Welcome to Nature Maven's Healthy Eating Healthy Planet Blog

Welcome! If you're a vegan, you'll find support and suggestions you may be able to use here. If you're a vegetarian as I was when I started this blog in June 2008, reading my archived posts may be of interest to you. If you haven't gotten here already, I hope you'll consider trying the vegan way of life, too.

As I try new recipes, learn to eat in restaurants, entertain non-veg friends and make the changes necessary to bring my life into greater harmony with the planet, I share what I learn. And little joys and other thoughts get thrown into the mix here, too.

In March 2009 after starting to read The Engine 2 Diet by vegan firefighter Rip Esselstyn, I became fully vegan, to the best of my knowledge and ability, and I post entries here as I live and learn in this lifestyle. It's definitely a process of experience and discovery.

Please check out the Vegan News Headlines supplied by Google News Reader down on the right, and see my Blogroll for just a few of the choice blogs and websites I've found useful.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Hitting the Big Six-Oh: Is Gray the New Black?

I just celebrated a milestone birthday, that dreaded big Six-Oh, and the day, and hopefully the year to come, was beautiful in every way. I took the subway an extra stop to 23rd Street so I could pick up my lunch at Terri, an amazing all-vegan cafe, take out and catering place just off 6th Avenue. I selected an amazing wrap they describe as:
Hummus & Avocado - hummus, avocado, smoked tofu, pepperoncinis, lettuce, tomato.
Avocado & Hummus Wrap, from Terri on 23rd, NYC
Here's how this delicious creation looked:

I cannot recall enjoying eating anything more than this wrap. The smoked tofu was so tasty and the tomato was gorgeously ripe and flavorful, surely a farmer's market find.
But I digress. I bought this great lunch before work, and treated myself to a baked (not fried) Apple Cider vegan donut which I ate at my mid-morning break with a fresh-brewed cup of Magie Noir coffee. I didn't eat the wrap until lunch time.
I walked to Broadway and stopped to take in the eponymous Flat Iron Building, having to bend over almost backwards to get it in the frame. I walked down Broadway savoring the interesting shops and stores along the way.

Flatiron Building, 23rd Street
between Broadway and Fifth Avenue
 There are some really cool places in this stretch between 23rd and Union Square where I work. There's Design Within Reach, ABC Carpet and Home, and Fishs Eddy, to name a few. I recently had occasion to buy a new office chair and ottoman, and since I sit in a chair almost all day most of the week, how I sit and where matter. Being vegan, I choose not to replace my current leather set up with another, although if I could have gotten an Eames lounge chair and ottoman in faux leather, I might have done that, but truly, it is too large for the space. This is Manhattan, and my rent is bad enough for the modest space I have. So I let that one pass and searched for something better.
I finally decided on a Risom chair from Design Within Reach, a great store featuring mid-century modern furniture. The Risom lounge chair is birchwood with canvas webbing, and it's a replica of an original we had in the 1950s in California when I was a child living in the house my architect dad had designed, and I have vivid memories of lying on the floor underneath it playing some sort of game. So as I walked down Broadway, I passed Design Within Reach, and there was my chair (on order from the factory and not expected for a month or so) in the window. iPhone in hand, I snapped its photo.
Risom Chair at Design Within Reach
Broadway, NYC
I look forward to many hours in this chair in the months and years to come. And in a few years when I retire, and hang up my therapist's boxing gloves (or whatever therapists hang up), I'll take it to my warm weather residence, when I have one.
I continued south to Union Square where the Farmer's Market was its usual hive of activity, but having no time to stop and linger at the many vendors, I snapped a few photos for this blog as I hustled to meet my first client of the day.

Flower Vendor
Union Square Farmer's Market

Veggies in all their glory
Union Square Farmer's Market
I hurried down and saw this lovely water fountain, and with this I leave you.

Oh, and the rest of the day was as lovely as the beginning. My husband surprised me with a high-powered blender and food processor so I can make the Green Smoothies with which I start most days. Then we met a dear friend in a favorite Italian restaurant where we had great food and wonderful conversation, and I was feted with flowers and gifts. I hadn't seen this friend since letting my hair go gray, and it was gratifying that she told me how well I looked. Gray is the new black, now that we Baby Boomers are hitting our senior years. I rejected the expensive dual-process colorings, gray roots, and the knowledge that I wasn't hiding anything. And I'm letting a wonderful hairdresser make it look its best. What else would one do in New York?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Vegan Baking Bliss

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies (foreground and top rack)
Oatmeal Raisin & Oatmeal Raisin-Chocolate Chip (lower rack)
A RAINY DAY is a perfect time for baking, so I pulled out my Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar (by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero) and whipped up a batch of amazing chocolate chip cookies and a batch of oatmeal raisin that I divvied up and added vegan chocolate chips to half. They turned out hugely well.
Departures: I used hemp milk because the opened carton of soymilk had spoiled. I used it for the first time, and the hemp milk was a fine replacement. It has a nutty flavor, and I look forward to putting on my cereal tomorrow. Isa and Terry called for quick-cooking oats for the oatmeal raisin, but all I had on hand was extra-thick whole rolled oats, and they worked just fine in the cookies. The chocolate chips were my idea for enhancing the oatmeal raisin dough after making the first batch according to the recipe. I learned that they are nearly impossible to mix in. I had to grab walnut-sized gobs of dough and stuff the chips in, then push them back in on the cookie sheet when they fell out. But, once baked and cooled, they stayed put and are a great addition. For the chocolate chip cookies, I used mini vegan chocolate chips rather than the regular sized ones, mainly because I had more of them after using the bigger ones in the oatmeal raisin chocolate chip batch.
The egg replacers for these recipes are different. The oatmeal-raisin batch was held together with flaxseed meal in the dough. The chocolate chip batch was bound with the addition of a small amount of tapioca flour.
In Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, Isa Chandra and Terry Hope (learn more and order via The Post Punk Kitchen, Isa's site)have done all the hard work of converting these classic recipes to egg-free, dairy-free deliciousness! I use the book all the time and have made some amazing treats that others marvel are vegan. I also love the earlier vegan books these amazing cooks have published.
After baking and cooling, I arranged the cookies on some of my vintage Fiesta plates and styled them for photos, and I left them thus on the counter until my husband returned from tennis so he could see, savor and enjoy them. After this I put some in a glass cookie jar, others in a plastic container, and at day's end after we'd had a few more, stuck the rest in a freezer container that already contained frozen vegan brownies (from the same cookbook). Because our weather was rainy, foggy and humid all day, they got pretty soft, but I think I could pop them in a warm oven for a few minutes to recrisp them if we want to try it.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

It's Green Smoothie Weather!

Hot enough for you? The national weather map shows this huge red blob of heat wave forecast for the midsection and up and down the east coast of the United States. Staying cool will be important for a whole bunch of us right now.

I love green smoothies, and they are really refreshing! A good friend who just finished her first triathlon (go Patricia!) knew about my smoothie habit and my new iPhone and sent me this link: Raw Family iPhone App

After visiting the site and scoping out the recipes and articles, I bought the iPhone app. Today I used it for the first time. You can search by ingredient, so I started with "limes."

I didn't use a particular recipe I found but mixed and matched from their suggestions. Here's what I put in:

2 cups raw spinach
1 cup papaya
3/4 fresh lime (whole fruit, minus skin)
1 Granny Smith apple
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 TBS flaxseed (my idea, not theirs)
1 cup cold water
1 cup ice

It was delicious and refreshing. If you're hot, try a smoothie!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Monetizing This Blog Brings You HFCS Propaganda! Read On...

Since more folks are stopping by this blog, I've added the monetizing feature Blogger offers, and often the ads are relevant and in harmony with my sentiments and values. Today, however, I am seeing the "Sweet Surprise" links about the "truth" about High Fructose Corn Syrup in a couple of places here. I've posted several very negative, detailed blogs about HFCS, so this is no accident, so I'm just warning readers, HFCS is no good for you, no matter how much they assure you otherwise. It's way too concentrated, as any refined sugar is, but it enters your bloodstream faster than cane or beet sugar because the molecular structure has been tampered with.

A Princeton University study published in 2010 challenges the "Sweet Surprise" propaganda:
A Princeton University research team has demonstrated that all sweeteners are not equal when it comes to weight gain: Rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight than those with access to table sugar, even when their overall caloric intake was the same.

In addition to causing significant weight gain in lab animals, long-term consumption of high-fructose corn syrup also led to abnormal increases in body fat, especially in the abdomen, and a rise in circulating blood fats called triglycerides. The researchers say the work sheds light on the factors contributing to obesity trends in the United States.

"Some people have claimed that high-fructose corn syrup is no different than other sweeteners when it comes to weight gain and obesity, but our results make it clear that this just isn't true, at least under the conditions of our tests," said psychology professor Bart Hoebel, who specializes in the neuroscience of appetite, weight and sugar addiction. "When rats are drinking high-fructose corn syrup at levels well below those in soda pop, they're becoming obese -- every single one, across the board. Even when rats are fed a high-fat diet, you don't see this; they don't all gain extra weight."
I have no intention of giving the Corn Refiners Association free publicity, so I will post no links, but you'll probably still see them below and to the lower right of this blog post. Get that? The Corn Refiners Association sponsors the Sweet Surprise site, and, get this, their mailing address is in Washington DC. Last I heard, no farmers are raising corn in DC. Maybe First Lady Michelle Obama has a few rows of corn in the White House garden, but that's not what we're talking about.

Not only is HFCS downright deadly to at least some living beings, but much of the commercial corn raised in the US is genetically modified to be disease resistant, pest resistant, and weed resistant. What's wrong with that? HuffPost Green states it well:
In a study released by the International Journal of Biological Sciences, analyzing the effects of genetically modified foods on mammalian health, researchers found that agricultural giant Monsanto's GM corn is linked to organ damage in rats.
I love farmers. I love the red barn and tractor thing big-time. I love the bib overalls and wheatstraw look. Honest I do.

But I don't love monster agribusiness that pollutes, overcontrols, and buys votes in DC with lobbying. I abhor factory beef, pork and poultry and egg operations, and I hate fish farming. Sorry kids, but raising the eggs you buy in your supermarket is cruel, and there's no Auntie Em tossing grain to the hens in the front yard. Beaks are cut without anesthesia and wings and legs break all the time. You don't want to know. But if you do, head to the Mercy for Animals website (No link given because a video will play and I want you to see it willingly; but that's how Nature Maven became a vegetarian!)

I love organic farmers and folks who love the land and the people they feed more than monster profit margins. If they raise animals for food, I don't love them as much but I celebrate those who treat their animals very well and make their deaths as non-traumatic as possible (thank you, Temple Grandin!).

So, go ahead and read the CRA propaganda, click on those links as much as you want, but be sure you read the flip side. Knowledge is power. And, totally anecdotally, this vegan has found eating Oreos and other foods made with HFCS leads to that "phenomenon of craving" addictions experts refer to. I can eat three Oreos and be at serious risk of consuming a whole line of those bad boys. Three Newman's O's satisfy without starting the sugar monster going. Try it out for yourself!

Eliminating HFCS has caused me to carry my own ketchup packs (thanks, Whole Foods!) and always ask for pure maple syrup with my waffles, and read bread and salad dressing labels like a maniac. Shopping with me can be your worst nightmare! Del Monte makes HFCS-free ketchup. Wishbone regular dressings are HFCS free but not their Salad Spritzers. WTF? I have a bottle on the counter now with the receipt attached with a rubber band, ready to exchange for a Ken's no-HFCS dressing spray.

Nature Maven wishes all readers a wonderful Memorial Day. Here's a cute YouTube video on the subject of HFCS:

Friday, May 27, 2011

Vegans, Do You Know Where Your Chocolate Comes From?

The Food Empowerment Project  tracks the sources of the cacao beans from which chocolate is made and lists those who do not use those from Africa where child labor, slavery and other human and animal exploitation are involved. Click here to see if your vegan food products make the list: www.foodispower.org/chocolatelist.htm

The same organization also has a kickin' source of vegan Mexican recipes! Check it out here:

I checked out the 7-Layer Fiesta Bean Dip and it looks awesome! The Swiss "Chicken" Enchiladas use vegan sour cream, Daiya cheese and Gardein Chick'n (or other vegan alternatives). I wasn't familiar with FEP, and thanks to a fellow vegan who tweeted about it today, now I am!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

My Experience with the Eat to Live 6-Week Plan

A little over six weeks ago I began trying to follow the Eat to Live (ETL) plan of Dr. Joel Fuhrman. I saying "trying" because I didn't adhere to the restrictions entirely, and yet I still managed pretty well.
I learned quite a bit over the past 6 weeks.

1) Breakfast: I love green smoothies (and pink ones, and orange and red ones, too) and I have fully established the habit and preference of having them 5 or more times a week. On the days that I have a bagel breakfast, I try to have a smoothie for lunch. That works! I've learned to add protein powder to improve nutrition and medjool dates or date bits to add sweetness. When I'm out of spinach or kale, I use cole slaw mix or salad greens. They all give me delicious healthy fiber and nutrition. I found great new products called PB2 and PB2-Chocolate flavor that are powdered peanut butter less 85% of the fat, only 45 calories for 2 TBS and adding protein and fiber to smoothies and soups. Carrot juice is a must to have in the fridge, and cup of that in a smoothie is delicious!

2) Lunch: Guess what? Salads don't need dressing! I get a huge salad for lunch and never add dressing anynore. If I can, I add some avocado, or a little bean salad to get a smidge of oil to coat the greens ever so lightly. I have learned to enjoy these salads, and I have stopped buying vegan chicken burritos at Whole Foods, as yummy as they are. I have stopped buying and scarfing down a container of vegan chicken made from soy protein. It's too much concentrated food.

3) Dinner: I switched my usual Monday Mexican salad protein from Gardein 7-Grain Crispy Tenders (which are great, but for now, I'm trying to get away from faux meats) to black beans. I sometimes take a couple of tablespoons of guacamole and thin it with lime juice or vinegar and use it as dressing. I make stir fries with veggies and beans, but I must admit I don't enjoy them that much. Dinner is my meal that still needs the most transformation. I am eating Amy's vegan entrĂ©es quite often on work nights. We eat dinner out more than we eat in, truth be told. It's been this way for decades for us. We'd go to meetings and eat out afterwards with friends or just the two of us. On weekends we try to get together with friends we don't see during the week. So we meet in restaurants. Last night we went to Chili's and I got the Caribbean Salad with black beans instead of chicken or shrimp, and corn on the cob without butter. Delish!

4) Restaurant eating: I've learned that I can get vegan food in most places, with a little effort. The chains such as Red Robin, Friendlys, Chilis, and Moe's all have beans, Bocas or tofu options. LongHorn will put 3 sides on a platter if you ask, and sometimes they have margarine in the kitchen and will give me some to put on my potato (white or sweet). A favorite place has become the Japanese teahouse near our country place where the owner makes me an udon hot pot with vegetable tempura on top. Amazing!

A Challenge: We have brunch out every week or so, and that remains a problem because to my knowledge all pancakes and waffles have egg. I've learned to bring in some Earth Balance in a wax paper bag in my purse, but I can't take the egg out. I get a side of home fries with that. Yeah, too many carbs and too much fat, but tasty. I believe I must make waffles and pancakes at home more often. My husband wouldn't object!

5) Snacking: I have largely eliminated unplanned snacks. If I have a vegan protein bar, I log it into the tracker. I usually have fruit or vegan sorbet or ice cream about an hour after dinner, and that is planned and logged in. I try not to even taste a nut or a chip on the fly. It's no good, and leads only to craving more. I like EatSmart veggie crisps that give you 2 cups of crispy treats for 140 calories (look like styrofoam in green, yellow and orange from spinach, potato and carrot) but I make myself measure them and count them and only have for special occasions like baseball or football games. Same with organic popcorn. Nuts? ETL recommends no more than a handful of nuts per day, and since they are high in calories, I don't choose them daily.

6) Weight: I did lose about 5 pounds, as of today. I feel good about this, even though I know others have lost so much more in the first 6 weeks of Eat to Live. Identify, Don't Compare, right? I know why I have not because I still eat vegan foods that are sweet and starchy, and I'd need to lower my calorie limit to take more off. This is as much as I was willing to actually do, but I have seen a growing change in the right direction. Progress not Perfection, One Day at a Time!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Celebrating a Vegan Passover

Our Vegan Seder Plate

Whew! Today was a huge challenge but it all turned out fine. We drove back to the city from the country as we do every week, and my husband dropped me off in Lower Manhattan for me to catch the subway to my office. I was crossing a street when I got totally distracted by a guy holding a boat-sized plastic bag filled with enormous helium balloons in primary colors. I lost my footing and went down like the proverbial ton of bricks, landing on my left hip, wrist and shoulder. Oy! Very painful, but nothing was broken and the little bit of blood from scraping the heel of my hand against the pavement washed away and didn't return. I went to work, then headed home.

After I got home I prepared a Passover Seder my husband's bubbe would have been proud of! The Seder plate you see above is a vegan one: the turnip stands in for the shankbone (the Talmud says a roasted beet can substitute for the shankbone, but I wasn't willing to buy 3 humongous beets when one was all I needed, so I bought a turnip). In place of the roasted egg, it is permitted to use an egg-shaped veggie or fruit, hence the avocado. Cool, huh? The other things there are charoset, horseradish and parsley. Each item on the plate features in the ritual of the Passover Seder.

I led our Seder by default, even though my husband is the one who had a bar mitzvah eons ago and I'm a convert. I followed a Haggadah (handbook) called Our Haggadah written by Cokie and Steve Roberts, an interfaith couple. I really like it and am glad they wrote it. This can be a very wearying experience and my husband bails before I get very far as a rule, but this year I was able to say the prayers and read the scriptures and stories about why we celebrate Pesach or Passover. Picture CB DeMille's parting of the Red Sea in "The Ten Commandments," our Jewish forebears hurrying across the suddenly dry land to safety and the waters returning to drown all the legions of the Pharoah's armies trying to pursue them. No, we aren't very religious, and I hope I don't offend anyone reading this blog who is, but this tradition is important for us to remember, and as we read, and eat, and pray and eat and eat, we are one with all the other Jews around the world doing the same tonight, more or less.

Here's What We Had Tonight for Our Seder

Seitan Chimichurri from Whole Foods (my husband had WF tarragon salmon, so did our cat!)
Garlicky Greens (WF)
Carrot-Cherry Kugel (WF)
Charoset (chopped apple, silvered almonds, cinnamon and grape juice) (I made this tonight)
Tsimmes (sweet potatoes, carrots, dates, raisins & apricots with a little sugar) (I made this tonight)
Earth Balance whipped buttery spread
And chocolate covered matzoh for dessert!

Despite my sticking pretty closely for the past 30 days to Dr. Joel Fuhrman's Eat to Live way of eating, this was not a day to diet or restrict calories. This is the day we ask, among other questions, "Why is this night unlike all other nights?" The short answer is because we remember what our forebears experienced thousands of years ago.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Healthy Living, One Day at a Time

Magnolia Blossom



Today began beautifully, with a vegan "Sunset Proposal" smoothie from Terri on 23rd Street in Manhattan. It was fruity with banana, mango, pineapple, coconut, oj, and soymilk, plus soy protein powder and flaxseeds. I picked up a nice beet salad while I was there and had it for lunch, along with an Organic Food Bar - Vegan.

I work in the Village, so I walked down Broadway and into Union Square Park where the magnolias are in bloom. There's a lifesized bronze statue of Mahatma Gandhi there, so I stopped to pay my respects to Gandhi-ji and then walked the shady path to the right of the statue to its end, and then back out from whence I entered the little fenced in area. Although I was just steps from bustling 14th Street, I felt peaceful and serene in that little garden with its gorgeous magnolias and spring flowers allong the path, periwinkels, daffodills and hyacinths. By the time I arrived at work, I felt uplifted and joyous and proceeded to have a very good day.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Checking In After 2 Years Vegan

My life has been transformed by the Green Smoothie and the being informed by the eating plan of Dr. Joel Fuhrman, Eat to Live. In the 6-week weight-loss plan, you eat lots of greens and fruits, some whole grains, and plenty of beans. Mushrooms are encouraged at every possible opportunity, and a daily handful of nuts is fine.

I start each day (except when I have a long car ride ahead of me--don't ask!) with a huge green smoothie, made with spinach, collards or kale and several servings of fresh or frozen fruit, flaxseed meal, a couple of dates and nut butter or (to save calories) Bell Plantation's wonderful PB2 (regular and chocolate), a low-fat byproduct of making peanut oil that has lots of flavor, fiber and protein.

Lunch is a huge salad with beans, vegan chicken salad or other tofu dish, mushrooms, beans, roasted veggies like eggplant, etc. as the spirit moves me at the salad bar. I have a Whole Foods very nearby. I get great ideas from others living the Eat to Live lifestyle and other  vegan blogs and sites.

Dinner is a tofu stirfry, homemade soup, or even Amy's vegan entrees on a work night. We eat out a great deal (I work in New York City and live there part-time so we eat there several times a week) so I have salads, pasta with beans instead of meat, and Middle Eastern food (Turkish, Egyptian, etc) and do pretty well. A local Italian restaurant serves Pasta e Fagioli that is awesome!

So I've been vegan 2 years since March 17, 2011 and have never felt better. I put on weight when I went vegetarian, and since going vegan lost a little, but when I found Eat to Live I began losing again. In the past 20 days I've lost 3 pounds. That's slow but progress, and I am not starving!

My latest enhancement to life has been getting active with social media. I started by following journalists in Egypt and Libya, and then Japan. Then I connected with vegan superstars like Isa Chandra Moskowitz, Ginny Messina, and more. I connect with Farm Sanctuary and some awesome folks who were already connected with them. Check it out!

More will be revealed!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Sugar (especially HFCS) Pushers Are At It Again!

Oh, no!
Have you seen the commercial? A woman is heading into the checkout at a grocery store and complaining how new food taxes are unfair and evidence of government interference in our freedom of choice as Americans. She hefts a big 2-liter bottle of soda onto the conveyor as the website http://nofoodtaxes.com/ is flashed on the screen. In New York we saw these after our state proposed taxing all sugary beverages to try to reduce their consumption to combat the obesity epidemic. It was defeated but now many states are considering doing this.

Visit the website and you'll find that this is an effort by Coca Cola, grocery retailers, national retail associations, and more. Even the theater owners are getting into the mix. What's the deal?

Here's a link to Source Watch, a site that exposes who is behind it:
Here's a quote:
Americans Against Food Taxes (AAFT) is a front group funded by the beverage industry which consists of major restaurant chains, food and soft drink manufacturers and their associated lobbying groups. It was organized by the American Beverage Association to fight a proposed three to ten cent tax on soda, sugary drinks and energy drinks to help fund health care reform in the United States . . . Its Web site states that Americans Against Food Taxes is a "coalition of concerned citizens – responsible individuals, financially strapped families, small and large businesses in communities across the country" who opposed a government-proposed tax on food and beverages, including soda, juice drinks, and flavored milks. But its extensive membership consists mainly of lobbying groups for packaged food and soda companies, chain restaurant corporations and the world's large food and soft drink manufacturers and distributors, including the Coca-Cola Company, Dr. Pepper-Royal Crown Bottling Co., PepsiCo, Canada Dry Bottling Co. of New York, the Can Manufacturers Institute, 7-Eleven Convenience Stores, and Yum! Brands."

The New York State Department of Health cites research that supports taxing sugary drinks: www.health.state.ny.us/press/releases/2010/2010-03-16_sugar_beverage_and_obesity.htm

Don't let Agribusiness and the likes of the Corn Refiners Association, one of the "coalition members" of the Americans Against Food Taxes behind those ads, brainwash you. They are the very same folks who have brought you all those ads about high-fructose corn syrup being "the same as sugar" and recently getting FDA approval to call it "corn sugar" henceforth so low-information consumers will be unaware they are still consuming HFCS.

Be active and don't let these "astroturf" (fake grassroots) campaigns fool you, whether it's about the substances you take into your bodies, or the lies politicians tell you to scare you away from healthcare reform. The majority of Americans support such reform now, and that's because we need all the help we can get!

This vegan blog covers HFCS in part because if we are trying to eat for our health, this stuff is not good for us. If we're trying to live more naturally, this stuff isn't natural. As we choose healthier foods and eliminate cruel foods we need to consider the well-being of our human family at large. And large it is, with obesity in America going through the roof. Many believe that HFCS in soft drinks may be the single largest contributer. It's just as easy to opt for water or sodium-free seltzer and so much healthier!