Tag Archives: nutrition

The End of Couponing

Image via Wikipedia

A year ago, I was totally into the couponing thing.  And I was darn good at it.  I could get out of the grocery store paying around 40% of the total cost of the food I brought home.  You know how some people get a mental high off of spending money?  I got that same kind of high off of saving money.  And the BEST was getting something free!  I tried to never EVER be one of those crazies who would get a bazillion free things just because I could.  I really only got things that I would use in a reasonable amount of time…in product and in quantity.  We were eating cheap.  But, for the most part, we were eating cheap food.

Nutrition and health are two topics that I greatly enjoy reading and learning about.  My education in all things healthy began about 9 years ago when I read You: The Owner’s Manual.  If you’ve never read it, it’s an easy read that walks you through the ways to best care for each system in your body.  And, despite the heavy topics, his writing style is very light, kinda funny and the illustrations are entertaining.

Cheap food very often contains a lot of ingredients that are difficult to pronounce and and even more difficult for your body to deal with.  Food was not meant to stay in our cabinets for weeks, months and sometimes more than a year.  We’ve altered foods to the point of convenience, but in the process we’ve strayed from what is good for our bodies.  More and more in my reading, I’ve come across the now-evident dangers and harmful effects of artificial colorings, preservatives, high fructose corn syrup and foods that have has their vitamins processed out and then added back in.

Knowing what I knew, I had to decide between saving money and feeding my family quality foods.  Granted, there are still some coupons for natural products, they are just a little more difficult to find.  So I stopped.

Another step in our food and nutrition journey came when Carter and I went to the allergist.  Towards the end of my pregnancy I started having some crazy allergic reactions, which I found out is common with all the changes that happen during pregnancy.  Most of our allergies are inhaled, but we both have some slight food allergies that are likely causing our excema. Two are particularly troublesome – wheat for Carter and soy for me.  It’s awfully difficult to avoid those 2 things in purchased foods.  I knew the best I could do for us would to be to make as many things as I could from scratch with the best quality ingredients I could get my hands on. Thankfully, I enjoy cooking and there’s a Whole Foods close by.

To drive the point home completely, I recently watched the documentary Food, Inc.  It was scary, really, the low standards of quality that our government has for our food production.  After I got over wanting to become a vegetarian, I began to think of ways to make better choices for my family.  I began to “vote” with my food purchases whenever possible.  Stores will stock what consumers buy.  Right now, most consumers have no problem buying a lot of junk and processed-beyond-recognition foods.  But, if the tide begins to shift to local, organic and whole foods – the stores will be forced to respond.

What I discovered shopping in this new way was pretty shocking.  The price difference is not all that different.  It is only marginally higher.  A normal shopping trip allowing the coupons to direct my purchases was $50 – $60 per week.  Now, purchasing mostly organic and local ingredients, I am spending $60 – $75 per week.  I would much rather spend a few extra dollars each week on quality food for my family than on medications or doctor visits.

My ultimate goal is to begin to grow my own vegetables, and have enough to give or sell to others.  I’m fortunate to live on family land, surrounded on 2 sides by acres and acres of open field.  My grandfather’s cows called the fields home until last year, when he sold them all.  I’ll admit that I know right around ZERO about gardening.  My yard is a joke.  My thumb is black.  But, I can learn.  And you have to start somewhere and we are doing something – and doing something is always better than doing nothing.

Other great documentaries:

No Impact Man
Ingredients
Foodmatters
Super Size Me 

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Thoughts on Nutrition

There’s a very interesting conversation going on over at Mom 101 about food with HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup) in them. The author was recently on a panel of moms speaking to food manufactures. The moms wanted to put the manufactures on notice that they will not purchase foods containing HFCS.

Interestingly, about 3 years ago I read the life-changing book You: The Owners Manual (you can purchase a used copy for less than $1.00+shipping). If you haven’t read it, you should. You’ll understand how everything affects the functioning of your body systems and you’ll feel empower to take control of your health. Personally, I read labels when I shop and I am and have been adamant about not feeding anything to my family with HFCS and Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil (PHSO – or any other partially hydrogenated anything).  Yes, I’m that annoying person that leaves all the boxes turned the wrong way on the shelf.

Here’s what Dr. Oz says about HFCS in his book:

“Your digestive system has 2 main hormones that control hunger and appetite. When you stomach’s empty, it send ghrelin in out requesting food. Leptin tells your brain that you’re full. When you eat, your fat cells sercrete it so that you stop eating. One of the biggest evil influences on our diet is the presence of HFCS, a sugar substitute that itself is a sugar found in soft drinks and many other sweet, processed foods. The problem is that HFCS inhibits leptin secretion, so you never get the message that you are full. And it never shuts off ghrelin, so, even when you have food in your stomach, you constantly get the message that you’re hungry. The double whammy on our hormones has contributed enormously to our collective enormity. When you consider that many American women consumer over 50% of their calories each day from salad dressing (which contains HFCS), you can see the problem. While food manufactures may eliminate fat, they make up for its taste with sugar and HFCS – which are simply empty calories that serve no nutritional purpose.”

Interestingly, he goes on to say that a lack of sleep plays the same havoc with your hormones and has the same effects as eating HFCS.

Then there’s PHSO.  There’s so much to say about the effects of PHSO. Basically, your body doesn’t need them — it needs good fats — and will continue to tell you to eat until it gets the good fats that it DOES need. And, your body can’t process them like regular fats, thus leaving them in your body for a longer period of time and giving them more of a chance to find a permanent spot on your body and in your arteries. Not good.

Here are some good readings on PHSO:

from treelight.co

from Wikipedia

Something to think about:

When you eat normal cis fats, the body metabolizes half of them in 18 days. When you eat trans fats the body requires 51 days to metabolize half of them. This means that half of the trans fats you eat today will still be inhibiting essential enzyme systems in your body 51 days from now

One last quote:

Consuming partially hydrogenated oils is like inhaling cigarette smoke. They will kill you — slowly, over time, but as surely as you breathe. And in the meantime, they will make you fat!

For the sake of yourself, your family and your children, stop buying all the processed crap and make an effort to cook things that are fresh and real. Be the voice to your extended family that they don’t get to feed your child that crap either. I’ll tell you, my father thinks I’m crazy, nuts and just plain mean sometimes because I guard what my child eats like a beast. I will take potato chips out of Carter’s hand and toss them back at whoever gave it to him and tell them that I don’t mind being the “mean mommy”. All along in my head I know that I am teaching my child good eating habits and raising him to be a child who knows what good food tastes like and who will be educated to make good choices about how he cares for his body. I’m also fighting the good fight to keep him away from caffeine and sugary foods in general, though I don’t mind giving him a “treat” every now and then.

That’s my rant of the day. How do you feel about HFCS and PHSO?