Wednesday, November 6, 2019

The Third Annual Montefiore-Einstein Preventive Cardiology Conference.

You can easily get your own report on the conference by searching #MEPCC19 on Twitter.

  There was once again a stellar group of presenters there, starting with Dr. Ostfeld himself, who opened the conference, followed by

  • Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr. on his favorite topic: why Heart disease is a paper tiger that need not exist, and if it does can be reversed with diet. I never get tired of hearing him and I had a chance to speak with him briefly.
  • Dr. Philip Gordts, on a fascinating (relatively) new evolutionary theory on why red meat is such a trigger for heart disease in humans. Understanding the "why" is always helpful. See also this newspaper article Red meat triggers toxic immune reaction which causes cancer, scientists find. Bottom line: we always knew from the research of Dr. Colin Campbell that animal proteins tend to stimulate tumor growth and now this mechanism that Dr. Gordts discussed may be the evolutionary reason why our bodies reject meat - it contains a sugar which occurs in many mammals, but not humans, called Neu5Gc and the body rejects it and treats it as a foreign invader.
  • Dr. Walter Willett, on achieving an optimal diet.
  • Dr. Wilson Tang, on Diet, Intestinal Biota and Cardio-renal Disease Risk. This area is ever so important. The first shocker always is that it takes only three days on a #WFPB diet for your gut to stop making TMAO, which is a leading cause of CVD.
  • Dr. Andrew Freeman on why 2019 is the year of the Plant-based diets.
  • Dr. Michelle McMacken, who runs the Lifestyle Medicine program at Bellevue gave the Daniel and Michael Ostfeld Memorial Lecture
  • Dr. Ostfeld himself presenting on the practical issues in implementing the diet in your clinical practice (Answer: leverage outsourced support mechanisms as much as possible).
  • Then a series of presentations by interns who are active in the Lifestyle Medicine field, which was brilliant. Speakers were Drs. Danielle Belardo, on a Cardiac case, Sasha deJesus, again on Cardiac issues, Clark Yarber, on an outlier case of Cardiac Syndrome X, and Timothy A. Zaki on Type 2 Diabetes.
All followed by a panel discussion of questions from the public.

There's too much information that comes out of an event like this, but here are a few highlights that stood out for me:

  • Esselstyn: Focusing on the green leafies for the nitrates that convert to nitric oxide in the body, which keeps your arteries limber, combined with the high ORAC value of various fruits, particularly berries, for that is what repairs cell damage. Those are just two simple concepts that makes the whole logic of the whole foods, plant-based diet understandable.
    Complete reversals, even without statins, are typically possible in three to four weeks, but certainly within 3 months. Angina usually is much reduced within 1-2 weeks. His conclusion was that he "... felt more excited about medicine today, 20 years after retiring as a surgeon," because of the increasing uptake of these new ideas in the medical field. A comment from Dr. Joel Kahn emphasized again that stents or bypass surgery only correct for the effects of heart disease, but do not heal the disease itself - only diet will.
  • Dr. Walter Willett commented on the general fact that 5-10 years life extension is a reasonable expectation from changing to a whole foods, plant-based diet. He focused on the big picture of planetary health and the EAT/Lancet study. He cautioned against becoming overly simplistic about lowering medical costs, as people will live longer. So they might spend less on medical services per year, but live more years. Time will tell.
  • Dr. Wilson Tang took us through the whole TMAO issue and how choline is converted to TMA by the enzymes in the intestinal tract and subsequently oxidized in the liver to result in TMAO. It is a big cause of inflammation and implicated in heart disease (CVD/CAD), type 2 diabetes (T2D), and chronic kidney disease (CKD). Evidently, the point is that a plant-based diet will stop this immediately.
  • Dr. Walter Willett's take away points were that even the Economist labeled 2019 the year of the vegan and the fact that Medicare and most major insurers now cover either the Dean Ornish program or the Pritikin protocol for reversing heart disease. Equally obvious, it is still cheaper to change to a #WFPB diet now, rather than wait until you have heart disease.
  • Dr. Michelle McMacken injected a dose of reality with a beautiful case history of a 42-year-old with undiagnosed T2D and an A1C at 12.7%, who was no longer a diabetic after 4 months (A1C below 6) after throwing out his metformin at 2 months in. She also cautioned that "unhealthy vegan" is as bad or worse as the SAD.
Here is a summary on YouTube by Dr. Joel Kahn.

The whole thing was brilliant as always and an enormous asset of our community in the Bronx. Meanwhile, once again no one from the Bronx officialdom was present, but Eric Adams' office was represented, even if he could not make it. Otherwise, people came from all over. At lunch, I talked with a lovely doctor from Montgomery, Al.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Plant-Based on a budget - update

To me, this is as important as anything. The truth is there are too many recipes that are overly fancy, and before you know it, you end up thinking you really need all that to live plant-based, but you don't. You can start very simple.

I will discuss some sites here and leave you with some suggestions based on conditions in our own neighborhood.

Here is one great site:

but the best one is perhaps Plant-based on a budget, just like the title of this article.

But, there are plenty of ideas. It starts with buying in bulk wherever suitable.

I always like to point out that on our street in the Bangladeshi stores, there is an absolute feast of staples available...

  • 10 lbs brown basmati rice $12-15
  • 10 lbs onions $1.99 - $5.99, depending on the grade of onions and with seasonal variations
  • 4 lbs red lentils $3 or 2x4 lbs for $5.
 And here is a wonderful suggestion from Costco:

Once you have those kinds of things in stock, and some condiments, the sky is the limit and for your other veggies you buy whats on sale/in season, and of course various fruits in between.

You start your days with steel cut oats, 30 Oz is still $3.29 at Shoprite, and I make it with a constantly varying set of fruits, usually starting with a Granny Smith Apple, and some Blueberries, some raisins and goji berry, and whatever else comes along - I usually add a banana as well.
I usually decorate it with balsamic vinegar (4% acidity) and hemp seeds.

You can also work wonders with frozen vegetables of various kinds. Or, when I find some great vegetable on sale, I might cook ahead.

St. Helena's Communal Meal Prep 10/26/19

This time the theme was leafy greens.

Eating leafy greens, either raw or cooked 4-6 times a day is the standard recommendation of Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn for it will keep your arteries flexible. Chewing the leafy greens will convert nitrate and with the enzymes from your saliva ultimately it will produce the nitric oxide that helps your bloodvessel stay limber.

Some of the best foods for this are:
  1. Beets
  2. Garlic
  3. Leafy greens
  4. Pomegranate
  5. Nuts and seeds (but.. we want to go light on those because of the high oil content).

Two Salads

Green Salad

  • 1 Green lettuce
  • 3 Vine tomatoes
  • a can of black-eyed peas (or whatever beans or peas you can find)
  • some quinoa
  • yellow, red, green peppers
  • a can of sliced beets
  • a carrot sliced thin (we skipped this because we already had the veggie spaghetti salad with carrot)
  • capers
  • olives
  • a red onion, cut up.
  • a pomegranate
  • 1/2/3 dressing: 1 measure maple syrup, 2 measures Dijon Mustard, 3 measures Balsamic Vinegar, and lemon and lime juice to taste
  • add milled flax seed and/or chia seeds for Omega-3's
Endless variations on the above are possible, and depending on the addition of quinoa and beans, you can make this a meal salad.


 Veggie Spaghetti Salad

We made this with a mandolin, but you could use a spiralizer of some sort. Taste is the same, but the long spaghetti strands present better - maybe.

For a dressing we used some 1/2/3 dressing with thyme and some Veggie Mayo (see below).

  • Shredded Zucchini
  • Shredded Daikon
  • Shredded Green Papaya
  • Shredded Carrot

Veggie Mayo

  • 1 package of Silken Tofu
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (or date sugar)
  • 1 tpsp red wine vinegar or fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp of Dijon Mustard
 Drain the tofu on a paper towel, and mix the ingredients with an immersion blender.

Leafy Greens Galore

It was Khokon, the owner of Neerob Restaurant, who taught me to make a medley of green leafy vegetables.

The message is that you can make either pure spinach, or Malabar spinach (poi leaf for the Bangladeshis), or Swiss chard, or any other green leafy vegetables by itself, or you can make a medley.

You can create a simple and delicious flavor with caramelized onions and garlic, some turmeric (preferably fresh) and perhaps Panch Puran or other spices.

 The way to build it up is to caramelize the onions first:

  • cut up the onions finely
  • optionally: cut up some chilis
  • roast dry for 5 minutes - just until the onions start turning brown and sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • mince some garlic
  • mince turmeric
  • 1/2 cup of veggie broth 
  • now stir-fry for five minutes, keeping it liquid with the broth.
  • meanwhile cut up the stems of your leafy greens if they have heavy stems.
  • now stir-fry another 5-7 minutes with the stems.
  • cut up the leaves into 1-1/2" strips and add
  • cook on medium until the leaves are al dente
The above is just perfect for making green leafies as a side dish. Alternatively, you can make dal, as follows:
  • after stir-frying with the stems, you add more water and red lentils (hulled red lentils) in about 2:1 proportions water to lentils, let it cook about 10 mins then add the green leaves and let it cook for five minutes.
In other words, you start the same way for making green leafies as a side dish or the dal with green vegetables.

Butternut Squash

The last thing we made was butternut squash. We cut one in half lengthwise and put two garlic cloves in the hollow, and filled it up about half-way with veggie stock.
30-40 minutes in the oven at 400F, until soft.

Desert was grapes, which were also delicious.

It seemed everyone enjoyed the meal.

From the money dept

We had eight people, or $120 in funds, and we spent $87.31. In short, we are donating $32.69 to St. Helena's. There was plenty of food, even considering that two people did not show up. 

Sunday, October 13, 2019

The Low Down on Verrgie Broth in the Hood

OK, it's time to take stock of (veggie) stock in the hood. I am not sure what the difference is between veggie stock and veggie broth. Wikipedia quotes James Beard as saying:
...that stock, broth, and bouillon "are all the same thing"
and it goes on to say that the distinction, if any, tends to be fluid. Swanson does seem to know the difference, but they don't explain it either: Organic Vegetable Broth, v.s. 100% natural vegetable cooking stock, and Vegetable Broth. I use them interchangeably.

One of the insidious features of any packaged foods is that you really need to read the label, for too often too much salt, sugar, or oil sneaks in, not to mention some other nefarious chemicals you may not like. However, if you do get into the habit, you will be rewarded and soon you will find your way to better solutions.

Remember always to check for what they say about serving size, for those can often be wildly unrealistic. A bag of potato chips may contain many "servings" but I don't know anybody who would not eat the whole bag. With veggie broth it seems to be easier - a serving is an 8 Oz cup. That much is straigtforward. The % of RDA means nothing for the RDA is completely different in plant-based nutrition. You want 10% of calories from fat (no added fat), 10% from protein, and 80% from Complex Carbohydrates. For sodium, the recommended level in the plant-based community tends to be 1,500 mg daily, whereas generally, anything below 2,000 mg daily is regarded as low sodium.

This time I want to research Vegetable Broth/Stock in our area. I am listing ingredients and prices and a recommendation. I will keep adding to the list. Besides Chiang-Li and Key Food, I will also visit ShopRite on the Bruckner.
I make note of the color because for some situations the dark color might be too much, e.g. if you want to create a light-colored sauce.

As to the salt content, clearly, there are several reasonable ones and a couple of very good ones. If the goal is not to exceed 1,500 mg a day, you can see how it adds up. Again, in general, anything below 2,000 mg/day is looked at as low salt.

Broth Alternatives

In our cooking classes, we have discussed both Bragg's Liquid Aminos and Yondu as easy alternatives to veggie broth.

For example, when caramelizing onions, you really only need a little bit of water to keep them good and liquid and prevent them from sticking to the pan or getting burned.
I typically use about 1/2 cup of water with a teaspoon of Yondu or Braggs if I do not have veggie broth handy.

Both are alternatives that are reasonably low in sodium.

At the other extreme, I periodically am brave enough to make my own veggie broth from roast veggies. Sometimes, when I do this, I also freeze a couple of trays of ice-cubes of veggie broth. 2-3 icecubes of broth may be all you need to liquify stir-fried onions.

Chiang-Li Supermarket

  •  College Inn, 32 Oz 100% Natural Garden Vegetable Broth - $3.39
    • 20 Calories
    • 0 g of Fat (0% of RDA)
    • 0 mg Cholesterol
    • 700 mg Sodium (30% of RDA)
    • 4 g Total Carbohydrates (1% RDA)
      • 3g added sugars
    • 0g protein
    • NB.: High in Sodium! This is a light colored broth.
  • College Inn, 32 Oz, 100% Natural Garden Vegetable Broth (40% less sodium) - $3.39
    • 0g Fat
    • 0 mg Cholesterol
    • 420 mg Sodium (sic!)
    • 4 g Carbohydrates
      • 3g added sugar
    • 0g protein
    • NB: This is a light colored broth.
    • Recommended!
  •  Swanson, 32 Oz, Organic Vegetable Broth - $3.79
    • 10 Calories
    • 0g Fat
    • 0 mg Cholesterol
    • 530 mg Sodium
    • 2 g Total Carbohydrates
      • 1 g added sugars
    • 0 g Protein
    • Recommended!
  •  Kitchen Basics, 32 Oz, Unsalted Vegetable Stock.
    • 0 g Fat
    • 0 mg Cholesterol
    • 210 mg Sodium
    • 100 mg Potassium
    • 6g Total Carbohydrates
      • sugars 4g
    • 0 g Protein
    • Recommended!

 Key Foods, Metropolitan

  •  Swanson, 32 Oz. Vegetable Broth,  on sale 2 for $6.
    • 10 Calories
    • 0 g Fat
    • 0 mg Cholesterol
    • 800 mg Sodium
    • 2 g Carbohydrates
      • 2 g sugars
    • 0 g Protein
    • NB: High Sodium - avoid, color light.
  • Swanson, 32 Oz. Vegetable Cooking Stock, on sale 2 for $6
    • 15 Caloreies
    • 0.5 g fat
    • 0 g Cholesterol
    • 550 mg Sodium
    • 2 g Total Carbohydrates
      •  2 g Sugars
    • 0 g Protein
    • N.B. Light color
    • Recommended!
  • Pacific Foods, 32 Oz. Organic Vegetable Broth - $3.99 (on sale)
    • 15 Calories
    • 0 g Fat
    • 0 g Cholesterol
    • 500 mg Sodium
    • 3 g Carbohydrates
      • 1 g Sugars
      • 1 g Dietary Fiber
    • 1 g Protein
    • N. B. Light color
    • Recommended! 
Options galore. I will keep adding to this as I take inventory at Shoprite.

ShopRite Bruckner Commons

Ok, I finally made my veggie broth run to ShopRite. Here's the harvest (I am reporting list prices, though some were on sale):
  •  Wholesome Pantry, 32 Oz Vegetable Cooking Stock, $2.21
    • 10 Calories
    • 0 g Fat
    • 0 g Cholesterol
    • 570 mg Sodium
    • 3g carbohydrates
      • includes 2g added sugars
    • 0 g Protein
    • N.B. Light color
  •  Swanson, 32 Oz Vegetable Broth, $2.79
    •  Otherwise as above
  • Swanson, 32 Oz Organic Vegetable Broth, $3.49
    • Otherwise as above
  •  College Inn, 32 Oz, 100% Natural Garden Vegetable Broth, $2.99
    • Otherwise as above
  • Progresso, 32 Oz, Vegetable Broth, $2.19
    • 5 Cal
    • 0 g Fat
    • 0 g Cholesterol
    • 400 mg Sodium
    • 0g carbohydrates
    • 0 g Protein
    • N.B. relatively low sodium
  • Emeril's 32 Oz Organic Vegetable Stock, $2.19
    • 10 Calories
    • 0 g fat
    • 0 mg Cholesterol
    • 570 mg Sodium
    • 2 g Carbohydrates
      • 2g sugars
    • 0 g Protein
    • N.B. dark color. Sodium in mid range.
  • Rachael Rae, 32 Oz All Natural Veggie Stock $2.60
    • 10 Calories
    • 0 g Fat
    • 0 mg Cholesterol
    • 480 mg Sodium
    • 2 g Carbohydrates
      • less than 1g sugar
    •  0 g Protein
    • N.B. Sodium about average. Darker color.
    • Recommended
In all almost all the broths were on-sale, so I did considerably better than the list prices indicate.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Serious Oatmeal

As I have been discussing serious oatmeal with some people, I will share my process here...

First, this was today's version:

Serious Oatmeal

Two day prep

I usually prepare Oatmeal for two days at a time. I take one measuring cup of steelcut oats (I get them from ShopRïte, at $3.29 for 30 Oz of organic oats), and prepare it overnight in my trusted Zojirushi NP-GBC05 rice cooker. It is ready for me at 6:30 AM with the timer.

Then I add:
  • a shredded Granny Smith apple, 
  • 1/2 pint blueberries
  • 1 tbsp goji berries
  • 2 tbsp raisins
  • 1 tbsp cocoa nibs
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
and I let that sit on "keep warm" for min 5 mins.

The daily plate of Oatmeal

Then I save half for next day and I serve the other half, fixed up as follows (in this case):
  • a ring of berries (stawberries, raspberries, etc.) and other fruit (today it was Raspberries and Starfruit)
  • a sliced banana sometimes even more fruit (I love me some jackfruit).
  • a tbsp of hemp seed (part of my Omega-3 for the day)
  • A drizzle of Balsamic vinegar.
And here is another version:
Serious Oatmeal also, but with Strawberries

A note, you do not want to O/D on Omega-3. Too much is no good, what matters is the proportion between Omega-3 and Omega-6. Personally, I use 2-3 tbsp a day of hemp seeds, milled flax seed, or chia seeds. That seems to be about right for me. Individual mileage may vary, so consult with your plant-based doctor at the time of your physical ;-)

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Another Bengali Meal Prep in September

Bengal cuisine offers such rich possibilities for cooking with spices more than salt.

Today's cooking class was another lesson in a @WFPB version of traditional recipes.

We start with Brown Basmati Rice, which was cooked in advance with a Zojirushi NP-NVX18 Rice cooker on the GABA Brown Rice setting, meaning it is germinated brown rice, that germinated for 2 hours at 105F and then cooked under pressure with an Induction Heat system.

Our new friend from Queens, Katerina from Queens was there once again. Somehow we lost count, because two people could not make it in the last minute, and we ended up inviting other people in the church to share our meal with us, and a good time was had by all. Not to mention many of us ended up taking more home with us.


  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Peppers
  • Tomato
  • Cilantro
  • green chilis
  • turmeric
  • Panch Puran
  • Bay Leaves
  • Yondu or Bragg's liquid aminos
  • Water

  • Water squash
  • Cauliflower
  • Egg plant
  • Eddo
  • Green Papaya


The first steps are actually the same for both dishes, so we made a large batch of onions, and then split them in two and put on the vegetable medley first, since it needs a longer cooking time.
  • Caramelize the onions 
  • add in the chilis, turmeric, panch puran, minced garlic, cut up peppers and add some water with Yondu or Braggs to continue - we used 1 tsp Yondu for a cup of water.
  • add in the lentils and more water
  • add in the harder veggies first, for they need longer to soften
  • add in the softer veggies later (e.g, tomato), also cilantro.
  • add water as needed.
  • add some bay leaves

Three Greens Medley Dal

No, dal is not an airline. It is the typical sauce made from lentils, and you can consider it a soup or a sauce, depending on the occasion. Any three green leafy veggies will do... according to the season today we picked this:


  • onions,
  • garlic
  • pepper
  • cilantro
  • turmeric
  • panch puran
  • green chilis
  • Yondu or Bragg's Liquid Aminos to taste.
  • lentils
  • poi leaf (aka Malabar spinach)
  • spinach
  • callaloo


For the first step, see above about caramelizing the onions, again we did the onions once for the two dishes and then split them up.

We added water to the caramelized onions

We had young baby spinach, so we did not need to cut it. The callaloo and Poi Leaf we cut in about 1" lengths.

There were grapes for desert. Unfortunately, our friend Khokon unexpectedly could not make it so we will have to do it again and learn to do it even better, but it was a good lesson in a basic dish that you can vary almost endlessly according to the season.

If the group had been bigger, we would have made a salad. The plan was for spaghetti salad from green papaya, carrots, daikon, and zucchini, with a 1/2/3 ddressing (1 measure maple syrup, 2 measures dijon mustard, 3 measures maple syrup) with lemon and lime, dill, parsley, pepper. That 's an invention of Shamim, who is Khokon's cousin and sometime chef.

Practicing plant-based on a budget:

We always donate the overage to St. Helenas, and this week it was almost half of the money we collected. We spent about $8 per person, so our donation to St. Helena's is $7 per person this week. If we had made the vegetable spaghetti salad, our spend per person would have been $10 or so.
On top of that several of us took leftovers home and we actually fed 10 people not the five people who signed up in the class, for some of the other staff and one of the priests joined in. Or rather they were not given the chance to leave without eating for we had more than we could handle.

These numbers can swing from one month to the next, depending on when we buy certain staples, nevertheless, this is always a good lesson in how economical plant-based food can be. Meat is expensive, even while it is heavily subsidized. 

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Our #WFPB Meal Prep for August

This time, I decided to focus on some small snack or appetizer type dishes, specifically a salad (there's always a salad to make sure we get our leafy greens), and Brown Rice Spring Rolls, as well as Black Bean Salsa. We had fun with a small group, and still made more food than we could eat. We had 4

 We started out with a bit of nutritional theory and some knife skills. Cutting an onion the right way... and with a sharp knife, so you almost never cry.
With a dull knife you will crush the onion. With a sharp knife, you'll slide through it like butter.

Credit for the pics goes to Kateřina Justová, who came and visited us from Astoria





August salad                             

Salad and Salsa
1 head of green lettuce
1 bunch of watercress
3 peppers green, yellow and red
3 tomatoes
1 red onion
2 cups of cooked quinoa
4-5 mushrooms
4 tbsp hemp seeds
4 tbsp milled flax seeds

1/2/3 dressing: 2 tbps maple syrup, 4 tbsp Dijon Mustard, 6 tbsp balsamic vinegar.

We discussed that the point of Omega 3 is (via the flax seeds and the hemp seeds), the proportion relative to the Omega-6. When in doubt the doctor can figure it out at your next physical. In my case I went up from 1-2 tsp of these things (or chia seeds) a day to 2-3 tbsp a day on advice of my doctor. Typically, I take hempseeds on my breakfast and the milled flax seeds and/or chia seeds in my salads.

Black Bean Salsa

Quick Salsa with Black Beans Caldwell Esselstyn - see site for other variations, version here is spicier


2 cans of black beans, drained
Optional one 15 Oz can of Corn
A bunch of fresh Cilantro
Juice of 2-3 limes (depending on how juicy the lime)
16 Oz jar of medium green salsa
Whatever peppers you choose - cut up fine - jalapenos, chilis, serrano, poblano - it all depends on your taste for more hot or aromatic. You can put in a stalk of celery, sliced really thin.


Drain and rinse the beans and corn
Wash and chop up the cilantro
Add lime juice, mix in the black beans and the salsa
Mix well.
This is one of these dishes that gets better if it marinates in the fridge.

Serve on rice cakes.




Vegan Spring Rolls


1/2 Cabbage
1 carrot
1 Red Bell Pepper
1/2 onion
4 mushrooms
100 gm rice vermicelli
1 tsp black pepper
3 tbsp Braggs Liquid Aminos or Yondu
1 cup of water










The crumbles you can make from ground up
rice cakes with sesame seeds, or you could use
plain corn flakes, or some puffed grain. You just grind it fine in a blender, and you roll the spring rolls in that, so they won't stick to the baking tray, and get nice and crunchy on the outside.


Cut up the veggies fine  
cook till soft,  with the water and yondu 
add more water if neccessary, but not too much, add the vermicelli and cook for 3 mins. 
Note: vermicelli will absorb most of the cooking water, so your stuffing should be suitablly 
dry - too wet would ruin your rice paper rolls.  
fill the moist rice papers (dipping them in lukewarm water) and roll them up... 
dip in the crumbles and put on your cookie sheet  (we used silicone sheets to prevent sticking.) 
30 mins at 350F will do you just fine.   

Serve with your favorite hot sauce.

Nutritional notes

I adjusted the above somewhat, but not enough for some of the ingredients. As a general rule Bragg's Liquid Aminos or Yondu are a good alternative to soy sauce or Tamari.
The BLA and Yondu come in at ca 300 mg sodium per teaspoon (Tsp), while the typical soy sauce or tamari clock in at 900-1000 mg of sodium per Tsp. However this recipe makes about 30 spring rolls. And it uses 3 Tbsp of BLA or Yondu, or 3 x 3 x 300 mg = 2,700 mg sodium.
To simplify the math, that amounts to almost 100 mg sodium per roll. So if you were to eat three as an appetizer, that might be alright if the rest of the meal does not overuse sodium, but if you make a meal out of this, you are getting a ton of sodium.
One obvious alternative might be to use a low sodium veggie stock in lieu of the glass of water, and then to cut the use of even BLA or Yondu down to ca. 1 Tbsp instead of three, and you can use some other spices, or things like scallions or shallots to create more aroma.