Sunday, January 31, 2016

My Classic "Go To" Soup is Off Limits

You've seen the new Campbell's Chicken Soup commercial. It's quite cute and funny. And while my mother never actually made me chicken soup when I was sick as a child, we always had it in the house and it was one of the first things I learned to cook - open the can, pour it in a pot, and heat. Now you can use the microwave, of course, but the sentiment is the same.

Even as an adult, I always made sure the cabinets were stocked with soups of many different varieties and brands, especially meaty stews. And there was always a few cans of chili. I considered these as "go to" options when I wasn't quite sure what I wanted.

The Boss did a little reading and research and pointed out that even the "healthy" soups might be low in calories but are high in sodium. What was my response? I didn't care. I continued to eat the ones I wanted and any time I saw a study downplaying the role of high sodium in connection with high blood pressure and other diseases, I made sure to point it out to her. She stuck to her guns, and I stuck to mine.

Then Lo and Behold, the Food Gods Struck! 

I had high blood pressure. Damn them Food Gods! Coming along like that and ruining all my fun. Wasn't it enough that I'd given up smoking ten years before? Oh sure, I gained a little over sixty pounds since then, but dangit, giving up cigarettes was supposed to be enough to put me on the road to good health.

It was my overall diet that did it. I salted everything, many times before even tasting, and any time I grilled I used dry rubs zealously. I simply hadn't ever cared about high sodium content, and it caught up with me.


So while may I find Campell's commercials funny I'll never be buying their soup, or soups by any other companies either. Some soups provide as much as half of a day's FDA recommended daily sodium amount. Other studies have indicated that 90% of Americans' sodium intake comes not from our salt shakers, but from the sodium added to the processed foods we buy - the frozen dinners, canned vegetables, lunch meats, jarred sauces, etc. If you start reading the labels and make an attempt to cut down on your sodium intake, you'll realize how hard that is. Which means that even if you don't ever salt your food, in all likelihood you are taking in way more sodium than you should.

Your best bet? Well you know what that is - you've heard it a hundred times. Buy your food from the perimeter of the grocery story and try not to buy food in the middle aisles - that's where all the sodium (and excessive sugar) is. Learn to make your own soups using as many fresh and natural ingredients as your budget will allow. And like with everything you buy --- Read the Label! Nothing will bring you diet under control than reading label and increasing your knowledge of exactly what you're putting in your body.

Until Next Time...
Maybe these two clips from Ratatouille will help inspire you into making your own soup, or at the very least, just be fun to watch. The Cooking Soup Scene and the Soup Tasting Scene.

Soupily Yours,
Michael