Thursday, August 21, 2014

Take the Spice It Up (Healthier Adobo & Sazón) Challenge

Last night, I wanted to prepare my husband a special meal for being so wonderful. He requested the classic Spanish dish arroz con pollo (chicken and rice). As I was making it, I hesitantly reached for two of the spice blends in our pantry, Adobo and Sazón.

What are Adobo and Sazón?

If you come from a hispanic family, chances are just about every home cooked meal you've ever had probably contained Adobo, Sazón or a little bit of both. They are probably two of the most amazingly flavorful seasoning mixes found in Latin food. However, I almost never cook with them them anymore because of the negative health effects they can have.

So What's the Problem?

Ever wonder why you want one huge heaping plate after another of that arroz con gandules? It's because those little packets of Sazón are mostly MSG (monosodium glutamate - a highly concentrated sodium additive produced by the fermentation of starch, sugar beets, sugar cane or molasses) and artificial dyes. MSG tricks the body into thinking it's not yet full, so you keep eating until you've stuffed yourself into a food coma. Over time, MSG also numbs the tastebuds making naturally prepared foods taste too bland without the MSG, creating a cycle of poor eating habits. And while --  thankfully -- Adobo doesn't contain MSG, it is still filled with sodium. Just 1/4 teaspoon of Adobo has 350 mg of Sodium. And you KNOW as well I do, you're not just using 1/4 tsp of Adobo in your recipes!! (The recommended daily maximum sodium intake is 1,500 mg which is roughly 1 teaspoon of Adobo.)

Oh. Think this doesn't apply to you because you buy the "healthier" Natural y Completo Sazón or the Adobo Light? Better think again...

The number one ingredient in Goya's Natural y completo Sazón is still Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) and it still contains artificial dyes (FD&C Yellow 5 and Red 40) and Tricalcium Phosphate (an anti-caking agent). On what planet can we call that "natural?" And Adobo Light still has 680 mg of Sodium per teaspoon... not good.

While the FDA classifies MSG as "generally safe," potential side effects of MSG include: headache, flushing, sweating, numbness, tingling or burning in the face, neck and other areas, heart palpitations, chest pain, nausea, and drowsiness. High sodium diets also put you at risk for high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure, osteoporosis, stomach cancer, kidney disease, headaches and water retention (leading to puffiness, bloating and weight gain). We all know that high blood pressure and obesity are epidemics in the hispanic community.

The "Spice it Up" Challenge 

So I am challenging you to make one small step toward better health over the next thirty days. Will you to replace your store bought Adobo and Sazón with a healthier homemade version? I'm willing to bet that even this minor change will translate into huge improvements in your health.

I did some research and collected a few healthier recipe alternatives, but I'm sure there are others out there if you scour the internet. You can make a big batch now that will last you all month - just as convenient as Goya, buy you can use it guilt-free because you will know exactly what you are consuming -- 100% natural ingredients. Here are some of the most promising recipes I found, although for each of these I would replace any kosher salt with a little bit less sea salt or pink himalayan salt. I'd love to know which ones you're using and what difference you notice after 30 days!

Healthier Sazón and Adobo Recipes:

Are you ready to commit to taking an even bigger step toward better nutrition? By replacing one meal a day with Shakeology, you'll be getting a daily dose of sense nutrition from 100% all-natural superfood ingredients. Did you know that many of Beachbody's fitness programs like 21 Day Fix, P90X, Insanity, Brazil Butt Lift, 10 Minute Trainer and Hip Hop Abs are also available in Spanish?

Contact me today for additional information and we can chat about the option that's best for you! 

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  1. Thanks for sharing my adobo and Sazon seasoning blends!

    1. You're welcome! I was happy to come across them on your site -- I'm always looking for healthy alternatives to share :)