By Marvin Baker, a new weekly column in The Kenmare News
Posted 7/14/15 (Tue)
Salt, sodium, monosodium glutamate; call it what you wish, but any or all of the three are far too abundant in the human diet.
It wasn’t until recently that I began reading food labels because of health concerns about blood pressure and retaining fluid.
It turns out, even when you are consciously aware of limiting sodium in your body, it’s difficult to avoid.
For instance, one of my favorite foods anytime of year is soup. Doesn’t matter what kind; beef barley, vegetable, French onion, chili, borscht and the list goes on. And it doesn’t matter which kind, but they all contain enough sodium that we should be alarmed.
The only time I can enjoy soup without the sodium, is when I make it myself.
And yes, I do that, but I’m somewhat limited in what I can make without salt to make it taste good.
As an example, in vegetable soup, balsamic vinegar and Worchestershire Sauce take the place of sodium and make it taste pretty darn good. Unfortunately, the “Woozie sauce,” as many people call it, contains 6 percent sodium. The point being, even in my own concoction, there is a little bit of sodium.
Looking at labels and reading the daily amounts of sodium in these soups is just mind boggling. I found one, a dehydrated broccoli/cheddar soup mix that has 44 percent of our daily sodium allowance, per serving.
It seems like 27 percent is the low end and most are well into the 30 percentile.
But, oh gosh, do they taste good!
Those of us who enjoy potato chips should also be alarmed at the amount of salt used to make potato chips.
Growing up with a brand like Old Dutch, our parents brought that stuff home and we gobbled it up without thinking or realizing how it was affecting our taste buds.
It’s the same with almost every other food. Take macaroni and cheese for instance. Look at the amount of salt used to make mac & cheese. It might surprise you.
I don’t know about you, but I love pickles, any kind of pickles, especially the hot ones that use garlic and cayenne pepper.
Unfortunately, my doctor is urging me to back off on the pickles because of the amount of sodium in them.
So what can I do to still enjoy pickles and not get 300 percent of my daily allowance of sodium? I’ll have to make them myself and use other spices and herbs to mimic the flavor of the salt.
This is why, when our garden got planted in late May, I put in almost 300 pickling cucumber plants. Yes, we go to farmers’ market and people are going to want picklers, but 300 plants ought to be enough to feed a battalion of Soldiers.
And by mid September, my pantry should be full of one food I really like and not have any salt to contend with.
Did you know that even breakfast cereal has sodium in it. For how many years now have we been hearing that oatmeal is a healthy food, can lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
Yes, I like to think that oatmeal is healthy, but it still contains 4 percent sodium, which isn’t a lot but represents the wrong direction in limiting sodium.
A long time ago, back in the ‘60s, my parents had a doctor who continued to warn them both that there is enough salt in the foods we eat and we don’t have to add salt to our diet.
I still remember sitting in the clinic in Linton with my parents when he told them that salt is the antichrist and stay away from it.
But back then, I remember my dad dumping salt on fish, on mashed potatoes, on goulash and just about everything else. My mom used it in cooking, but enough was probably already there without having to add to it.
Going out for a meal? You may be so inclined to choose Hardees and have a 2/3-pound Monster Thickburger. Get this; 2,700 milligrams of sodium, 220 milligrams of cholesterol, 33 grams of saturated fat and 1,290 calories. Don’t forget to add a large crispy curl with 1,420 milligrams of sodium and 570 calories. You may then wash it down with a can of Pepsi and its 30 milligrams of sodium. I wonder if Hardees has cardiac doctors standing by?
Absolutely remarkable, but I give some of these companies a lot of credit for posting their nutritional information, you know, kind of how cigarettes warning labels have gone from “cigarette smoke may be hazardous to your health” to “cigarettes will kill you.”