Thursday, July 16, 2009

War No More

Growing up, I could lend my support to the War on Drugs. This seemed intuitive to me. Too many drugs = bad.

War on fat? Check. Thanks to current information, I diligently monitor the intake of fat for myself and my family.

War on sugar? Sure – I can get behind this one too. (Anyone who’s ever been to a kid’s party has seen firsthand the impact of birthday cake on a small person.) Why wouldn’t I want to be cognizant of how much sugar the little ones are ingesting?

War on salmon? This one I had a little more trouble with. I thought that those omegas were supposed to be good for you…

War on meat? Cattle-rearing produces more greenhouse gases than driving cars?? Wait a minute – I thought that eating meat constituted part of a balanced diet.

And as of last week, Canada has declared a war on salt. I’m sorry, but I just don’t think that I’ve got this fight in me. For years, sodium has been the single aspect of the nutrition label that I have blissfully ignored. I’ve counted and compared calories, fats and sugars. But sodium? Nuh-uh. This one I’ve overlooked – until now. Now my eye goes directly to the middle of that label – shocked at how high this sodium number can climb. Now I know that I’m failing, on a daily basis, to limit my intake to the appropriate recommended amount. Sodium is added to everything – especially prepared foods.

To wage the war on salt, my newspaper nutrition columnist suggests that I cook my foods from scratch and then season them with cayenne pepper or citrus. Okay – so here’s a question, World: You want me to work to support my family, be a doting yet firm mother, a supportive and available friend and family member AND TO COOK MY FOODS FROM SCRATCH AND SEASON THEM WITH CITRUS? No, I say. I just can’t do it. I cannot juggle Admiral Road, my children's schedules, my schedule and grow my own foods too. My kids will eat Cheerios (loaded with sodium) and hot dogs (who knows what’s in those?) and as long as our blood pressure remains under control I’ll do my best to get them reared into adulthood.

I’ve fought the good fight, but I just can’t fight the war on salt. I’m saving my strength. Twelve years from now I’ll have three teenaged girls in my house and I’m going to have other battles to pick.

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