in the trend i've been following this year of healthier living and lifestyle i decided (somewhat arbitrarily) to give up diet soda. the basis of this decision was a combination of factors. first, i have for the most part given up eating items with artificial ingredients or things i didn't know what they were - yet diet soda is full of things that sound like you could create a bomb with them. most notably potassium benzoate (to "protect taste" whatever that means). also, citrus acid sounds benign doesn't it? according to wikipedia: "most citric acid in the food industry is not extracted from citrus fruit, but fermented by Aspergillus niger mold from scrap molasses, waste starch hydrolysates and phosphoric acid."
fun! mold. i like that in my diet coke... today i felt like i needed caffiene, so i checked out regular coke. it has citrus acid as well as the #1
evil i've given up high fructose corn syrup
. please, everyone remember i lost 20 pounds by doing nothing
but giving up things that have high fructose corn syrup in them.
there have been many studies about what diet soda does to your body, my sister mentioned one that linked diet soda consumption to osteoperosis. really i think what it comes down to is why bother monitoring what i put in my body with food if i'm not going to do it with with liquid as well? what's the point of doing something 90%?
the amazing awesome thing about the access we have to information today is that you LITERALLY do not have to consume anything without knowing what it is. between google and wikipedia you can take your lean cuisine and find out what each and every thing in there is and what it might be used for. (though often it seems that those fun little chemicals are put in there randomly, for no real point at all).
MSG is one of my personal favourites. we have all heard about Monosodium glutamate for years. we've all see the signs in chinese restaurants "No MSG". MSG is a "flavor enhancer" why exactly it is needed in processed foods remains a mystery to me. Things i read (written by MSG manufacturers and supporters ie anyone getting paid) say that it makes things taste better, perhaps illicits a taste that is beyond what we scientifically know like "sweet, sour, salty, bitter". They're basically creating another taste. Perhaps it appeals to our 6th sense as well?... hmmm. check out this great website with foods to avoid and more information about MSG
at this point, i know what you're probably thinking: "why do i want to go to all that work? i'm busy, and i don't really eat that badly." i ask you, "are you sure?" how healthy are you really?
what is health anyway? here in america we are conditioned to believe one thing: health = dress size, especially in women. if you are a size 6, is it possible to be in worse health than someone who is a size 12? the answer to that is yes. think about it. a size six smoker who lives on fast food but has a really high metabolism is actually not
healthier than a size 12 nonsmoker who eats right and exercises regularly. but we are taught that what is outside is what matters.
instead of thinking "why do i want to do all that work?" i want you to think "why am i putting this in my body?" eating is very basic, our bodies need fuel to function. yet for many of us we are busy (hell, there's no one busier than me lately! i'm organizing a new house, i'm a full time student, i work full time, i'm a founding member of the jackson pflag chapter, i'm volunteering for the aclu when i can, i'm training with the lukemia and lymphoma society's team-in-training, whew! is that all? i feel like i'm forgetting something...oh yeah. i write - lj rants and other stuff.) you don't have to change your lifestyle. i'm simply asking you to be mindful of what you eat.
if you want to take a step after that, well, good for you. the knowledge is at your fingertips, literally. if not, what have you really lost? a minute or two out of your day thinking "why am i getting the mcchicken"?
the biggest question i have is this
what exactly is it that you are doing that is so important you don't need your body for it?
let's get down to basics, because really it's not as complicated as we all make it. i'm not perfect. i have yo-yoed for years, size 12 size 6 size 9 size 6 size 16. i know what i need to do, in fact - we all do: eat right, avoid fast food, exercise daily.
those simple little tips are pretty much all we need. easier said than done, and secondly - what is eating right?
lean cuisine is better than mcdonalds. we know this because we are taught this by advertising, and we learn more from advertising in this day and age than we do in school. even more so today than ever before we are bombarded by advertisements. the lines are blurring, what is us? what is suggestion? is it really that big a conspiracy? well let's see...40 years ago we were taught that smoking was good for you
. was it? um, no. we know that now. do people still do it? oh yeah, but we know what we are doing. so let's not pretend that Nestle (the maker of lean cuisine) really has your best interest in mind. Lean Cuisine "do something good for yourself". Nestle "just a corporation that wants to make money". hey, i'm not knocking it, we all gotta make a living. yet i wonder at what point will the food industry begin doing what the cigarette industry did and actively trying to replace the consumers its killing? oh wait...they have. "Soft drink companies spend billions on advertising. Much of these marketing efforts are aimed at children through playgrounds, toys, cartoons, movies, videos, charities and amusement parks; and through contests, sweepstakes, games and clubs via television, radio, magazines and the internet."
(american trends, the dangers of soft drinks
. think they're the only ones? really?
ok, but i mentioned lean cuisine and they're "healthy" right? well, that depends on your definition of healthy. from lean cuisine's own website
let's check out the ingredients in their "cafe classics glazed chicken." now don't look at the "nutritional information" because that is going to mislead you. 220 calories, 30 calories from fat. wow! that's pretty good right?
look at the actual ingredients
. ingredients are listed in order of what is most
in a product to what is least
. so in this, the #1
ingredient is chicken. that's a good thing considering that you are buying it because you want a quick convenient chicken meal. now let's look at the 2nd ingredient: high fructose corn syrup
. WHAT???????? now think about this people, it's not that difficult to figure out. in your chicken dish the one thing that you find most of is chicken. the 2nd thing is high fructose corn syrup. what is hfcs anyway? why is it bad? why do i care? well anyone can pretty much figure out corn syrup = sugar. ever heard of the mayo clinic? click here to read what they have to say about it
. for those of you who just want a portion: "Despite the lack of clarity in research, the fact remains that Americans consume large quantities of high-fructose corn syrup in the form of soft drinks, fruit-flavored beverages and other processed foods. These types of foods are often high in calories and low in nutritional value.
[emphasis added by me] This fact alone is reason to be cautious about foods containing high-fructose corn syrup. To reduce high-fructose corn syrup in your diet, read food labels.
[emphasis added by me].
sodium phosphates (yes that's plural), potassium chloride (there's that bomb...), do you know what these things are? i don't, so that's why i won't buy lean cuisine. if i really want it, i'll write it down, google it and then decide. why do they modify cornstarch and why is it in there not once but twice? sugar is in there too, not just corn syrup. let's see, what is potassium cholride?
back to wikipedia: "The chemical compound potassium chloride (KCl) is a metal halide salt composed of potassium and chlorine. In its pure state it is odorless. It has a white or colorless vitreous crystal, with a crystal structure that cleaves easily in three directions. Potassium chloride crystals are face-centered cubic. Potassium chloride is also commonly known as "Muriate of Potash". Potash varies in color from pink or red to white depending on the mining and recovery process used. White potash, sometimes referred to as soluble potash, is usually higher in analysis and is used primarily for making liquid starter fertilizers. KCl is used in medicine, scientific applications, food processing and in judicial execution through lethal injection."
so yes, it's different but from the same place, the 10th ingredient in this lean cuisine is derrived from the same thing used to lethally inject convicted inmates on death row.
well, it's not a bomb.
is this all a coincidence? well, why don't you find out for yourself? it's very simple. the next thing you eat, take the ingredients you don't know and google them.
you can do it with fast food too, because all that information is available to you - most of it just a click away. if you're ok with it, well that's awesome. i hope though that by educating yourself to what you are eating that you will take the really simple steps to making sure what goes into your body is something that you want and need.
god knows i'm a foodie. i do have my indulgences (red baron mini cheese pizzas) that are chock-full of awful things but taste so good that i overlook it every now and then. the point is - this is the only body you get
. if you are around my age then you hopefully have around 65-70 more years in it. the things we indulge in - shoes, tech goodies, cars, houses, whatever... those things aren't probably going to be in our lives 50 years from now. (ok, if you buy a pair of christian louboutins they probably will be but still) but our bodies are. what we do to them now, today, has lasting effects. it may seem obvious but this is the one and only body you get
. we think and talk a lot about how we look or how we feel we look, but i think it's high time that everyone start thinking more about the things we cannot see.
make no mistake it is a lifestyle change, and while we may all die from cancer that our deoderant may or may not cause, at least we can say we tried. :)