Grab Bag Salt Halt:
Unless you lurk in the halls of cardiology conferences, you might have missed the January 2010 news from the American Heart Association, when they released some pretty drastic changes to their recommendations for curbing sodium intake.
Older guidelines recommended capping our daily sodium intake to 2300 mg per day.
Now, they really want us to try to keep it under 1500 mg per day.
Well, guess what? That’s gonna be pretty hard to do if you open a can or a package and consume the contents. Even one piece of healthy, 100% whole wheat bread will generally run around 200 mg of sodium.
Quick salt shaker factoid:
1/4 teaspoon salt = 600 mg sodium
1/2 teaspoon salt = 1,200 mg sodium
3/4 teaspoon salt = 1,800 mg sodium
1 teaspoon salt = 2,300 mg sodium
1 teaspoon baking soda = 1000 mg sodium
I just checked out some recipes I had saved, (I didn’t say MADE, just SAVED) using fresh ingredients and things like vinegar, pasta or cheese. With all their health benefits, these recipes also carry between 400-600 mg of sodium per serving (and that would be just one dish of a meal).
From the American Heart Assoc. website:
What would the health impact be of lowering sodium consumption to less than 1500 mg per day for most Americans?
It is estimated that if the U.S. population moved to an average intake of 1500 mg per day from its current level, there would be a savings of more than $426 billion in healthcare spending and a 25.6 percent decrease in high blood pressure across the population.
So… here is yet another directive to eat more fresh veggies and fruits, because 1 in 10 of us will be diagnosed with high blood pressure (“the silent killer”) if we don’t watch it.
Grab Bag Business Vision:
As we move through this economic lull, many companies have fallen and will fall victim to the slow pace of business. Just look around at your local Main Street… makes you wish you had the local concession on plywood, there are so many store windows boarded over.
But the silver lining is the opportunities which will be available for those surviving and emerging companies to position themselves for the next phase of growth. One thing we consumers will want to see is transparency … pun intended. We have been burned by banks and insurance companies and greedy retailers and we will be looking for more out of businesses than just a good product or service.
In a new book called, “The Responsibility Revolution”, authors Jeffrey Hollender and Bill Breen profile the six principles we should all expect from companies vying for our attention and loyalty. These companies should:
- Have a central, strong mission
- Be transparent (and even open about their problems)
- Structure their company like a community
- Bring consumers inside
- Focus on being authentic, rather than on marketing
- Build a corporate consciousness
If we are in business, these ideas should be central. If we are consumers, we should hold fast to these as expectations. As consumers, if we demand more, we will get more. That’s how the system works. We need to understand and remember the power we wield as consumers and use it for the better good… which brings me to my next topic…
Grab Bag Consumer Beware Tip:
Let my sleuthing be a red flag for you. “Green”, “healthy” and “natural” are buzz words right now, and companies love to promote themselves in that light.
But things are not always as they seem… as illustrated below 🙂
I recently received a promotional email, copied below, with the Subject line reading:
“New baby’s + chidren’s skin care lines”
When reading the copy above, do you get the impression that the products they are introducing are “healthy” and will help babies and children “to be protected from the harmful toxins and harsh chemicals found in many household products”? Under “The Science” section, read the two sentences. Do they appear to be referencing a group of like products, or is each sentence referencing different philosophies of skin care?
And am I crazy, or does it appear that the products mentioned in “The Solution” seem to be offered in response to the general concepts laid out in “The Reality”? It does to me.
So, imagine my surprise when I checked out one of the three products pictured above and found it to be filled with a shit-load of chemicals.
I immediately fired off the following email to the company:
Dear Skin Care Lab,
In a promo email, touting the importance of staying away from “harmful toxins and harsh chemicals found in many household products”, Skin Care Lab promotes this product under the banner of Naturally Beautiful:
I direct your attention to the ingredients I have highlighted in red:
A-Derma Dermo-Pediatrics Gentle Foaming Cleansing Gel
Specially formulated to cleanse babies and children’s sensitive skin.
Ingredients: Water, sodium cocyl glutamate, avena sativa, kernel extract, sodium cocoamphoacetate, acryllates/ 10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, avena sativa, kernel oil (avena sativa), beeswax (cera alba), butylparaben, ethylhexyl palmitate, ethylparaben, fragance parfum, isobutylparaben, methylparaben, phenoxyethanol, propylène glycol, propylparaben, sodium chloride, sodium hydroxyde, squalane, triolein
If you wish to be considered seriously as a source of reliable advice to your consumers, I suggest you filter your recommendations more thoroughly…. this product rates a 6 on Cosmetics Database (it is not in the database, so I copied and pasted your ingredient list into the database and generated a report myself). I, and an increasing number of other consumers out there, wouldn’t get near a 6 for a baby, especially as there are LOADS of products on the market (and MUCH cheaper) that rate a 0, 1, or 2.
I will be sharing this information with my blog readers in the next couple of weeks, and I would be happy to share any response you may have as well.
To their credit, Skin Care Lab responded within an hour. But here is their reply (bolded emphasis is mine):
In fact, at SkinCareLab we pride ourselves on having something for everyone. We have three new baby lines. A-Derma Pediatric is a french skincare line from France for sensitive skin. It is an oatmeal based line and not a natural skincare line. The two others, Epicuren baby and Episencial, feature natural ingredients free of sulfates, parabens, hormones, phenoxyethanol, preservatives ,phthalates, EDTA, petroleum, gluten and nut oils.
To me, promoting this ($40!!) Baby Cleansing Gel in the original email, the UNDENIABLE focus of which was healthy and natural, I felt to be disingenuous at best. They seem to be trying to clarify and make the differentiation between one line and the other two mentioned a bit more clear in their follow-up email to me, but WOW, give me a break.
Take Away – No matter what the product or service, if you find a business is operating in a convoluted or misdirecting fashion, please call them on it. We need to communicate expectations clearly.
Grab Bag Wacky Shop:
So, these things just make me smile. Great stocking stuffers (can one ever start too early on that score?) All can be found at:
And then there’s the ever-necessary Handerpants….
No doubt there are some evil-minded readers who are picturing certain offensive finger gestures in handerpants. Really. Must we go there?
For the gag-lovers in your life, fictitious business pens to hand out to pen-borrowers
(to enjoy the detail, hold down the Apple (command) key (Mac) or Control key (PC) while hitting the + key and the images and type will enlarge)
And the all-important Freudian Slippers
Grab Bag Daily Grind:
It’s not what you do every once in awhile…. like that AMAZING Chocolate Lava Cake at The Chart House (spoken from one who knows)…
That’s not really where your health and welfare reside. Nope… It’s in the everyday habits where the rubber meets the road and efforts to remain healthy are rewarded.
Maybe we should check more carefully into those things that we drop down the gullet most often. For all you java junkies, here’s a link to Starbucks nutrition info for their drinks. There are many choices here that won’t make you fat… but that goes for your wallet as well 🙂
There ARE some decent, healthier food choices at Starbucks, too. On the road, in a pinch (not daily pinches, either), I recommend the following (although sodium content is a bit higher than desirable on all but the oatmeal):
Starbucks Perfect Oatmeal w/ dried fruit or nut medley toppings (add 100 cal. for either one)
See the Nutrition low-down on all their food items at the link below…. even better than the listing tables, look on the left side of the page and you can search for foods that match your criteria; fat, sodium, protein, etc., AS WELL AS allergens you need to avoid. Bravo, Seattle Slew (arcane reference to the Goliath coffee retailer from the north).
Grab Bag Brain Game:
When was the last time you played with gorgeous little atoms? … or when did he play with yours? 🙂 Fun game…
Grab Bag Funny Stuff:
Gary awakens in the hospital, bandaged, casted and terribly bruised. His doctor informs him that he has been in a very serious car accident, and is fortunate to have survived.
“Miraculously, I think you will be fine, with very little permanent disabilities, save for one thing – your penis was severed and was never located for reattachment”.
Gary groans and turns away, immediately overwhelmed by the news.
“But we do have some great options,” the doctor continues. “We have made great strides in reconstructive techniques, and we feel we can do a more-than-adequate job for you. It’s costly, but the results have been outstanding. You have some choices to make, as to, well, how much reconstruction we perform, if you know what I mean”.
“That’s great!” says Gary. “But when you say costly, what does that mean, and is it covered by insurance?”
The doctor smiles. “Absolutely. For your type of coverage, insurance has already sent you a flat fee check for $9,000. As for cost, since everyone is different in their needs and wants, the procedure is charged at $1,000 an inch. I think it best if you talk it over with your wife. Wouldn’t want to shock or disappoint the better half, would we? I’ll check back with you tomorrow and we’ll get this surgery booked. Great to see you doing so well.”
The next morning the doctor returns, finding his patient a bit down.
“Did you get a chance to speak with your wife about the reconstruction?” asked the doctor.
“Yes, I did”, Gary mumbled.
“And? What have you two decided?”
Gary looked away and said, “We’re getting granite countertops”.