When my dad went on medication for hypertension—despite his near-religious routine of daily running and a diet rich in fish and vegetables—I stopped buying cheese, reduced the amount of soy sauce in my stir-fries, and gave up my weekly jars of pickles. Studying the mechanisms of hypertension during our renal theme last year—learning how the kidney adjusts to higher levels of sodium over time—only increased my determination to follow a low-salt diet.
All this until this summer, when I had the pleasure of hiking and running more than usual, and I began to feel hypotensive and faint. I am the type of person who actually does faint, so I take these feelings seriously. I’m not usually hyperglycemic or dehydrated, so I began to wonder if I’m losing salt faster than gaining it. It may be time to increase the salt in my diet. But by how much?
Recently, I have been making small-batch, near-instant homemade pickles: just one or two jars a week, enough to match the produce from my weekly CSA farm share. I use dill, whole garlic and whole black peppercorns, along with salt, white vinegar and water as the pickling flavor for cucumbers, celery or beets. The whole process involves very little time in the kitchen, and the results make for a refreshing post-run snack.
Try the basic pickle recipe here.
The Med School Cookbook offers a weekly account of the challenges and wonders of med school as seen through the eyes of a student. Each post includes a healthy and easy recipe designed for busy people on a budget. Read the daily blog here.