutting down on sodium. YOU can do it.
If you want to share your story, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you!