Archive for November, 2010

Dangers of Aspartame – even for Glenn Beck!

Posted on: November 17th, 2010 by admin No Comments

Glenn Beck has had some recent health issues and many are saying that is tied to his addiction to diet sodas. A recent Drudge report suggested that Beck’s poor eyesight may be related to the amount of aspartame, an artificial sweetener, he consumes in drinking large amounts of Diet Coke. This report has created quite a controversy and even his listeners are coming out and asking him to stop drinking diet sodas.

Beck’s television show sidekicks, Pat Gary and Stu Burguiere, have tried to deny these remarks and any correlation of aspartame to Beck’s health issues. In rebuttal, they have cited that Donald Rumsfeld, who was integral in getting aspartame approved by the FDA in the 1980s, would not have pushed for aspartame if there had been any safety concerns. Well, what Gary and Burguiere failed to mention is that Rumsfeld hand-picked the new head of the FDA, as a part of Ronald Reagan’s transition team, while he was the President of G.D. Searle, the manufacturer of aspartame. Gary and Burgeiere also mentioned that there are 74 studies conducted on aspartame that support its safety. But who do you think paid for those studies? The manufacturers of aspartame did of course. 83 of the other 90 independent studies that were conducted discovered numerous health concerns associated with the use of aspartame. I guess these guys also forgot that Fox News, Glenn Beck’s own employer, published a story in 2005 based on a study by the European Ramazzini Foundation that artificial sweeteners had been shown to cause a variety of cancers in rats.,2933,176258,00.html

So what are the side effects of aspartame? Well, aspartame’s by-product is methanol which the body turns into formaldehyde, a cancer-forming substance. Ick! The consumer rights group Mission Possible states, “since its 1981 approval, the FDA has published a list of 92 symptoms of aspartame poisoning, which includes headaches, vision loss including blindness, seizures, neurological problems, cardiovascular problems and death. The FDA admits adverse reactions to aspartame comprise about 80 percent of consumer complaints it receives each year.” That sort of says it all, doesn’t it-I mean come on, can we say common sense here friends? Let’s start making better choices that are natural.

Even if you gave up diet sodas today, the problem remains that aspartame is not just found in diet sodas but is also found in 6,000 other food and drink products. Artificial sweeteners are found in places you wouldn’t even think to look like chewing gum and Crystal Light’s “natural” lemonade! Since when did something “natural” contain a additive made in a lab? You always need to read the label! Take Glenn Beck’s fans’ advice and give diet sodas and aspartame a rest. There are some other great sugar alternatives: stevia, xylitol, honey and agave. We suggest you give them a try instead. If you’re really craving a soda, then try La Croix, Zevia, or a natural soda from the health food store like Dr. Becker which tastes just like Dr. Pepper. As always, Wholesome can help you find alternatives to whatever types of sodas or sweets you’re looking for.


Posted on: November 3rd, 2010 by admin No Comments

Do you know what’s in your chicken nuggets? TBHQ, tertiary butylhydroquinone, is a commonly used synthetic preservative used to prolong the color, smell, and shelf life of foods. The FDA allows a small amount in our food, up to .02 % of the oil used in McDonalds chicken nuggets. That may not sound like a lot, but research shows ingesting one gram of the TBHQ can cause nausea, vomiting, ringing ears, and confusion among other conditions; and five grams of the preservative can cause death. Some studies have even shown that ongoing exposure at high doses can cause cancer in rats. In case you are wondering, Europe does not allow McDonald’s to use TBHQ in their chicken nuggets. Wholesome begs the question—why do we deserve it in America? After all, aren’t we the land of the free, home of the brave and one of the most well respected countries to live in? Hmmm, that doesn’t sound fair.

Ok, so another yuck is BHA, Butylated hydroxyanisole, and BHT, butylhydroxytoluene, which are two other similar preservatives often used in conjunction with TBHQ and used to stabilize fats and oils. BHA can be found in meats, butter, cereals, gum, snacks foods, baked goods, instant potatoes and beer. BHT can also be found in a variety of foods containing fats. So read the ingredients of the products you buy! If it has TBHQ, BHA or BHT, please consider buying an alternate product (if you need alternative suggestions just shoot me an email Seriously, with all the ‘possible risks’, we say, better safe than sorry.

November 1st school lunch meeting

Posted on: November 2nd, 2010 by admin No Comments

I was fortunate to attend this meeting and was able to get a copy of the meeting notes. We need to give this initiative our full support! Our children deserve to be able to eat healthy every day at school.

The purpose of the November 1st meeting at the Emmet O’Neal library was to discuss the Past, Present & Future of the food served in the Mountain Brook schools. The meeting was facilitated by Christiana Roussel, Margaret Cross, and Catherine Romero.

I. Past
School lunch foods have traditionally been prepackaged and highly processed.

II. Present
a) What things look like now
Healthier items such as brown rice and whole grains are more prevelant. Other items are still in rotation: ice cream, chocolate milk, sodas, sugary snacks and cereal. Many diseases and disorders such as ADHD, cancer and diabetes can be linked to poor eating habits.

b) How do we affect change?
i. Learning the Playing Field and Meeting the Players
We have learned there are a host of rules, regulations and guidelines that must be followed.

ii. The Rules of the Game
Our school system accepts no Federal funding. We must be completely self-sustaining.

To save money, we have the option to purchase items from a State-approved bid list.

iii. How the Players Perform
Most of the items are highly processed, filled with preservatives, sugars, bad fats, artificial colors and artificial sweeteners.

Lunch choices of children beyond First Grade are not monitored.

A la carte sales help with the revenue stream.

iv. The Wellness Committee
In 2006 a Mountain Brook School Wellness Committee was formed. It was dissolved a year later. Requests for the committee to be reconvened have been denied.

III. Future – where do we go from here? Things to think about.

a) Wanting change is not enough — we must be specific in our requests
i. Define what HEALTHY is to you and your family

b) Steps we can take
i. Visit the lunchroom
Visit your child’s school and see what choices are available.

Go online to see your child’s PayPAMS account or ask for your cafeteria manager to print out your child’s account.

ii. Make a list of changes you’d like to see
No ice cream? No chocolate milk? More fresh fruits and vegetables?

What about outside the lunchroom? School gardens? Cooking lessons?

iii. Identify possible solutions
Start with reconvening the Wellness Committee.

iv. Keep the conversation going
Talk to your friends and neighbors. Change may not happen if parents don’t speak up.

v. Become a part of this initiative
We need support! Follow our Food for Thought Mountain Brook page on Facebook.