For any of you who read the blog regularly and are wondering why you haven’t seen many posts in the last month or so, today you get to hear about the distraction that pulled me away for much of July and half of August. While I am sorry to say that I do not have a new recipe for you today, I cannot say that I am sorry for why I don’t have something new lined up. Joe, his parents, Aspen, and I traveled to South Korea for his sister’s wedding. The week or so before the trip was busy with planning and packing and the week and a half since we have been back has been filled with a jet lag fog, laundry, and the humdrum that comes along with getting back to your day to day life after vacation. It was tons of fun; read on for some highlights, pictures, and how to survive in a foreign country on a low sodium diet.
We spent about a week and a half in South Korea, staying at my sister-in-law’s apartment. There were seven of us in an apartment, which was a bit cramped but overall it was wonderful. We perused local shops,
visited a market,
peed with a view,
and (of course) had lots of soju (cheers to that, or as we said in Korea, “geonbae” – pronounced sort of like “gun bay”).
Now to the part about sticking to a low sodium diet while traveling internationally… As a bit of background, Joe’s diet is not quite as strict as some others’ with kidney disease. If he goes past his limit, he won’t have any immediate negative effects. He won’t be sent to the hospital. He won’t have any pain or obvious signals that he went over. His sodium exposure needs to be kept to a minimum over time. The sodium in his diet has more of a long-term, cumulative effect on his kidney health. So that means if he went a little high on a given day (which is not ideal), he won’t be in any immediate danger. This means there is a little bit more forgiveness and flexibility built into his diet. So what did he do to keep things as low as possible?
One: He learned to read labels. We memorized the Korean word for sodium before the trip (나트륨) and then scoured labels before Joe ate anything. Just like in the U.S., you need to keep your eye on serving size to figure out how much sodium was in the entire package, but it was pretty simple once you knew where to look.
Two: We prepped ahead as much as possible. We made him bread so that he could have a quick sandwich or toast, we bought eggs and cooked breakfast at home, and we packed as many snacks for long outings as possible (Lara bars, nuts, and fruit).
Three: When eating out we did our best. There is always rice, which has little to no added salt, so it was a safe bet. We also had sushi a couple of times, which was okay because Joe could eat extra fish and eat it without all the soy sauce. We also ate a TON of Korean barbecue (awesome awesome, by the way), which meant that we could ask for the meat with no sauce and no salt and grill it at the table. Since you can each build your own lettuce wrap, we each had control over what we put in ours, which made it a great option for Joe. PS – the picture below was probably my favorite meal we had (ignore my sour expression- I was probably hangry). It was a beef place just about a block from sister-in-law’s apartment.
Of course the reason that we took the trip in the first place was to see Peter and Joscelyn’s wedding, which was gorgeous. A big huge thanks to them for opening their home and giving us the best excuse to take a vacation. Best of luck and all the love to them!