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4.4 out of 5 stars
The No-Salt, Lowest-Sodium Cookbook
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123 of 126 people found the following review helpful
on June 18, 2001
Format: Hardcover
A great cookbook for anyone!!! Yes, I have high blood pressure & have been diagnosed as 'salt sensitive,' and my husband has had open heart surgery, so we have to be careful, but I have lost 50 pounds without giving up pizza, sticky buns, and chocolate brownies!!! This cookbook enabled me to change my lifestyle without having to redesign my cooking. The recipes in here are easy to make, taste great, and keep you in the mainstream of the food chain even though you are dealing with serious health issues. Don recommends buying a bread machine - who knew store- bought bread had so much sodium!! Anyway, I bought a bread machine , and recipes for the pitas, the breads, the pizza dough - all superb! So many of the heart healthy books do not understand that is not just the fat...many of us have to watch the salt as well. This cookbook guarantees that we do not have to give up the flavor and the fun of food.
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119 of 123 people found the following review helpful
on December 1, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book because my husband is currently battling very high blood pressure. Within 4 days his blood pressure dropped 10-15 points, and that was only following the diet moderately. He's now 30-35 points down, eating 700 mg of sodium a day, and this book shows you how to cut the sodium even a little more.
I like this book for several reasons:
1. The recipes are ones that are palatable and that people want to eat. You cook things that you used to cook on a normal diet, just with low sodium. The recipes are for dishes that everybody would want to eat, not some weird vegan dish that only people with heart problems would eat because they have no other choice.
2. You get building block recipes as well as full dishes. Don shows you how to make different sauces that you can combine with raw ingredients such as meat and vegetables. There's also full entrees.
3. Recipes are not hard to make. You don't spent the entire day in the kitchen.
4. You get hard to find recipes. Salt free bread. Relish. Soy sauce substitute.
5. You know exactly what the nutritional value is. Don has it broken down to every last mg of sodium. Other values such as calories and cholesterol are also listed. Don also warns you about some traps like watching out for some maple syrups which have sodium.
6. Informative front sections tell you about spices, sodium value of some raw ingredients, and other basic information.
7. Active website. You can e-mail the author (...). I wrote him once and received a reply within 10 minutes. Other e-mail was answered within a day.
Things I didn't like:
1. Book contains typos/errors. Author has published an errata page on his website.
2. Author uses some substitute items which have potassium salts. Some people watching sodium intake also can't have large amounts of potassium, so I felt it would have been better to call this out more prominently, perhaps somewhere in the front sections. The recipes which use potassium salts, however, are a small minority. I wouldn't let this prevent me from buying the book; just be aware of what ingredients you're using.
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The author has doubtless spent many hours experimenting in his kitchen and testing the results. He's already blazed a trail for you. Why not benefit from what he's already discovered?
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83 of 85 people found the following review helpful
on April 7, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I'm astounded! Quite frankly, I never thought I'd be able to really enjoy the meals I made from my numerous low-sodium or otherwise "healthy" cookbooks. They were either tasteless or had plenty of (awful) flavor. No More!
Don Gazzaniga, a heart patient himself, has saved me the frustration I've experienced trying to remake good recipes into healthful ones for my husband with congestive heart failure. I have spent countless hours in the kitchen only to find that my attempt to prepare good food that's good for my husband has failed miserably. Chef Don to the rescue!
While my favorite is the Paella, there are a multitude of good-for-you recipes, gourmet and standard fare, from bread (even with bread machine recipes!) to dessert. Well-categorized and indexed, this has beome my favorite cookbook (and I have quite a few) in a very short time. I only wish there were photos, but that's the only thing I'd change. Each recipe includes the sodium counts for both the whole recipe and also Don's suggested serving sizes. He's also included, of course, other nutritional information per serving as well.
If you are looking for recipes to help protect your heart health, buy this book. If you already have a form of heart disease, buy this book RIGHT NOW. As for author Don Gazzaniga, I can't thank you enough, and I hope you're writing the next cookbook. You're a Godsend!
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41 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on November 7, 2006
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
After being diagnosed with Meniere's Syndrome, I was told to drastically cut the sodium in my diet. Being an avid cook, I immediately started the search for a low-sodium cookbook. I tried several, but this book is, by far, the BEST low-sodium cookbook I've ever seen. Not only are Don's recipes wonderful, but his book is a fabulous resource, particularly if a low-sodium diet change is new. I recommend trying first the Incredible Chicken recipe. It's easy, flavorful - incredible! You won't believe you're eating low sodium. Even my husband found that eating low sodium with me with these recipes was not just "doable" but enjoyable! This book is a MUST HAVE for those on low-sodium diets.
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58 of 61 people found the following review helpful
on February 21, 2005
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
The book contains numerous interesting recipes in which sodium and salt are creatively avoided. HOWEVER, a significant percentage of the recipes I have tried have errors or ambiguities that make the recipes difficult to execute. Specifically, the recipe instructions are frequently inconsistent with the ingredients list. It seems clear that not all of these recipes have been verified by independent cooks working from the book. An experienced cook can probably figure out how to make the recipes work, but an inexperienced cook will be frustrated when he/she runs up against one of these problems in the middle of preparation.

Another cautionary note is that many of the recipes are rather bland. Again, an experienced cook can figure out how to spice things up, but an inexperienced cook may end up with a meal that falls short of expectations.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on April 11, 2007
Format: Paperback
This collection of recipes and helpful hints on avoiding excessive intake of salt is a must have for anyone on a low sodium diet or who wants to minimize the sodium in his/her diet. As you would expect, the book has many recipes for preparing and making dishes and meals without salt and the use of low sodium foods and ingredients in place of those laced with sodium. But, in addition, there are many useful tips on such things as eating out, where it is virtually impossible to know what the nutrient values of foods are or to avoid high-sodium food. The author even has devised a scheme to deal with the fast food places (take your own bun and order the burger without condiments).

The book contains more than just recipes and menus. It includes material on substitutions of food (helpful for devising your own recipes or modifying the author's), and very helpful info on where to purchase some of the food products not commonly found in supermarkets. And, of course, there are discussions of the health benefits of reducing sodium intake and descriptions of various food staples -- including water, which was an eye-opener (yeh, in some places you gotta keep an eye on what is in the water)!

Many of the recipes are fine for those who are well-versed in the arts of the kitchen or who have time to both learn the techniques and prepare the food. But there are plenty of simple recipes that even a neophyte like me can handle. Each recipe includes a nutritional analysis of the finished product, itemizing the biggies like sodium content, cholesterol, fat (saturated and both mono- and poly-unsaturated -- but not trans fat), carbohydratesk, fiber and proteins. It also includes content amounts of calcium, potassium and iron. Sugar content is not listed and that is an unfortunate omission.

For those who have to watch what they eat and must or want to keep the sodium intake down, I think this is one of three books that are must-haves, the others being The Encyclopedia of Food Values by Corrine Netzer and the Joy of Cooking, by Rombauer & Becker. The Encyclopedia (not the paperback version) lists every conceivable nutrient in virtually any food you can think of, which makes it a helpful addition when adapting or devising recipes - but contains very little on cooking or preparation. Joy is indispensible for detailed descriptions of cooking techniques and alternative ingredients - but contains no nutritional analysis of recipes. The No-Salt, Lowest Sodium Cookbook fills the gap by providing both low sodium recipes, nutritional analyses, and some basic cooking technique information.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on April 11, 2004
Format: Paperback
First of all, 3 + 2 = 5; put it another way, 5 - 3 = 2. The author's low-salt hand-baked (as opposed to machine-baked) bread calls for beginning the recipe with 3 cups of flour. Then you add the rest of the flour; I make that 2 cups. Then, and here's where I get into trouble, you add the rest of the flour again! Exactly how much flour is that? Oh, and you may finally want to add another 1/2 cup of flour--but no more, he says. My question is. . . .
Also, he recommends a bread machine that I can't find--on Amazon at least--and the bread machines by the same maker are not well-reviewed by about half the customers.
Finally, he refers you to other recipes in the book that are not there.
I guess if you really can cook--e.g., know whether pots should be covered or uncovered, know whether to slice the mushrooms or leave them whole--and have access to a mainstream cookbook against which to check his measurements and ingredients, you'll probably do okay.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on April 28, 2007
Format: Paperback
Physicians will talk "low sodium" but not really how and this book helps that. My husband was dx with severe CHF with possible transplant looming up within the year. A low sodium diet became my contribution to his treatment. He also needed a biventricular pump and various medications but my guess is that the diet changes helped an additional 10-20% and when your heart function is that poor, all the percentages add up. This book helped educate us both especially during the first few months when we were stunned by the change in our reality. I especially like knowing the sodium content of things; so although we used that book a lot initially, I need it less now. Some recipes suffer from...lack of salt...but one learns to deal with it. I find the more acidic the food (tomato, lemon juice, vinegar) the less likely we notice or care that it is low sodium. My husband (almost a year later) is also a success story. His heart has improved (as viral cardiomyopathies can sometimes do) but I believe all the treatment gave his heart the ability to recover. But, regardless of the cause of one's heart failure, treatments that allow the heart to function better all add up. We are not as strict as Don and keep the sodium to 1600-1800 mg a day but that still requires planning and we combine low sodium cooking, no sodium baking soda and baking powder, no or low sodium commercial products (always check what "low sodium means"), spices instead of salt, and limiting any high sodium foods. We read labels, and have found commercially produced bread with 0 mg of sodium.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2000
Format: Hardcover
One of the most difficult diet obstacles is cooking no-salt or low-salt meals. But it can be done, and the dishes can be tasty and delicious. For author Donald A. Gazzaniga, a no-salt diet was literally a matter of life or death. Faced with a heart problem that could necessitate a heart transplant, he was told by his doctors that he had to drastically control the salt in his diet. He did just that and not only has his heart condition improved dramatically to the point he will not need a transplant, he has put his tasty recipes into a book that should be in the library of every cook who is interested in a healthy diet. The hundreds of recipes range from crock-pot stew to ratatouille, from scampi in wine to eggplant relish -- all delicious and with little or no salt. Gazzaniga includes a 28-day menu planning guide which lists each day's salt intake which proves invaluable in keeping a close and accurate eye on salt intake. A definite must-have cookbook.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on March 4, 2002
Format: Hardcover
CHF patients are not the only ones who will benefit from "The No-Salt, Lowest-Sodium Cookbook." I was diagnosed with Meniere's Diease in January 2002 and told I had to follow a low-salt/sodium diet. After trying, unsuccessfully, on my own, I quickly discovered that just not salting food doesn't work. I ... discovered Mr. Gazzaniga's cookbook. It has been wonderful! I use it like a textbook. I make notes in the borders, put sticky-notes on the "good" pages and even rate each item I try on a 0-5 scale. I've even started branching out on my own and experiementing with different ingredients for Mr. Gazzaniga's recipes.
Not only has following a low salt/sodium diet helped greatly with my Meniere's...I also lost 18 pounds in 4 weeks - without giving up sweets and flavorful food!
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