Recently, we were looking at food labels and noticed our stevia had as its first ingredient, dextrose. Now we had switched to stevia for a more healthy sweetener and yet this more healthy option has a genetically engineered sweetener added to it. Even if you get a certified organic stevia, you can find some other ingredients added like organic agave inulin. In fact, it may contain more of that than actual stevia! Some stevia products contain erythritol (a sugar alcohol) as well.
Look for products using whole leaf stevia. You can purchase stevia extract that has stevia only. Another thing you can do is grow stevia yourself and make your own extract. You can grind the leaves yourself and make your own powdered stevia. Add fresh or dried leaves to your iced tea for sweetness. The leaves themselves are 30-40 times sweeter than sugar.
To make extract, you need about a cup of the stevia leaves and organic vodka. Find the recipe and more here.
In an article (TL;DR) in The Atlantic there is a rather lengthy explanation of Why Cereal Has Such Agressive Marketing.
The article starts out talking about how breakfast was developed and how cereal came to be a part of it. It tells about what people used to eat for breakfast (meat, leftovers, bread) and how, why, and where cereal came about. The first cereal, what we call granola, was called granula and was thought of as “wheat rocks.” It was thought of as a cure for “dyspepsia” what we would call reflux.
In the 1940s, Post started coating their cereal with sugar. After much arguing between the Kellogg brothers, they added sugar as well to improve what one brother called “horse food.” Vitamins were added so it could be touted as health food.
There’s another diet in town. Called Whole30, this diet established by Dallas Hartwig and Melissa Hartwig, this diet claims to be a short-term nutritional reset. It is designed to end unhealthy cravings and habits, restore metabolism, heal digestive tract, and balance your immune system. This diet suggests you strip sugar, grains, dairy, and legumes from your diet for a full 30 days. This is considered to be a modified paleo diet.
After reading reviews about the diet, we conclude it can be difficult at times to follow. People did say they felt more energy, fell asleep easier, woke up easier. After reintroducing some of the foods after the 30 days, some people didn’t even bother to add some items back because they felt so good. Some even said as they added back cheese, they felt bloated and crampy.
This is intriguing enough that maybe we’ll try it. If we do, we’ll give our first-hand assessment.
Today we want to explore watermelon. This is a seasonal fruit we are finding in our grocery stores this time of year. Most people just buy it, slice it, and eat it. But let’s see what else we can do with it. There is actually a website devoted to it: www.watermelon.org. The Victor crew came across some interesting Pinterest images of some things you can do with watermelon. You can find anything from watermelon lemonade to a watermelon cake. Some people make different melons into balls (or other shapes) and put it back into the hollowed out watermelon rind.
Maybe you’ve received emails or seen some elaborate carvings made from watermelon. The carvings on the watermelon site are more simple. There are many more elaborate carvings using the watermelon as a blank canvas.
What kind of nutrition does watermelon have? We searched for it and found the FDA Nutrition Facts label. There really isn’t a whole lot to it. Two cups of watermelon cubes are only 80 calories. Doing a quick calculation, 77 of the calories come from the 20 grams of sugar. There is also 1 gram fiber, 270 mg of Potassium, 1 gram protein, 30% of daily Vitamin A, 25% of daily Vitamin C, 2% calcium, and 4% iron. Even though there is not a whole lot there, you get something that is filling and satisfying.
To find the perfect watermelon, look for one that is free of bruises, cuts, or dents. Pick it up … it should be heavy. 92% of its weight is water. The underside should have a creamy yellow spot from ripening.
p.s. Why the three Watermelons in the title? It is said if you are in a choir and forget the words, say watermelon over and over again to yourself (lip sync) and no one will be the wiser!
The Victor crew set out to find out all the cautions of Halloween on our health. This is what we found:
- Dangerous chemicals in costumes and Trick or Treat bags. HealthyStuff.org mentions that they tested 44 costumes, 40 accessories and 22 decorations and party favores. They found heavy metals and other additives in them that could lead to asthma, reproductive problems, developmental and learning disabilities, cancer, and hormone problems.
- Face paints containing lead.
- Sugar overload. This can lead to the inability to break down sugar and lead to hyperglycemia also known as diabetes.
- Pedestrian traffic.
- Drunk driving.
- Candy or other treats laced with marijuana or other drugs or toxic chemicals.
- Flammable costumes. Make sure the costumes you choose are not flammable – better yet make them yourself.