Monday, January 16, 2012

"Sugar" tastes so good that it deserves a second look...

So, I’m going to go off track a little bit. My meals today will be listed at the end and the results of my start of week 3 of Insanity Fit Test at the end as well. I was going to write about treadmills today and preventing injuries, but I will save that one for tomorrow. Today, by request of more than one person, I am going to give my take on Stevia. I have personally never had it, but I did a little research. Interesting stuff!


The FDA & Stevia

“The incestuous relationship between government and big business thrives in the dark.” – Jack Anderson

While the American public has waited in vain for a safe artificial sweetener to be developed, citizens of certain other countries have for years — in some cases, for centuries — enjoyed a safe, natural sweetener that is virtually calorie-free and to which many other health benefits have been attributed. This miracle sweetener is a South American herb called Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni — commonly known simply as stevia, estimated to be some 150 to 400 times sweeter than sugar.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration since the mid-1980s has labeled stevia an “unsafe food additive” and gone to extensive lengths to keep it off the U.S. market — including initiating a search-and-seizure campaign and full-fledged “import alert.”

To judge from the extensive measures the FDA has employed to keep Americans in the dark about stevia, one might assume it was some type of dangerous narcotic. But, in fact, no ill effects have ever been attributed to it, although it has been used by millions of people around the world, in some locales for hundreds of years.

So adamant has the FDA remained on the subject, that even though stevia can now be legally marketed as a dietary supplement under legislation enacted in 1994, any mention of its possible use as a sweetener or tea is still strictly prohibited.

Now that stevia has been designated as “unsafe” — almost certainly to benefit the politically powerful sweetener industry — the agency has insisted on stonewalling any and all evidence to the contrary. Once the FDA makes a decision, neither practical experience nor scientific research is likely to bring about a reversal of its position.

As Rob McCaleb, president and founder of the Herb Research Foundation, puts it: ‘Sweetness is big money. Nobody wants to see something cheap and easy to grow on the market competing with the things they worked so hard to get approved.’”

Now, I encourage those of you who are using Stevia to read about it. From what I have read it is a heck of a lot safer than the pink, blue or yellow packet sweeteners. And, from what is evident from the website mentioned above, the FDA does not like Stevia, but for no beneficial reason on your behalf. I am a slight conspiracy theorist, so I do agree with the above quoted information in that the FDA is in it for the money and the sweetener industry does not want to lose money to those of us that care about what is put into our bodies.

As one commenter stated on this website, “Stevia is a safe sweetener. It is natural and not dangerous for you like high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners which are KNOWN to cause cancer. Stevia is from a natural plant, much like sugar, and it tastes much better than that artificial crap! The FDA (doesn’t want) Stevia into our food because it is something that is actually good for us, but they don’t hesitate to allow arsenic in our juices, PBA in our canned goods, BVO in some sodas, fluoride in our drinking water, high fructose corn syrup in almost everything and the list can go on……Then everyone wonders why there is so much cancer and illnesses in the country. It all comes from the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat. Who controls most of that? The FDA…….The FDA sucks!” Hey I didn’t say it, but I can’t say that I don’t agree!!

So, I know that I already addressed this in another post, but it is so important regarding that yellow packet of fake sugar and this is quoted text from: I encourage you to go to the site for more info, but here is some food for thought:

“The FDA has no definition for “natural,” so please bear with us for a biochemistry moment: Splenda is the trade name for sucralose, a synthetic compound stumbled upon in 1976 by scientists in Britain seeking a new pesticide formulation. It is true that the Splenda molecule is comprised of sucrose (sugar) — except that three of the hydroxyl groups in the molecule have been replaced by three chlorine atoms.” AND

While some industry experts claim the molecule is similar to table salt or sugar, other independent researchers say it has more in common with pesticides. That’s because the bonds holding the carbon and chlorine atoms together are more characteristic of a chlorocarbon than a salt — and most pesticides are chlorocarbons. The premise offered next is that just because something contains chlorine doesn’t guarantee that it’s toxic. And that is also true, but you and your family may prefer not to serve as test subjects for the latest post-market artificial sweetener experiment — however ‘unique.’”

And from the same site regarding Aspartame (yes, it’s in all of your sodas!) “Aspartame, the main ingredient in Equal and NutraSweet, is responsible for the most serious cases of poisoning, because the body actually digests it. Aspartame should be avoided by most women, but particularly in those with neuropsychiatric concerns. Recent studies in Europe show that aspartame use can result in an accumulation of formaldehyde in the brain, which can damage your central nervous system and immune system and cause genetic trauma. The FDA admits this is true, but claims the amount is low enough in most that it shouldn’t raise concern. I think any amount of formaldehyde in your brain is too much.

Aspartame has had the most complaints of any food additive available to the public. It’s been linked with MS, lupus, fibromyalgia and other central nervous disorders. Possible side effects of aspartame include headaches, migraines, panic attacks, dizziness, irritability, nausea, intestinal discomfort, skin rash, and nervousness. Some researchers have linked aspartame with depression and manic episodes. It may also contribute to male infertility.”

So, the choice is yours. I had to read all of this a few times to really let it sink in and “get it”. These yellow, pink and blue sweeteners are in so many of the foods and drinks we consume. I am convinced that my MS symptoms are the effect of consuming WAY TOO MUCH of the yellow stuff in my coffee and the Aspartame in my prior-to-pregnancy 3 or 4 Diet sodas a day. Therefore, it is out of my diet, but whatever damage is done is done.

Many people say, “Well, you know what Melissa, I’m going to die of something, so I’m going to enjoy life [and my sweeteners/soda] while I can.” That is A-Okay and perfectly fine if that is how you feel. This is America and you can do that. I (personally) want to be informed when I’m making decisions based on my health and what goes into my body and for that reason; I am passing this information along to you :)

Today’s meal plan:

Breakfast: Med banana with Nature's Path raisin oatmeal w/ small (tall) nonfat mocha from Starbucks (435 calories)

Snack: 1 slice laughing cow cheese w/ one of those tiny wheat bagels (135 calories)

Lunch: 2 cups Amy's organic minestrone soup with one small apple (257 calories)

Snack: Wallaby Strawberry Yogurt with 10 blueberries (158 calories) also had a coffee with skim and 2 sugar packets (48 calories)

Dinner: 5 oz Strip steak with 4 oz sweet potato, 4 oz zucchini and 2 oz onion in 1/4 tbs olive oil (409 calories)

Total for the day: 1442 calories :)

Today I also had to do my beginning of week 3 “fit test” with Insanity. Because I knew that the actual workout was only about 8 minutes in length, I went to the gym before work and did a short, yet effective 20 minutes on the elliptical.

The list of exercises for the fit test is as follows (you do each exercise for 1 minute as many as you can and then your rest for 1 can't even breathe when you're done, so you need the full minute to regain oxygen). The results are much like the workouts...INSANE:

Switch kicks (jumping in the air and kicking your leg out, alternate legs) : Day 1 I did 116. Today is day 14 and I did 126...IMPROVEMENT of 10!!

Power jacks (Jumping jacks with a squat in between) Day 1 I did 45. Today I did 56...IMPROVEMENT of 11!!

Power knees (stand in a split stance and as quick as you can bring your knee up to your chest) Day 1 I did 78. Today I did 90...LinkIMPROVEMENT of 12!!

Power jumps (I don't like these AT ALL...stand wide and jump and when you jump you bring your knees up and touch them with your hands) : Day 1 I did 25. Today I did 33...IMPROVEMENT of 8!!

Globe jumps (these include 4 jumps to every 1 you count. Jump to the right with a squat and touch the floor, do the same thing and jump back, then jump left, then jump forward-that's 1) : Day 1 I did 9. Today I did 11...IMPROVEMENT of 2!!

Suicide jumps (a.k.a. burpees...loathe!) Day 1 I did 14. Today I did 18...IMPROVEMENT of 4!!

Pushup jacks (ONLY do these if you can do pushups on your feet; don't attempt if you can't. Form is of great importance otherwise you will hurt yourself. Do pushups on your knees if you are going to attempt this circuit!!): Day 1 I did 16. Today I did 20...IMPROVEMENT of 4!!

Low Plank Oblique (in a plank bring one knee at a time to your shoulder working your oblique abs) : Day 1 I did 37. Today I did 56...IMPROVEMENT of 19!!

I cannot even tell you how amazing I feel! Many of you saw on FB that I finally got into the 140’s. I’m still at the high end of it, but I’m getting there! I have officially lost approximately 54 pounds of the approximately 63 that I gained when I was pregnant. It is hard. I despise having to count my calories. I loathe picking my ass off the couch/bed and doing my workouts, but you know what? It is worth every last grunt, apple, glass of water and drop of sweat when you not only get one step closer to your goal(s), but you FEEL better too! (Not to mention the dancing in the dressing room with tears welling up in your eyes because YOU’RE DOING THIS!)

So, I want you to start bragging about your successes! I know they are out there because I’m receiving private messages about them and I LOVE them! Share those successes in the comments section or on the comments section of my blog post on my FB page. Don’t be shy; you could inspire someone else. And if you’re afraid of sounding like you’re bragging, so what! You should brag! You’ve worked hard for those successes, so own them and flaunt them baby! ‘Til tomorrow!

Quotes of the day: “Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase. " Martin Luther King, Jr.
Have faith in yourself that you can take the first step on this journey of YOU!

And one that I had not heard from him before, but is so true, "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. " Martin Luther King, Jr.
Always seek to educate yourself and don't ignore what you learn.

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