Jessica Goldman Foung

After Lupus caused her kidneys to fail, Jessica Goldman Foung refocused her life and work to study food, health, and the many ways they interact. In 2009, she started the blog Sodium Girl and has written two cookbooks, Low-So Good (Chronicle Books 2016) and Sodium Girl’s Limitless Low-Sodium Cookbook (HMH 2012). Jessica serves as a low-sodium and special diet expert, appearing in print and broadcast media. She spent the past year leaning into homeschooling and support-teaching her two children. And she runs primarily on commas, cardboard creations, and coffee.
How To Make Low-Sodium Bacon at Home
I love bacon. There’s no replacement that quite equals the taste of the real thing (trust me, I grew up in a turkey bacon household). And I’d give anything to eat it again. But 10 years ago, my kidneys failed, and to stay alive and healthy, I started a very low-sodium diet. Which, in turn, meant saying goodbye to bacon. Luckily, though, that’s not where the story ends.
Jun 15, 2023
5 Ways to Make a Meal Out of Frozen Hash Browns
Of all the ingredients in all the world, potatoes happen to be my favorite. Fried, mashed, and nestled under a roasting chicken, I love them no matter the preparation. I even love them frozen. And that’s because, when it comes to making a quick, filling snack, there’s no better item to have on hand than shredded hash browns. Frozen hash browns have chameleon-like properties. When fried or baked, they add a surprising pop of crunch to an otherwise texture-less dish.
May 1, 2023
6 Tips to Reduce Stress from the Mess That Cooking Makes
True confession: I avoid certain recipes because of the messes they create, which in my world means anything fried or anything that demands the use of a cast iron skillet. So no matter how amazing a recipe looks, the extra work of dealing with hot oil or a seasoned skillet is often enough to make me pass. And I doubt I’m alone here.
Sep 20, 2022
10 More Ways to Use Up Leftover Coconut Milk
When a recipe calls for coconut milk, you often end up with a little left over, which leads to the question of how to use the extras. The good news is that whether you freeze it in an ice cube tray for future smoothies, spritzers, and curries, or use it throughout the week, there are endless ways to work this non-dairy milk into your sweet and savory dishes alike. And often, even a little splash will prove enough to transform the flavor profile (and texture!) of a dish.
Sep 19, 2022
Why You Shouldn’t Throw Away Cauliflower Leaves
Last weekend, I found proof that the best things in life really do come for free. And when I say “things,” I’m talking about cauliflower leaves. Bags and bags of cauliflower leaves, which usually get tossed away or given (to people like me) at no extra cost (usually for the compost). But secretly, they also have a place in your fridge and kitchen.
Sep 8, 2022
7 Rules for Cooking a Multi-Course Meal with Confidence
In the past few months, we’ve covered several common cooking fears — from food safety to pressure cookers — that keep people from attempting recipes in the kitchen. But today let’s talk about something that happens once you get comfortable in the kitchen and actually start cooking a meal; a full meal, made of multiple dishes.
May 12, 2022
5 Small, Easy Snacks from an Avocado
In case you haven’t heard, avocados taste great. And whether you use them to make guacamole or the ever-popular avocado toast, they also make a great snack. Which is why, today, I want to look deeper into avocado’s bag of tricks and show you what else this fruit can do — beyond getting smashed into a creamy spread. Almost all of these bites are raw and don’t require cooking or heat (hooray!
May 12, 2022
5 Cooking Fears and How to Face Them
For the most part, the greatest risk one takes when cooking a recipe is producing an inedible meal. That being said, cooking usually involves heat or fire, knives, and hot metal — all things that can potentially be dangerous. And whether you’ve experienced it yourself or heard tales from others, burns, cuts, and trips to the ER do happen. This causes, for some, a real fear of certain equipment or cooking methods, and in turn, the refusal to use them.
May 5, 2022
6 First Steps for a Low-Sodium Diet
I hate to brag, but for almost a decade, I’ve eaten ridiculously well. Like, five-star level deliciousness. At home, abroad, and with some of the most amazing chefs at the helm. All without touching a grain of salt. So if you think that keeping a low-sodium diet means being doomed to days of steamed chicken breast, eaten alone, while watching Golden Girls reruns, think again, my friend.
Jul 17, 2020
Scared of Food Safety? Don’t Be. Here’s Your Ultimate Guide to Food Safety in the Kitchen
Nothing brings me greater joy than cooking for people I love. But nothing gives me greater fear than feeding someone a meal that makes them sick. Do you share this fear? It’s reasonable to be very cautious about serving safe food. But sometimes that fear can hold us back in the kitchen — worrying unduly, or throwing out perfectly good food.
Jul 17, 2020
6 Tips for Traveling With Dietary Restrictions
Whether it is a much-needed vacation or a last-minute flight for work, every trip requires preparation. And for those with special diets, the packing list has a few extra items to consider. Mainly, food. But dietary limitations don’t have to take the spontaneity or flavor out of your adventures. Or keep you at home. With these tips, anyone with any dietary needs can stay full (and healthy) no matter where the journey takes them. Prepare for food emergencies.
May 24, 2019
Broccoli: The New Breadcrumbs
A new year means new goals. And for many people that includes changing food habits, cutting down on junk, and eating better. Sounds good. In theory. But resolutions around diets tend to be tedious and limiting, and are about as exciting as a bowl of wilted Brussels sprouts. And who really wants to kick off 2014 with a list of should nots and cannots? What if this year, instead of making a resolution to eat more healthfully, we make a promise to cook more playfully?
May 2, 2019
Lentils: The New Gravy
As with eye cream and good wine, I didn’t begin to appreciate lentils until I got older. For a long time, their dull colors and mushy texture scared me. But I’ve come to realize that it’s exactly this — the mushiness — that gives lentils so much “swap potential” in the kitchen. When boiled, lentils break down to form a creamy, thick puree (without a blender, people!) Which means they make a great mimic for dips, batters, and even pate.
May 2, 2019
Cauliflower: The New Burger
For most of my life, cauliflower was nothing more than a means to eating hummus and dip when the chips ran out. Simply put, it was broccoli’s pale cousin and if I wasn’t eating it raw, I wasn’t eating it at all. But everything changed when I could no longer eat cheese and all I wanted was macaroni. To stay within my restrictions and still eat the food I loved, I needed an ingredient that could provide a creamy, milky texture. In a Hail Mary moment, I gave cauliflower a try.
May 2, 2019
Potatoes: The New Quiche Crust
You say potato, I say yes please. Fried, baked, and Hasselback’d, there are no shortage of recipes that feature this root vegetable. But just like space travel, there’s so much more territory to explore. As someone who must steer clear of most wheat and processed products, I’m always on the lookout for a substitute that adds crunch where croutons and toasted baguettes no longer can.
May 2, 2019
Bananas: The New Buttercream
One of my greatest food altering moments involved a banana. Newly gluten-free and timidly entering the world of special-diet cooking, I watched as a woman on TV blended a mixture of frozen banana chunks, vanilla extract, and a splash of milk. That was it. And ta-da, she made a vanilla milkshake without ice cream. In under five minutes. Mind. Blown. Since that fateful day, I’ve discovered more of banana’s talents beyond splits.
May 2, 2019
What’s the Difference Between Salt & Sodium?
Finding, making, and eating great low-sodium meals requires a little education and some preparation up front. But once you know your low-so stuff, every part of keeping this diet (from shopping to cooking), becomes routine. And that’s a good thing. First we talked through six first steps and encouragements for the beginning of your low-so journey. Now we’re going to get into the nitty-gritty. Today’s lesson: let’s learn the difference between salt and sodium.
May 2, 2019
What Sodium Labels Mean: A Guide to Decoding Sodium Labels
In our beginners guide to low-sodium eating, we’ve tackled first steps and encouragements for going low-so, and we’ve talked about the difference between salt and sodium. Today, let’s quickly recap the basics of sodium labeling. How to make sense of all those labels? What should you be looking for? Here’s a cheat sheet. The good news is that today, as opposed to ten years ago, there are a lot more low-sodium products on the market that actually taste great.
May 2, 2019
Sneaky Sodium: A Few Surprising Sources of Sodium in Food
You may have heard someone make the following statement before: “I don’t eat a lot of sodium. I never salt my food.” But the truth is, the salt shaker is not the only source of sodium. And actually, that salt you use (or don’t use!) while cooking and before you dig into dinner only contributes to 10% of the sodium you consume, according to the American Heart Association. Here are a few surprising spots where sodium can be found.
May 2, 2019
Summer Squash: The New Hot Dog
Vegetables and I have grown super close over the years. Where I used to be terrified of Brussels sprouts and eggplant, now a meal doesn’t feel complete without a huge helping of something green. Or purple. Or cauliflower. While I am not a vegetarian by any means, I find going meatless once in a while stretches both my creativity and my shopping budget. But what about hot dogs? What about the good ol’ frankfurter?
May 2, 2019
Grapes Are the New Cocktail Olive
Greek salads, tapenades, and martinis all have one thing in common: olives. A little bitter, a little sour, and a little salty, olives add three of the five tastes to any dish or drink they touch — they’re a culinary triple threat! And neither your happy hour nor your Nicoise salad would be the same without them. But with my low-sodium diet, olives and the many recipes they star in got cut out of the rotation.
May 1, 2019
Sweet Potatoes Are the New Pig and Zucchini Is the New Blanket
Before rice crackers with tuna tartare and platters of canapes, there were pigs in blankets. A classic finger food that not only saved snack time, but in many ways, acted as the gateway to more mature appetizers, teaching early eaters just how playful and filing small bites of food can be. A very important lesson, indeed.
May 1, 2019
Stewed Carrots Are the New Pulled Pork
Recently, my brother asked an extremely adorable vegetarian to be his wife. She said yes. And I’d like to think that in some small way, my cooking had something to do with it. You see, my brother’s favorite meal growing up was French dip au jus. If there are chicken wings on a menu, they’ll end up on his plate. And I’m pretty sure if he had a choice between ribs and rice pilaf, he’d go with the former.
May 1, 2019
Why You Shouldn’t Throw Away the Liquid from Cooking Lentils
For many home cooks, lentils have officially crossed over from the world of unfamiliar legume to common pantry staple, earning a coveted spot on the shelf between rice and beans. Red or green, tender or toothy, hot or cold — lentils can be used in an endless variety of dishes. And no matter how you plan to eat them, they usually start with a simple boil and drain. But here’s a tip: Don’t toss that cooking liquid.
May 1, 2019
Shredded Butternut “Cheddar” Is My Alternative to Shredded Cheese
My daughter’s first word was cheese — a developmental milestone that delighted my husband and I greatly. Like many American kids, a nibble on cheddar provided one of her first culinary adventures. And to this day, the sight of Parmesan, brie, or anything cheese-like elicits an almost apoplectic reaction. The kid loves cheese. So did I. Especially the orange kind. Whether it came from a block, grated, or in plastic-wrapped slices, cheddar played a very prominent role in my early life.
May 1, 2019
Nori Is My Go-To, Wheat-Free Burrito Wrap
San Francisco may be best known for sourdough, but a few years ago it also became home to a new culinary mash-up: the sushi burrito. A combination of rice and fillings all wrapped — burrito-style — inside a sheet of nori, the sushi burrito is a very welcome solution for wheat-free burrito-lovers, like myself.
May 1, 2019
5 Easy Ways to Snack on Seeds & Nuts
Walnuts, almonds, pepitas, or pine nuts — most people have a stash of nuts and seeds in the cupboard. And with the help of some other common ingredients, you can transform this simple snack food into something special. Perfect for entertaining guests or just your grumbling stomach. The simplest way to spice up nuts is with, well, spices. Don’t be afraid to get creative here.
May 1, 2019
5 Easy Ways to Snack on Tortillas
While some people always have a loaf of bread in the fridge, I keep a package of tortillas on hand at all times. I have found them truly indispensable when it comes to staying full and satisfied throughout the day. And before you think tortillas are only good for quesadillas, think again; these floppy round disks of dough are destined for way more. Pleasing to the eye and mouth, pinwheels make a super easy snack, for kids and adults alike.
May 1, 2019
5 Easy Ways to Snack on Peas
Growing up, my mom always told me tales of the frozen peas her mother served as an after-school snack. I think the story was supposed to make me feel grateful for the apple and cheddar slices I got at home. But now, in my thirties, I realize my mom (and her mom) were really onto something genius.
May 1, 2019
5 Quick Snacks with Popcorn
Popcorn is already a pretty common snack; one we often enjoy while watching movies at home or in the theater. And while popcorn drenched in butter has its merits, it’s destined for so much more than that. So whether you pop your own kernels or use a nifty microwave bag, try these popcorn tricks and treats the next time you’re looking to mix up your snack (or movie) routine. One way to boost the flavor of your typical bag of popcorn is by adding unexpected spices.
May 1, 2019
5 Easy Ways to Snack on Eggs
Disclaimer: Eggs as a snack food will require more minutes than, say, mixing nuts with yogurt. That’s because eggs usually require boiling water, a hot skillet, or an oven before you can eat them. But before you discount the egg as a snack food, keep in mind that none of the steps to cooking an egg require too much time or effort. And the results will prove to be major game-changers when it comes to making quick, beautiful, and flavorful bites.
May 1, 2019
Why You’ll Never Again Throw Away Vegetable Peels
Warning: You may wish you had a time machine after reading this post. Because what you’ll discover is that, for years, you’ve been missing out on a ridiculously tasty treat — baked vegetable peels. When prepping potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and other root vegetables, it’s common practice to first wash and then remove the outer layer of skin. But the next time you ready these ingredients for a recipe, throw out old habits instead of the scraps.
May 1, 2019
Peaches Are My Totally Awesome Substitute for Bacon (Yes, Really!)
For most of my youth, I preferred eggs scrambled or in omelette form. And by the time my taste buds understood and appreciated the delicacy that was eggs Benedict, it was too late. I was on a strict low-sodium diet and could no longer eat the salty layer of Canadian bacon, nor the buttered English muffin. Meaning I was destined for a life of two-not-three-layered Benedicts (poached eggs with hollandaise).
May 1, 2019
5 Easy Ways to Turn Cherry Tomatoes into Summer Appetizers
Along with milk and eggs, cherry tomatoes have a permanent spot on my shoppig list. For one, my kid eats them by the fistful. For two, I snack on them constantly while I cook. And for three, they act as a secret weapon when a dish needs a little extra color or flavor boost — because, in case you didn’t know, tomatoes are bursting with natural umami.
May 1, 2019
Why You Shouldn’t Throw Away Corn Husks
My brother and I used to fight over shucking duties. Sitting out on the front porch with a paper bag between our legs, the lucky one got to rip the leaves off the cob, freeing wisps of corn silk confetti into the air — and all over our steps. (I wonder now if my parents fought over post-corn shucking cleanup with equal enthusiasm.) The naked corn would then get submerged in a pot of boiling water or milk before being paired with a plate of crab or artichokes or something equally summery.
May 1, 2019
Make Everything Egg Muffins for a Grain-Free, Low-Sodium Bagel Fix
There aren’t many foods I miss since going on a low-sodium diet, but I must confess, the thought of a toasted everything bagel, slathered with melting cream cheese and a glistening pink curl of smoked salmon still sends my heart racing. And maybe a tiny tear from my eye. Don’t call me crazy, but I have a fix for you. No, it’s not a New York-style bagel but it may just address your low-sodium bagel longings.
May 1, 2019