Wednesday, December 2, 2009

What's Lurking in that Chickenless Noodle Soup?

Vegans might not have to worry about cholesterol amounts and saturated animal fats, but in addition to those pesky partially hydrogenated oils in non-dairy substitutes like some Tofutti products, another worry: sodium.

Amy's No Chicken Noodle Soup has 540 milligrams per serving. Their Thai Coconut soup - 580 grams per serving. Each can has two servings. I know many people who would have the whole can for lunch, packing over 1000 grams. Ouch

Spotted at my local Stop & Shop: several varieties of Kashi dairy-free products, including this pizza and a Tuscan Veggie Bake. Convenient and veg-friendly. But beware...

The bake contains 700 milligrams of sodium (29% of the RDA), the pizza, 530 grams (22%). That's if you eat a third of the pizza.

Too much sodium can raise your blood pressure and your risk for a heart attack or stroke, according to the CDC. Heart disease and stroke are the first and third killers of men and women in the United States each year.

Adults in general should consume no more than 2,300 mg of sodium daily, current dietary guidelines suggest. Limit that to no more than 1,500 mg per day if you are: 40 years of age or older; are African American; or have high blood pressure. Learn more.

My advice for vegans and omnivores alike: the less processed, the better. I'll stick with my weekly visits to Old Hook Farm. Where else would I find 'Esopus Spitzenburg', one of Thomas Jefferson's favorite apple varieties?

Monticello is on my lengthy "to visit" list, as is nearby The White Pig Bed & Breakfast.

Eat fresh, eat seasonal as much as possible, and support your family farmer. Find a local farm or CSA through LocalHarvest.

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