I'm feeling very bad right now about one of my favorite companies in the world, Trader Joe's. For anyone who lives near a Trader Joe's store, you know the feeling of a visit to TJ's. It's like going to see old friends. Great products, friendly staff, reasonable prices, and I always thought that it was heads and shoulders above the big natural food chains.
That is, until my doctor reminded me to avoid foods that are high in sodium.
Trader Joe's makes its fortunes based upon the impression that anything you buy in the store is going to be natural, organic and healthy. Well, my friends I've got to tell you that this isn't necessarily true, and it breaks my heart. I live in a small town in Northern Arizona, and I have frequently arranged "Trader Joe trips" to the city, two hours each direction to Phoenix, just to pick up groceries for our family and often others as well.
Those came to a screaming halt when I started to look at the sodium content of the Trader Joe's brand foods. I'd suggest that you do the same. Even if you are a diehard Trader Joe's fan, as I have been, it's time to consider giving your local store some feedback about how displeased you are with their level of sodium. Take a look at those wonderful salads and wraps, for example. I would buy these delicious fresh treats and tuck them away for a quick and "healthy" lunch. Then, I started looking more closely.
Trader Joe's plays the same tricks that other companies do with sodium, except they play them even better. A sandwich or wrap that shows 400 mg. of sodium (high, but do-able if you are hungry) ends up being eaten before you notice that this tiny little wrap was TWO PORTIONS, and you actually just consumed 800 mg of sodium! A small tray of "Arabian Joe's" Middle Eastern treats that could be downed in five minutes by one adult ends up being two or three servings, each with nearly 1000 mg of sodium in it.
Crackers, frozen foods, deli items . . . they are all the same at Trader Joe's. As full as you can get of sodium, with no effort to provide a healthy sodium level ANYWHERE in the store.
Readers, it's time to let Trader Joe's know (or any other local store you have which plays the same portions-trickery that these guys do) that we aren't going to take it anymore. Today, I visited a new competitor, a place called Fresh 'n Easy, that seems to offer an alternative. While they aren't ideal, I found a lot of lower-sodium choices.
Let's get the word out.