I like Vegemite. I like salt.
My mother treated diarrhea with salty bretzels for years.
But please keep in mind that Vegemite is “sometimes food” for kids as much as for you.
Because it’s all but healthy.
In my first years of Australia, I shared a flat with a friend who, from time to time, would sit down with a bowl of rocky salt crystals and eat them like lollies, because she felt “she needed it”. We’re now BFFs, but that was kind of odd.
Then I discovered Vegemite.
I had already tasted Marmite (I know not the same! that’s not the point here) as an exotic import from the UK when I was in Europe and at the time it was not for me. But fine. As I am now embracing everything Aussie to be a good immigrant, I sort of discovered myself a taste for it. I am even a spooner, meaning (you might guess) I will go for it with a spoon, instead of spreading it on toast. (My husband is a religious ‘cheese/vegemite’ eater, if I inadvertently add butter/margarine, he simply won’t eat it..). I never gave any to my boy though.
Now one day, I was a bit taken aback, as I saw the old commercial on TV: Vegemite for Baby?! Happy “little” vegemite ? I checked on the label. A whopping 3450 mg of sodium per 100 g ?! Happy indeed.
Now, I am no nutritionist. Our family doesn’t even eat particularly healthy. But I remember the rough guideline from a baby food seminar (for new mums, paid for by the French government) : if it is more than 500 mg /100g, stay clear of it for the diet of your child. (To be considered LOW in sodium, food has to be at less than 150mg/100g) Too many of our processed foods – even bread and cereals – contain incredible amounts of hidden (as not tastable) sodium, it is highly recommended to at least eliminate the really salty stuff from our kids’ diet.
Vegemite, to say it clearly, can contain as many B vitamins as you like, but the fact that high sodium intake leads without fail to high blood pressure and can ultimately kill you, makes the whole advertising as a healthy product a complete joke. Better spread VERY thinly on your toast, indeed.
And now this :
Yep. After the disaster campaign of the premixed ‘cheesybite’ (aka isnack 2.0, yeah hilarious) aiming the younger market, Kraft Food is now directly targeting young children with “My FIRST Vegemite”.
“Reduced Salt! Milder taste!”
All good then ?
No. “My first vegemite” still will have only half of the sodium contained in the classic vegemite taste, placing it, with 1720 milligrams of sodium per 100 grams, at about 10 to 15 times more sodium than what is generally recommended as ‘low sodium’ food values by international Health organisations, governments and Nutritionists.
But the B vitamins ?
Yeah, they are important. But they are also very concentrated in meat such as turkey and tuna, in whole grain products, potatoes, bananas, lentils and beans. What it all burns down to is try to use fresh, unprocessed food whenever possible.
NB : I am making this my ’cause’ for the month : Eat less salt !!!