Posted by: molander | March 30, 2010

Saving Money on Cosmetics

Another health-related issue is skin care. (Remember from elementary science that skin is the largest organ of the body.) Keeping our skin in good condition is essential. Everyone wants to avoid spending money unnecessarily and this could be one of those areas you haven’t thought about. As I pointed out in another post, saying you can’t afford quality food probably means a good look at your budget is in order. Maybe these sites below can offer help.

Cosmetics and Skin Care

For women, this is one area where overspending is EASY to do! We all know that the chance of a product making us look “years younger” is slim to none, yet we still hang onto everlasting hope that the very next product will be the one! And certainly, the more it costs, the better it must be, right??  The old adage “you get what you pay for” rings in our ears! Well, let me introduce you to Paula Begoun.

You probably already know her since she’s been on every major talk show, news show, and all over print media but in case you haven’t, she’s known for her reviews of skin care and make up products. Her mantra has always been that “expensive is not always better than inexpensive” and does her best to educate us about ingredients to avoid. (Many of which can be endocrine disruptors and carcinogens, btw.) After years of writing endless product reviews, people began to ask her to develop her own products so they didn’t have to read and learn! Those you can find on her site but that’s not the best part.

Check Out Your Favorites

All her books and DVDs are located here but my favorite is Don’t Go To The Cosmetics Counter Without Me. It’s a HUGE, big, thick book with all the products she reviews. With the smiley faces and money sign symbols, it’s easy to see at a glance if an item is overpriced (sometimes we’re paying for marketing or fancy packaging) or is one she considers a “Paula’s Pick” which is an appropriately priced, quality product. Each item also contains clear explanations of why they earned their particular rating.

No More Books for Me

Now the big, thick book is online which is SO much better because it’s searchable! Enter your search term in the box (“cleanser” or “mascara” or “Clinique” etc.) or select from the master brand list. I love being able to search “foundation” and get a list of all the ones they’ve reviewed. I can sort by rating, price, brand, skin type, whatever! How convenient is that? Note that this is a subscription service. ($24.95 for one year of access with discounts for renewal. I got $10 off for my last renewal.) AND there’s an iPhone app coming out in a few months which is perfect for reference in the store.

More to the Story

While Paula does a great job steering us away from dangerous chemicals and not-so-dangerous skin irritants, her analysis doesn’t always align with the Environmental Working Group‘s reviews known as Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database. Their scientists do a  great job reviewing just about every product on the market including children’s shampoos and lotions. (Actually, there’s a lot of emphasis on children’s products since their bodies are the most vulnerable.) HOWEVER, it’s important to note that the researchers at EWG are strictly concerned with safety and don’t care if a product “goes on smoothly” or “lasts all day.”


Sometimes I wish I’d never learned all this stuff but because… well… ignorance is bliss. I asked for it – and now I’ve got it. I went looking for ways to reduce my family’s risk of heart disease and cancer (all over my side of the family, btw) and this stuff just keeps coming at me! Confession: Sometimes I ignore it because it gets to be too much. Then I remember that with knowledge comes responsibility and I get back in the saddle.

The science can’t be ignored as much as the government would like it to be. (Read The Unhealthy Truth by Robyn O’Brien if you need an eye opener but do so with a box of tissues.) Many, many of the everyday products we use are known carcinogens. IF the products were properly tested and not recommended, the reports were often swept under the table… or skewed… or modified with “spin”. So the best we can do is educate ourselves.

What do I do?

I do the best I can. Ideally, I’ll take the time to search out a product on EWG and then check out Paula’s reviews of those acceptable safe choices. Do I do this every time? No… because it takes time. My long term goal is to come up with a master list of products we use that just has to be updated from time to time. [sigh]

Here’s my line of thinking: Anything I do better than I WAS doing is an improvement, right? And each improvement lessens our risks to some extent, right? So I’ll keep pluggin’ and prayin’ and hoping people will understand the gravity of what they put IN and ON their bodies… especially the people I love but hopefully everyone.

Posted by: molander | February 12, 2010

Put your money where your mouth is 2

…Continuing on from the previous post. Let’s talk about

Free Food!

5) Avoid wasting. Not food, not electricity, not gas, etc. Don’t you get more enjoyment from a great snack than paying for a light to illuminate a room when no one’s in it?

Tiny Garlic Toasts

Here’s a typical wasted treat… bread crusts. Thomas doesn’t like the crusts on his sandwich so I painstakingly trim them off. I save them up, toss with garlic and olive oil – sometimes sprinkle with Parmesan cheese – and toast in the oven. Did this just the other night and served with our spaghetti. (Thomas loves them when prepared like this!)  FREE FOOD… sort of.

Tiny Garlic Toasts

Tiny Garlic Toasts. Chop them smaller and they're croutons!













Chicken Broth

Chicken Broth

A great alternative it you don't have any homemade on hand.

I seem to use a lot of chicken stock for the soup recipes our family loves. I keep it on hand (boxed and organic not canned and conventional) OR I save it.

1) Season a whole chicken (organic or Sanderson Farms which doesn’t use hormones or routine antibiotics)

2) Cook in the slow cooker all day (no added water). Chicken can be used in casseroles, on sandwiches or served plain.

3) Pour the broth into a measuring cup and refrigerate.Remove nasty fat that hardens on the top.

4) Add an equal amount of filtered water and freeze in 1 cup servings for later use in recipes. FREE CHICKEN BROTH.

If you need a refresher on why “eating clean” (as it’s called) is so important, take a look back at this post.Please read a book or watch a movie listed as references on this page and form your own opinion.

If you need a refresher on “how to be a budget organic” look back at this post.

Review Your Budget

I mentioned before that if “it’s not in your budget” then the simple solution is to fix your budget! I would say that on average my grocery bill is about $30 more a month*. (Depends on if I hit some good sales or not.) So let’s think of ways to cut $30 out of another category.

1. In our house, 10% of take-home (first fruits) goes to the church. Then we work from there.

2. Examine your bills… can you reduce your cable, phone, cell bill? Do you have features you never use? Tucker just found out he can save $45 a month by switching from his Blackberry to an iPhone and adding himself to our family plan. (His was separate for a reason that no longer exists.)

3. Entertainment/Recreation. I’m kicking myself for not having the reference for this but I heard someone say that, as parents, we’d do anything for our children– even trade our own lives for theirs and yet we buy our children cheap food “because we can’t afford it”… on our way home from getting our nails done.

Hmmm… stop for a moment and take that in. Remind me to tell you my hair color story one day.


* This does not include our beef. I have not been able to locate organic beef in our area so I order it from U.S. Wellness Meats. This IS more expensive but the evidence is clear that conventional beef should avoided. So… we eat less beef and more fish.

Posted by: molander | February 12, 2010

Put your money where you mouth is…

I’m hearing this less and less but one complaint I still get is “I can’t eat as healthy as you do because it’s not in my budget.” Hmmm… my simple solution is fix your budget.You’re talking to the Queen of Penny Pinching here so let’s see if I can offer any help.

1) Watch your sales. I’ve always done this. This week, I saved $45.58 on Kroger Plus Card deals. Watch ’em and stock up. For instance, I’ve always had a rule that I wouldn’t buy junk food unless it was on sale. (Why would you pay full price for something you shouldn’t be eating anyway?) So this week, when Cascadian Farm Organic granola-type bars were on sale 50% off, I bought lots. And yes, I consider granola-type bars junk food… lots of sugar and sodium. HOWEVER… remember “good, better best!” If you need a treat, it may as well have positive aspects to it! (Tip: Instead of a Snickers candy bar, try their Sweet & Salty Mixed Nut granola bar.) You can get a coupon on their site as well. Remember: this stuff doesn’t have any of the Avoid At All Costs crap in them.

2) Use coupons. I’ve always done this. If somebody is going to give me free money, I’m going to take it! Too much trouble, you say? Hmmm… Did you have a bad kindergarten experience with scissors? Well, that might be understood then. I’m a whiz with scissors so no prob for me. As a matter of fact, I saved $5.00 with only 1 coupon this week. It was in the back of that Entertainment coupon book we had to buy for a school fundraiser. There is one $5 Kroger coupon for every month+1 in there. The book was $20 but there are $65 of Kroger savings alone. Do the math.

3) The reality is: It’s not as bad as you think. Seriously. Prices on the good stuff are dropping all the time. About a year ago a 64 oz. bottle of organic apple juice was around $8. (Yikes!) Just yesterday, it was cheaper than the bad stuff. Note the NON-sale prices below:

Organic apple juice $3.11 regular price

Organic apple juice $3.11 regular price

Motts $3.59 regular price

I don’t buy much juice because I don’t think we get enough bang for our buck: caloric value and sugar are high compared to the nutritional benefit.

In the case above, Mott’s is only 54% juice, hence the lower sugar value. Buy the organic and water it down… but wait until it goes on sale first and stock up!

And remember… we control the prices through the Law of Supply and Demand. As the demand for these items rises, the choices are plentiful and the prices get lower.

4) Pay attention to value, not only price. For instance, cheap bread is not a value.

xxxx a) poor nutritional value

xxxx b) probably contains crap from the Avoid at all Cost list. (Different brands have different poisons.)

xxxx c) Refined carbohydrates spike your insulin level and are quick to be digested and are therefore not as filling as whole grains.

And remember that 2 pieces of cheap bread = about 1 piece of quality bread. (Click to review the nutrition facts of 2 grilled cheese sandwiches: 70g for 1 and 74g for the other.) You’ll feel just as full with only 1 piece of the quality bread AND you’ll stay satisfied longer.

Here’s an exercise… pictures were taken last week at Walmart. Compare these three breads by VALUE not just price alone:

Quality bread

Quality bread. 1 piece per sandwich so that sort of cuts the cost in half: $1.25


Medium quality but still crap. Honey increases sugars/carbs and note that this does not say "100% whole wheat."

White bread

Total crap. Do not eat.

Always buy bread labeled “100% whole wheat.” The government says manufacturers can label a product “whole wheat” if it has only 51% whole grain flour. If it says “100% whole wheat” then it must live up to that claim. Don’t be tricked.

Click here for part 2!

Posted by: molander | February 3, 2010

Greater Grilled Cheese

Old-Timey Goodness

Our weather has been rather cold and dreary lately and if that’s not soup-and-grilled-cheese weather, I don’t know what is! Before Thanksgiving, I posted some tips for improving our favorite recipes so let’s see what we can do with my beloved grilled cheese sandwich…

The sandwich I grew up with was made with 2 pieces of  white bread buttered and golden-toasty on the outsides with processed American cheese all warm and gooey in the center. It was beautiful. A work of art! I loved every bite.

The good news is: I love my new and improved version even more! I love the taste better but I also love that it’s nutritionally valuable unlike my old favorite.

1) Replace the 2 pieces of white bread with ONE piece of 100% organic whole wheat bread. Compare the size of the breads and you’ll see that whole grain is almost always larger. Our favorite is Nature’s Own and it’s clearly larger. In addition, whole grains are heavier and leave you feeling fuller than over-processed white bread.

2) Replace the processed cheese (the sodium is horrendous) with real cheese and ALWAYS organic dairy. Nobody wants extra hormones and antibiotics they don’t need floating around in their bodies.

3) Replace the butter or margarine with healthy olive oil. (We like to sprinkle a touch of garlic powder over the oil while it’s heating, stir, shove 1/2 the oil over to one side of the pan and plop the bread onto the other half. When ready to flip, spread the other half of the oil out and plop the un-toasted side on top.)

According to Calorie Count Recipe Analysis, here is the nutritional breakdown for each. Note that there does appear to be a few more calories in the 2nd sandwich. However, note the improvement in saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbs, sugars and protein! The improvement in the quality of the sandwich is certainly worth the 15 extra calories! In this instance, each calorie is simply carries more bang for the buck! If the 15 calories bothers you, use less olive oil. (I was only guessing at the amount anyway!)

Bad Grilled CheeseGood Grilled Cheese

Nature's Own Organic 100% Whole Wheat with organic Monteray Jack

And one more thing… notice the weight of each sandwich. 70g and 74g. See how close the serving sizes are? Proof that only 1 piece of whole wheat bread is sufficient! Voila! Your cost of a loaf 100% organic whole wheat bread just dropped by 50%.

Posted by: molander | January 28, 2010

THINK when you eat

There’s a book that’s queued up on my shelf just waiting on me to devour it (pun intended). It’s called Mindless Eating by Dr. Brian Wansink. I could have been a case study for his research. Anybody else know what I’m talking about? Crusts of bread you cut off the kids’ sandwiches, a few spoonfuls of peas when you’re cleaning up after dinner so they “don’t go to waste”, a whole bag of popcorn when you watch a movie… sound familiar? Question: Do you really ENJOY those calories? I don’t. Sometimes I don’t even remember eating those things.

So… what to do? To begin with, click on these words & follow the steps outlined in the post. Then, know that there’s one thing you simply can’t avoid doing if you’re serious about making this healthy lifestyle change: you MUST log your food. Period. End of story.

Purpose and Benefits of Food Tracking:

1) You find out what healthy portions sizes REALLY look like and as a result, you control your intake.

2) You can see patterns. Do you eat too many high carbohydrate foods and not enough protein? (Uh… that would be me.) Do certain foods slow you down? Upset your stomach? Cause a headache?

3) You become aware of what you’re putting your mouth. I’ve stopped stuffing the crusts from Thomas’ sandwich in my mouth! Save them up – coat with a little olive oil and garlic – toast for a few minutes and you have small versions of garlic toast to serve with a good tomato soup!

4) Knowing you have to write it down can be a deterrent.

xxxx a) This is another reason NOT to eat those crusts from Thomas’ sandwich. It’s simply  too much trouble to log it compared to the enjoyment it gave me to eat it.

xxxx b) I won’t put that handful of chocolate chips in my mouth because I’m embarrassed to write it down when I’ve announced I’m working to lose weight.

5) Logging food is like keeping your check register balanced. If you simply MUST have a treat, work it into your calorie allowance for that day so you don’t overdraw. (Trick: up your green vegetables — low, low, calorie + high, high nutrient value = room for a treat.)

6) Know how many calories you burn! Once you know the amount of extra work necessary to burn them up, it gives you an incentive NOT to eat excess calories in the first place! Here are a few calorie burning calculators:

xxxx a) Calories Burned Estimator

xxxx b) ProHealth Exercise and Activity Calculator

xxxx c) Calorie Control Council

Note that each of these asks your weight. All calorie burn is estimation but you can get much closer if you figure in how much you weigh while you’re performing exercise.

My throw-all-the-leftovers-together salad

Food tracking can be rather inconvenient. So one of my favorite tricks is to use your camera phone. Snap a picture of what you’re eating and record it later when you have a moment. It’s easy to forget something if you try to rely on memory alone. Looking at the picture also may remind me of things I could have overlooked if I was rushing to get it all entered… like the mayo on the sandwich perhaps??

Below is an interesting video about how we view portion sizes taken from Dr. Wansink’s interview with 20/20. After you watch it, you may want to pack up your dinner plates for a while!

Posted by: molander | January 17, 2010

Clean Reading

Stack of BooksNo, I’m not going on a tangent about dirty magazines but rather suggesting two periodicals that have to do with clean livin’ (aka healthy lifestyle in this context).

I do A LOT of reading to keep up with this healthy mission I’m on. I currently have 3 books I’m in the process of finishing. I read several periodicals that come on a monthly or bi-monthly basis. I receive a host of health-related newsletters in my inbox. There’s the constant flow of health news tweeting at me on Twitter complete with links for more online reading. And then there’s the nutrition research for special conditions that I do for students and/or friends. It’s a lot, but I love every minute of it.

I explained to a friend recently (Hey, Becca!) that there are 2 types of “get-healthy” people. 1) Those who love to learn all they can to understand the ins, the outs, the whys of choosing a healthy lifestyle and 2) those who say, “just tell me what to do and I’ll do it.” For those who may possibly fall somewhere in between, I’d like to suggest two of my favorite magazines:

1) Clean Eating – obviously centered around eating good food; recipes; kitchen tool reviews; interviews with experts

2) Prevention – a plethora of information about the healthy living in general; health, nutrition, beauty, fitness, recipes

Over and over again I’m amazed at how complex the human body is and how well it runs on so little maintenance. Since we didn’t come with a user’s manual, the best we can do is take a little time to learn how to care for it properly.

xxxxx 1) Amazing: how every system works in harmony with the other systems when all is going well

xxxxx 2) Amazing: how the body tries its best to compensate when conditions are less than ideal

xxxxx 3) Amazing: how the body continues to work for us even when we have no regard for its care

Note that I am in no way affiliated with either of these magazines. I just think they’re great and wanted to share!
Posted by: molander | January 2, 2010


From Avoid At All Cost List

1.    Most common one you’ll recognize is MSG. Not a preservative but a “flavor enhancer.”

2.    In many common foods (canned tuna, soups, canned ravioli to name a few)

3.    Recent New Your Times article noted that Doritos have five kinds of glutamates!

4.    High levels of glutamates “mess with your brain chemistry, big-time.”*

5.    Glutamates are a form of excitotoxin which are devastating to the nervous system.

xxxxx a.    Head right to the brain
xxxxx b.    One brain area particularly vulnerable is the hypothalamus or “ground zero for hunger hormones like neuropeptide Y.”*

6.    Some processed foods have more than 1 kind of glutamate.

7.    Glutamates effect the part of your brain that make you want more.

8.    “As you eliminate as many glutamates as possible from your diet, also explore ways to boost the natural flavor of foods, Fermented foods, wine, soy sauce, Parmesan cheese, anchovies and ketchup are all naturally flavorful. Also, roasting, smoking or slow grilling makes foods taste rich and savory. And seek out the organic versions and enjoy without fear!”*

* Quoting Jillian Michaels in Master Your Metabolism


Avoid At All Cost items are either non-foods or foods modified so extremely that they have become harmful to the body. The clearest (and most concise-yet-comprehensive) list I can find on this subject is in Jillian Micheals’ book Master Your Metabolism so that’s what I’m using for reference in this series. Learn about other items on the Avoid At All Costs List at the right. Hydrogenated Fats
Refined Grains
High-Fructose Corn Syrup
Artificial Sweeteners
Artificial Preservatives, Colors, Flavoring


Posted by: molander | January 2, 2010

Artificial Preservatives and Colors

From the Avoid At All Cost List

Define carcinogen: any substance that produces cancer.

Preservatives started out as a good idea – something to keep us safe from food poisoning. Over time, it became more about shelf-life for product manufacturers. And now “researchers are discovering more and more that these preservatives are also likely to destroy our biochemistry, inhibit our metabolism, and interfere with our ability to lose weight.” *

Let’s pick on soft drinks for a moment:

1. They used to contain benzene (known carcinogen and also linked to thyroid damage) to prevent mold growth. Lawsuit forced Coca-Cola to remove the additives from several of their products. [Hmmm… not all?]

2. Scary: The replacement preservatives – and many others – have not been adequately tested (meaning not tested for long term exposure, for effects in combination with others chemicals, for effects when exposure to heat, et al.) Robyn O’Brien’s The Unhealthy Truth talks about how widespread this problem is. So scary and sad.

3. A Consumer Reports test found that when these products containing benzene sit in plastic bottles in direct sunlight or in high heat (hot delivery truck), dangerous levels of benzene form.

4. Relatively innocent preservative Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) becomes dangerous when combined with potassium benzoate. Many soft drinks use this instead of straight benzene but it CREATES benzene!

“Don’t take any chances – avoid any soda with sodium benzoate OR potassium benzoate and vitamin C, as the combination of these 2 additives can create benzene. If you must drink it, be sure to store your soda in a cool, dark place.”* And let’s just hope that it didn’t sit in a hot warehouse or get shipped in a hot truck.

BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole)

1. A common preservative found in HUNDREDS of things.

2. FDA claims it is “generally recognized as safe” but is still “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.” [WHAT?]

3. Even if the individual levels of BHA are “generally recognized as safe,” what happens when we use multiple products that all include them, or eat multiple servings? And consider this: BHA could be replaced by vitamin E or left out of some foods altogether. So why take the risk?” * Very good point, no?


Google those 3 words above and you’ll get loads of links on this subject. This is something I can share confidently from personal observation. Let me just go on the record right now as saying that I believe (from all the reading that I do on the subject) that ADD/ADHD is a neurological disorder and is not caused by dietary choices. However, the fuel you put in the body greatly affects performance. (And this is simply true of the human condition – disorders or no.)

Dum Dums1. It’s not the sugar that the bad guy with hyperactivity/mood change/aggressiveness in children… it’s the chemicals. HOWEVER, sugar does play a role by helping those chemicals get into the bloodstream faster.

Case in point: the little Dum Dum lollypop. Pretty little things; smaller than most candies; given at the pediatrician’s office for enduring the trauma of a finger prick or shot; filling the treasure box at school for when the teacher wants to reward success or (ironically) good behavior.

One Friday afternoon we were on our way to Oxford when we allowed Thomas the Dum Dum he was carrying in his pocket. (He’s really good about avoiding this stuff at school.) His little, severe-ADHD-self had been angelic on the 2.5 hour ride and we were almost there anyway. Within 2 minutes of STARTING to eat the Dum Dum, every part of his little body was squirming in his seat belt and the incessant talking began!

Giant Gingerbread Man

Giant Gingerbread Man made with organic ingredients

However, the giant gingerbread man we made with organic ingredients had no affect on him whatsoever. There was sugar… just no chemical crap.

This “research” was accidental on our part but if you want to emulate the experiment… 1) have no other food/drink at least 2 hours prior to the “experiment” and 2) medicine is optional. In our case, his Focalin XR was still in his system. From this we have learned that if he has no medicine then he will have no treats… I mean trash and medicine does not override poor diet.

Nitrates and Nitrites

1. The purpose of these chemicals is to preserve processed meats; Found in bacon, ham, lunch meat, turkey bacon and hot dogs to give its pink color and prevent the spread of bacteria. We have refrigeration now so chemical curing is not necessary unless you want hold on to it for months at a time. I prefer to eat as fresh as possible, though.

2. “After analyzing more than 7,000 studies on diet and cancer risk, the American Institute for Cancer Research estimated that for every 3.5 ounces of processed meat you eat per day – the equivalent of one hot dog and 2 slices of smoked turkey breast – your risk of colon cancer shoots up by 42%!“*

3. Finding meats without this stuff has proven difficult in our area but here are some I’ve discovered. Disclaimer: I’m not affiliated with any of these companies! Just sharing my personal findings and opinions!

xxxxx a) Hormel Natural Choice meats – Easy to find, tastes good, reasonably priced, heat the ham in a pan (no added grease) and it tastes like Canadian bacon.
xxxxx b) Niman Ranch Uncured Maple Bacon – Oh. My. Goodness. This is the best bacon we’ve ever tasted. Can only find this a Fresh Market around here but can order online. Note that while this is our favorite… ANY uncured bacon is acceptable. We also buy Kroger’s store brand Private Selection Natural Uncured Bacon.
xxxxx c) Applegate Farms Breakfast Sausage – Chicken and Sage we buy from Kroger or Fresh Market. We’ve ordered their deli meat and really like it. Tried their Turkey Bacon and it tastes just like slices of greasy turkey. Note: Regular grocery store turkey bacon is pretty much poison. It’s full of all things artificial to emulate regular bacon and, to the tastes buds, it does a very good job. But to the rest of your body, it’s a toxic chemical cocktail. Remember: We’re always better off with a little of the real thing than ANY amount of a fake thing.

Here’s a great (albeit quite colorful) chart listing artificial preservatives/colors, their uses and their dangers.

* Quoting Jillian Michaels in Master Your Metabolism


Avoid At All Cost items are either non-foods or foods modified so extremely that they have become harmful to the body. The clearest (and most concise-yet-comprehensive) list I can find on this subject is in Jillian Micheals’ book Master Your Metabolism so that’s what I’m using for reference in this series. Learn about other items on the Avoid At All Costs List at the right. Hydrogenated Fats
Refined Grains
High-Fructose Corn Syrup
Artificial Sweeteners
Artificial Preservatives, Colors, Flavoring


Posted by: molander | January 2, 2010

Artificial Sweeteners

From the Avoid At All Cost List

1. Possibly worse for us metabolically than excess sugar or High Fructose Corn Syrup.

2. Big study of 9500 people over 9 years found 3 most prominent risk factors of metabolic syndrome:
xxxxx a.    Eating fatty meat
xxxxx b.    Eating fried foods
xxxxx c.    Drinking diet soda
xxxxxxxx i.    Compared with people who drank none, those who drank just ONE can of diet soda a day had a 34% greater incidence of metabolic syndrome. (Metabolic Syndrome often goes undiagnosed and hangs around wreaking havoc.)

3. Generally, artificial sweeteners teach our bodies that sweet foods don’t have many calories; insulin production gets tricked; no appropriate calorie burning takes place.

4. Aspartame, aka NutraSweet, (in Diet Coke unless specifically listed as Splenda sweetened) is an excitotoxin, a chemical that may cause permanent damage to our brain’s appetite center. Scary: Note that these are NEURAL changes.

5. And the earlier these neural changes begin, the worse it is. (So children should never have diet drinks…. wish I had known this years ago [sigh])

6. Hot Off The Presses: 11 year study – over 3,000 women reveals: Aspartame alert: Diet soda destroys kidney function

7. Be aware that marketers are touting the new trend to “lower” sugar in kids’ cereals.

xxxxx 1) It’s not low enough
xxxxx 2) Will they be adding artificial sweeteners in an effort keep it tasting as sweet?
xxxxx 3) Read the labels

red flag8. I think what bugs me the most about this stuff is when this stuff was originally approved for use, objections were quickly filed by neuroscience researcher Dr John W. Olney and Consumer attorney James Turner in August 1974. At the same time, investigations of G.D. Searle’s research practices caused the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to put approval of aspartame on hold (December 5, 1974). AND THEN…in 1985, Monsanto purchased G.D. Searle and made Searle Pharmaceuticals and The NutraSweet Company separate subsidiaries.
xxxxx a. Read Robyn O’Brien’s The Unhealthy Truth to learn about Monsanto and their incredible government connections. This was a book I hated to pick up because it made me so sad and yet I couldn’t put it down. It was quite an education for this little, naive American.

9. I have had 2 separate friends refer to Diet Coke as “nectar of the gods” and quite frankly, I would have agreed with them back in the mid-1980s! (Hey, Tiffany and Jen!) So if you’re still in that camp and need more convincing here’s a great article with even more information: Diet Soda – How Healthy Is It?

10. Myth Buster: It’s not the caffeine that’s the bad guy here. The Nutrition Diva explains that here. (Love her podcasts, btw. Link at the right.)



Avoid At All Cost items are either non-foods or foods modified so extremely that they have become harmful to the body. The clearest (and most concise-yet-comprehensive) list I can find on this subject is in Jillian Micheals’ book Master Your Metabolism so that’s what I’m using for reference in this series. Learn about other items on the Avoid At All Costs List at the right. Hydrogenated Fats
Refined Grains
High-Fructose Corn Syrup
Artificial Sweeteners
Artificial Preservatives, Colors, Flavoring


Posted by: molander | January 1, 2010

High-Fructose Corn Syrup

From the Avoid At All Cost List

1. Cheap alternative to sugar made from corn but refined to the extreme. Scientific explanation found here.

2. Production increased 350% since 1980.

3. Causes leptin resistance (hormone that tells you you’re full)

xxxxx a. Tricks body into NOT releasing insulin and leptin, 2  hormones released when finished eating
xxxxx b. Unlike regular sugar, HFCS does nothing to dampen ghrelin (hormone that makes you hungry)

4. We’ll continue to consume more calories even 24 hours later than if we had eaten plain table sugar.

5. Is in SO MANY THINGS so there is no way to “get it in moderation.” The FDA claims it is “generally regarded as safe.” Hmmm… generally, huh? And how much at one time is “generally regarded as safe?” How much for my 165 lb husband? How much for my 65 lb son? “Generally regarded as safe…” [rolling eyes]

6. Biggest culprit: soft drinks but the list is endless! Read labels.

Scientists believe this is one of the contributing factors of our increasing obesity rate. Read this recent research. Ironically, here are 8 HFCS foods that are marketed to dieters. Beware!



Avoid At All Cost items are either non-foods or foods modified so extremely that they have become harmful to the body. The clearest (and most concise-yet-comprehensive) list I can find on this subject is in Jillian Micheals’ book Master Your Metabolism so that’s what I’m using for reference in this series. Learn about other items on the Avoid At All Costs List at the right. Hydrogenated Fats
Refined Grains
High-Fructose Corn Syrup
Artificial Sweeteners
Artificial Preservatives, Colors, Flavoring


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