it all started when i caught some of the local news reporting on the "rice diet" which is a diet program based in durham. i was first interested because i remember seeing the little rice diet sign at the headquarters when craig and i used to go to eno river state park in durham back in the day when we weren't slaves to ella's nap times. one bit about the diet stood out above the rest which was the low-to-no sodium food restriction, of course, easily achieved because your three meals a day are cooked for you at, no doubt, a hefty sum.
so i started paying attention to my sodium intake and while i've always been proud that i never add salt to my food when i cook or prepare it, i was stunned to see (naively) that in reality i consume SO MUCH salt a day that it's absurd. the recommended intake is around 1200mg and as the rice diet page points out, most people are consuming between 4000 and 7000mg a day! the rice diet concludes that the body only needs 500mg a day, which if you start paying atttention, is the amount in a bowl of cereal, two crackers and a handful of peanuts.
now, granted, since ella came along i've been relying on packaged food a lot - boca burgers, couscous mixes, frozen tortellini. but having never paid attention to the sodium content of foods i've been surprised to see lots of sodium in so much of the food i eat that isn't considered "salty", like cereals and dairy products.
i'm sure i haven't even begun to near the 1200mg daily allowance but i'm trying to be good about buying "no salt added" items and to stop relying on packaged items and to basically purge my pantry of any and all canned soups (the kiss of death by salt, for sure). but i do have to wonder - if products are available without salt or with lower salt and if generally the taste is not compromised, why don't companies just make the low or no salt versions as standards? the rice diet web site has a health food store online with lots of packaged products that are low in sodium so i am going to glean some of their choices from that list, shop at whole foods with a small personal loan and hopefully not shrivel up into a pile of salt as i age.