July 29, 2008

Pour Some Sugar on Me

I tend to be relatively OCD about what I eat. I'm an organic, hippie, holistic sort of girl. That doesn't mean I don't eat junk from time to time, but, I really try to limit my intake of unhealthy food and I am doubly vigilant over the mini Freshes diet. I read labels and know grams of fiber, I avoid anything with growth hormones. A few years ago, when it seemed everyone I knew was being diagnosed with some sort of cancer, I made some very serious lifestyle alterations. No fluoride, chlorine filters on our shower heads, water filters, etc. They tease me about how ridiculous I am, but I sleep better at night.

I grew up on an organic vegetable farm, which probably accounts for some of my attitudes. My new dietary obsession is HFCS. High fructose corn syrup. This is what is used to sweeten nearly EVERYTHING on the planet. HFCS is NOT sugar, but rather a synthesized version of corn syrup with added enzymes to make it sweeter. I am sure there is a more scientific explanation, but ... pretty much it's disgusting stuff.

And it's in EVERYTHING. Soda, salad dressing, ice cream, many cereals, yogurt, you'd be amazed. It's much cheaper to use than old fashioned sugar, which is why fountain drinks can sell for 79 cents for 500 oz. at a gas station. Oh and here is a scary thing, it's ALSO in baby formula. Yes, the first thing we put into our babies mouths, if not nursing, is artificial, synthesized, and unhealthy. (Nursing is another mile long blog from Ms. Earth Mother La Leche poster child).

HFCS may possibly be responsible for the rise in diabetes and an assortment of other ailments. It began being used en masse in the 70s which would be a full generation of fake sugar. There is a lot of information out there, I will let you research on your own... but please do! A few weeks ago, I ordered a booklet from the Feingold organization and it has lists of foods that do NOT have it, which has helped simplify my shopping immensely.

It still takes me forever to read labels when I shop, but pretty much I assume if it's sweetened, it has it. I've decided to make the old fashioned packets of Kool Aid with SUGAR instead of the presweetened stuff. (this will work until I begin obsessing about food dyes)... I replaced our ketchup with organic ketchup and little by little my pantry will be free of HFCS with none of that evil glop that pretends to be sugar. Heck if it's pretending to be sugar, why not take the CALORIES out??

(as I struggle to kick my diet soda addiction, I'm not THAT granola!)


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