There’s WHAT in my pantry?! A look at hidden ingredients in your food

Like most people, I like to have a general idea of what’s in my food and what I’m putting into my body. I know that choosing a bottle of water over a bottle of soda is a better choice for a variety of reasons. But it wasn’t until recently that I started giving more thought to, well, everything I eat. The ingredients in any processed food I buy. I don’t know, I never thought I really needed to worry.

Last night I found out that my pantry and my fridge had some of the most dangerous substances in them when I started to really read the labels. I always used to think that people who bought organic everything and read all the labels were just —— assholes. No joke. Like it was some pretentious club “oh we’re better because we can buy more expensive margarine that saves whales and cures aids cancer at the same time” and while there are pompous jerks like that out there I realized that no, most of these people are just well-informed and have done their research. Something that I’ve avoided doing for so long because I already knew it wouldn’t be something I’d want to hear, realize, or accept.

What really had me start reading labels over a year ago was fake sugars. Sucralose, aspartame, stevia, you name it, they are in just about EVERYTHING and you can read more about my sugar rants here. The more conscious and I was about what I was putting into my body and what was in foods, the more aware I was that there are chemicals in so many food products and I don’t even know what 90% of them are or do.

So last night I decided to start reading the ingredients on some staple things I always keep in my kitchen. Re-fried beans for Taco Tuesdays, canned chili for when I need something in a rush, mayonnaise in my fridge; food items that I use often, food items that tons of people use often. I expected to see chemicals and things I didn’t know about, but what I didn’t expect to see was just HOW harmful these chemicals were when I started researching them.

The first thing I reached for was my beloved mayonnaise. I know it’s not healthy, at all really, but I LOVE mayo. I use it in my tuna salad, when I make egg salad, on sandwiches. It’s your typical bottle of generic store brand mayo.

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Then I turned it over to read the label.

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What the crap is Calcium Disodium EDTA and what exactly does “protecting flavor” mean? Immediately reaching for my laptop, I nearly dropped the bottle on the floor. Calcium Disodium EDTA (Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid) is a food additive commonly used in things like pickled canned goods and canned beans. It’s made up of three ingredients:

  • Sodium cyanide – this ingredient is an inorganic compound, which means it is not considered organic, has been synthesized and is typically not found in biological systems. “Cyanide salts are among the most rapidly acting of all known poisons.
  • Formaldehyde
  • Ethylenediamine – this compound reacts in humid environments with air creating a toxic mist. It is commonly used in coolants and paints as a corrosion inhibitor, which helps prevent the corrosion of a metal. It is also used as a chemical in fabric softeners, adhesives, dyes, and clearly as something to keep mayonnaise from spoiling.

No wonder mayonnaise stays good for so long! It has so many preservatives in it! And if you’re like me, you may also be thinking “oh it’s just TRACE amounts, this isn’t THAT big of a deal, of COURSE they have to put something in it to keep it fresh…I mean…it’s not a big deal.” But isn’t it though!

Next up was the so called “no fat” refried beans. Anytime I’ve seen fat free, sugar free, light, or anything of the sort, it’s usually full of added sugars or fake sugar substances. But did you know most processed food products are also full of trans fat, MSG, and other chemicals? Gross!

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Notice that these are labeled “no fat” not “fat free” and there’s a reason. When I usually grab this in the grocery store, like most people, I expect to be able to believe the labels. No fat should mean no fat, right? The problem is that labels aren’t regulated, even organic items are labeled differently and have different requirements to meet depending on the type of organic label used.

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GAH! We were doing so well, Rosarita, until you got to autolyzed yeast extract (a cheaper chemical extract similar to MSG but with less glutamates) and partially hydrogenated soybean oil – which “adds a trivial amount of fat.” OH SO BY “NO FAT” YOU MEAN JUST TRIVIAL AMOUNTS OF TRANS FAT -__- Define “trivial.” This makes me mad for so many reasons. Products are allowed to make claims on their labels that simply aren’t true or that in exchange have fake or extracted ingredients and isolates. Partially hydrogenated soybean oil is the most commonly used trans fat in processed foods. Why? Because it’s inexpensive compared to butter and coconut oil. These oils go through a process called hydrogenation which sends hydrogen bubbles through the fat cells, making them more dense. Giving you that creamy, savory texture in foods. The problem is that these trans fats aren’t normal for the body, they don’t work like normal cells and they can cause major issues for your heart health.

When I reached for my Quaker oatmeal, the kind I had so lovingly eaten my entire childhood, I was outraged.

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Maltodextrin – a substance that forms into MSG in your system. More partially hydrogenated soybean oil – at least this one SAYS its trans fat. But what’s the point in saying “adds a dietarily insignificant amount of trans fat” – it’s still awful for you! Comparisons that I’m now going to make to that statement:

  • Going to get a massage and having them poke you with a sharp toothpick briefly once every 10 minutes
  • Adding a drop of gasoline to every gallon of water you drink
  • Having your boyfriend or girlfriend kiss another guy or girl once a year – what! It’s an insignificant amount!

My main point here is that these things shouldn’t be in our foods but they are. Companies have solid reasons to add them: to retain their shelf life, so you can use them longer, so the expiration date doesn’t expire so soon, so they can spend less and make more money.

And while we do have a choice to make better and more informed decisions about the foods we eat, we’re also limited. Limited by how much money we even have to spend on food, limited to the amount of whole and organic foods available in our neighborhood, city, or region. Believe it or not there are places where people don’t have access to fresh produce.

Things are slowly changing but there’s still plenty of changes that need to be made!

 

 

 

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Being Healthy is the Main Goal

A reminder that you are more than just your body. You are your mind, your outlook, your personality, your love, and yourself. We all have goals we want to strive for but make sure to check in with yourself from time to time and make sure th…ey are healthy, realistic, and goals that come from your heart, not society. This can be so hard to do but we have to remember that healthy has more than one shape, more than one weight, and looks different on every body. The biggest goal we should all have is the continuing journey of loving ourselves inside and out. Hate will only fuel misery. You are worth all the energy it takes to feel happy, be loved, and fuel love. Don’t forget that ♥
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8 Tips For Meal Planning & Packing

Sometimes the easiest way to stay on top of your game is to plan and pack your meals. Bringing a lunch, making overnight oats the night before, these are all great ways to look forward to food and what you’re going to eat. It keeps you from getting super ravenous and hungry that you want to give up or cheat and put everything in your face.

I know it can take a little effort and is something to adjust to, especially if you’re used to going out to eat all the time or just grabbing whatever before you head out the door.

Here’s a breakdown of what I’m eating today at roughly 1200 calories.

  • Overnight Oats for breakfast – recipe coming soon!
  • Fiber filled snacks for mid-morning and afternoon: apple slices with peanut butter, blueberries, and raw almonds
  • Mesquite turkey breast sandwich on Dave’s Killer Bread thin slices (I LOVE this stuff) with 1 TBSP mayo and some horseradish
  • Lean turkey burger with a lettuce wrap instead of a bun, onions, and either mayo or avocado

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Here’s some great tips for packing and planning meals to make it easier and less stressful. Soon you’ll be in the habit and it won’t feel like effort at all 🙂

  1. Portion out your snacks ahead of time. When I buy raw almonds or any of my favorite snack, I like to take time to make snack packs for either the week or with the entire package. With almonds, I portion out 15 or so (100 calories) into snack-sized ziplock bags. Then when I’m making lunch I can just throw them in or grab a bag on my way out the door for a snack later.
  2. Find ways to make healthy versions of meals you love. Just because you’re trying to eat healthier and change your lifestyle habits, doesn’t mean you can never think about cheese ever again! Find ways to make a healthier lasagna with whole wheat noodles or squash instead. Substitute lean ground turkey for ground beef. Use lettuce instead of burger buns. I recently found a great recipe for buffalo chicken wraps that I’m going to make with my Mom this weekend. They look delicious and will be healthy!
  3. Find creative ways to transport food. Mason jars are all the rage lately for storing salads (with all of the wet ingredients at the bottom and the lettuce sitting on top). They are also great for making overnight oats and smoothies and then you can just take them with you on your way to work or where ever you may go!
  4. Don’t make rules for what can be eaten when. I am guilty of this all the time. it doesn’t have to be breakfast time for you to eat eggs. Healthy food can be eaten at any time of the day. As long as you are getting great nutrients and feeling full you can eat cereal for dinner and a sandwich for breakfast. Don’t put limits on yourself. Make things easier.
  5. Buy a water bottle and use it. Keeping yourself hydrated is one of the most important things for maintaining energy, staying healthy, and fueling your body. Buy a quality water bottle for your home and office so you are always an arms reach away from drinking those 64+ ounces!
  6. Plan meals and pack snacks that you’ll look forward to! Sometimes the hardest part about making healthy habits is feeling like you’ll never have good food to look forward to ever again – not true! Plan times for special meals and moments of indulgence to help keep you on track during the week. Knowing you get to have a glass of wine or a piece of pizza on Friday can help keep you focused and truly appreciate these foods and drinks when you do get to have them.
  7. Food doesn’t have to be an event. I’ve always felt like I needed to plan some elaborate dinner when I got home but the truth is, food is fuel and it doesn’t have to be the main event surrounding everything we do. It’s okay to get home and have a hodgepodge dinner of whatever you have around the house.
  8. Choose foods that come in their own container. Foods you can throw into your lunch bag without worrying about more bags or containers are great. Make hardboiled eggs for the week and keep the shell on and then take them to work for an easy, protein filled snack. Apples, pears, oranges, avocados, yams, and other fruits are great for this, too! Ready to go foods like low-fat string cheese and greek yogurt are also easy to throw into your lunch (they can just become a little expensive if you’re always buying ready-made snacks).

30 Day Squat Challenge

I’ve seen this trending recently, especially on Instagram. Think I’m going to give the 30 Day Squat Challenge a go in line with Ripped in 30. It’s also a small enough commitment, 2-3 minutes a day that we should all be able to do this! I just did my first 50 and I gotta tell ya, after 30 I started to breathe heavy and my legs got shaky. I can only imagine how strong this will make my glutes after 30 days!

When doing a squat, I like to raise my arms perpendicular to the ground in front of me. It helps me maintain balance. Make sure MOST IMPORTANTLY to never extend your knees past your toes. Your back can be bent forward, just keep it flat. Let me know how it goes and maybe, eventually, I’ll be brave enough to post a progress pic of my bum haha.

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Healthy Breakfast and Getting Back on Track with Organization

Suddenly it’s Summer time and while I’m a fan of the weather there’s the other part of me that’s panicking because that means it’s almost swimsuit time! AAHHH!!

So last night I decided to get myself back on track in a new way. Besides eating healthy and exercising regularly, I also wanted to make sure the physical environment around me was clean and organized. I figure that the more organized my home is, the more clear my head will be to make better decisions and stay on track. So I headed out to the dollar store and picked up some bins to start organizing.

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Knowing where everything is is an AMAZING feeling. I used an ice cube tray for my earrings and now know where my stapler and tape is (I had THREE of each – who knew!?) A great blog to checkout for more organizing tips to help keep your life at ease is Organizing Made Fun.

Then this morning I started up Ripped in 30 again which is a decent step up from 30 Day Shred. I actually like it a lot better and it seems to go by faster. By the time I was done with Level 1, I was soaked through all of my workout gear.

Here’s my healthy breakfast for today. 2 scramled eggs with broccoli and a bit of garlic salt.

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What other things do you do to help keep yourself on track?

Working Out: The Perks We Forget About

It’s so easy to stay in the negative when we aren’t in the shape we want to be in. We make excuses, we say it’s too hard, we complain of being so tired, depressed, and unenergetic. There’s NO WAY we could possibly committ to a daily workout, especially BEFORE we start our day.

But we forget (and so easily, too) how amazing it does feel to BE active and to STAY active.

People often say “I just ran out of motivation” and believe me, I used to say the same thing. Then I realized that waiting to do something or start something until you WANT to do it is never going to get you anywhere. If I only did things based on when I FELT like it, I’d never go to work, I’d never get out of bed before 9AM, I’d be completely and utterly unaccomplished and bored with myself.

We have to CREATE motivation, strength, and determination. These are outcomes of our own internal assessment and self growth.

Here are some things I started doing lately and the after effects:

  • I started drinking LOTS more water (close to 100 oz a day) and now I WANT to drink more water all the time, in fact, I’m thirstier
  • I started doing 5am cardio and now I go to bed on time WANTING to wake up and workout all over again
  • I started putting fuel into my body instead of sludge to merely keep me alive and now I CRAVE healthier food
  • I stopped drinking alcohol when I was depressed or had a rough day and instead I go on a walk or a run and guess what, I FEEL better
  • I never let myself go more than 2 days without working out, even when I’ve had bad food the same day, and now I find myself craving bad foods less!

I now SLEEP harder, think DEEPER, SEE further, and feel BETTER.

But why is it so easy to forget this when we dive into a plate of nachos Friday night and then somehow don’t come up for air again until Monday morning when we feel defeated, exhausted, and mentally drained from guilt?

We have to keep track of how things make us feel. We have to REMEMBER what makes us feel GOOD, what makes us feel ACCOMPLISHED, and sexy!

Trust me, there are perks to the hard work it takes to lose weight and get your body into shape. This is a continual journey for more than just abs, it keeps your brain active and alert and aids in the complete, all-encompassing joy that is your life.

Don’t give up! You GOT this! Get it!

A look into my early start today….

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Body Image And Comparing Yourself to Others: Why It’s Not Worth it

I have written posts before on body image before. I’ll link some of them here:

But today I ran across a post that really spoke to me and I’ll be reblogging it below. I think it is SO important to stay on top of our mentality and outlook when it comes to our bodies and continually work to be at a mindset where you can love your body. But it’s true that sometimes the thoughts and expectations of others can hinder our own thoughts. Frances is a Seattle blogger who speaks her mind and does nothing less in this post. Please make sure to visit her blog here and read her other posts.

Mirror, Mirror on the wall

 A high school classmate of mine posted something on Facebook today comparing herself to a well-known and extremely thin celebrity. The gist of the post was why bother competing if we have already lost. It is a very good question but it got me thinking about body image and the way we view ourselves as women.
 
I don’t think any female wakes up every day and thinks she is supposed to look like Barbie or Kim K or Gwyneth Paltrow. I do, however, think we wake up every day and are told that we should want to look this way. This puts us in this weird middle place where we know that the whole world is not judging us on a daily basis, watching the number of calories we take in, the number of hours we spend in the gym, and how flattering our outfits are on these rock hard Pilates bodies. No. We might be judged by the people we know, our friends, family, coworkers; and we might be judged in passing by strangers we walk by in the mall or at a restaurant, but in general we do not experience the same type of scrutiny to always look amazing as celebrities do, and yet we feel we should put ourselves through that experience.
 
Most days after showering I look at my naked body in the mirror and I see some really positive things. I have great collar bones, my back is really nice, I have a stellar ass, my legs are long and toned (even if there is a tiny bit of cellulite). But I also seem to focus on the negative aspects of my body. My stomach is not flat, my hips are too large, I have back fat that cosmetic surgeons refer to as flanks (I know this from looking up liposuction), my breasts are too small, the backs of my arms are not as toned I would like them to be, my nose is slightly crooked, my upper lip is too thin, my eyebrows are different shapes, my ankles are too skinny, and so on. Yet, with all of my imperfections, most days, I look in the mirror and can overlook the things I hate about my body. I can put on clothes and know they flatter my body. I can walk out of the house with my head held high and know that I look good.
 
The paparazzi don’t follow me around every single day, and I think that helps my self-confidence, living in the PNW doesn’t really hurt it either. But I guess my point is, who decides what is beautiful and why do we all expect to fit into the same box of beauty? Why do we even want to? We all have different hair color, eye color, skin color. We come in different shapes and sizes, so why are we trying to force ourselves to change? Of course, I am not saying to accept being overweight, or people shouldn’t get cosmetic surgery if that is what they really want, but I am saying that striving to look like a celebrity is ridiculous. Those women are paid to be beautiful whereas the rest of us are paid to show up to work every day and perform our job duties. Sure, being pretty helps me in my profession of slinging margaritas, but my job is not to be pretty.
 
Comparing ourselves to knockouts such as Jennifer Lawrence is like comparing ourselves to aliens. We seem to forget that we do not live in the same world as these beauties. Sure, we might inhabit the same planet, but we are not actually competing with them. I wake up every day having no fear that my boyfriend might one day leave me for Angelina Jolie, partly because he has never done a movie with her, but also because it is never going to happen. We spend so much time worrying about how we look and wondering why the girls that grace the covers of gossip rags have these perfect bodies while we slave away trying to maintain a reasonable BMI that we forget these starlets are freaks of nature. We forget to look around the grocery store and see the women we are actually competing with, and usually against those women, we are safe.
 
But the bigger problem is that we seem to forget we are more than just our outside appearance. For all of my physical flaws, I am pretty fucking awesome. I am smart and creative, I dance and laugh at myself, I make my friends and family laugh (usually at my own expense), and generally I am a pretty cool chick. So, while being pretty might be what gets me free drinks, being rad is what makes guys, friends, family, strangers, whoever want to continue a conversation with me. That has to count for something, and honestly I think that has to count for a lot more. I was born with this body type. I came out of my mother’s womb destined to have a pear shaped body and be mistaken for a lesbian throughout my formative years, I cannot change that. Being awesome is something I had to groom, not a lot because I was also born pretty freaking awesome, but it has been honed, slightly. That is what I think we should be focusing on. Not who looks the most like some famous actor or singer, but who can hold a conversation and have an original thought and make a joke and laugh at themselves. Maybe if we started focusing more on those things we would be jealous of how funny or smart a celebrity is instead of how thin or large breasted. And maybe it is just me, but I would rather look up to a smart person than a pretty person.
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If you have a personal story or body image perspective you want to share, please let me know! I’d love to help share your thoughts.