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Would You Like Some Noodles With Your Sodium?


With all the running around, vacationing, working, and other summer fun happening, many of us are finding it kind of tricky to plan our meals properly. Not having the typical routine set out for us, we often get home from our Summer frolicking h-u-n-g-r-y and not wanting to do much in the way of cooking.

The temptation to turn to foods of convenience may just lure us in. The ultimate in convenience foods- Ramen noodles.

Personally, I'm more familiar with those  way-too-super salty Mr. Noodles styrofoam bowls I used to pack for lunch in grade school. But really- it's all the same. When I ask people what their instant food of choice is, Ramen noodles is always one of the top answers. I have friends who would eat these every night in University. That's a lot of noodles! Aaaand poison.

It would be one thing if the tendency to consume copious amounts of these junky noodles was just a university thing. One of those habits we had along with drinking ourselves silly and smoking those weekend cigarettes. We lived, we learned how bad this made us feel, and we moved on.

However, it's a real head scratcher when these icky habits follow us to our adult lives getting disguised as "healthy" choices. Something "quick and tasty" and a way for our kids to get some veggies in while still eating dinner. Like this take on an Asian Noodle Salad.  There is just no reason to use those flavour enhancer packets.

We can't even pretend that's healthy. Let's check out just what's in Ramen noodles to see why...

 What's In These Oodles Of Noodles?

Noodles: wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, salt, water, soybeans, salt, potassium carbonate, sodium phosphates, sodium carbonate, and tumeric.

Flavour Packet: salt, wheat, soybean, maltodextrin, monosodium glutamate, sugar, onions, garlic, spices, caramel color, cooked beef powder, dehydrated beef extract, lactose, disodium inosinate, hydrolyzed soy protein, disodium guanylate, and natural flavor.

Nutrition panel facts are relatively meaningless and especially do not apply when we eat whole foods, however, I think it's pretty notable that the sodium content in one of these packages clocks in at 1800 mg. This is not health-promoting, mineral rich sea salt we're talking about. It's chemical laden, aluminim containing sodium in many, many forms. Remember our good ol' friend MSG (red this if you haven't yet!)? Well, he's not alone in Ramen noodles!

First, there's salt listed twice in the noodles and once in the flavour packet. There's also sodium phosphates, sodium carbonate, the previously mentioned monosodium glutamate, disodium inosinate, and disodium guanylate. So basically this product is a whole lot of sodium with a side of soy-laced wheat noodles.

As a side note with a little science nerdiness, these creepy sounding chemicals "disodium inosinate" and "disodium guanylate" are additives used along with monosodium  glutamate to produce a synergistic effect. Disodium guanylate in particular is said to be unsafe for babies under twelve weeks and should be avoided by asthamtics and people suffering from gout. Not to mention the proven hazardous effects it can have on the developing brains and nervous systems of children. Maybe not the best thing to have in food? Just a thought.

Check back here next week. Meghan will have a super tasty soup recipe that will banish all Ramen cravings...promise!

Question Of The Day: What's your  go-to food or meal of convenience?

15 Responses to “Would You Like Some Noodles With Your Sodium?”

  1. Tania Thornewell said…
    and the sad thing is that so many kids take these for lunch and eat them raw. My kids would come home - jealous I am sure. And I would be sooo disgusted. .
    • Jen Rotstein said…
      When I was a kid there was a rumour that if you ate those noodles raw you would get worms! That stopped me from eating them for sure :)
  2. Sarah Cherim said…
    I am curious, did you have the same reaction when you were a kid? Or could this be a matter of tolerance? My dad insists that MSG is fine because he isn't allergic to it, but maybe he just doesn't notice it the way that people who don't eat it (like you) would? Thank you
    • Jen Rotstein said…
      Hey Sarah, I think you're right about the not noticing part - now if I eat a food that has MSG in it I totally get a reaction whereas I don't remember having one before. I don't think it meant I wasn't having one, I probably just didn't know exactly what I was feeling or was not paying attention to it. MSG is a poison so even if certain people can 'tolerate' it, this doesn't mean they aren't experiencing health effects from it.
      • Sarah Cherim said…
        Thank you! I find this blog so relateabe because it seems like all the other blogs I read started their clean eating with their parents, whereas you and I ate Ramen noodles when we were kids because we didn't know any better and then evolved into clean eaters. Have you been able to change your parent's habits at all? I am glad I'll have a better platform against MSG with my dad (he actually has a shaker full of it, yeah- gross).
        • Meghan Telpner said…
          My parents habits have changed for sure. Jen's having a bit more of a challenge.
  3. "That’s a lot of noodles! Aaaand poison." Love it! SO true. And I, unfortunately, am way to familiar with the ol' Ramen, myself- I used to eat it every. single. day. for lunch in junior high. Yuck! Lucky for me I got bored of it and haven't touched it since, but... yuck. I feel poisoned. I still love my noodles, as does Nick, but we make a healthier no-msg version with buckwheat noodles, miso, sprouted tofu and veggies instead :)
  4. [...] This post was Twitted by meghantelpner [...]
  5. daneen said…
    What about at ramen restaurants? How bad is it to eat ramen out?
    • Jen Rotstein said…
      Hi Daneen! I'm not sure how certain retaurants prepare this but I'm sure some of the cheaper ones use MSG. Ask them for the ingredients they use to be safe though! Or better yet...make your own :)
  6. Pat said…
    Hi Kristin, What is sprouted tofu? I can't eat soy but was curious My go to fast food is hummus--kids always loved it and the flavor options are endless...
  7. Nanda said…
    When I was young my sister and I would eat raw, soup style, mixed with rice, with scramble eggs, several times a week. When I went to college I learned from friends the ultimate recipe, after is done just mix a lot of heavy cream with it. I don't know, but I think I won the gross contest here. My friends tried to feed some to my kids once and they had one bite and walked away. Meghan, thanks for this great article.
  8. Sara Best said…
    My go-to convenience food is good old PB & J. On those night when I get home from work and have 5 minutes before rushing to take one of the kids to hockey or karate or something, I take a whole wheat tortilla, slap on some peanut butter and jam, roll it up and eat in the car. Not the best meal but not as bad as Ramen noodles ;)
  9. [...] For goodness sake, we are now certain that no matter how convenient, instant soups mixes are no longer an option. [...]

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