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Ask a loser: How did that organic diet go?

A long time ago, in a galaxy not that far away, Nicole asked me:

I noticed you were using Splenda again, I might have missed this but did the organic thing not work for you? Well obviously it didn’t if you’re back to Splenda :-) Was it tough going completely organic? How long did you last? Just wondering what your experience was with that.

Back in…September?…October?…according to my blog entry it was indeed October, I visited an allergist who recommended that I try an organic diet. (Thank goodness I keep a blog or I’d never remember when anything happened in my life.) So, I started paying extra money for organic fruit, started using sugar instead of artificial sweetener, and never did find an Amish chicken, though I didn’t look too hard for one. I don’t suppose the Amish have an online store, do they?

This lasted about 5 days.

It turns out, eating organic is really, really hard. A lot of our food is fake. Many of the foods I eat have preservatives in them and the ones that don’t tend to go bad rather quickly. That meant I had to read lots of labels at the grocery store and I had to go to the market a lot to buy fresh produce. Granted, I could probably buy lots of frozen fruits and veggies, but I prefer the fresh stuff. There were also basics like milk and eggs that would be a pain to buy anywhere other than the grocery store. This started to grate on me and I gave up because I don’t think my health problems are caused by the foods I’m eating and it didn’t seem worth the trouble. I’m already suffering most of the time, why make my life harder than it already is?

The brief experiment did make me realize how frequently I add sweeteners to my foods. I had to dump three packets and 45 calories of sugar into my coffee to equal the two packets and zero calories of aspartame I usually dump in there. I also became aware of how many foods I eat have sweeteners, like the yogurt that contains sucralose. Lots of diet foods use artificial ingredients to cut the calories in their products while retaining a sweet taste.

I gave it a go, but it was a lot of work and required time and energy I don’t have, so I finally cracked and started eating Lean Cuisines for lunch again, full of tasty preservatives. I’m also back to buying cheap pears flown in from Guatemala instead of the pesticide-free fruits. However, I am more conscious of how many artificial ingredients I’m putting into my body and have cut back somewhat. I’ve been off of sodas for at least two months now, which makes my groceries a lot lighter to carry up the stairs. I now eat all-natural yogurt and although it’s 140 calories a serving, I recognize all the ingredients on the package: milk, sugar, vanilla, and pectin. I don’t use Splenda all the much, only occasionally when cooking. And I do try to eat foods that are foods and not lab concoctions.

That said, I do not think artificial ingredients are inherently evil. There are many artificially created chemicals, such as Prozac, that increase the quality of life for many people. And there are plenty of natural ingredients, like arsenic, that will kill you. To paraphrase something I heard recently, every chemical is toxic if you take too much, the difference between a remedy and a poison is the dosage. Very true. Water is essential to our survival, but if you drink too much you can die from hyperhydration. I suspect the same philosophy can be applied to Splenda.

Which brings me to another question:

Did you ever try stevia extract, the new natural sweetener with no calories?

This was asked by….well, by no one. Or there might have been someone who asked, but I can’t remember where or when because my brain is a mushy ball of pain these days. Anyway, Laura was kind enough to send me leftover stevia extract that she had abandoned in her cupboards. I was trusting enough to believe it was actually stevia and not packets of arsenic. I tested the stuff in coffee and tea and I’m happy to report I was not the victim of a poisoning conspiracy. l can also report that the stevia tastes very good in tea, however, it tastes like ass in coffee. I have no idea why. I noticed that the stevia extract has a slightly bitter aftertaste when I sampled some by itself. For some reason, to me, this taste compliments tea, yet makes coffee taste bitterly nasty (or at least more bitterly nasty than it already is). I can get away with using one packet of stevia in coffee and one packet of Equal, however I don’t know if it’s worth the bother.

Does anyone else have follow-up questions for me? I don’t blog about everything that happens in my life, so it’s possible I’ve left some loose threads dangling in your eyes that I might be able to tie up. Ask away in the comments!

Chocolate & Vicodin: My Quest for Relief from the Headache that Wouldn't Go Away
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63 Comments

Tara • February 13, 2009 at 9:57 am

I’m assuming none of this worked, cause you still have the headache…..

I can’t find stevia here in Canada, but I have a feeling I’m not missing anything.

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mari • February 13, 2009 at 10:07 am

You mentioned that you eat natural yogurt.

Have you ever tried Greek Yogurt?

It’s fabulous. I buy a brand “Fage” it’s at the local grocery store. I stated out eating the 2% at 120 calories per serving. One day they only had the 0%, bought it, but didn’t think I would like it. Well, I didn’t notice any difference and it’s only 90 calories. It’s so thick and creamy and very filling. I eat it with fruit and just love it!

I have just tried the new natural sweetener “truvia”,

and find no after taste.

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PastaQueen • February 13, 2009 at 10:13 am

@mari – I have tried Greek yogurt before and thought it tasted like diaper cream. Since then I’ve found if I dump a lot of agave nectar on it, I like it. However, all the calories in the agave undo any of the low-cal health benefits of the yogurt. It’s more like I enjoy agave nectar than I necessarily like the yogurt.

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Mara @ What's For Dinner? • February 13, 2009 at 10:20 am

What’s the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow? Sorry, just a bit of Monty Python… I do really love your blog!

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PastaQueen • February 13, 2009 at 10:29 am

@Mara @ What’s For Dinner? – African or European?

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Shannon • February 13, 2009 at 10:32 am

@Tara – I don’t know where you live in Canada but I’m in Toronto and I’ve seen Stevia at speciality health food stores, specifically in the Kensington Market area and at one shop on Baldwin Street just west of university). I’ve also seen ‘sugar alternatives’ at bulk food stores that I shop at although I’m not if stevia was one of the alternatives.

I’ve never actually tried it myself, so I can’t tell you if your missing out on anything . . .

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nora • February 13, 2009 at 10:40 am

I know it is hard to do an all organic diet, and believe me, I never manage it totally… but I do know that for me, I get headaches if I eat sugar early in the day… in fact, I get a headache every afternoon if I eat sugar early in the day. I don’t replace my sugar with fake sugars though, because they give me migraines. Maybe it’s not for you, and I am not making suggestions, just telling you what works for me… I try to avoid preservatives because they often give me migraines too if I eat too much of them. I do find if I eat sugar after dinner I don’t have problems, probably because by the time I have the sugar crash I am asleep. Anyway… after many years of trying to figure out why I often get headaches in the afternoon, that’s what works for me…. hope you find something that works for you!

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Ashley • February 13, 2009 at 10:45 am

Do you think that there are any truly selfless acts? Is the gratification we get from doing something something “selfless” tangible enough to make the act selfish? Have you written about this before and I forgot? I can’t remember for beans lately.

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Merry • February 13, 2009 at 10:49 am

@PastaQueen – How the heck do you know what diaper cream tastes like? :)

Wait. Maybe I shouldn’t ask that question…

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Mary • February 13, 2009 at 10:56 am

I agree with you about the stevia- don’t like it at all. I have found zsweet though, and it’s better in coffee than stevia- but still not sugar.

I whole foods, they were giving samples of strawberries dipped in zsweet, and I must say I was impressed.

Of course, like anything good- expensive.

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Deirdre • February 13, 2009 at 11:14 am

Mmmm I love Greek Yogurt…but then again I’m greek. It’s awesome to replace in cooking due to it’s consistency it is very good in place of Sour Cream in recipes.

Anyhow, I love organic milk and eggs. You can definitely taste the difference, I don’t like milk at all but I can sit down and drink a glass of organic milk and I like it. Weird I know.

I agree however that Organic is quite expensive but I tend to try and buy Organic fruit and veggies as much as I can, I haven’t yet ventured into organic meats due to their cost. Organic bananas are FABULOUS!

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Quix • February 13, 2009 at 11:27 am

“Thank goodness I keep a blog or I’d never remember when anything happened in my life.”

—Yep, feel the same way. I regularly dig into my LJ archives to find out when I did something.

That being said, I have a box of stevia at home waiting to try, I just don’t use sweetners at home much…good to know it gets the thumbs up in tea!

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Dee • February 13, 2009 at 11:27 am

@PastaQueen – LOLOL that you asked that! You rock even more than I originally thought you did!!

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Lyn • February 13, 2009 at 11:55 am

I have to agree with you that going all organic is too much of a headache (pardon the mention) to pull off for some of us (and expensive). I’ve gone the middle road. There’s a list online of the “dirty dozen” foods that are highest in pesticides, like peaches… and I’ve made an effort to buy organics of these 12 fruits/veggies WHEN they are available without too much extra trouble. Otherwise, I just wash my produce well and focus on eating more of it in general. I do try and get “hormone free” chicken and organic milk for my little girl. But yeah, the Lean Cuisines are still in there on occasion.

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Dinah Soar • February 13, 2009 at 12:11 pm

Short and sweet here Pasta Queen because I know you are sick to death of advice…

making this point because I noted in your post that you do use aspartame.

Did you know that the number one complaint submitted to the FDA regarding aspartame is headache?

A lot of people are afraid of saccharine, but it has been around longer and tested more..in fact the warning label was removed by an act of Congress ..they admitted that the danger attributed to saccharine was unsubstantiated. Wouldn’t surprise me if the Nutra-Sweet lobby had something to do with the scare….I use saccharine in moderation..Splenda too.

As you pointed out, dosage is the issue.

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Rebecca Hoover • February 13, 2009 at 12:12 pm

I agree that Stevia is yucko, I was so excited about it, alas, it was not to be. And I like Lean Cuisines because I NEED portion control-my tummy lies to me constantly.

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Tara • February 13, 2009 at 12:16 pm

@Shannon – I’m in a suberb of Toronto, so I don’t get to Kensington Market very often but I’ll look for it the next time I’m there. Thanks for the tip!

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PastaQueen • February 13, 2009 at 12:31 pm

@Dinah Soar – I tried going off aspartame for a couple weeks (while eating non-ogranic stuff) and it didn’t seem to make a difference. Same goes for Splenda.

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BrightAngel • February 13, 2009 at 12:36 pm

Greek Yogurt Fage 0% is 60 calories for 1/2 cup

and has more protein and less carbs than regular plain yogurt.

I use 2 Splenda pkts with my 1/2 cup.

It is so healthy and I like it so much that

it is one of the few foods I choose to eat every day.

It also tastes really good to add some cinnamon along with the Splenda.

Pasta Queen, I remember when you first tried it and said it tasted like Library Paste.

Is Diaper Cream a step up from that?

Try 1/2 cup of Fage 0 with 2 splenda pkts

(if you like cinnamon add a pinch or about 1/8 tsp) and let us know what you think.

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Penelope • February 13, 2009 at 1:03 pm

Fage = YUM!

I like to mix a cup of frozen berries (raspberries for me) in with the yogurt to sweeten it up AND get another serving of fruit for the day. I love getting the frozen raspberries because the ones I buy fresh tend to always have one moldy one in the middle. Gross.

And if I’m at home, I might also throw on a little swirl of agave nectar. 8-)

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Lori • February 13, 2009 at 1:28 pm

I agree that chemicals are not necessarily evil. I do avoid artificial sweeteners and preservatives because I’m not sure how I would know how much is too much. I haven’t 100% eliminated them from my diet though. It’s a slow process.

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Mara @ What's For Dinner? • February 13, 2009 at 1:39 pm

@PastaQueen: Are you suggesting coconuts migrate?

Yes, you totally rock!

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Rhonda • February 13, 2009 at 1:48 pm

I was wondering- and this is REALLY important- how are the cats getting along???? You were gonna give one to your Mom not so long ago.

Nope- not thinking diet today.

Rhonda

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Georgia • February 13, 2009 at 2:31 pm

What is this all-natural yogurt you have found? I can’t seem to find anything that is not Greek yogurt without HFCS.

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Laura N • February 13, 2009 at 3:54 pm

I think some organics are good, some are a waste of time. Who needs organic bananas unless you are eating the peel? I do prefer to be able to pronounce most or all of the ingredients, though. It’s why I buy the kids Tombstone pizza instead of Totino’s pizza. I do like cage free eggs better than cheapo eggs. Really can taste a difference in those babies. But I won’t pay extra for organic apples because we eat, like, 15 a week. They’re already damn expensive as is.

Fage + chocolate protein powder = tasty yogurt with even more protein. (but we only have Fage at our health food store & it’s small & not kid friendly & out of my way, so I get Fage about 2 times a year).

Did you sign up for the Indy Half this year?

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Stephanie • February 13, 2009 at 4:47 pm

It’s amazing how much sweetener is added to our foods these days. Studies have started to show that some of the artificial sweeteners can actually lead to obesity, ironically.

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Rachael • February 13, 2009 at 4:51 pm

@Georgia – Stonyfield Farms brand does not have HFCS.

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minus10 • February 13, 2009 at 4:56 pm

I didn’t know you could die from drinking too much water. Weird.

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sportmom • February 13, 2009 at 5:41 pm

Have you tried giving up coffee? I remember you were originally a non-coffee drinker, then tried it and realized it had some weight loss value i think? Anyway, jsut wondering. Altho the caffeine w/d might make your head explode, it goes away after a few days. I went off all caffeine and soda after 2 baaaad kidney stone episodes and one surgery from it. Caffeine and phosphoric acid are nasty stuff for your bones and your calcium levels, bc it dumps it all in your kidneys. Anyway, just thought it might stop your headaches.

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Kathy W. • February 13, 2009 at 5:51 pm

@Georgia -

The Dannon regular yogurts also don’t have HFCS.

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Cari • February 13, 2009 at 6:39 pm

I may be able to get you Amish chicken when you come to Ohio ;-)

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v ictoria • February 13, 2009 at 7:12 pm

I love how you post on controversial topics. I’m sure someone is about to leave a long comment about how we’re destroying the planet with pesticides. (I am not mocking that point of view; it may be true for all I know. I just admire your courage.)

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Anna • February 13, 2009 at 7:58 pm

5 days!? All I eat on a regular basis are fruits, veggies, beans, nuts and seeds and the occasional grain. No preservatives. Just cut them up, put in pan with water, and throw some spices on top. Simple dimple. In the summer I just chew my veggies raw since that’s easier. Zero prep since I don’t wash my organic veggies (I buy organic for environmental reasons, though). (Sometimes I blend veggies, too). I wouldn’t encourage simple eating but it seriously resolved many serious health issues after a number of months.

But, it sounds like you’re slowly transitioning to eat in the most natural way you can. Slow transition is infinitely better if it’s a change you can keep. I would just encourage people to keep heading in that direction.

Not surprising about the sugar, artificial sweeteners really decrease our sweet tolerance so we keep needing and eating more.

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Anna • February 13, 2009 at 8:02 pm

@v ictoria – I work in agriculture and we are. Agriculture is the #1 environmental polluter and factory farms are the biggest single cause of climate change. Doesn’t mean you have to have an all organic diet. But we sure as hell should do the most we can. I studied up on the issues as a poor-as-hell college student and spent $20 a week on organic bulk beans and grains and other foods, no more. It can be simple. I have lots of love for PQ though. It sounds like she was just thinking from the single person-health point of view, as far as the pesticides go. It’s painful to think of the bigger picture for this.

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Shannon • February 13, 2009 at 8:48 pm

@v ictoria – If you want to know about us destroying our planet with our current agriculture practices, I recommend checking out Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingslover, a book about her families year eating locally. It was a fascinating read that really changed the way I think about food. Now all I have to do is put that thought into action. . .

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kathy • February 13, 2009 at 9:08 pm

I’m not sure if I really want to know the answer to this question or not, but I have to ask. How do you know that coffee+stevia tastes like ass? :)

(I told my husbandito that the other day and he gave me that HARDEST time asking me just HOW I knew what ASS tasted like???!!?!?!?)

Anyway, a little funny for your day.

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anji • February 13, 2009 at 10:38 pm

@Tara – in the yuppie-burbs of Toronto, just go to any health-food store or even the fitness stores, and they usually will have it. I believe you can also find it at the bulk-barn.

Man… I miss Toronto :( (I’m just east of Thunder Bay right now, I’m lucky to get two-week old fruits and veggies right now!)

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Jessica • February 14, 2009 at 12:20 am

@Shannon – Also check out anything by Michael Pollan, like “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” or “In Defense of Food.” For me, eating organic (and I’m a preschool teacher, so I can’t afford to eat 100% organic, either) isn’t just about personal health benefits, it’s about trying to curb my own participation in the destruction of local ecosystems and food systems and just a whole trail of nastiness. Nobody can bow out of the industrial food chain completely, but as as Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heshel said, “It is not incumbent upon you to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it.”

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Sherry • February 14, 2009 at 4:49 am

When they began advertising for Truvia I began looking in the local stores with no luck. But I did read online about a brand called SweetLeaf that contains stevia. Sought it out, bought it. Teeeeeny weeeeeny little bottle for something like 15 bucks. And wouldn’t you know, it sucks. Don’t know if it tastes like ass, but if I had to guess……

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PastaQueen • February 14, 2009 at 8:40 am

@Laura N – No, I decided it would be too much of a time commitment. I didn’t want to attempt it with my headache again.

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PastaQueen • February 14, 2009 at 8:41 am

@sportmom – That was one of the first things I tried. It made me sleepy and the headache didn’t go away.

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clickmom • February 14, 2009 at 8:51 am

We have legit food allergies in my house so I could spend half my shopping time reading labels, except I buy the same things over and over, so now that we have it all down and routine I only have to read labels when we want to try new products. I agree that no real food in moderation never hurt anyone. However, some of the stuff in our food is not technically food and that crap scares the heck out of me. Tomatoes and corn give me migraines.

I heard that botox can help migraines, and make you look 10 years younger in the process! Have you thought about botox?

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still reading • February 14, 2009 at 8:54 am

I am absolutely addicted to the Fage 2% with the little honey container attached…something like 180cal for a little taste of heaven! I keep them in the fridge at work, and my friends “steal” them..now they are addicted, too! And I use Fage at home for the best sour cream replacement ever.

I try to eat all organic when I can, for environmental reasons AND health reasons. After I read “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver, I started getting really mad at the food production here in the US. Did you know that some brands of chicken are raised here, killed here, then sent to china for processing, then sent back to the US for sale? Outrageous. Now I only buy locally raised chickens, and lo and behold, they taste completely different…more like, well, CHICKEN! There is a really great brand of frozen organic entrees, I don’t know if you have them where you live, Amys Organics are great! Not especially low-cal, but its real food, and not too high calories, especially since most are vegeterian. I adore the burritos.

And, oh yeah, how ARE the cats?

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PastaQueen • February 14, 2009 at 9:06 am

@clickmom – Actually, I want to try that next, but my insurance company won’t pay. So I have to throw down with them to see if they’ll relent. I also looked into doing a Botox study in Connecticut, but it’s double-blinded and there’s a 25% I’d be getting a placebo, which doesn’t seem worth the travel cost of 5 visits.

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PastaQueen • February 14, 2009 at 9:08 am

@still reading – I ate farm-raised chickens at my grandma’s as a kid and they were always stringy. I wasn’t a fan.

The cats still hate each other.

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Chau • February 14, 2009 at 9:27 am

at least you lasted 5 days. i tried to cut out artificial sweeteners and yep, i lasted 11 hours. That was painful but i also came to the realization that i, too, eat a lot of crapfood with sweeteners and i depend on it.

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mariana • February 14, 2009 at 12:08 pm

@PastaQueen – maybe you need to try going off of splenda or any artifical ingredients for more than a couple of weeks? maybe it takes a month or more since that stuff really gets into the liver and everywhere? Maybe you need a good detox like the fat flush plan or any of Anne Louise Gittleman’s detox plans to flush out all the toxins in your body? I have done these detoxes before and at first you get even worse headaches but that is because all the impurities are getting detoxed out, but after the headache and maybe nausea you then feel clean and much more clear headed than ever. Maybe you have tried one of these before and it didnt work or maybe you are skeptical about such things. Thats fine, each his own. Just putting it out there because it has made a huge difference in my life and my 70 year old mother’s life. My mom takes no medicine at all and her theory is she would rather pay extra and go through extra trouble to eat only organic and low on the food chain and avoid processed foods and preservatives, than to pay later in medications and surgeries.

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KIm • February 14, 2009 at 2:36 pm

Has anyone out there tried Truvia? Just curious. Haven’t yet, but knew I could get an opinion here.

Oh, hi PQ!

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sb • February 14, 2009 at 2:56 pm

I was about to comment on how wise this part of your post was:

“every chemical is toxic if you take too much, the difference between a remedy and a poison is the dosage. Very true. Water is essential to our survival, but if you drink too much you can die from hyperhydration.”

Then I read your Monty Python exchange in the comments…

I have to say between your no BS attitude, and the two things above, I’m convinced we could be very good friends if we didn’t live a couple thousand miles apart. That may sound odd, since’ we’ve never met… but I just have this hunch.

Anyway, as people said above… you rock!

And next time you’re in the SF Bay area, if you’re so inclined drop me an e-mail. I”d love to meet you and see if my hunch is correct. ;-)

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Susan Eitelman • February 14, 2009 at 2:57 pm

This may be a far reach, but have you considered some simple raw food recipes to augment your organic options?

I am the least kitchen-able person that I know. Recently, I found a raw “cook” book (Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen, Any Phyo), and the few recipes I’ve tried have been EASY as well as quite tasty. Convenience is key for me, and I’ve found it’s easy to make a batch of a recipe and keep it in the fridge for several days, munching on a serving one at a time. Some recipes require fresh fruit (e.g., smoothies) and recommends raw nuts, but I imagine you can substitute toasted nuts (which seem easier to find) with no problem.

I’d be curious to hear what you think about these recipes in terms of the convenience/healthiness trade off.

Also, just curious, what do you mean by “new” when referring to Stevia? I remember giving it a try in the ’90s (and agree with you that it is NOT tasty in coffee!). :)

Thanks for the great reads! :)

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Susan Eitelman • February 14, 2009 at 3:02 pm

@still reading – or how about Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser where I learned that the factory workers can be treated as humanely as the animals being processed :(

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Cindy • February 14, 2009 at 3:25 pm

I’ve been reading your blog for a couple months now and I love it. I remember you posted a list of all the advise you get. From the looks of the comments, looks like you’re still getting them. How many of the suggestions from the list did you try?

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X. • February 14, 2009 at 4:07 pm

So….I thought I was the only one who commented that certain foods tasted like ‘ass.’

Thankfully I’m not alone. Organic is super expensive and time consuming. Glad to see someone looking at the realism of it all.

X.

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cindy • February 14, 2009 at 5:21 pm

I don’t do all organic, but I have made great strides in the last few years. I buy my bulk ingredients organic, such as flour, sugar, etc… My meat and dairy is either organic or at least local and “known.” Fruits and veggies are another matter. It depends on the season and what is available and what it costs. I do my best… and then figure that any vegetable is better than no vegetable at all. When I started the change in eating thing 3+ years ago, I made a commitment NOT to do the artificial sweeteners route. I wanted to change what I ate, not substitute it (too easy to go back, that way). I went from being a junk food junky (literally eating McD’s or similar ilk 7-10 meals a week) to shopping at Whole Foods and searching the shops for sprouted grain breads. I still eat out socially and then no rules apply (I LOVE my Cheesecake Factory and never want to hear where their food comes from!). When I shop, I control what comes into my house and that has to be enough. I can’t get militant. I can only do the best I can and still be happy (because I know me ~ If I try to push myself too far, I’ll give up entirely and then what good does it do?!).

Best wishes, PQ. You continue to inspire.

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kristisummer • February 14, 2009 at 6:03 pm

I saw someone mentioned fage, i love greek yogurt too. try the plain 0% no fat very low in sugar and carbs and super high in protein, or oikos, which is made by stoney field which is organic and no artifcal sweetners.

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nora • February 15, 2009 at 6:18 am

@Laura N – actually, because the peel is very porous, most chemicals can go right through it into the banana. Most people who “go organic” try to avoid standard bananas more than many other fruits because of this problem of chemicals being transmitted right through into the fruits… I guess bananas can have a pretty high concentration of chemicals in them. Others to watch out for are raspberries, strawberries, potatoes (because they grow in the grown right in the chemical run-off they can have very high concentrations of herbicides and pesticides on the skins and in the outer layers of the potato). Theoretically you can wash most of the pesticides off of and apple, though a peach holds onto them more. Just passing on what I have read.

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cc • February 15, 2009 at 6:21 am

have you tried any exciting new fruit/vegetables recently? i love your lick the produce entries! they inspire me to try jerusalem artichoke and black salsify root recently. first i did not enjoy, second was bland but fine. also tried purple and yellow carrots, which funnily enough are exactly like orange carrots.

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Cindy • February 15, 2009 at 10:08 am

@PastaQueen -

Where did you find information on these types of trials? I’ve been looking and looking in my area (Boston) and have had a hard time finding anything. My own dr’s are not being helpful, so I have to help myself.

I also had Botox suggested, and my insurance won’t cover it either. :(

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Gwen • February 15, 2009 at 12:40 pm

Going cold turkey doesn’t usually end with great results. Small changes over time will stick better.

Thank goodness you don’thave to avoid gluten, that part was the hardest for me.

Going organic is very expensive and I found that creating a weekly menu based upon which food lasts the shortest/longest helped prevent waste.

I’d prefer to go to the store every 2 days, but then I end up spending more. So I go once a week and spend less. I found that going on the day that the produce was restocked and newest really makes it last longer at home.

I just started using Stevia in my morning coffee this weekend. It’s different, but I’m sort of liking it more than the Splenda and other fake options.

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Anna • February 15, 2009 at 7:49 pm

@clickmom – You say “Tomatoes and corn give me migraines.” – Just some info for you and anyone else that might find it useful…

That could be the sign of an intolerance to a natural food chemical such as Salicylates and/or Amines. It is quite common for ‘allergic families’ (families with a history of asthma, arthritis, migraines, skin problems etc) to have food intolerances as well as allergies. I am severely intolerant to salicylates, I get severe headaches from mint (which is often a very concentrated form of salicylates) – even smelling it on someone’s breath can give me a headache. My restricted diet is tough but dealing with daily hives, headaches, memory loss, fatigue and weight gain was tougher. It took me 12-14 weeks on the diet to see proper results. After 4 yrs I have never looked back. Here are some links to the main sources of good info (beware there is a lot of misinformation on this topic on the net – the people listed below are the only true experts on it I have found):

RPAH Sydney Allergy Unit

http://www.cs.nsw.gov.au/RPA/Allergy/resources/foodintol/ffintro.cfm

http://www.cs.nsw.gov.au/rpa/allergy/resources/foodintol/salicylates.cfm

Sue Dengate’s site (her info is all based on the RPAH research) – this page has a list of support groups on it

http://www.fedupwithfoodadditives.info/factsheets/Factintroduction.htm

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PastaQueen • February 16, 2009 at 11:28 am

@Cindy – I have a friend who used to work at the National Institutes of Health who sent me the link. Here it is: http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00660192?term=botulinum+AND+headache&rank=2

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Laura Red • February 24, 2009 at 12:19 pm

I tried an organic diet, too, and unless you have time to take multiple grocery store trips, you’re right, it goes bad way too quickly for one person to be able to eat it all.

Now, I just weened myself off of sweeteners in coffee and just take soy milk. It sounds hard to do at first, but you actually start to enjoy it – much like how you would start preferring diet soda after drinking it for so long instead of the regular, syrupy stuff.

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Larissa • April 27, 2009 at 8:43 am

just wanted to concurr. Stevia. Good in tea, ASS in coffee. I use agave in coffee. Because I’m allergic t aspartame (seriously, for you it isnt, but for me it is the cause of some evil, evil head pain). and splenda makes my belly sad.

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