Saturday, January 16, 2010

Jan. 16: Toxin of the Day ~ Aspartame

Today's toxin has had me in mourning. Aspartame is one of the unhealthiest additives out there. Before I started eating clean I was drinking nearly 2 litres of Diet Coke per day, along with eating artificially sweetened yogurt and other treats in an effort to control my weight. Since I reached well over 200 pounds, obviously it wasn't working.

Aspartame is made of 3 ingredients: methanol, aspartic acid, and phenylalanine. Each of these chemicals on their own is considered toxic. When heated past 86*F the methanol turns into formaldehyde, and then formic acid. This causes "metabolic acidosis" which can mimic the symptoms of MS. The formic acid is stored in the fatty tissues of the body. The name brand sweetener, Nutrasweet has been linked to over 90 side effects, including dizziness, headaches and weight gain.

Let's look at the individual ingredients.

Methanol: Methanol is alcohol obtained from wood. It is used to make formaldehyde, solvents, and windshield washer fluid ( the non-freezing type used in the winter.) On it's own, methanol is highly toxic. Consuming as little as 10 mL, causes permanent blindness through destruction of the optic nerve and as little as 30 mL can be lethal.

Aspartic Acid: Aspartic Acid is an amino acid. Isolated amino acids can be damaging to the brain. Some studios have shown that aspartic acid consumption caused lesions or "holes" in the brains of laboratory rats. This acid breaks down into many different toxic by-products. It is classified as excitotoxin, which is a neurotoxin. This chemical has been linked to brain tumors.

Phenylalanine: Research in 1976 confirmed that cancer could not live without phenylalanine. That did not stop the FDA from allowing it, in combination with other ingredients to be allowed in our food in the form of aspartame. This chemical is also an isolated amino acid. 50% of the chemical makeup of aspartame is phenylalanine. This amino acid can be especially harmful for diabetics of for people suffering from a disease called PKU (Phenylketonuria). This chemical has also been strongly linked to brain cancer.

Another issue with artificial sweeteners that is currently being studied is it's link to weight GAIN. It is 200 times sweeter than sugar. As opposed to satisfying a consumer's sweet tooth, it can actually trigger the person to eat more, as the body searches for the sugar and carbohydrates it has been tricked into thinking it has already consumed. These sweet taste of these amino acids cause the body's cells to store carbs and fat,which signals the body to consume more of those items.

In conclusion, the calories you save by consuming a diet soda will likely be added right back into your diet once the cravings triggered in your brain hit. The toxins you are consuming have all individually been linked to cancer. There is no reason to believe that they become safer in combination with one another.

My personal experience was this: I stopped drinking Diet Coke cold turkey on Dec. 1, 2009. I had headaches for the first couple of days, but once they went away I had no further problems. I suffer from some arthritis joint pain, which has lessened dramatically since I removed artificial sweeteners from my diet. I no longer crave Diet Coke, and suspect if I had a sip of it now I would find it sickeningly sweet.

Artificial sweeteners have no place in a clean eating lifestyle. Sweeten with honey, maple syrup or organic unprocessed sugar instead.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Jan. 15: Some more GB&U

GB&U - good, bad and ugly. That has been my promise all along - to bring you the whole thing. So today is decidedly UGLY. I am going through some rough stuff personally, as many of you know. My business is undergoing some major changes. I am closing the retail location and moving the stock to the house. The business will shift from retail to wholesale and most of the selling will be done online. We will also continue with the birthday parties, my favorite part of the business. I'll post a link to the website once I have it up and running. How fun is it to go to a little girl's birthday party several times a week!?! As positive as some of the changes are, it was still a sad day, packing up the contents of my beautiful bead store.

Throughout this whole changeover, I have been fairly well in control of the eating. Today, though, not so much. I just had kind of a "screw it" attitude about food today and it shows!

M1: ww toast, nat. pb, apple
......and then it all went to heck on a greased slide....
I ordered a turkey club on brown bread from the local diner. On the plus side, it was real turkey, not lunch meat, and I threw away the middle piece of bread and the processed cheese. I ate about 10-15 of the french fries that it came with and it looked like they had not been touched - it honestly came with about 10 servings of fries! On the negative side, well, those 10-15 fries. It had mayo on it, which I wiped off the best I could, and the bacon, yes the bacon. I ate 3/4 of my sandwich.
M3: Coffee with skim milk and organic cane sugar
M4: Also not great! The kids helped out and I took them to Harvey's for dinner. I ordered a grilled chicken sandwich combo with a salad and water. I got a whole wheat bun, but it didn't appeal, so I pitched most of it and just ate the chicken. I was not very hungry, so I brought the salad home and put it in the fridge for tomorrow.

As you can see, there was a total lack of produce today. My stomach was rolling after that lunch and I had to pop Tums to settle it down. I would have been much better served to have eaten something clean for better energy today.

Like I have said before though, what makes me a clean eater and a healthy person is the fact that tomorrow morning, I'm going to get up and have my toast, pb and apple. I'm not going to say "Forget it, I've blown the weekend - I'll just go out for bacon and eggs!" I'm going to get right back on the plan that has been so successful for me thus far. I will be in control of my food, even if it seems like there is nothing else in my life I can be in control of right now. Tomorrow I will pack my cooler bag that has not left my side since I bought it, and I will be right back on the horse.

I want to thank you all for the kind words of support that you leave, and for the fact that you read my blog so regularly. It really helps to keep me accountable to know that you guys are reading and learning as I learn. The way I am able to own up to my mistakes here in Cyberland is by acknowledging that we all do it. I think that it is important to show our humanity and by openly admitting to my mistakes, and discussing what I have learned from them, perhaps one person will look at this and think, "Okay, if Daisy can eat everything in sight and start right back up again, so can I." One meal or one bad day does not destroy all your hard work. I am certain that although my day was unhealthy, it doesn't undo the 6 weeks of hard work I have put in or the pounds that I have lost.

I'm not going to keep the bad streak going, because that is how you fail. You succeed by looking at your mistakes and then putting them behind you. And since I intend to be a Success Story, that is exactly what I am going to do!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Jan. 14: Toxin of the Day ~ Taco Smell "Beef"

Today's toxin isn't necessarily a toxin per se; it's just gross. Has anybody seen the advertisement for Taco Smell's Drive Thru Diet? They are proposing that you can order off their "Fresco" menu and lose weight. The "Fresco"menu is the same ingredients minus sour cream and cheese and is 20 calories less than the regular menu. They are suggesting that eating from their drive thru is part of a healthy lifestyle.

I did a little research to see what is actually IN the Taco Smell taco. The beef is Grade "E" which is the lowest grade of meat allowed to be sold for human consumption. Anything lower than Grade "E" is turned into pet food. Meat that is graded "E" is from an animal more than 8 years old.

I always wondered why I had to run to the bathroom for the rest of the day after consuming Taco Smell food back when I ate fast food. Now I know! If I were ever in a pinch and had absolutely NOTHING else as an option, I think I would opt for a bean burrito. I know for sure that meat will never cross my lips again!

I'm really outraged that the advertisers are allowed to promote this as a healthy option. It targets the uneducated and the young. An average teen would believe every word of the advertisement. You might try to explain to her that "lower in calorie"does not mean "healthy" but kids especially believe what they hear on TV. The website even has a person they claim is a registered dietician who has sold her soul to the devil, claiming that this is a great option for the average American. The health industry will have to work hard to undo the damage done by this commercial.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Jan. 13: Under the weather

Short and sweet today. I'm under the weather with a bit of a stomach flu. I started to research a toxin of the day but grossed myself out - that stuff really is nasty! I'll be back tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Jan. 12: Eats for the past few days

I haven't written anything personal for a few days. Life has been pretty high stress for me lately. I am re-vamping my business and searching for employment, all at the same time. There have been so many things going on that I haven't had the heart to write about it.

I realized last night though, that writing about it is my therapy. It is what helps me to deal with stress and sort things out. I also think that sometimes, seeing my stress and the insights I gain from writing it out, might help some of you. If there was someone who was about to throw their hands up in the air and say, "I give up! I quit! There is too much going on for me to keep up this Clean Eating stuff!" perhaps reading what I have to say could help, even just a little. So I'll put it out there for you.

Business has been poor. I went to see a consultant last week. He recommended that I close my bead store and focus on the aspects of the business that are successful, namely, the Internet and the birthday parties. He also supported the idea of me seeking full time employment.

Financially we are in a pickle. Car payment is late, mortgage payment is just barely on time, and I only have the money to make one more payment. Because I hoard food, my pantry and freezers are full of good clean staples, so I am able to keep the grocery bills down. I've sent out more than 40 resumes in the past few days, begun cleaning out what was to be my workout room for make space for inventory, and worked on my new website.

My daughter and I have been battling each other lately, as moms and teen-aged girls are prone to doing. My ex has gotten involved as a mediator between us, which while necessary, is still darned annoying.

It has just seemed like there is no respite for all that is going on.

In the old days, this would have sent me scurrying off to Wendy's in search of a comforting triple cheeseburger and fries. For some reason, I have been forcing myself to choke down food during this time. In a way it comforts me because I feel like this is a further sign that I am conquering emotional eating. I also know that I have to eat more to keep my metabolism quick and healthy.

Here is the food for the past few two days:

M1: Tuna and crackers w/ a little light mayo (must get rid of the mayo - note to self)
M2: Salad w/ the rest of the can of tuna, Newman's OV dressing, watermelon chunks
M3:Popcorn with Parmesan
M4: Trail Mix
M5: Taco salad made w/ greens and leftover chili

M1: Whole grain cranberry English muffin, nat pb, 1/2 apple
M2: Turkey chili, Kashi crackers
M3:Shepherds pie made with ground turkey, potatoes, carrots, peas and corn
M4: a few bite of popcorn

M1: 1 slice toast w/ nat pb
M2:Chicken breast w/ steamed veggies
M3: WW spaghetti, turkey meatballs, clean marinara sauce
M4: WW cranberry English muffin, butter, cinnamon and honey

Today is looking way better
M1: The last delicious English muffin, nat pb, pear
M2: Refried beans (fat free), tomatilla salsa, multigrain tortilla chips
M3: Trail mix
M4: Pita pizza w/ g. turkey, mushrooms and onion, fresh organic mozzarella
M5: Fruit or popcorn

So I am definitely getting back on track. For exercise, I went for a walk in the woods w/ DD9 and the dog on Saturday - we tramped through a foot of snow for about 30-40 minutes - it felt great. Monday I carried 1700 (yep - you read that right) 1700 books from the upstairs room down to the main floor. I felt like that was quite a substantial work out.

Things get better - they always do, and I feel good about keeping the food clean, even if it hasn't been perfectly on track. That is something I never could have done 2 months ago so I feel like I am growing as a person even while I am shrinking (in the waist);)

Have a squeaky clean day!

Jan. 12: Toxin of the Day ~ Calcium Chloride

In my search for cheese today, I discovered every pre-packaged cheese had one thing in common - Calcium Chloride. I finally discovered a clean organic cheese that was outlandishly expensive to top our pizzas tonight, but it left me curious to know, what is Calcium Chloride and can I get away with the cheapo cheese next time?

Calcium Chloride, I discovered, is used by the dairy industry to make the cheese dry and firm. It is a by-product of the creation of soda ash, which is made by adding ammonia to limestone. Non-food uses for Calcium Chloride include road de-icer (sprayed on the roads during snow storms to keep the roads from freezing), an additive in plastics and an additive in fire extinguishers. It is also used to help set concrete. Industries are warned that Calcium Chloride will corrode steel.

This is another chemical listed on the Canadian MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet.) It carries the warning that Calcium Chloride is an irritant to skin. Also the MSDS says:


The instructions continue to recommend the induction of vomiting and immediate medical treatment if swallowed.

I believe we will be sticking with the expensive cheese from now on. I understand that these warnings are for the pure substance, unadulterated by food, and a high concentration of Calcium Chloride, but I cannot find it acceptable to consume or to feed my children things that are poisonous. Not even in what the FDA calls "acceptable amounts" .

Please read the labels on everything you purchase. If you aren't certain what it is, don't eat it until you look it up! Then, at least, you are making an educated decision.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Jan. 11: Toxin of the Day - Potassium Bromate

Here is just a little more information about commercially packaged bread. Today's toxin is geared to our American friends, as this ingredient is illegal in Canada. The ingredient to look out for is Potassium Bromate. This substance is used to heighten the volume of the baked good less expensively than additional yeast. As it breaks down, most, but not all, of the chemical breaks down into bromide, which is relatively harmless. However a small amount of the Bromate remains, and this is where the trouble lies. Bromates have been proven to cause cancer in animal studies. So conclusive are these studies that every country in the world except the USA and Japan have banned the addition of this substance to food.

Other uses for Potassium Bromate are as a veterinary drug - it is commonly used as an anti-seizure medication for dogs and cats. I also found a reference that stated when mixed with aluminum it could be a fracturing agent for concrete.

Potassium Bromate is a proven carcinogen. Experiments have revealed that this chemical is a "complete carcinogen", which means the substance both initiates and promotes cancerous activity in cells. Potassium Bromate has been linked to kidney cancer and kidney failure.

The Material Safety Data Sheet in Canada issues the following warnings about the substance when used in an industrial setting:


The MSDS also recommends "impervious protective clothing", safety goggles, and personal respirators when dealing with this substance.

I think that says it all, don't you?

Apparently it is difficult with new laws for the FDA to ban substances that are already in use. They can only request that the manufacturers phase out a chemical. Personally, I feel that the FDA is there to protect the consumer, and I think it is tragic that laws are passed that protect the rights of the food manufacturers to increase and maintain their profits by poisoning people.

Please read your labels! If you can't picture the source of the ingredient in your head (plant, animal, etc) DON'T EAT IT AND DON'T FEED IT TO YOUR CHILDREN!!!