Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Love (and HFCS) is in the Soup

It's a heartwarming story about a major corporation fighting to end hunger and obesity. The Campbell Soup company is planning an initiative to reduce malnutrition in the town of it's headquarters, Camden, NJ.

It's a great PR story to be sure, no less at the expense of our press advertising it. But if they choose to follow the dietary guidelines spouted by every other nutrition "expert" they won't get very far. And judging by what they put in their products, I'm sure they'll heed the " experts' " opinion.
"Campbell officials have been particularly struck by problems that revolve around food. The company, long a purveyor of vegetables in its soups and V-8 juices, has made efforts to become — and bill itself as — a prime maker of healthy options. It has reduced sodium in many of its soups and other products and introduced whole-grain Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers, among other health-oriented developments."

What's ironic about this, is that some of the Campbell Soups are some of the unhealthiest things you could eat. Well, maybe white bread with High Fructose Corn Syrup laden jelly would be worse, but maybe not by much. Their tomato soup has HFCS as the second ingredient and most of their other soups have canola oil or partially hydrogenated cottonseed or soybean oil and MSG. Even their "upscale" looking soups have HFCS.

So maybe while they're on their anti-hunger, anti-obesity kick, they could maybe stop putting crap in their soup? Again, that's another one of those things that I'm not holding my breath over.

About the only way to get soup that comes already prepared without a bunch of junk in it is to pony up $4 for a can or box of organic. Poor people can't afford this. But why are some groceries so cheap in the first place? Because they put cheap, crappy ingredients in it. Truly you can make your own soup at home, easily, and you'll know what's in it. It will have ingredients that you can pronounce. I always hate it when I read an ingredient and first of all can't pronounce it, and secondly don't even know what on this green earth it comes from. Does it come from an animal? A plant? Industrial waste? Who knows?

Would you like to know how to make tomato soup? It is so easy, it makes me wonder why anyone would buy it in a can. You boil chopped tomatoes in chicken broth with a bit of salt, until they're very tender. You can even walk away while this is happening. When they're through, you pour them into a food processor and blend them up. It takes a minute of blending. Pour the mixture back into the pot, straining the seeds with a strainer, and add a bit of heavy cream and a packet or two of stevia or splenda and stir until warm. It is very, very good, and very, very easy.

How about carrot soup? I haven't made this in ages, but it's even easier than the tomato soup. You boil chopped carrots in chicken broth until soft. You then use a hand blender to blend them up, in the pot. VoilĂ ! You have carrot soup. You can do this with just about any vegetable. And the stew-like soups, like our chicken soup are even easier in that there's no blending involved.

I see people all the time buying pre-packaged food, and think to myself that they've probably forgotten what real food tastes like. I'm sure that the five year old kid who weighs 125 lbs mentioned in the story, eats primarily processed carbohydrates.
"Kim Fremont Fortunato, who was hired late last year to head up the anti-obesity efforts, said she recently shadowed a doctor who was treating a 5-year-old Camden boy weighing 125 pounds. She said the doctor warned the boy's grandmother that he would be diabetic by age 10 if his obesity wasn't controlled."

I'd like to believe that the doctor treating him will tell his caregivers to lay off the carbohydrates, but that's probably wishful thinking. I'm sure they'll tell them to cut out the fat and the sodium and give the kid whole wheat bread.

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