Food Is Not Your Enemy

Will Ronald McDonald Retire?

The Wall Street Journal ran a piece today about the pressure being put on McDonald’s to stop marketing its food to kids, and to send its cherry-haired clown packing. People will pooh-pooh this kind of campaign, being waged by the likes of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the Chicago Hispanic Health Coalition, and Dr. Andrew Weil. But the bigwigs at McDonald’s know full well what Happy Meals and clowns are all about, no matter how much they go on about how their restaurants offer lots of choices and that they believe in nutritious food–it’s about money. And getting kids excited about McD’s, so that they then bug their parents to take them there so they can get the Buzz Lightyear with their burger, is just good business. Good business like pushing Camel cigarettes via the cartoon character Joe Camel was good business.

Why You Should Feel Okay About Cooking With Salt

“I don’t cook with salt.” I’ve heard this refrain many times from people who have high blood pressure. I picture them slurping down tasteless soups and suffering through bland steaks, and am happy for my own salt shaker at home.

But then they’ll tell me in passing that they go out to restaurants and/or get takeout several times a week. At which point I may ask, “Do you know how much salt is in the restaurant food you’re eating?”

The answer will shock anyone. Often restaurant entrees have more salt in them than you’re supposed to have in an entire day (which is 1,500 mg, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest). That Olive Garden Garden-Fresh Salad with Italian dressing? 1,930 mg. Chipotle chicken burrito? 2,120 mg. Panera Full Smoked Ham & Swiss Sandwich on rye? 2,350 mg. And forget about Chili’s Texas Cheese Fries with jalapeno ranch dressing–you’re looking at almost four days’ worth of salt in that mess (5,530 mg).

And it’s not just the chain restaurants. New York magazine sent a few entrees from popular NYC restaurants to the lab last year to see how much sodium they contained, and it wasn’t pretty (Momofuku Noodle Bar’s ramen with pork belly, pork shoulder, and poached egg has 3,440 mg, for example).

The fact is that only 10 percent of salt in Americans’ diets comes from salt used in the home. The other 90 percent comes from the restaurant and prepared foods that we eat.

So if you have high blood pressure, or want to prevent yourself from getting it, stop worrying about using salt in your own cooking. If you instead cut back on restaurant, take-out, and frozen meals, you’ll be making a much, much bigger impact when it comes to salt reduction. And your waistline will love that home-cooking as well.

New Nutritional Counseling Web Site

I’ve got a new Web site! Take a look at my newly redesigned site here. Info on the nutritional counseling programs that I offer, contact form to sign up for a free one-hour consultation, and more.

Tilapia: The Good and the Bad of This Popular Farmed Fish
May 2, 2011, 11:04 am
Filed under: Meat | Tags: , ,

So is tilapia, that relatively inexpensive and bland white fish, good for you, or not? There are some good answers here.