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Voting With My Fork: Day 1

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I assumed I was eating correctly and never gave sodium a second thought.

Mom needed to watch her blood pressure so I stopped salting foods or cooking with salt. I’ve used a substitute (love Mrs. Dash) for years. As I progressed on my Spark journey, I faithfully checked my daily tracker and adjusted my foods to consume the correct amount of calories, carbs and protein. I rewarded myself when I did and changed my pattern when I didn’t. I was stunned to learn the foods I chose to help me become ‘healthy’ were loaded with sodium.

I stopped drinking V8 juice (11.5 ounce can has 690 mg of sodium) once I finally read the label, but it never occurred to me that my good old oatmeal contained salt. I quit eating breakfast once I left for college and was proud I restarted because of Spark. Due to a hectic schedule, I eat at work. (I am blessed with that option which I understand many Sparkers do not have…) We shop @ Sams and buy in bulk, so when I saw the Quaker Instant Oatmeal packs, I was in heaven. Not ‘til I reached goal did I start tracking sodium and then I learned that every day I was consistently consuming 170 mg of sodium (not to mention 12 g of sugar…).

I also assumed my canned (in water) albacore tuna was healthy (aside from the BPA issue),

but a 5 oz can contains 2.5 servings = 625 mg of sodium. Finally, my lowfat cottage cheese ‘weighed in’ @ 460 mg per ½ cup. Four ‘healthy’ foods = 85% of my MAXIMUM daily sodium intake.

I’ve since ‘voted with my fork’ and switched to Quick – 1 Minute Oatmeal (sodium free, +20 calories), but since the only difference is the size of the oat, find it irritating the company did not offer a sodium free instant option, particularly since they’re mincing the oats before adding sodium and sugar… I have DH grill an extra Sea Choice Wild Alaskan Salmon Burger (3.2 oz, 260 mg of sodium) to take for lunch, and I’ve substituted Lucerne Cottage Cheese, 1% Milkfat, No Salt Added (no more fat or calories and 1/10th the sodium) for my former cottage cheese. Three HEALTHY foods @ 13% my daily sodium value.

I’ve asked the SparkTeam to consider adding sodium as a default to the nutrition tracker to help us not only 'vote with our forks', but make healthier choices from the beginning of our health journeys. The change may be technically unfeasible or politically impractical (many people might want other nutrients tracked), but I am hopeful they will give it due consideration.

If you aren’t tracking your sodium intake, you can click the “Change Nutrition Goals” button at the top center of your myNutrition page. After adding sodium (and other nutrients), you can track either at the bottom left of the page or by clicking the “See Today’s Full Report” at the bottom right of the myNutrition page.

The food giants are coming to the table in the US with pledges of reducing 1.5 trillion calories by 2015.

While entirely too slow, it is a step forward and if we ‘vote with our forks’, we might convince them to lower the sodium content as well.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Ok. I finally took the plunge on this issue of sodium. I am fairly certain that this will be a huge area for improvement for me because I like salt. I don't eat much processed food but I do eat things like tuna, add salt to foods (getting better at that) ...

    So I add this to my tracker... I could have done this back when I added some other nutrients but avoided talking to myself about this. I did the ostrich-approach to confronting the issue.

    Thanks for nudging me into important decision. YOU WERE MY SIGN POST today! Now I have to go back and read your other VOTING WITH MY FORK to see what else I ought to be doing!
    2812 days ago
    I eat very little processed foods anymore and I discovered I had too little sodium in my diet and had a low blood pressure and electrolyte problem as well. So, actually tracking to get enough would be a positive thing for me. But alas, this week, pizza and snack mix probably swung the other direction on two occasions....oh, my...maybe it is back to the food tracker. I have got a meal plan but I may need to double dip to secure myself. I also have had potassium problems which I understand can be a problem with people who have kidney issues and you can also track potassium on the nutrition tracker which is really cool, too. Something worth thinking about. I also was happy to see your last link, btw. Thanks very much!
    2827 days ago
    Decreasind sodium is one of my goals this month. I added it to my food tracker and was quite surprised at the amount of salt I was getting. I still struggle staying within the limits. But I am with you and will keep working towards staying on track with it. Thanks for the great blog!!
    2827 days ago
    You're SO right about this and it's very helpful that you have highlighted individual products.

    I started logging sodium after Marhsa (OLDMOM3) blogged about it. The amounts in seemingly innocent foods are shocking and sodium is such a baddie for encouraging water retention and high blood pressure.

    I wonder if it's another theme of maintenance to focus in on the important details within nutrition tracking?
    2827 days ago
    That's crazy! I've also started to notice the amount of sodium in everything. It's a bit excessive and I don't understand the need for it!
    2827 days ago
    I am the opposite of you. As I eat mostly fresh fruit and veggies and drink nothing but water and eat very little grains, I became concerned I may not be getting enough sodium for my sweaty workouts to have a proper electrolyte balance (my blood pressure is really low). So I started tracking sodium to find I was indeed on the low end. I have started to add more grains, and even have to step up the fat as I am always perennially under it by a good bit. Its ironic after so many years of getting fat free cottage cheese, yogurt and soy beverage, now I have to get it with and the more the better lol. I have added natural almond butter to my diet, but even that is not enough! I also check out my fiber as I was having a lot of stomach problems and it was suggested I may not be getting enough (and I was a bit low), but I am now with the grains. The Nutrition Tracker is amazing and I simply can't do without it!!
    2827 days ago
    Great insight! I go ove ron sodium and never add salt to anything...time for me to check labels and weed out foods with too much!
    2827 days ago
    You hit it SPOT on with the Sodium!! It is UNBELIEVABLE!! I finally got a head's up from another sparkie...when I was reaching out...frustrated of still gaining and then she went and looked at my nutrition tracker...and told me that all the frozen goods, although good calorie and fat...SODIUM was awful!! I read labels like tomorrow!! Hubby found me a turkey bacon that is 80 mg sodium...and I thought I would never get to have beans again. Then I located this bag of beans that are hydrated (not needing all the preservatives)....they have 0 mg of sodium and fat!!! And they were pretty darn good on my baked tostitos and ground turkey with reduced fat shredded cheese!!! I don't even want to try and guess all the sodium at all these fast food/restaurants!!! I wanted cottage cheese...BADLY..but I could only find the Lucerne online..it isn't sold in the stores around where I live...so I still go without!!

    The greatest thing I've noticed since ridding all that Sodium...my fingers don't puff during exercise...and my headaches have decreased immensely!!

    Have a great one!!

    2827 days ago
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