Here Is What I Found In My Bottled Water!

This tall glass of water looks refreshing, right?

Well, it’s not.  Pardon my language but it’s bullshit!   Don’t be hoodwinked by the appearance of anything.

If I come across as annoyed.  I am.

One sip and I knew I screwed up.  Big time!  Sweeter than fruit juice.  Like really disgusting.   The artificial sweetener left a repugnant after taste. It was late in the evening and I was upstairs in the bedroom all ready to chill, but that didn’t stop me from racing downstairs half naked to examine the label.

If you are new to Lexa’s Journal, about two months ago, I moved over 700 miles away from what has been home to me for 50 years.  I’m becoming acquainted with the grocery stores in my new home town. Successfully finding my favorite brands is tricky. The store didn’t have my favorite brand, so I settled (too quickly) on the store brand.

I wasn’t wearing my reading glasses.  Too quickly scanning the label resulted in a major faux pas.  I mistakenly saw all zeros under the Nutritional Facts, so I missed the 10mg of sodium (per serving).

Four (4) servings per bottle are 40mg of sodium!

Water should NOT contain sodium. But that’s not what literally irked me.  Keep reading.


What freaked me out was the list of ingredients.   The content is supposed to be water!! Ha!!

Nine ingredients in a bottle of flavored water is unacceptable!!

Gimmie a break!  By the way, it’s peach flavored.  Do you see peaches anywhere in the ingredient list?  Nope!  Ugh!!

  1. Carbonated Water
  2. Citric Acid
  3. Malic Acid
  4. Potassium Citrate
  5. Potassium Benzoate (Preservative)
  6. Sucralose
  7. Acesulfame Potassium
  8. Natural Flavor
  9. Neotame

Most of the ingredients are additives that enhance the flavor.  It’s the flavor of Sucralose that set off my taste buds’ bells and whistles!!   Sucralose is an artificial sweetener. Search the net and you will find plenty of articles debating the facts and opinions about the safety and risk of artificial sweeteners. I’m not interested.

I don’t want any forms of artificial sweeteners in anything I consume, especially my water.  So if I can’t find my receipts to return the muck, I’ll take the loss and trash the remaining three bottles.

Sometimes late evening (after dinner), I enjoy sipping sparkling water from a large wine glass.  It’s a mental thing (substitute for wine) but it works for me.

Below is the label from the brand of sparkling water that I usually drink. Look at the difference in the labels. There are only two ingredients and… there is no sodium in the water. Of course, the “natural flavor” isn’t defined but I’ll still take this over nasty muck with nine ingredients.

The point of this post is to encourage you to stay diligent; read the both the nutritional and ingredient labels.  Oh and, if you wear reading glasses, carry them with you.

When you eliminate specific elements from your diet and you unknowingly consume it, in most cases, you will know.  You will either taste it or, if you pay close attention, you will notice that your body will adversely respond.  You may experience bloating, an upset stomach, a headache or something else.  In my situation, the strong and phony taste of sugar captured my attention.

To anyone in the path of a hurricane or who have already been impacted by one, I’m praying for you all.  Stay safe.

Peace and love.

 

 

 

It Was Good While It Lasted

The decision to give up coffee was kind of spontaneous.  Nearly two months have passed since I gave up my freshly brewed java.    Fresh coffee was a nice early morning treat and part of my morning ritual.

The decision to give up coffee was sudden and random.  One day I just noticed that I didn’t  feel like myself.  The feeling was more than the typical jitters from too much caffeine.  Aside from the increase in hot flashes,  I felt sick from it.  The taste changed too.  It was nasty.   That’s not supposed to happen. What the heck is going on?  Hormones I suppose.  Or maybe it’s my body’s way of telling me it’s time to give it up.

Anyways my current morning ritual now includes organic loose leaf green tea. And guess what?   It’s working well.  I actually feel better, more energized and I don’t get the dragging feeling after the caffeine boost. Yay!

So imagine my delight when I stumbled on a Green Tea Latte at Starbucks.


 🙂 Aaaaaaaah!  The heavenly gates opened up.   I tried the latte and loooooooved it!  Although I like the vibe of Starbucks, they’re too pricey for me.  This day was an exception because I was on the road and ran in to get some oatmeal.  I ended up with the oats and the green tea latte.  I substituted regular milk for coconut milk.

Fast forward to my third one.   😦

You know I had to know the nutritional content, so I went to the company’s website.

“Smooth and Creamy.” Yes.

“Lightly sweetened.” NOT!!

Check out the sugar content!!  Oh my gosh!  I was devastated then I realized the whopping 27 grams of sugar was for a Grande.  Uh oh. I’ve been drinking the Venti, which is even larger. Ugh!

The Venti is loaded with even more sugar!  36 grams!!  This is ridiculous.  Starbucks has to do better. They got that one off on me.  This is yet another example of why we have to stay diligent in researching all that we eat and drink.  250 Calories. 9 grams of saturated fat. 90 calories from fat.  When I read the label, I became sad and angry. Who would think green tea would have so much sugar?  Yup. They tricked me.  

Whelp.  It was good while it lasted.  I just can’t and don’t consume sugar like that. Speaking of sugar, if you’re trying to lose weight or maybe trying to reduce your sugar intake, check out the video, The Truth About Sugar that I recently watched. It may change the way you think about your favorite sugary snack.

I’ve got a lot going on these days.  When things settle down, I have tons of good stuff to share.  So hang in there with me.  If you like this post, please like, share and follow me.

Smooches!  🙂


Why I Stopped Eating Poultry: It’s Not What You Think

quote

Jason Silva

 

One insignificant decision, good or bad, can alter the course of one’s life forever. The changes occur like a domino effect. One domino tilts forward causing a forward motion and for as long at another lie ahead, the movement is continuous.

 The “domino effect” is a great metaphor for how we choose to live. I say “choose” because the action is voluntary. Throughout our life, we can opt to remain unchanged and hold on to our conceptual beliefs, moral convictions, and unwavering attitudes or we can decide to open our mind and open our heart to the unknown.  For me, the later is working its magic!

Four days remain for me to finish reading, The Happy Vegan by Russell Simmons.  A goal for 2016 was to seek more education, so I chose (there’s that word again) to work on a Master’s degree.  Monday ended my first class and the second course starts in four days.  Simmons book is a quick read.  I enjoy his style of writing. He is practical and deliberate and precise.

I am reading the book because I need clarity on what it means to be a vegetarian.

My domino effect goes like this.

In 2014, I competed in my first figure competition. The training took my already wholesome diet to a more sophisticated level of eating clean (insert link). Building muscle mass requires more than throwing up weights.  Depending on your fitness goal, increasing muscle mass requires eating significant amounts of protein.  Because I don’t eat red meat (since 1994), my go to was poultry and seafood.

Toward the later part of 2015, I was getting tired of eating chicken and turkey.  Thoughts about giving up both on a regular basis occasionally plagued my brain, but I wasn’t quite ready to give up the likes of homemade turkey burgers and turkey chili.

January 2016 rolls around, and without doing much research, I take the plunge.  I decide to give up the chicken and turkey and go with more seafood and more plant-based protein.

I was consistent until February 7th, SuperBowl 2016.  The weekend was busy and for the first time in a month, I failed to plan— I was stuck for meal prep.  In a haste and, in spite of my goal, I bought chicken breast.  For the next two weeks, I ate chicken.  Then something happened.

The unexpected.

The hot flashes returned!

HOTFLASH

HOT FLASH!

 

For most of 2015, I experienced hot flashes from hell!  From deep within, an insane and intense radiating heat ignited then spread to every part of my body extending to my scalp. I’d look like someone threw a pot of water in my face.  By 8:30 in the morning my clothes were sweat-stained. As sad as it was, I don’t believe in hormone replacement therapy or any types of medication.

I was just going to adjust my wardrobe and deal with shit.  Since the summer was only a few months away, I could dress half-naked when needed.

By the end of January, I noticed less frequency-almost no hot flashes, but I did not make an immediate connection.  The ah-ha moment was after Superbowl weekend when I started eating chicken breast again.  The hot flashes returned with venom.  They increased in frequency and in intensity.

How on earth could chicken breast affect my hot flashes??  I searched online for a connection between chicken and hot flashes.  Nada!  Zilch!  I could not find a connection.  Furthermore, I was buying Lancaster County Poultry from a nearby Farmers Market. “Lancaster County has the highest density of organic farms in Pennsylvania and one of the highest in the country.” Their chickens are said to be all natural, free of growth hormones, pesticides, and fed a vegetarian diet.

The effects may be a coincidence, my body is rejecting the meat, or perhaps something that is in the chicken.  I don’t know.  The fact is that currently and since I stopped eating poultry, the only time I sweat profusely is during a workout. When the intense summer heat arrives, I will see what happens.

Also, when I get more time, I plan to read, Eat Right 4 Your Type. The premise of the book is that not all foods are suitable for all blood types and based on one’s “genetic code” and “characteristics,” they are predisposed to certain illnesses. It is an interesting theory that I will certainly explore.

Okay I know, I got off track.

After two weeks (February 21, 2016), I returned to plant based, and seafood as my protein source and the intense and unbearable hot flashes have almost entirely disappeared.  I no longer walk around looking like someone threw a bucket of water in my face.

Is this a coincidence?  I don’t know.  Only time will tell, so for now, I chose to stay away from poultry.

More of the domino effect.

Two and half months have passed. Since I stopped eating chicken, turkey, and pork, which I never ate much of, I decided to continue eating hard-boiled eggs, omelets and scrambled eggs.

One problem!

At work one day, while eating my hard-boiled eggs, I started gagging and was so confused. I managed to eat three but tossed the fourth egg and have not eaten a hard-boiled egg since.

After the boiled egg incident, I tried an omelet but added about one and a half cups of Tuscan kale.  I was okay with that and wolfed it down.

So for now, no more hard boiled eggs.

All of the diet changes have led me to consider eliminating all animal-based foods from my diet but I need clarity.

Does that mean I will be a vegan, vegetarian, or something else?  Hmmm… Heck at this point, I don’t even know what to call myself. Not that I need a label, I am just curious.

Low and behold I found http://www.vegsoc.org.    The Vegetarian Society, who defines a vegetarian as:

“Someone who lives on a diet of grains, pulses (what’s that?), nuts, seeds, vegetables, and fruits with, or without, the use of dairy products and eggs. A vegetarian does not eat any meat, poultry, game, fish, shellfish* or by-products of slaughter.”

Pulses are beans and lentils. 🙂

This definition may be debatable for some; I was curious from hearing people declare themselves as “vegan” or “vegetarian.”  At this point, rather than get hung up on a label; I am proceeding slowly. As I sort through the particulars of plant-based protein sources and diets, I will continue my diet without the poultry and eat seafood as needed and continue to educate myself on meatless meals.  Plans include more figure competitions, so I still need a daily intake of a substantial amount of protein.

My fitness plans include more figure competitions, so I still need a daily intake of a substantial amount of protein. I need to continue researching and find out what will work for me.  I believe there is no cookie-cutter approach to diet (lifestyle) and nutrition.  What works for one does not work for all; therefore, I have lots of tweaking to do.

Are you vegan? Are you a vegetarian or another identify with another label?  Are you a bodybuilder or gym rat who lives on a plant-based diet?  If so, I need you.  Please comment and share your experience or advice.

Thanks for stopping by and make it a great day!

Quinoa With A Bang!

I tried a new recipe last night that I found on Pinterest.  It truly is all that and a bag of chips.

A one pan dish is right up my alley, especially midweek when I rarely have time to cook meals.

My normal weekly meal prep was busted on Saturday when the meat market sold out of  turkey and chicken.  They could not fill my order of 15 boneless chicken breasts, chicken patties and turkey patties. The display case was nearly empty!


The display case looked almost like it was closing, except it was only 12:30 in the afternoon!  What the????

I asked the staff if they had a crazy special or something but they said they did not.  They were as confused as I.

Anyways, back to the recipe.

A quick sauté of fresh garlic and one jalapeño pepper.

Although the the recipe does not call for rinsing the quinoa, to eliminate the sometimes bitter taste, I rinse my quinoa with water before cooking.


All the ingredients… in one pot.  This is a lovely sight. 🙂


The finished product was so damn good!  Wow!

The recipe belongs to Chungah at Damndelicious.net. Chungah, doesn’t know me, but I am grateful the Pinterest Post.  Here’s the link to the One Pan Mexican Quinoa recipe.

This was delicious, quick, and packed with protein. This recipe is the newest addition to my rotation of vegetarian recipes.

It’s funny how situations work themselves out.  My 2016 vision board includes an image to remind me of my goal to eliminate meat (chicken & turkey) from diet.

Why?  I guess from all the bodybuilding training, I have grown tired of eating chicken and turkey. I gave up beef in either 1994 or 1996. I don’t miss it.

My goal is to replace my protein source to mostly plant based sources. I will still eat seafood. I don’t know if this is a permanent change or a needed break from animals but I am ready for a diet change.

With that said, nine days in to 2016 I was still buying meat. 😦

The empty meat case of was God’s way of reminding me of my goal for the new year.

Since I had no intentions of buying meat locally for myself, I was forced this week to work on my new goal.

Today is day two of no chicken or turkey. All is good.

Meanwhile I continue to search for vegetarian recipes.  Thank goodness for Pinterest.

Please!!! If you have ideas or recipes, please share them with me.  Thank you in advance. 🙂

Happy Tuesday!

Less is Best

This is my kind of food.

  
It is very simple.

  

One ingredient!

  

  
 
 

Tho only one ingredient, it has a multitude of benefits.

The steel oats are an excellent source of good carbs, a decent amount of fiber, and they even have protein. The oats are a great way to start my day or eat as a second meal in the morning.

A healthy diet does not have to be complicated, sometimes less is best.

Oatmeal is said to be one of the healthiest foods around. Before you turn your nose up, read about the plethora of benefits of eating oats.

While you read about the good stuff oats have to offer, I am going to toss mine in the crockpot. I usually cook two cups at a time.  I add several peeled and sliced apples, three (3) cups of water and four (4) cups of coconut milk.  Then I add two tablespoons of flax seed, one tablespoon of chia seeds, one tablespoon of cinnamon and a teaspoon of nutmeg.  If you like, you can add raisins, nuts, dried cranberries, bananas, or whatever else you want to add.  I use to cook the oats for longer, but now I let them cook slowly for about 2 – 3 hours… Then I will have a week or so worth of no fuss oats.  Yay!   🙂

Eat clean and train dirty!  That’s the motto of bodybuilding.  

Happy Day!   Smooches!

Not So Pretty in Pink

This Kellogg’s Special K Protein shake was gifted to me from the heart of a loving woman.


In my last post, I expressed a little attitude (my opinion) toward  food manufacturers and their attractive but deceptive advertising practices.

When I wrote the post, this shake is the type of food I had in mind.  This package is dolled up like it’s a birthday gift or something.  Lol!!  There is no doubt in my mind that the target market is women whose goal is to lose weight and/or maintain a healthier lifestyle.

The pink is overkill and offensive to me.  I could take this post to another level and compare the packing of a similar project to our male counterparts, but I won’t. Sigh!

With so much talk about “protein” in the fitness world, no wonder it is the focus of this product.

Come on ladies!!  Get your protein!  The woman who purchased this for me is aware of my fitness passion.  While her intentions were good; there is no way, I would drink this crap.

Of course Kellogg’s want you to believe that the protein in this beverage is going to “satisfy your hunger.” Yeah okay, right! Wink..wink.  How the heck is a 10 ounce bottle of this stuff gonna satisfy my hunger before or after a workout?

While plant and animal based proteins are the most satisfying, I am certain that this 10 ounce beverage is not going to do it for you…  That’s just my opinion.

Look at the label. 18 grams of sugar!!  Whoa!

Sugar is the devil and is linked to so many preventable illnesses.  Make sure you read Kristen Kirkpatrick‘s article, 1o Things You Don’t Know About Sugar.  I hope that it is an eye-opener for you.

Since I don’t know what some of the ingredients are, I  decided to read up on a few.

1.  Maltodextrin – A popular used food additive, which is “derived from a plant,” is a highly processed starch.  According to Healthline,

maltodextrin may come from corn, cornstarch, rice, or potato starch.  It can also come from wheat.  The starches are cooked then acids or enzymes are added to break it down further, before resulting in a white powder.

While the packing suggests the drink is gluten free,  relative to Malt0dextrin,


Someone with celiac disease should use caution when consuming maltodextrin and should consult their physician.  You should also know that this addictive is commonly found in nutritional drinks, sugar substitutes, granola, coffee, commercially baked goods, even those labeled gluten-free, pie fillings, sauces, puddings salad dressings, candy, chocolate, sugar substitutes, canned fruit (Eeeew), gelatin, and prepared soup products.  Read labels!

2. Polydextrose –  Two words:  synthetic fiber. It was patented in 1973 and approved by the FDA in 1981.  Although it is not grain fiber, the FDA classifies  it as “soluble fiber.”  Personally I would rather get my fiber from a natural source such as oatmeal (steel cut oats), beans, brown rice, brown rice and vegetables.

3. Natural & Artificial Flavors – The FDA describes artificial favors as a substance that  “…..is NOT derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, leaf or similar plant material, meat, fish poultry, eggs, dairy products….”  Do you see strawberries listed anywhere in the ingredients?  Nope!  But lovely images of strawberries are plastered all over the the product. Really?!?

4. Gellan Gum – This is a microbiological gelling agent that serves the purpose of thickening or “anti-settling agent. It does not alter taste but is commonly used in soups and sauces. ” You can read about the effects of Gellan gum in humans here.

5. Potassium Citrate – Livestrong reports that PC can be found naturally in foods, but is also used as a food additive to stabilize foods and to regulate their acidity levels.  For a list of foods that naturally contain potassium, click Here.  Potassium Citrate is also used as a prescription medication used for several medical conditions, including kidney stones. Learn more  about potassium at one of my favorite sites, The world’s healthiest foods.

6. Cellulose Gum –  Oh boy, this one is a real winner!  Of course, it’s an addictive. But guess what?  It comes from Wood pulp or cotton lint.  The FDA approved this drug and reports that the drug is safe for human consumption.  Hmm…

7. Carrageenan – Another food stabilizer and thickening additictive. It keeps yogurt smooth and creamy and is commonly used in dairy and meat products.  It is said to have a strong binding ability. There are articles that are pro and con carrageenan, but this is one ingredient that I have been avoiding for over year now.

Carrageenan appears to be natural because it is actually extracted from seaweed; however, it is in the processing that changes into a “degraded”carrageenan.  Stay with me here.  In some experiments it has been linked to inflammation. The International Agency for Research on Cancer list degraded carrageenan as a possible carcinogen.  Lab studies have also shown that it can induce inflammation.

Carrageenan can also be found in many organic foods.  I was disappointed and shock to read from Cornucopia Institute that:

carrageenan may be present in the final product but not listed on the ingredients label when it is used as a processing agent.

Yikes!!  You don’t have to take my word for it, do your own research and decide for yourself. 🙂

8. Red 3, Yellow 6, Blue 1 – Food coloring.  Ugh.. The Dyes!!  This really needs to be post of its own. 😦

Nutritionfacts.org reports that,

 Fifteen million pounds of food dyes are sold every year in the US.

Food dyes are used to make food visually more appealing to consumers. Reds are brighter, greens are greener, etc… And in the case of this strawberry protein shake, which does not have any strawberries in it, the dye deceptively  gives it a pink color which tricks you into believing that the beverage contain strawberries.  Smh!

There is a plethora of controversy over food dyes.

Red #1, #2, and #4 all have been banned, but #3 is still used today. Multiple studies suggest food dyes are linked to ADHD, certain types of cancer and other illnesses.

Yellow #5  and #6 are also of concern, especially to parents of young children.  Studies have shown increased hyperactivity in children who are exposed to the dyes.

When our son was younger, I witnessed the effects of food dyes on his behavior, and decided to limit his exposure.  Hence, he was no longer permitted to eat any foods before school that had any traces of food coloring.  This decision helped him to focus better in school. Hubby wasn’t convinced until he witnessed the effects one day during football practice.

It was our son’s birthday, so earlier in the day, he enjoyed cake and cupcakes that were slathered in red and blue icing. Later during football practice, it was obvious that he had trouble controlling himself.

He aimlessly and recklessly tackled teammates when he was instructed not to. We watched him repeatedly roll around on the field like he was on fire or something. With his arms high in the air, the coach who was very frustrated, walked over to us and asked, “What the hell??”

I laughed.  I apologized.  Then I explained the reasons for his behavior. It was so uncharacteristic behavior of our son that the coach was literally scratching his head.  I remember looking at my husband and asking him, “Now do you believe me?”  LOL!!  I think it was at that moment that he understood the affects of sugar and food coloring on our son.

Blue #1 and #2 are listed as another food coloring of concern. In addition to asthma, ADHD comes up again.  There is a pattern linking ADHD to various food coloring.

Although there is so much to say about this beverage and other foods, I think you get my point… READ LABELS.

The more informed you are, the better choices you can make for you and your family.

Thanks for dropping in and Happy Tuesday!