Posts Tagged ‘salt’

Are Frozen Dinners Worth the Convenience?

We live in a busy, fast-paced society where taking the time to prepare a delicious and healthy meal is not always possible.  Pre-prepared foods and frozen dinners offer a quick and easy alternative, but at what price?

Typical frozen dinner

Most frozen meals are loaded with sugar, sodium, and preservatives with low vegetable and fiber content.  Though we need sodium in our diet, about one teaspoon a day or 2300 milligrams, for fluid balance, muscle strength and nerve function, most of us get far more than that with our consumption of frozen and processed foods.  We are all well aware of the dangers of too much salt and sugar!  The right kind of salt is important too.  Click here for more information about salts.

Certain frozen dinner brands, and specific meals produced by those brands, are worse than others.  Hot pockets, chicken potpies, and turkey and gravy dinners are among the worst.  Usually organic frozen meals are better, but it’s important to take the time to read the labels carefully, as with all processed foods.  Just because a product says “natural” doesn’t mean it is, even with frozen veggie burgers. Be on the lookout for salt’s various disguises like sodium alginate, sodium ascorbate, sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), and sodium benzoate, as well as added sugars under the name of high fructose corn syrup or natural cane sugar and unhealthy fats.

As Oscar Wilde said, “everything in moderation including moderation”, so the occasional frozen dinner won’t hurt you.  There is no substitute however, for a fresh, home cooked meal seasoned properly with healthy herbs, enhanced with a small amount sea salt, and prepared with love.

For more green living tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com.

 

Information compiled from: http://channels.isp.netscape.com/,

http://www.webmd.com/

WHAT’S WRONG WITH PROCESSED FOODS?

Processed foods are foods that have been altered from their natural states in order to extend their shelf life.  Foods that come in a box, can, bag or carton are processed.  They are often poor quality and usually cheap.  About 90% of the money Americans spend on food is used to buy “edible foodlike substances” as Michael Pollan, well-known author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma and professor, calls them.

Processed foods have been implicated in most of today’s chronic diseases and health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer.  What makes processed foods so bad?  Many processed foods contain trans fats (or hydrogenated) a dangerous type of fat, which raises the bad cholesterol and lowers the good.  Most processed foods are extremely high in salt, also not good for the heart, and addictive.  Have you ever tried to eat just one potato chip?!  Another addictive ingredient you’ll find in processed foods is high fructose corn syrup, which is linked to obesity and diabetes.  Sugar is burned and turned into energy; high fructose corn syrup turns into fat. Potato chips and French fries often contain Acrylamide, a carcinogenic substance that forms when foods are heated at high temperatures, such as during baking or frying.

Processed foods also contain a lot of additives. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) maintains a list of over 3,000 chemicals that are added to the processed food supply to add color, stabilize, texturize, preserve, sweeten, thicken, etc.  Some of these additives have never been tested for safety and require no government approval.  They belong to the FDA’s “Generally Recognized as Safe” list.

So what should we eat?  As Michael Pollan says, keep it simple. “Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food”.  “Eat only foods that will eventually rot.”  Always read the label and choose wisely.  And, everything in moderation.

Information compiled from SixWise.com; report by Lorie Johnson, CBN News Medical Reporter and Food Rules by Michael Pollan.

THE GOOD SALT

 

Redmond Real Salt

 

 

Knowing which foods are beneficial and which aren’t seems to change daily and salt is no exception.  We’ve all been told that too much salt is not good for you, that it contributes to strokes, high blood pressure and other ailments.  The truth is we need salt. Our bodies are made up of 75% water, a salty solution similar to seawater (Ever tasted your tears?). Water and salt regulate all metabolic functions of the body and are crucial for maintaining the health of every cell.  The culprit is not salt, but the wrong salt.  Regular table salt is refined, primarily kiln-dried sodium chloride with anti-caking agents and iodine added. The beneficial trace minerals, as well as calcium, magnesium and potassium salts that keep the body’s electrolytes in a healthy balance, are removed in processing. Table salt is bleached and usually contains sugar (dextrose) and other additives. Processed food and frozen dinners contain high amounts of this table salt further adding to the salt problem.

So what kind of salt do you buy?  Sea salt that is sun dried and in its natural, mineral rich crystal form.  It often is pinkish in hue because of the trace minerals.  Sea salt is available in most grocery stores including Trader Joe’s.  As with all food that you buy, read the label though.  Some sea salts have been processed too. Redmond Real Salt is a good brand and free from any additives or chemicals. It comes from an ancient salt deposit near the small town of Redmond, Utah.