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!