Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Volume 7, Number 7: Ramen Noodles — The End of an Era

Like most people, I discovered ramen noodles when I was young and didn't know better.  They appealed to two of my core values:

  • Self-reliance: I loved the idea of making my own hot lunches without having to hassle my mother (so I was willing to try anything that had easy-to-follow microwave directions on the package), and
  • Frugality: I also loved the idea that you could get a hot lunch for less than the price of a postage stamp

I don't know what appealed to me the most about them—the texture of the noodles, the taste, or the price—but whatever it was, after trying and liking them, I was determined to try every flavor there was (except "mushroom", because I hate mushrooms), and when I started living on my own, I had them at least once every week (usually on Saturday; during my college years, I'd often find myself watching college football and eating ramen at the same time, so ramen wound up being a Saturday tradition).  I even pined for different flavors that don't presently exist.

But ramen noodles have a few problems:

  • Like most cheap foods on the market today, they're not very substantial.  They're almost 60% carbohydrates, which leads to one of two undesirable results: One, if you take in more carbs than your body can burn, the excess carbs get converted into fat; or two, your body does burn them but you end up feeling hungry a lot sooner than if you had taken something more substantial.
  • They have some fat in them, too.  For example, the Lime Shrimp flavor has 7 grams of fat per serving (so roughly 16% of that serving is fat).
  • And there's a lot of salt in that flavor packet.

I was ignorant of those drawbacks up until recently.  I realized that I had successfully lost weight by cutting way back on carbohydrate-heavy junk foods and switching from regular soda to diet, and late last year, I began cutting way back on pre-sweetened cereals.  But even then, I had stuck with ramen every Saturday.

Until last Saturday.  The last package of ramen I had was my undisputed favorite flavor, Maruchan's Lime Shrimp.

So long, ramen.  I may have you again when you come out in some new flavor (like "pizza" or "barbecue chicken" or "pepper steak" or "prawn cocktail").  Just so I can have the comfort of having tried that flavor.  But besides that scenario, that's it.  There are plenty of cash-strapped college students the world over to enjoy you anyway.

Next on the list to be phased out are these other high-carbohydrate, high-sodium soups that I happen to have in my house:

  • Campbell's condensed soups
  • Mrs. Weiss' Kluski Noodle Soup (another childhood favorite)
  • Lipton Noodle soups (yet another childhood favorite)

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