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!


How Much Sugar Are in These Crackers?

After leaving the gym one morning, I stopped by Shoprite my local grocery store to pick up a few items.  

After paying for my groceries, I am about to walk out the door when an elderly man stopped me.  As he approached me, he held a box of crackers in his hand. Pointing his finger at the label he says…

  

Excuse me honey, can you tell me how much sugar are in these crackers?

I was not wearing my reading glasses, so to read the label and to see the sugar content, I had to focus really hard. 🤓

Sir, according to the label, the crackers contain only one gram of sugar per serving, but if you are watching your sugar intake, I don’t recommend you eat them?

Really?   Why is that?

I point to the first ingredient, Enriched Flour.  “Do you see this here?” 
I try to give him a quick synopsis and tell him that the white flour is a starch, which isn’t the best choice for him. I explain that the starches are going to eventually break down in his body into simple sugar.   

He is shocked and says he is not going to buy them.  I tell him to look for “whole grains.” 

Of course there is so much to it then eating whole grains but I did not have the time to say all that I wanted and needed to say. 

My time was limited but I desperately wanted to take his hand and walk him aisle by aisle through the store to show him healthier options.  

Food labels are tricky and deceptive. The labels are colorful and are strategically designed to get our attention to buy their products.  It  seems that every aspect of this country is about profit. 

Healthy living is sacrificed for greed and for profit. 

Just look at Martin Shkreli.  The jerk… I mean CEO of Turing Pharmaceuicals.  He jacked up the price of a prescription drug designed to help save the lives of HIV patients.  He tried to increase the price from $13.50 per pill to $750.00 per pill!  What the heck!!

GREED!!  

The intentional trickery and lies told by food manufacturers is disturbing.  Consumers must read food labels; however, the education does not stop with reading labels. The process of educating oneself is ongoing and there are many valuable sources available online and in print.  Below are a few sites to check out but there are many. 

I also enjoy reading the free magazines from The Vitamin Store.  Several  magazines are located at the register and they are full of resourceful information.   

As I said in the beginning, I wish I had the time to walk the man and others like him through the store to help them to find healthier alternatives.  Hmm…. Maybe that’s something I could do on the side.   

Just remember, don’t be so quick to believe the pretty little lies they tell you on the colorful packaging.  Dig deeper to find what’s really in the food.   Just because the words “natural,” “low calorie,” “organic,” or “sugar free” are printed on a package, doesn’t mean that is true. Sadly, food manufacturers and companies can make all kinds of outlandish and untrue statements about their products.  The practice should be unlawful but it is not.

Some of these companies are such blatant liars, I can’t stand it!  If you stand close enough to me in the grocery store, you can overhear me saying, “liar! Liar!”   Lol!  I’m laughing but it is true.   

My rule of thumb is if an item has too many ingredients listed, for the most part, I leave it alone.  If you don’t already know, there is a large amount of the first ingredient listed on a label.  So when you see sugar as one of the first, second, or third ingredients written in anyone of it’s 61 forms, toss it pack on the shelf. 

Yes!!  According to Sugar Science, there are “at least 61 different names for sugar listed on food labels. I didn’t know that!  Some of the most common names are:

Sucrose

High-fructose corn syrup

Barley malt

Dextrose

Maltose

Rice syrup

Americans consume 66 pounds of added sugar each year, on average.

Added sugar is hiding in 74% of packaged food.

Okay, my sugar rant is over. I could go on and on, but I will end with a friendly reminder to read the food labels and educate yourself.   Don’t cheat yourself by putting bad stuff in your body.  The body is like an automobile, the better you care for it, the better your body will perform for you. 

For the most part, the better you care for yourself, the better you will look and feel.  🙂

Thanks for stopping by and remember to keep it moving!  


Children Model OUR Behavior

Mom, can I make an omelet when we get home?

The time is just around 3 O’clock  Sunday afternoon.  This kid loves eggs.  Oh my goodness! To further persuade me, he goes on to say,

There’s protein in the egg.  I need my protein after my workout…

LMAO!!  How on earth can I say no to that?  Hahaha!

Omelet and tobasco

Here’s what’s left of his 3-egg omelet.  That red stuff is Tabasco Sauce, which he’s been eating since he was around 6!

On the weekend, B’Dazzle participates in a rigorous football conditioning camp. I like the program because the coaches push him beyond his limits. Like me, he doesn’t always realize his full athletic potential.

The camp is an intense hour of various drills sprinting, running ladders, crawling, pushing sleds, wrapping, and more.  I like it because there is no slacking, horse-play, or performing half-ass. Before the boys walk in the door, the bar is raised and they know exactly what type of performance is expected of them. Makes for a great work ethic.

In an hour’s time, the boys burn an enormous amount of calories! It is important to their growth and development that after practice, they fuel up and replace the calories burned. While my son is young with an active metabolism, I still stress, to him and to hubby, that he eats “good”  food instead of filling up on empty, high fat, and sugared calories. Even though I cringe, an occasional slurpee isn’t going to kill him.  I hope not! Lol!  Okay so you know, I had to sneak a peek!! Read More


I Don’t Have To Know You To Care About You

“I’ll have an order of hot wings, spicy please and a Coors Light.”

At 25 years old, this was my standard dish after my aerobic class. With my workout partner sitting across the table from me, we laughed ridiculously about class, our uncoordinated moves, and how fine the instructor was.

We were young, slim, and trim, and as far as we were concerned, we were going to stay that way forever.  Lol! When you’re young, you think that way; at least I did.  

Recently I saw a video of “The Stanky Leg Workout,” and I laughed so hard. These people have a blast dancing to a choreographed aerobic workout. The class is getting their cardio in, as well as getting their heart-rate up.  

For some reason, the video reminded me of the early ’90s when me and my girl worked out then feasted on the hot wings and beer.

I wondered what the participants in the class ate after their Stanky Leg Workout. I wondered if it mattered to them or if they understood how important their post-workout meal is to the hard work they put in during class.

After all, when I was 25, I didn’t give a hoot about post-workout nutrition. It didn’t matter. I was lean; I could not gain weight, I did not have any fitness goals, so what I ate did not matter. We worked out because it was fun. Both of us were married and with kids. We enjoyed the hour of “me time” away from work and family.  If this is the case with you; that’s cool; enjoy every minute!  If you workout for additional reasons, this post is for you. 🙂

What are your fitness goals?

lexawrites.com

Fitness goals motivate your behavior.  Fitness goals dictate what you do before, during, and after your workout.  Your goals move you to live better. 

lexawrites.com

I am not an expert, a certified nutritionist, a certified personal trainer, or any other fitness pro (yet); however, for over 20 years, I have lived a healthy lifestyle and continue to educate myself in the world of fitness and nutrition.  It just keeps getting better.

I care about myself and…

I care about you!  I don’t have to know you to care about you.

Every day I see the results of unhealthy lifestyles. I see it in children, parents, and my family. I have lost family members to cancer, diabetics, and morbid obesity. It hurts.

When I see an obese child, it makes me sad; and I want to cry. I know it is likely they are teased in school.  If nothing changes for these children  (or their parents), they will experience a lifetime of struggle, some may fail to reach their full potential in life.  The prevalence of childhood obesity in the United States is disturbing. 

By the way, I AM NOT saying that a person cannot be heavy or large and be in shape and live happily. I’m talking about lifestyles that lead to major healthy issues such as, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, strokes, and more.

I want to take these obese children and the parent by the hand and tell them there is a better way. In reality tho, I’d probably be told to mind my business, so I stay in my lane.

I receive daily emails, texts, private FB messages, and phone calls from people asking me for help; these inquiries compelled me to write this post.  My advice to you is to sit down and decide what your goals are and to write them down.

Don’t generalize: “I want to lose 20 pounds.” Instead, be specific:

To reduce my blood pressure to ______ and to reduce or get off my medication, I want to lose 20 pounds.

Start a food journal.  For three or four days, write down the following:

  1. What you ate/drank.
  2. How much ate (estimate don’t measure).
  3. When you eat (time of day).
  4. Why you’re eating (breakfast, lunch, stress, boredom, at a party, etc…).
  5. How you felt after you ate.

This may seem time-consuming and cumbersome; however, to get the results, you MUST do the work… inside the gym and outside. There are no quick fixes.

If you don’t understand what you do or why you do it, you cannot make progress.

So what should you do after any workout?

Eat within an hour. If you are not going home immediately after your workout, pack your meal, and take it with you to your workout. Eat it in the locker room, in the car, or on the bus, just eat.  After a workout, your body is in recovery and needs fuel to recover.

If you’re into bodybuilding, pre and post-meal workouts are more complicated.  This post is for the average person.. if there is such a thing.

Eat what?  This will vary greatly depending on your fitness goals.

Generally speaking, avoid:

  • fast food
  • fried foods
  • processed food (such as lunch meat)
  • sugary drinks/soda (including diet sodas and fruit punch)
  • packaged foods
  • frozen foods (except vegetables and fruits)
  • can foods

Try eating:

  • green/leafy food (spinach, broccoli, kale, collards, brussels sprouts, asparagus, etc..)
  • lean meat (skinless, boneless chicken, turkey, beef, etc…)
  • fish
  • beans (sometimes I use organic canned beans, but I always rinse them thoroughly)
  • water
  • brown rice or pasta
  • Quinoa
  • yams/sweet potatoes
  • whole wheat vs. white
  • yogurt (plain with fresh fruit)

This lists above are general.  Again, depending on your health and fitness goals, your diet will vary.

Before starting any fitness regimen or nutrition plan, you should ALWAYS discuss it with your doctor.

Likewise, if you are being treated by your doctor for any condition, discuss and develop a plan with them.  Safety and overall wellness should always be your first priority.

I hope this helps. 

Thanks for stopping by. Have a fabulous day!


Snap Out Of The Recipe Rut

When the mood strikes me to cook, get out of my kitchen!  Occasionally I get tired of eating the same food and have the time to try something new.

Sunday was the case. I cooked roasted peppers, quinoa stuffed peppers, brussels sprouts, broccoli, sea scallops, a small piece of salmon, baked drum sticks (for my family), center cut pork loin (for me), and plain oven baked sweet potatoes (for me).  Lol!  Was in the kitchen from 1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.  On the brighter side- By 7:00 p.m., my meal prep was completed for the week.  High 5!!

If you’re stuck in a recipe rut, I don’t have the answers, but Pinterest does… at least for me.  On Pinterest, I can find everything, so if you’re stuck, just search a favorite ingredient like avocado, quinoa, yams, rice, or whatever you’re into.

How do I go about selecting a new recipe? I look for:

  • a nutritious recipe or at least one I can change & make healthier
  • a recipe that has at least one or two main ingredients that I favor
  • an attractive dish; something that is pretty to look at
  • prep time – How much time do I have to spend cooking and how much time do I want to spend on cooking the dish
  • unconventional usage of an ingredient

Here are few of my favorites:

Recently I tried this Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

red stuffed pepper

Stuffed pepper before baking

yellow stuffed pepper

After baking. See what I mean about looking pretty?  How could you not want to eat something so colorful and appetizing?!

To make food interesting, sometimes it’s just a matter of preparing the food in a different way or swapping out ingredients to infuse the dish with a new flavor.

I now favor my broccoli roasted with fresh garlic and olive oil. I‘ve fallen in love with it oven cooked, plus it is less likely to overcook in the oven than stove top. This method is no fuss, quick, nutritious, and delish!  Once you go “oven style,” you won’t go back!  🙂

This Caribbean Salad is beautiful!  I can’t wait to try this one!!

Image & recipe courtesy of bestrecipes.com

Image & recipe courtesy of bestrecipes.com

Lastly, be open to try new foods.  I’m eating food that I didn’t know existed a few years ago.

One of my favorite easy go to is baked spaghetti squash.  First of all, it’s no fuss cooking. Second, it’s mild in flavor so you can mix it with just about anything.  Third, it’s like eating FREE FOOD!!  Lol!

1 Serving ( 250 ml/ 1 cup) of Spaghetti Squash is 33 calories and only 5 grams of calories from fat!

Protein:  .6g

Fat:         .6g

Carbs:    6.9g

Come on!!  Why wouldn’t you eat this!  Add grilled shrimp, salmon, sea scallops, or whatever else you chose and you’ll have the most delightful meal!

Wait one more!! I don’t eat ice cream and haven’t for many years now.  Recently I tried a new recipe and Lawd!!   I’m in trouble!!

I couldn’t wait for my “Healthy” ice-cream to completely freeze, but it was OUTSTANDING!!  My version of chocolate ice-cream is from, where else but Pinterest.  I ran out of peanut butter, so I added a two teaspoons of the coconut milk.  There’s a lot of fat in the coconut milk. 

  

Delicious!!  🙂 

I hope that I’ve inspired you to try and to seek out new recipes.   If you are on a journey to improve your lifestyle by getting fit and eating smarter replacing your old recipes with cleaner and more nutritious ones is an excellent first step.

Be encouraged and make it a fabulous day! 🙂


Y’all Don’t See This!

I share pictures and recipes of healthy meals here, on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and a few other sites.

What y’all don’t see is the daily mental tug-of-war and the inner turmoil that I grapple with. Ugh!  Oh Lord, the guilt of feeding my family unhealthy and processed foods. I hate it!

The other day I brought a package of Jennie-O Hardwood Smoked Turkey Kielbasa.  My family likes them and I was struggling with what to cook for dinner, without repeating the same ole same meals.

I feel like I’m chickening them to death!  I also needed to cook something that would last for a couple of days… Umm.. leftovers!  I don’t have time to cook everyday nor do I want to.

I usually prepare the Kielbasa with garlic, stewed tomatoes, and tomato sauce served over some sort of whole wheat pasta… just the way they like it.  😦

While hubby zoned out on the laptop at the kitchen counter, I read aloud the ingredients. He was not moved, surprised or even batted an eye.  I don’t think– no, I know he was not listening, so I read the ingredients again, but this time a little louder…  Lol!!

“Turkey, manufactured, turkey, water…

Me:        “Hon!!  Did you hear that?”

Him:       “Huh?”  “What?” (looking and sounding a little annoyed)

Me:        “I just read the disgusting ingredients in this turkey I’m cooking for you guys!”

Him:       “Well what else are we supposed to eat?!?”

Me:        (Thinking) “Is he freakin serious?!?!?”

Me:        “Well we could eat more vegan based meals.”

Him:       (seemingly more annoyed) “What’s that?”

Me:        “Ugh!  Really?  Plant based meals.”

OMG!! The look on his face. Like I just called him a pervert or something. LMAO!!

Welcome to my world!

The process entails pureeing or grinding the carcass left after the manual removal of meat from the bones and then forcing the slurry through a sieve under pressure. This puree includes bone, bone marrow, skin, nerves, blood vessels in addition to the scraps of meat remaining on the bones. The resulting product is a blend of muscle (meat) and other tissues not generally considered meat.

HOLD UP!

That’s foul! I’m not buying them anymore.

Manufactured turkey is pretty much the same as “mechanically separated meat.”

Barfing yet?

I just can’t!!

If you care about your health, you should read labels on everything you eat. While I continue to educate myself, I try to share my knowledge with my family. Actually, I will share with anyone, who expresses the slightest of interest.  🙂

Some days my family are not interested in my chatter, but I refuse to stop because I care.  Caring is the frustrating part. As I continue to educate myself about food and nutrition, the need to share is only natural for me. I share with my family, my friends, my followers, and anyone else who cares to listen.  Other than my household, I try not to give unsolicited info, but I have been busted for making faces.  I’m working on this!  Lol!

I don’t want to be the pain in the ass wife and mom; however, I do my best to paint the ugliest, nastiest, and graphic images (in their minds and mine) to drive the message home.  Hahaha!!

Anything that’s good is not going to be easy and will demand more time and diligence from us.

Grocery shopping takes longer.  Why?  Because I am:

  • Scrutinizing food labels
  • Looking for healthier food options
  • Checking prices
  • Buying for two, sometimes three different meal plans
  • Buying from several different stores

I cook two sets of meals, so cooking takes longer, but I’m cool with that.

The troublesome  part for me is, even though I am pretty creative at introducing new food, subbing and swapping out bad ingredients for healthier options, my peeps still want processed foods like those nasty smoked turkey kielbasas.  What am I supposed to do?

For now, I will continue to plug away at it and incorporating healthier meals for them. I do realize I am still helping them, but I just feel like it’s not enough.  This past Sunday, I made baked ziti. I used whole wheat pasta, added zucchini and mushrooms but it still had three cheeses!  They loved it!

 I sucked on one noddle and was perfectly fine with that. 🙂

I’m dead serious.

Anyways, I would have never thought that  in 2015,  hubby would be eating avocados, flax seeds, chia seeds, and zucchini spaghetti, so I guess I am making a little progress. Hallelujah!!

Whatever you do, do not give up on your goals of living a healthier lifestyle; the benefits are endless and worthwhile.

Thanks for stopping by… and please… keep it movin!  🙂