A Tale Of Two Sandwiches

A Tale Of Two Sandwiches

Another gray and dreary day. It is mild though, and almost all of the snow has melted away. So far it has been a wonderfully mild winter.

A few days ago I was careless and ate slightly more than 1200 mg of sodium for the day. I experienced some swelling in my feet and fingers. Yesterday and during the night my system finally released the excess fluid, and the swelling has subsided. I am very sensitive to sodium.

This morning I awoke at 6:00 a.m. For me this is sleeping in. Attila was still in dreamland. Sitting at the kitchen table I had the sudden urge to bake a loaf of bread. I have known since last September that I needed to start baking bread again, salt free bread that is. I have procrastinated, for months.

I found a salt free recipe online, for Oatmeal Bread, and began with that. I used the ingredient list, but since I use a Bosch mixer to knead my bread, and the recipe included only instructions for a bread machine, I had to improvise.

My Oatmeal Bread Low Sodium was a success. Attila will continue to eat store bought bread for the moment, until I get into the swing of things, then he will be switched over to salt free bread as well.

I love peanut butter sandwiches, preferably with jam, not honey.

Yesterday my peanut butter sandwich was a source of shame and guilt. How can two slices of bread with a few tablespoons of peanut butter and a tablespoon of jam cause so much distress? I am restricted to 1200 mg of sodium a day, and 25 gm of sugar per day; when I eat something high in sodium, or sugar, I have to carefully watch everything else I eat, all day long, including snacks and beverages. An indiscretion at breakfast or lunch can severely limit our choices for dinner; this affects Attila too.

Yesterday’s sandwich was made with commercial bread, regular Kraft peanut butter, and some “fruit only” jam with a significantly reduced sugar content. Yesterday’s sandwich packed 440 mg of sodium and 7 gm of sugar. Yesterday’s sandwich used up more than a third of my sodium quota, and almost a third of my sugar quota.

Today’s peanut butter sandwich makes me smile.

Today’s peanut butter sandwich was made with my homemade Oatmeal Bread, all natural Kraft peanut butter, and the same “fruit only” jam. Today’s peanut butter sandwich had 22 mg of sodium, and 9 grams of sugar. The low sodium intake for my lunch allows me to have 60 mg of ham for my dinner! Alas, the sugar intake increased, because my homemade bread is made with 3 tablespoons of brown sugar. Still, I find it far easier to restrict sugar than to restrict sodium, so I reckon I am ahead of the game on peanut butter sandwiches. Eventually I will experiment with reducing the amount of brown sugar in the homemade bread; that will take time, and won’t be worth the tradeoff if the flavour suffers.

Little things can make a big difference.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 2:08 PM EST Saturday 21 January 2017
Condition: Mist
Pressure: 100.8 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 3.0°C
Dew point: 2.6°C
Humidity: 97%
Wind: SW 10 km/h
Visibility: 1 km


“Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance but to do what lies clearly at hand.”
Thomas Carlyle
1795 – 1881

Note: Women marching on the White House in Washington today, supporters marching all over the world. Let our solidarity extend to one another when the banners are no longer waving.


  1. TopsyTurvy (Teri)

    We also have another gray day, with fog to bring the clouds even lower. The temp is nice, though. It’s about 8C/46F. But I am concerned about the area fruit trees. If they start placing buds now and we get more heavy freezes then local fruit won’t be doing well this year.

    I noticed on Nina’s board the other day that she actually had a tree full of robins – in January! Now, that really had me wondering!

    Sounds like you have quite the balancing act with sodium. That might be a tough one as the body also needs sodium, being an electrolyte your body uses all the time.

    I was having a problem with calcium the other day. My levels got too low and I started having a problem with twitchy legs, had to add in a supplement for a few days to level things out again.

  2. Teri, that would be a shame if the fruit trees were damaged. The vagaries of agriculture are different every year. Robins! I think Nina is well south of Ontario, I am not sure if the Robin’s are unusual or not.

    It is quite a balance with the sodium, I have to ensure that I ingest a minimum of 500 mg per day, and a maximum of 1200 mg. It isn’t much of a margin. So far, so good. It isn’t too hard to ingest the minimum though, two slices of bread and a bit of cheese and Bob’s Your Uncle.

    I once fell behind in my calcium intake and I had very bad cramps in my legs and feet, ouch! Glad to hear the supplement levelled thing out!

  3. Rosemary

    I automatically filled in the next line of “Bob’s your Uncle,…….. and Fanny’s your Aunt 🙂 A saying we used so often back home and at times now with Brit pals.

  4. TopsyTurvy (Teri)

    Nina is in Madison, Wisconsin, which is just about level with Toronto, well, maybe 100km south or so – give or take just a little – so, yes, robins this time of year is very unusual.

  5. Where does molasses place on your scale of sugar-measuring? It’s what I use in my bread, instead of sugar. Used to use maple syrup but it’s too expensive and molasses does the trick of giving the yeast something to feed on.
    Saltless bread will be different, I’m sure (is the sugar for flavour as well as to feed the yeast?) but I use only 1/4 cup of molasses for six loaves, so it doesn’t take much.

    It must be difficult to watch your food and liquid intake so carefully all the time, even when you are so accustomed to it as you are.


  6. It’s so self-affirming to get your intake of sodium and sugar under control. My husband is diabetic, and we monitor sugar very carefully.His blood sugar is finally subsiding after his Christmas cheating. He knows if he doesn’t win this battle by controlled diet, he will be taking insulin by injection.That alone is a motivating factor!

  7. Kate, what an interesting question! I like molasses, so I did a bit of poking around.

    “Only 4 ingredients are necessary to make yeast bread: flour, water, yeast and salt. There is no need to add sugar when making bread as there is enough food in flour for the yeast to multiply. Sugar, if added, is mostly in the dough for the taste.” source: about.com

    “Sweeteners have two functions in bread doughs; they provide:
    food for the yeast to help it get started growing; and
    flavor (table sugar the least, through the increasingly stronger flavors of brown sugar, honey, maple sugar, light, dark, and blackstrap unsulfured molasses). Using any sweetener helps the baked bread stay moister longer.”
    source: http://www.four-h.purdue.edu/foods/yeast%20dough.htm

    For my money, I go with Purdue, written by people who have studied food chemistry in detail, not just read about it.

    I think one of my experiments is going to be making the bread with molasses!

    It is very difficult Kate to monitor everything I eat and drink, all of the time. I am working on creating a list of “safe” recipes, enough for two weeks of menus, to give us some variety, and make sure we get a varied diet. I have six meals figured out, for shared meals. I have another two that only I will eat, for those nights when Attila wants something like a sausage, or other of his favourite foods that I can no longer eat. I need more meals for two for our menus though, and am working on it. We eat a LOT of vegetables, a lot.

  8. Diane, “He knows if he doesn’t win this battle by controlled diet, he will be taking insulin by injection.That alone is a motivating factor!”

    And what a motivating factor that is! Sugar is a tough one. My Oatmeal muffins are good with sugar, only 2 tablespoons in the recipe, which is 1/2 teaspoon for one muffin (makes 12). It uses only one cup of white flour, which is highly processed so might be of concern in a diabetic diet. The rest of the carbohydrate in the muffin is oatmeal. If I get the sugar down in my bread recipe I will post a second version, but only if I like the bread. I am wondering if using molasses will provide enough flavour to successfully reduce the sugar!

  9. Yes, Maggie, refined flour does convert to sugar in the body. We are managing fine without any bread or baked goods. The challenge is to make the vegetables interesting. He is allowed to have butter and cheese, which makes them more palliative.And unfortunately, he eats a lot of meat. I eat tofu, chicken and fish.

  10. Diane, I have been using the herbal mixtures meant to substitute for salt, Mrs. Dash, and the President’s Choice versions. So far my favourite is the lemon herb mixture, but I haven’t tried them all yet. When I allow myself a little bit of sodium, I go for the Roasted Garlic and Peppers from Club House. A half teaspoon of that has 105 mg of sodium, and 1 gm of carbohydrates, and I love the taste. I add it to sour cream sometimes, nice topping for a baked potato.

  11. Kate, further investigation shows me that a tablespoon of molasses has 15 mg of sugar, and a tablespoon of packed brown sugar has 13.5 mg sugar, so they are about the same. I think the molasses, because it has such a strong flavour, might require less to get a good flavour for the bread. I am going to give it a try with my next loaf, using 2 tablespoons of molasses, rather than 3 tablespoons of brown sugar.

  12. Bex, I always thought it was just less refined. Both are true!

    I found this:
    “There are two ways that brown sugar can be made: Unrefined or partially refined brown sugar is sugar that still contains some molasses from the original sugar refining process. Refined brown sugar is made by adding molasses back to refined white sugar.”
    source: https://www.google.ca/search?q=brown+sugar+how+is+it+made&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&gws_rd=cr&ei=_TqFWNbiCcXejwTzhLSwBw#


    “Brown sugar is a sucrose sugar product with a distinctive brown color due to the presence of molasses. … Commercial brown sugar contains from 4.5% molasses (light brown sugar) to 6.5% molasses (dark brown sugar) based on total volume. Based on total weight, regular commercial brown sugar contains up to 10% molasses.”
    source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_sugar

  13. Thanks for the link to your recipe Kate! I responded based on 12 muffins, when the recipe makes 24! Huge difference! Can’t wait to try these.

    I will try making them with no salt, no baking soda and only 2 tsp of baking powder. The baking powder and the baking soda are very high in sodium. With only 2 tsp of baking powder I can get the sodium content down to about 82 mg of sodium per muffin. The four eggs are a little worrying due to my restricted cholesterol, I take medication for high cholesterol, but I find I can stay on low dosage as long as I watch my sugar and cholesterol intake. Using 4 eggs, each of 12 muffins would have 81 mg of cholesterol, my limit for a day is 200 mg, so a muffin would significantly compromise my other choices on that day.

    Had to rewrite this response! Your recipe makes 2 dozen muffins, not 1 dozen muffins! 40 mg of sodium and 40 mg of cholesterol is pretty decent, I could have one of these every day!

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