Some Food for Thought

18 07 2012

I’m on a much needed vacation. I probably should be doing more with the blog this week because I finally have the time. But reading comic books and enjoying the kids is winning out.

Its been harder than I thought to stick to a plant based diet on vacation. For starters I have mysteriously grown an affinity for pancakes as I’ve had them for two out of three of the last breakfasts. Not going to help things with the scale. I did have a fantastic tofu veggie stir-fry the first night here. I’m looking forward to possibly getting that again before vacation is through.

The heat is oppressive. It’s really putting a crimp in my plans to do a lot of walking. Every year it seems to work out this way lately. Thank God there is no such thing as global warming! It’s a total fluke that the last 16 out of 17 have been the hottest on record or that 6,000+ new records have been set in the United States this year. Yet we still argue about what causes it. It would be nice if we could just all agree that something funky is going on. Who cares if its manmade or a cycle or a bit of both- its like arguing about how you got cancer. Why can’t we just agree that something needs to be done to save the place where we live? Now I’m getting fired up! Time to get back to vacation!

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What’s in a Water?

18 02 2012

I used to drink quite a bit of sugary drinks.  I loved Coke, Gatorade and often had a few energy drinks each week.  It amounted to a ton of extra sugar being added to my diet on a regular basis .  When I got sick, I tried to cut the sugar I was drinking out and although I did have a sugary drink from time to time it was much less than I had been.  in the last seven weeks though, I’ve had none.  Other than occasionally putting coconut milk in my Cheerios, It’s been nothing but water.  As a healthy treat from time to time, i’ve been drinking Clear Splash flavored sparkling water beverage.  It reminds me of soda and the nutrition facts label is perfect.  33.8 ounces, zero calories, fat, sodium, carbs and sugar.  This stuff is perfect.  Or so I thought.  Last night I sat down to enjoy a bottle of this stuff and I did something I hadn’t done in the last few months of drinking it – I read the ingredients:

Carbonated water – fantastic!

Potassium Citrate –  used to regulate acidity of foods, especially soft drinks.  Because it helps make urine alkaline, it’s also beneficial in shrinking the size of kidney stones and fighting minor urinary tract infections.  It seems generally safe although much of it is produced in China where standards for making these sorts of ingredients are far less than they are in other parts of the world.

Natural Flavors – Blackberry Apple, that sounds good.  But dig a little deeper and you find that “natural flavors” can be any combination of thousands of naturally derived chemicals put together in a lab by flavorists.  The FDA has found them to be safe but sometimes when mixed they can be volatile to our body.  Because companies are not forced to list them, we have no idea what we are actually ingesting.  In many instances artificial flavors can actually be safer because naturally occurring harmful byproducts (sometimes like arsenic) found in “natural” flavorings can be removed.  But in reality, both natural and artificial flavorings are most times a mystery to the consumer and it is best to steer away from them completely.  Thats not an easy thing to do.  You will find “natural flavors” labled on an awful lot of products, including those that are labeled as “Natural” and “Organic”.

Aspartame – a potentially carcinogenic sugar substitute.  It can kill up to 55% of the beneficial gut flora in our bodies, is bad for our teeth, can promote obesity and has been found in some studies to be addictive.

Potassium Benzoate – a chemical preservative used to block some bacteria,  molds and yeasts.  When exposed to light and heat and the presence of vitamin C (of which there are trace amounts in this water) a cancer causing by product, Benzene, is formed.

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So I guess I won’t be buying this stuff anymore.  I was looking for healthy carbonated water and it turns out there is a whole lot of other things swimming in this bottle.  Lesson learned – sugar free, calorie free, fat free does not equal “healthy”.  While nutrition facts are important, they do not tell the whole story.  It is always important to also check the ingredients.

 

 








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