Your Personal Meal Planning Assistant
October 08, 2014 / Nicole Villeneuve

Read the Blog, Eat the Meals: Sodium Girl

You read their recipes. You drool over their photos. Now eat their food! We’re excited to be partnering with several of our favorite food blogs, delivering you some of their most popular meals through PlateJoy.

A low-sodium diet has been shown to lower your risk of heart disease and high blood pressure. For Jess Goldman Foung, it also helped her fight a terrifying diagnosis: Her doctors told her she had Lupus, which was attacking her kidneys and her brain, and that she faced kidney failure. Told to keep her sodium intake low, she discovered a passion for cooking--and learned that salt-free doesn't mean flavor-free.

Eight years later, Jess has shared her low-sodium recipes on her blog and in her recent book, Sodium Girl's Limitless Low-Sodium Cookbook. Now some of her favorite meals are available on PlateJoy!

Try meals from Sodium Girl and get $10 off your first order! Check out the menu here.

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Broccoli salad with avocado everything dressing3What's your healthy eating philosophy?

I like to say that "low-so food" is just "slow food" with the letters mixed around. When it comes down to it, the basics of healthy eating and low-sodium cooking simply come down to getting rid of the processed junk and cooking with whole ingredients, from scratch. Because truly, when you start with things that are fresh, colorful, and in season you'll not only feel better, but it will taste better too.

How did you start cooking?

My journey to my kitchen actually began with an extreme health situation. Diagnosed with kidney failure at 21, the result of Lupus related complications, I knew I wanted to do everything in my power to stay healthy and strong. But as a stubborn young person living in the Bay Area, I was also resolute to not miss out on anything, on my plate or in my life. So I gathered as much information as possible on sodium and low-sodium diets and then I gathered my pots and pans (the few I had) and slowly taught myself not only how to cook, but how to feel confident in the kitchen. What started as a part of my medical diagnosis has become a huge passion.

Tell us the story behind Sodium Girl. How did it start and where has it gone since then?

For a long time, low-sodium has been branded as bland, boring, and better left for the dog. I wanted to show people that salt is just one flavor on the spice rack. I started the blog in 2009; it was nominated as one of Saveur's "Best Food Blogs" in 2012 and I have served as a low-sodium expert for the San Francisco Chronicle, Ladies Home Journal, Woman's Day, Shape, Living Without, and I also partner with the National Kidney Foundation, American Heart Association, and Whole Foods Market on consumer education and recipe creation. And I released my first cookbook, Sodium Girl's Limitless Low-Sodium Cookbook, in 2012 with my second due out in fall, 2016.

Baked buternut squash and pork pasta3How do you treat yourself?

Food-wise, I do have a sweet tooth. And I love a nice glass of wine. Life-wise, I love taking cooking classes. Whether it is learning how to break down a chicken or make dumplings from scratch, I love to constantly add more skills, flavors, and techniques to bring into my kitchen every day.

You just got home and want to make yourself something quick and comforting. What do you go for?

There's nothing more comforting to me that a pot of rice porridge (or jook). It happens to be incredibly simple to make -- you basically use chicken pieces and the chicken bones to create a stock. And then let the rice cook in that luscious stock, plumping up with all those savory flavors. I love adding in tofu skins, crispy garlic, green onion, and silky bok choy leaves to make it a full meal. And of course, a little red chili pepper to finish it off.

What Sodium Girl recipes are on PlateJoy?

Banana blueberry coconut pancakes; Kale pesto French toast; Southwestern quinoa bowls with avocado "everything" dressing; Broccoli cornmeal crusted fish sticks with creamy honey-dill dip; Baked pasta with ground pork and pumpkin; Strawberry cheesecake parfaits.

Nicole Villeneuve

Nicole Villeneuve is a certified Diabetes Prevention Lifestyle Coach. A graduate of Yale University, she previously worked in book publishing, with a focus on cookbooks and health, and ran the food blog Paper and Salt. Her writing has been featured in Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, The New York Times Magazine, The Paris Review, and The Daily Beast. Nicole lives in San Francisco and loves cooking, reading, exploring new restaurants, and running by the ocean. You can (very occasionally) find her on Twitter.

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