Thursday, September 24, 2009

PET PEEVE THURSDAY--Sodium in processed food

Salt-shakerOne of the good things our government has actually done for us is mandate nutrition labels on our food. The problem is--is anybody reading that material besides me? I know members of my family don't because they haven't got a clue about the amount of sodium they're ingesting.

On one of my diets, low these many years ago, I learned to substitute pepper for salt. They told us (was it Diet Workshop, or Nutrisystem . . . one of them, anyway) that SALT MAKES YOU RETAIN WATER, and water is heavy. Fine. I got used to skim milk and dumping half a shaker of pepper on my food and learned to actually love it.

I don't cook with salt. I even cut the amount of salt in the recipes I include in my books because YOU DON'T NEED AS MUCH AS EVERYONE SEEMS TO THINK YOU DO.

That's why I'm really rather horrified by the amount of salt in any processed food. I used to eat curried beans. I'd buy a generic can of black beans or black-eyed peas, dump them in a saucepan, add some curry paste, heat through, serve on rice--and voila! A quick lunch.  Not anymore.  Now I buy dried beans and cook them in the crock pot (without adding any salt).  Of course I have enough to feed an army, but luckily I like beans.

And have you noticed that low-sodium canned foods (soup, in particular) is usually DOUBLE the price of "regular" canned food?  (It is at my grocery store.) How does this encourage the population at large (especially in these economic times) to lower their sodium intake?

I keep seeing articles in the newspaper Living section about the need to cut sodium in our diets because it's killing us.  An enormous amount of our population--including children--is on meds to lower their blood pressure.  And why?  Because of the amount of sodium they're ingesting. Big Mac

A big part of the problem is fast food.  For instance, according to Wikipedia, a Big Mac has 42% of your daily requirement of sodium. (There's a reason I stay away from these places.)  What about the fries and the rest of the food someone typically ingests on any given day?  I've also given up eating any restaurant soup, too.  Why?  Too salty!

The government seems to want to regulate everything else in our lives--why not the amount of sodium food processors are allowed to add to food?

Salt, salt, salt, salt, S-A-L-T!!!

I know one thing--I don't want to have a stroke, so I watch my sodium intake.  Everybody should.

And what's bugging YOU today?