Hunger Is Not a Disease

Salt in the Food Pantry World

If what the historians tell us is correct, people have been eating salt for over 6000 years. They’ve also been using salt in all kinds of industries. And, in fact, only 6% of the salt manufactured in the world today is used for food according to the Maldon Salt Company.
Salt has, throughout time, played a significant part in wars, commerceand religion throughout the world.
In 1930, Gandhi led a march of 100,000 people protesting a salt tax levied by the British.
It is believed by some historians that ancient trading routes throughout the world began when different cultures bought and sold salt.
Salt is used in religious ceremonies in all the major world religions.
Salt is still an important commodity for all of us.
Before the Good Neighbor Food Pantry got sooo crowded and before our time was sooo limited in the pantry, the shoppers got to read the labels on the cans.
This was important for our shoppers. After all, most of them had no health care to speak of. Their only means of caring for themselves was eating properly.
What a challenge in a pantry!
A typical pantry shift included many people reading canned good labels trying to figure out which items had safe levels of salt, sugar, added chemicals, preservatives, hydrogenated fats, artificial colors, flavors, high fructose corn syrup.
One of the basic problems with pantry canned goods was the prevalence of products with outrageous amounts of salt.
We had a number of seniors suffering with hypertension and a low salt food product was important to them.
This issue still exists in pantries to a certain extent even though the Hunger Prevention Nutrition Assistance Program people began limiting the availability of many high salt products on our food order inventory.
Everyone, pantry shopper or not, is encouraged to reduce sodium intake to less than 2300 milligrams a day. That’s about 1 teaspoon. Adults over 50, and people with high blood pressure, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease should reduce the sodium intake to 1500 per day.
So, how can this be done most easily?
EAT FRESH FOODS. THEY ARE LOWER IN SODIUM THAN PROCESSED FOODS. Stay away from cheesy foods (pizza), bacon, sausage, hot dogs, deli meats, canned chili, canned ravioli, and canned soups.
EAT AT HOME. The meals you prepare at home are more nutritious because you’re in control of the ingredients.
EAT PLENTY OF VEGGIES AND FRUITS. Fresh/frozen vegetables and fruits have much less sodium. Try to eat them at every meal.
CHOOSE PRODUCTS THAT ARE LOWER IN SALT. This means choosing fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt.
Choose fresh meats rather than eating deli meats which have much more salt. Choose unsalted nuts.
FORGET THE SALT. Remove the salt shaker from the kitchen counter and the dining table. Choose spices, herbs, vinegar, lemon juice, pepper instead.
READ THE LABELS ON THE FOOD. Choose foods which are labeled “low sodium”, “reduced sodium” and “no salt added.”
CHOOSE LOW SODIUM CONDIMENTS. Some condiments such as soy sauce, pickles, olives, salad dressings are high in salt. Choose the low sodium variety.
And, of course, it’s all about choice. Choice is a rare commodity if you are shopping in a food pantry because you have no money. (And, why else does one shop in a food pantry?)
Food pantry shoppers have very little control over what they eat because they can’t afford to shop in the grocery store with thousands of choices. Neither can they afford to shop in the farmer’s market.
One way people can help the situation is by donating healthy foods to a pantry. As a donor of food to a pantry, you are the one making the choice. When you choose, for example, to give a low sodium soy sauce to a food drive, you are responsibly choosing a healthier product for someone who has absolutely no money to make such a choice.
Thank you for shopping and donating healthy foods to your food pantry and soup kitchen.
Thanks for reading this blog/book.
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Peace and food for all.