Curiously Crunchy

Asking crunchy questions for my family and yours.

Say No to Bottled Water

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Last summer here in Northwest Ohio we had what we lovingly refer to as “Aquapocalypse 2014”. There were higher levels of microcystin — a toxin produced by a type of blue-green algae known as microcystis —in our water than the city recommends (although it was below World Health Organization standards).

The story broke in the middle of Friday night and initially we were told we couldn’t touch the water: no showering, no cooking, no drinking, no nothing. We couldn’t boil it, that made the microcystin more concentrated. What’s a resident to do? Run to the store to buy bottled water, along with hundreds of thousands of our neighbors.

But what’s really in that bottled water and is it better than drinking clean tap water?

Safe Plastics?

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Like I’m sure many of you did, I thought BPA-Free plastic meant our plastic was safe. Now I’m not quite sure. True, BPA isn’t used in most any plastic anymore and they have banned a few more endocrine disrupting chemicals, but my search didn’t turn up anything that made me feel confident in the safety of the PET plastic that most manufacturers use to bottle their water. There have been studies that indicate that there are further chemicals to be weary of inside PET plastic, but nothing incredibly definitive either way.

I don’t like taking those risks, especially with my family.

Not as Pure as You Think

The EWG did an investigation into 10 brands of bottled water. The results were nothing short of nasty. They found disinfection byproducts, caffeine, Tylenol, heavy metals, arsenic, radioactive isotopes, nitrates and ammonia, and a bunch of other chemicals from various solvents, plasticizers, and propellants. Gross.

And the EWG isn’t alone in their investigation of waters. In 2008 Texas Southern University tested 35 brands of bottled water and found that 4 were contaminated with bacteria. In 1999, the Natural Resources Defense Council tested 103 bottled waters and found about 1/2 of them contained contaminants and chemicals.

Our trust that the bottled water companies are actually providing with something better than what’s in our tap is clearly misplaced.

Pollution is a Problem

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According to the EPA, 33 million tons of plastic waste were generated in 2013 and only 9% of the total plastic waste generated that year was recovered for recycling. Americans on average drink more than 73 BILLION half-liter bottles of water every year. Lining them up end to end, those bottles would circle the world 370 times. They also say approximately only 30% of those bottles are recycled. That is crazy.

In addition to waste produced by the bottles themselves, there is the environmental impact of the bottling plants. The Pacific Institute calculates that producing water bottles requires the equivalent of more than 17 million barrels of oil, not including the energy to transport them.

So, even if you recycle that bottle, did you think about all the impact of its creation? I never used to, either. But now that you know, perhaps it’s time to switch.

The 411 on Filters

Your best bet for clean drinking water remains in your tap, but perhaps you would rather have something still a little more clean. Home filters are really going to be your best compromise.

A great resource for all things filters is going to be the Environmental Working Group’s Filter Buying Guide, or their comprehensive list of filter types and technologies.

Carbon filters are what Brita filters offer, and also what I have at home. It is the most effective for eliminating any cytotoxin (which microcystin is) besides reverse osmosis (which is expensive).

And finally…

It’s Cheaper!

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Tap water costs about $0.002 a gallon (two-tenths of a penny!!) so the cost of bottled water stacks up to be 1,900 times more than tap water. And at that price, there’s not even the guarantee that it’s any better than what’s flowing out of your tap.

So back to last summer…

After a few hours and waking up the mayor and some other city scientists who did more reviewing and testing, we were told we could pretty much resume our daily lives, except you probably shouldn’t drink the water or cook with it until we got the all clear. Since I know what I know now about bottles vs. filters, should the blue-green algae appearance disturb our drinking water again this summer, I will simply drink exclusively from my Brita filter without a second worry.

Do you drink bottled water? Do you have a water filtering system at home?

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Baby Powder Can Cause Cancer?

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It’s true, according to this study by the National Institute of Health. They concluded “that there is a significant association between the use of talc in genital hygiene and risk of epithelial ovarian cancer”.

Alarmed? So was I, so I did some more digging.

Apparently the issue is that talc mines and asbestos deposits are frequently located close together and the talc can be contaminated by asbestos, causing all kinds of problems. According to the FDA, it is “unacceptable for cosmetic talc to be contaminated with asbestos” but they also say “cosmetic products and ingredients…do not have to undergo FDA review or approval before they go on the market”. While the FDA did conduct a study from 2009-2010 and tested 4 cosmetic labs’ talc for asbestos (these labs came up asbestos-free), they don’t regularly check any cosmetics for anything, including possibly asbestos-infected talc. The American Cancer Society says there needs to be more research done on pure, asbestos-free talc to see if there is a risk for ovarian cancer from pure talc.

Baby talcum powder container.

I use baby powder every single morning to keep my sensitive parts dry and happy during the day, and on my daughter, too. No one is regulating this product to make sure these talc mines are in fact located a safe distance away from asbestos deposits and no one is doing regular check ups on products already on the market to see if they are safe. It is up to the companies to govern themselves and to abide by FDA regulations, but the FDA will only step in after being provided with proof that something is contaminated or harmful. I don’t know about you, but I don’t exactly trust a business to govern itself.

What’s a girl, and momma, to do? The answer is either cornstarch or arrowroot powder. You can either use them pure or grind herbs into the powder for scent and the healing components of the different herbs. Katie the Wellness Mama has a good suggestions of herbs she uses. I plan on just using plain since I don’t have a diaper-bound kiddo anymore.

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So I ordered my arrowroot powder yesterday and it should be here soon.

Do you use powder? Are you concerned about the non-existance of checkups on the mining and production of talc and talcum powder?

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GMOs: Just Label It!

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The National Institute of Health did a study in 2009 saying that we just don’t know enough about GMOs to determine if they are harmful. According to JustLabelIt.org almost 90% of Americans simply want to know what’s in their food. This study shows that labeling GMOs will have little to no effect on food prices. So why is big business so determined to keep the knowledge of what we’re eating away from us? The answer is simple: greed.

It isn’t the genetically modified food in and of itself that is the problem for me. It is the reason why we created them in the first place that causes me concern: so we can spray them with mass amount of pesticides, and they will survive but the weeds will die. This spraying of chemicals should cause EVERYONE concern.

Monsanto, the country’s most notorious GMO proponent, owns RoundUp (active ingredient: glyphosate). GMOs were created to withstand large amounts of glyphosate, thus killing the weeds and leaving the crop to grow. While there is no data about GMOs themselves, there is data on glyphosate.

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While household RoundUp has 1% glyphosate, commercial grade RoundUp contains 41% glyphosate! [NIH, 2004] Then there’s this juicy nugget: “Roundup may be…considered as a potential endocrine disruptor. Moreover, at higher doses still below the classical agricultural dilutions, its toxicity on placental cells could induce some reproduction problems.” [NIH, 2005] So basically, at doses lower than what’s used on crops this chemical disrupts our endocrine system (the collection of glands that produce hormones that regulate metabolism, growth and development, tissue function, sexual function, reproduction, sleep, and mood, among other things) and has the potential for reproductive issues. Not to mention the “farmers exposed to non‐arsenic pesticides were found to be at increased risk of lymphoma”. [NIH, 2006]

In this 2012 NIH study on rats being fed GMO corn sprayed with glyphosate, they found “In females, all treated groups died 2-3 times more than controls, and more rapidly… Females developed large mammary tumors almost always more often than and before controls, the pituitary was the second most disabled organ; the sex hormonal balance was modified by GMO and Roundup treatments. In treated males, liver congestions and necrosis were 2.5-5.5 times higher… Marked and severe kidney nephropathies were also generally 1.3-2.3 greater. Males presented 4 times more large palpable tumors than controls which occurred up to 600 days earlier.” So these rats suffered cancer, died earlier and faster, had sex hormone disruption, and liver and kidney issues, all from RoundUp and GMO corn. The World Health Organization calls glyphosate a “probable carcinogen”. Based on all that evidence, I would have to agree.

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Guys, they are spraying this on our food. We are eating it! (And let’s be real, it’s running off into our water and we’re drinking it, too…) And it gets better…

Glyphosate isn’t working anymore. We have created glyphosate resistant weeds. Because of this, we have upgraded to a chemical called 2,4-D. It is a component of Agent Orange. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want ANY component of such a chemical anywhere near my food.

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The time is now to stand up and STOP letting agribusiness think that this is ok. We need labels so consumers can vote with their dollars and let the industry know we don’t want these horribly detrimental chemicals sprayed anymore.

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One of my favorite resources for finding Non-GMO foods is the Non-GMO Project. They are a non-profit organization that verifies products throughout the US and Canada by testing the ingredients in the products being produced by these companies. They have pretty strict standards (all listed on their website at http://www.nongmoproject.org) and in addition to their little logo on the packaging of verified products, the website also provides a list of every product they have verified.

Do you watch for Non-GMO verified products when you go grocery shopping?

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Organize Recipes with Pepperplate

A huge key to being able to eat well is to eat and home and be able to prep. Wrestling with piles of paper recipes, juggling Pinterest boards, and searching through your bookmarks is no way to do it.

You know by now how much I adore Door to Door Organics. I have discovered that if I don’t meal plan based on what’s coming in my order, veggies and fruits get forgotten about and go bad. I was going crazy trying to organize what I have and search for new recipes so I can use new veggies I don’t usually cook with (like kale and eggplant).

But I have made a great discovery. Pepperplate. It  may have just saved my cooking sanity.

There is a website and an app for my iPad. The website has a bookmarklet that allows you to import recipes from other sites directly to your Pepperplate collection. You can also add some manually if you have hand-me-down recipes (like my great grandmother’s sugar cookie recipe).

My recipes sync throughout my devices and I can categorize them (so I can do a search for chicken or gluten-free or desserts or whatever other tags I decide to add), add them to menus for the week, and use them to make shopping lists. You can also adjust the recipe down to 1/4 of the original or up to 2x the original specifications.

It has been a cooking lifesaver.

What do you use to collect and organize your recipes? Have you gone digital?

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We’re a Fitbit Family!

Last year I had a Fitbit Ultra given to me by a friend that I loved… until it fell apart. It functioned, but only in the extra clip and it made it too bulky to wear in my bra (and I didn’t always have pockets). I hadn’t had the money to dive in and purchase a new one until I just decided that I needed to be more active and wanted something to help me.

A few weeks ago Hubbyman and I went to Best Buy and each got a Fitbit. I chose the One because I really can’t stand stuff on my wrist for an extended period of time. I almost never wear bracelets and hate watches, so a clip on monitor was what I needed.  I purchased the Fitbit One for me, the Charge HR for Hubbyman since he doesn’t mind things on his wrist.

They have been really fun so far. We can see how much sleep we’re getting, how restless we are (or aren’t), and we have competitions to see who walked the most steps or climbed the most amount of stairs.

Babykins was so jealous of these nifty little trackers; she was dying to know how much she was moving, too. So I gave her my Ultra. She has been obsessed with making that little activity flower grow. She counts the petals and always wants to know if she has more than me (she usually does).

Do you have a fitness tracker?

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I Cooked a Chicken!

I love chicken. I could eat it every day, and some weeks I swear we do. The chicken I was feeding my family from the grocery store though really wasn’t all that high on the quality scale.

Door to Door Organics to the rescue! This last order I purchased a whole chicken from Gunthorp Farms in Lagrange, Indiana. (Can I just take a minute and say how much I love that Door to Door lists the farms their meat is coming from so I can look them up? I read about the farm and how the animals are raised, cared for, and even how they are slaughtered. I liked what I read so I picked this farm for my chicken. )

When it arrived on Monday, my husband realized it was still frozen solid and my master plan of coming home to a roast chicken dinner was squashed. So, we wrapped it in 2 layers of cellophane and put it inside 2 grocery bags to thaw in the fridge. Last night at about 8:30pm I realized I still hadn’t cooked it yet (2 days later), so I ran out to the kitchen during the Stanley Cup Playoffs to take care of it before it spoiled.

I preheated my oven to 450F so my it would be warm when I was ready.

When I pulled the bird out of the bags, I could see some blood leaking into the plastic wrap, so I bleached my sink real quick so I could open it up in the sink itself (and not have to try to wash blood off my counter or cutting board). I had the trash can right next to me and gently peeled away the plastic wrap, so the blood wouldn’t splatter, and threw the plastic pieces in the trash.

As I was rinsing the unwrapped bird with cold water, I realized I have never actually cooked a whole bird of any kind. My mom or my cousins always cooked Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners so this was my first experience. At first I got a little skittish about the raw-ness of it, but I reminded myself that this was once a living thing, and if I’m going to eat it I at least need to respect it; there was nothing to be afraid of (and although I opened up the cavity to check for a bag of innards, I still couldn’t bring myself to actually stick my hand up there… yet).

So anyway, I rinsed the chicken and placed it on a large cutting board. I patted the skin dry with paper towels and rubbed olive oil all over the skin. I then placed the bird in my roasting pan with about a cup of water, and sprinkled a bunch of seasonings all over it. When I felt like I had flavored it enough, I put the lid on my roasting pan and put it in my oven at 450 for approximately 40 mins (I had forgotten to set the timer! I checked when it started to smell good.) You always want to check internal temperature, check for clear juices (red means it’s not done yet), and do the “poke” test (if the fork goes in easy, the meat is probably done). After the first check, I dropped down the temp to 375F and put it in for another 60 minutes (checking it every 20 since I still had no real idea how long it would take).

After the last check, it passed my tests and I turned off the oven and set it on a cutting board to cool (and covered it so the cats didn’t think I left them a treat!). When it was cool (ish) I ripped into it and tore off every price of meat I could find; I put the meat in a clean bowl with a lid to eat as leftovers for tomorrow, saving all the skin and bones, and the liquid left over from the roasting pan, for broth.

After I was sure I had picked the bird clean of meat, I put all my saved skin and bones and leftover juices and the entire carcass into the crock pot with lots of water to cover everything, more seasonings like garlic salt, onion salt, a few cloves of garlic, thyme, oregano…(and if I had saved veggies like celery and carrots instead of eating them, I would have put them in there too…) and set it on high overnight.

I woke up to a house smelling like chicken soup heaven. I checked it to make sure the pot was still full of water (it was) and left it to cook the rest of the day. I’ll drain it when I get home and freeze it into useable portions.

I’m so stoked with how this whole experiment went, I want to buy a chicken every week! (Although that’s a little impractical on the budget. Every other week then…?)

I wish I had thought to take pictures of this thing I’m so incredibly proud of, but you’ll just have to try it for yourself to see it!

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One Bite at a Time

If you’re anything like me, you’ve stepped into the wellness world and had a mini panic attack at everything that you “should” be doing.

This lifestyle is a journey, not an overnight conversion, and can be done with simple steps a few at a time.

Here are my favorites that I’ve incorporated into my life the last year, and some of these options have even saved me money!

  1. Hydrate

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Everybody knows you’re supposed to drink like a million ounces of water a day (or at least that’s what it feels like sometimes). It’s hard when you don’t enjoy the nothingness taste of plain water. I’ve found, though, if I have iced tea I’ll drink it all day long, and I do. I bought a half-gallon jug and make tea (with a sprinkle of stevia) with Lipton Cold Brew bags every morning at work. All day long I’m filling my cup with something I enjoy that isn’t made of chemicals (like a soft drink) or extra servings of sugar (like juice). There is caffeine but according to my box there is 10mg per 8oz serving (compared to 95mg in 8oz of coffee) so all day I’m getting a steady low dose drip that keeps me alert and hydrated.

If you have kidney stones, speak to your doctor about drinking a lot of black tea because it can possibly exaggerate an already existing kidney stone issue.

  1. Breakfast

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It’s another one of those things everyone knows is good for them, but one I have always struggled with.

I don’t get hungry right away when I get up, nor am I a morning person. I always hit the snooze until the very last possible minute. So to combat my morning anti-hunger I have been on the smoothie train. I throw some combination of whatever fruit is around, usually bananas, frozen strawberries, mangos, peaches, and this last week blueberries since they came in my Door to Door Organics box, with about a cup or so of nut milk (usually almond or coconut), a spoonful of vanilla Greek yogurt, a scoop of protein (switching from whey to hemp this week), and maybe some maca powder or some ice, depending on how I feel or if I remember.

I drink it in the car on my morning commute and it’s pretty fulfilling.

If I feel especially ambitious (usually on the weekend) I’ll try to throw some kale or spinach or something else greem in there too. Jamba Juice makes Fruit & Veggie Smoothie kits which run around $3.00 for 2-8oz smoothies, the ingredients list can be found here. It’s not too bad of a list for a frozen kit from a chain, in my opinion, and it’s still a better option than a chocolate chip muffin or a doughnut.

  1. Personal Hygiene

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I have been switching to products I can make myself as much as possible, partly because it’s better for me and partly because it’s more cost effective.

I use this recipe from DIY Natural for body wash, which includes castile soap (I use Dr. Bronner’s Almond), raw honey, and some oils. I always feel super clean when I’m done and it smells amazing! And like they say on DIY Natural, it lathers great for shaving, too.

For my teeth I use this tooth powder instead of commercial toothpaste, and I try to oil pull when I remember (my morning mouth is always less when I’ve oil pulled the night before). The cost is like a dollar per batch and it lasts a while!

I wash my face with either just water, raw honey, or if my skin is really dry like it was this winter I’ll oil cleanse with almond oil. I very rarely wear makeup, so I don’t need to clean much off my face at the end of the day.

Sometimes I’ll do a honey mask while I brush my teeth at night, and I always use witch hazel as a post-wash toner and finish off with some avocado oil or calendula-infused almond oil to replenish moisture.

I haven’t found a “natural” shampoo/conditioner combination I like yet that is affordable, so for now it’s Pantene or Dove or whatever is on sale at Costco. There are suggestions about using baking soda in water or castile soap as a simple shampoo and diluted apple cider vinegar as a rinse, but with my long curly hair, it just doesn’t work as well for me. So if you find something just isn’t for you, don’t panic. Go back to what does work and keep researching until that time when/if another option appears.

I also make my own lotion and lip balm (my last batch of lip balm made 25 tubes and the supply has lasted almost 18 months!) and they are great, too.

  1. Don’t waste what you have!

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What if you JUST went to Bath and Body Works and bought 3 bottles of soap? Or have a just opened tube of toothpaste or brand new bar of face soap? No worries, just use what you have and when it’s gone, replace it with better. There is no need to throw everything out and start over. Or you can take the unopened containers to a shelter or food pantry to help those less fortunate. Either way, don’t be like me and think you should scrap everything you have. It gets expensive and sad.

  1. Prepare

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(Sorry, not sorry. I couldn’t help but think of Scar!)

This is the hardest part. You don’t realize how much easier all of this can be if you just prepare! Meal plan and keep a good stock of your most used items so you don’t run out. I base the week’s meals off of what is coming in our Door to Door Organics box and I always make sure I have a good supply of castile soap and raw honey.

If we keep taking baby steps, who knows where we’ll be in our wellness journey a year from now!

What baby steps have you taken to make your life more natural?

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Digital Mini-Detox

The irony of this post is that I’m posting it from the car on my phone.

We are headed about an hour and a half west to my aunt’s cottage on a small man made lake. It’s surrounded by nothing but farmland. There is hardly any signal up there.

It’s a great place to have a digital detox. Without signal, we are all forced to put down the devices and just be.

The cottage is on a pretty good size plot right on the water, so we have grass, trees, and blue skies all around. It’s one of the only places I visit where I can’t hear traffic.

It’s tranquil. It’s serene. It’s soul food.

Have you ever taken a digital detox? Do you think they’re necessary?

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Alternative Sweeteners

(Let me preface this with the statement that I am not a doctor, nor am I a medical professional of any kind. I am just a woman who gets super nosey about what I’m putting in my body and I would like to share a small portion of my research on sweeteners with you below.)

We all know that too much sugar is bad for us, but if you’re like me you can’t drink coffee or tea without a sweetener.

We also all know that artificial sweeteners like aspartame and saccharin are full of unnecessary chemicals and garbage that can cause cancer and migraines and all kind of terrible things.

So what’s a girl to use? I’m going to go in to some of the different kinds of sweeteners and which one is my favorite.

First we have Table Sugar

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Usually obtained from Sugar Cane or Sugar Beet, it is processed by crushing and extracting sugarcane or sugar beet with water, evaporating, and purifying with lime, carbon, and various liquids. (From PubChem.)

Traditional table sugar is incredibly refined and any of the beneficial trace nutrients are taken out, leaving it devoid of anything but empty calories.

If used moderately, this sweetener really isn’t so bad, in my opinion, BUT it’s in so much of what we eat already without even realizing, it is rarely my sweetener of choice (except for baking). And when I do use it, I use Sugar In The Raw.

They don’t do the extra refining to get it white (although they do offer a white sugar).

Next up, Agave Syrup

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Agave syrup (or agave nectar) is from the Agave Americana and Agave Tequilana plants. The leaves are cut off the plant after it has aged seven to fourteen years and the juice is then extracted from the core of the agave, called the piña. The juice is filtered, then heated, to break the complex components (the polysaccharides) into simple sugars. This filtered juice is then concentrated to a syrupy liquid, slightly thinner than honey. Its color varies from light- to dark-amber, depending on the degree of processing. The main sweetening agent (called inulin or fructosan) is mostly fructose.

According to Dr. Ingrid Kohlstadt (a member of the American College of Nutrition and an associate faculty member at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health) “Agave syrup is almost all fructose, highly processed sugar with great marketing. Fructose interferes with healthy metabolism when (consumed) at higher doses. Many people have fructose intolerance like lactose intolerance. They get acne or worse diabetes symptoms even though their blood [sugar] is OK”. (from the Huffington Post)

This is one of my least favorite options because of the fructose content. If I’m going to consume a sweet syrup, I’m going to go for raw honey. I personally prefer the taste and I don’t need the extra fructose (we’re already getting plenty with HFC in practically everything).

Raw Honey

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Honey is a great food to have around for a number reasons. Although its sweetness comes from mainly fructose and glucose, its other properties make it worth keeping around.

“The support for using honey as a treatment regimen for peptic ulcers and gastritis comes from traditional folklore as well as from reports in modern times. Honey may promote the repair of damaged intestinal mucosa, stimulate the growth of new tissues and work as an anti-inflammatory agent. Raw honey contains copious amounts of compounds such as flavonoids and other polyphenols which may function as antioxidants. Clinical observations have been reported of reduced symptoms of inflammation when honey is applied to wounds. The removal of exudate in wounds dressed with honey is of help in managing inflamed wounds.” (from PubMed)

Wholesome Sweeteners is my favorite, and I even use it to wash my face!

Please note that because honey contains contains small amounts of proteins, enzymes, amino acids, minerals, trace elements, vitamins, aroma compounds and polyphenols, the medical community agrees honey should NOT be given to children under 2.

Stevia – My Favorite 

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My favorite sweetener that I use daily is Stevia. I prefer the taste of Stevia In The Raw, although Wholesome Sweeteners is a close second. I also really like Wholesome Sweeteners because they are Non-GMO Verified and Fair Trade Certified, which the In The Raw brand is not.

Stevia has been found to increase insulin sensitivity and to have beneficial effects on blood glucose and insulin levels. According to a National Institute of Health study (found here), stevia had significantly less impact on insulin and blood glucose levels than glucose and aspartame.

Although maltodextrine is listed as an ingredient on the Stevia In The Raw packages, the National Institute of Health says “meals, consumed as either dextrose or maltodextrin, pose little postprandial oxidative insult to young, healthy men. As such, there should be minimal concern over such feedings, even at high dosages, assuming adequate glucose metabolism”, which I interpret to mean that as long as you are pretty healthy overall, it isn’t going to affect you much, especially because I don’t need very much to get my desired sweetness. Its inclusion doesn’t bother me at all, but use your own judgment on what’s best for you and your family.

There is SO MUCH information out there about different sweeteners and the effect they have on our bodies. I encourage you to do your own research and find what works best for you and your family.

Are you loyal to one particular sweetener or brand of sweeteners?

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Your Body on Soda

I have never been a heavy soda drinker. The carbonation tickles my nose and I always end up with stomach pain.

My daughter is 6 years old and more and more has been asking for pop. We’ve come to the agreement (although it’s hard to enforce when I’m not there) that she gets one small bottle or one small glass a day (roughly 8-10oz). She’s beginning to understand how it isn’t good for you and it’s not actually what your body wants when you’re thirsty, but she’s 6 and it tastes good so it’s a struggle.

I think it’s hard sometimes to remember what exactly pops and sodas do to our bodies, so I borrowed the following information from Experience Life’s article “This Is Your Body on Soda” that breaks down exactly what happens over the course of the hour after we drink a can of pop.

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10 MINUTES

A 12-ounce can of soda delivers about 10 teaspoons of sugar — more than the American Heart Association’s daily recommendation of 6 tsp. per day for women, 9 tsp. for men. Normally you’d gag on such intense sweetness, but phosphoric acid mellows the sugary flavor.

20 MINUTES

Here comes the blood-sugar spike. Your liver reacts quickly to the glucose in your bloodstream, storing as much as it can, but it’s soon at capacity and most of the sugar is converted into fat. (And there’s practically no limit to how much fat your body can store.)

30 MINUTES

Caffeine’s effects are under way: Your pupils dilate. Heart and respiratory rates increase. Your blood pressure rises, causing your liver to release even more sugar into the bloodstream. If you’re tired, you won’t feel it: Caffeine blocks the brain’s adenosine receptors.

40 MINUTES

Dopamine levels rise abnormally, turning on the pleasure centers in your brain and creating a revved-up “high” similar to the one produced by amphetamines, cocaine, and heroin.

50 MINUTES

The diuretic properties of caffeine makes you pee. And because the phosphoric acid in soda binds to calcium, magnesium, and zinc in your body, you’ll soon be flushing those vital nutrients down the toilet.

60 MINUTES

A sugar crash hits you — hard. You’re left feeling cranky, sluggish, thirsty, and ready for another soda, especially if it’s diet. The artificial sweeteners used in diet soft drinks also affect the addiction centers in the brain, keeping you coming back for more.

It’s an awful cycle, right? I find it’s easiest to not want pop if it’s just not around. If you don’t have it, you can’t drink it!

Do you have any soda regulations in your house?

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