Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Drop The Pop!

My consumption of diet soda has got in the top 5 list of being one of my worst habits. I came across this post in my email updates from Beachbody®. For all the references click here to see the full article and sources.

Top 10 Reasons to Give Up Soda
By Steve Edwards

If you're looking for a scapegoat in the obesity epidemic, look no further than soda. It's the single greatest caloric source in the world, accounting for somewhere between 11 and 19 percent of all the calories consumed worldwide. It's cheap, addictive, and readily available, which generally means that it will take some willpower to avoid. But don't despair, as we at Beachbody® are here to help. We present: our top 10 reasons to give up soda. Drumroll please . . .

10. Soda may cause cancer. According to a report in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, consuming two or more soft drinks per week increased the risk of developing pancreatic cancer by nearly twofold compared to individuals who did not consume soft drinks. As reported, the study "followed 60,524 men and women in the Singapore Chinese Health Study for 14 years. During that time, there were 140 pancreatic cancer cases. Those who consumed two or more soft drinks per week (averaging five per week) had an 87 percent increased risk compared with individuals who did not."

Then why, you're probably asking yourself, is this number ten on our list and why is soda even still on the shelf? Not that I'd challenge the ability of such large corporate power to hide such a thing but, in this case, the study slit its own throat. As one of the researchers noted, "soft drink consumption in Singapore was associated with several other adverse health behaviors such as smoking and red meat intake, which we can't accurately control for," meaning that we have no way of knowing, for sure, if soda was the culprit. Still, it doesn't hurt to know that when you drink soda it lumps you into a fairly unhealthy user group.

9. It's not just about calories. Calories grab headlines, but recent science is showing that diet soda users are still in the crosshairs. A 2005 study by the University of Texas Health Science Center showed that there's a 41 percent increased risk of being obese—and a 65 percent increased risk of becoming overweight during the next 7 or 8 years—for every can of diet soda a person consumes in a day. Admittedly, this one should be higher on the list, but I wanted to make sure the article-skimming crowd knew the score up front: that diet sodas are very much a part of the problem.

8. It's the water . . . and a lot more. Okay, so that was a beer slogan, but soda is also made up mainly of water, and when you're slinging as much of it as they are, and you need to sling it cheap, sometimes you can't help but run into problems with your supply chain. In India, Coca-Cola® has found itself in hot water, and not the kind they thought they were purchasing rights to. Two of their factories have been closed, but one continues to run amok. According to a report in The Ecologist, "They accuse the company of over-extracting groundwater, lowering the water tables and leaving farmers and the local community unable to dig deep enough to get to vital water supplies."

"Since the bottling plant was opened in 2000, water levels in the area have dropped six metres, and when a severe drought hit the region earlier this year the crops failed and livelihoods were destroyed."

7. BPA: not just for water bottles anymore. Nalgene® and other water bottle companies took the heat when the dangers of bisphenol A (BPA) were made public a couple years back. While these companies went to great lengths to save their businesses, the soda companies somehow flew under the radar and continue to use it in their products. A recent Canadian study has found that BPA exists "in the vast majority" of the soft drinks tested. Most of these were under the national limits set for toxicity, but some were not. And remember how much soda the average person consumes, meaning odds are most soda consumers are at some risk.

"Out of 72 drinks tested, 69 were found to contain BPA at levels below what Health Canada says is the safe upper limit. However, studies in peer-reviewed science journals have indicated that even at very low doses, BPA can increase breast and ovarian cancer cell growth and the growth of some prostate cancer cells in animals."

6. Can convenience. As in the 1950s colloquial: can it. Speaking of the 1950s, those were the happy days when most of our soda was consumed at soda fountains, obesity was a term hardly anyone had heard of, and the most feared epidemic was one of atomically mutated insects taking over the world. Now instead of hoofing it down to the corner confectionery for one soda, we fill out trucks with pallets of shrink-wrapped cans or bottles and quaff the stuff by the six-pack. Not to mention how out of balance this ensures our diets will become, it wreaks havoc on the world around us. The bottled-water industry (which is mostly owned by the soda industry) famously uses 17 million barrels of oil a year, and the aluminum industry uses as much electricity as the entire continent of Africa. Not only that, aluminum mining accounts for a ton of toxic chemicals that is left behind for every ton of the metal produced.

5. The Frankenfood factor. Whether you consume diet or regular soda, you're getting all of the genetically modified food you need and more, via high fructose corn syrup or aspartame. Both of these are under plenty of scientific as well as anecdotal scrutiny. Findings aren't pretty but, so far, this multibillion-dollar industry has kept these sweeteners on the shelves while alternative sweeteners meeting cost requirements are explored. Since it's almost impossible to read health headlines without finding one of these ingredients in some type of controversy, I'll just use one example:

"The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nutrition and food safety advocacy group, called on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to review the claims, which stem from research conducted by the European Ramazzini Foundation in Italy.

The foundation reported that rats who consumed aspartame in exceedingly large quantities were more likely to develop cancer. CSPI executive director Michael Jacobson considers this an important finding that should not be overlooked."

I know, there I go again with the cancer. But some people need to be shocked in order to take action. For me, seeing the Diet Coke® and Mentos® experiment was all I needed to swear off the stuff.

4. Foreign news cares how much soda we sell in our schools. How bad is your country's problem when the whole world is watching its daily actions? "Nearly one in three children and teenagers in the U.S. are overweight or obese and health experts say sugary drinks are part of the problem." Yep, bad. The world is well aware of the problems soda is causing and is looking to us to lead. And we certainly are trying. Are you with the program?

"Under the voluntary guidelines, in place since 2006, full-calorie soft drinks were removed from school canteens and vending machines. Lighter drinks, including low-fat milk, diet sodas, juices, flavoured waters and teas were promoted in their place."

And, while great and all, it appears that no one got the memo about diet sodas.

3. Diet? Um, that's just like your opinion, man. When it comes to soda, treat the word "diet" as a slogan. A study at Boston University's School of Medicine linked diet soda with increased risk factors for heart disease and diabetes. To be more specific, the study "found adults who drink one or more sodas a day had about a 50 percent higher risk of metabolic syndrome," which is a cluster of risk factors such as excessive fat around the waist, low levels of "good" cholesterol, high blood pressure, and other symptoms that lead to heart disease and/or diabetes. And, for those of you only concerned about how you look in the mirror, "Those who drank one or more soft drinks a day had a 31 percent greater risk of becoming obese."

2. Soda outkills terrorists. A study out of the University of California, San Francisco, shows that soda has killed at least 6,000 Americans in the last decade.

From ABC News: "The new analysis, presented Friday at the American Heart Association's 50th Annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention, offers a picture of just how horrifying the damage done by excess consumption of sugary drinks can be.

Using a computer model and data from the Framingham Heart Study, the Nurses Health Study and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, researchers estimated that the escalating consumption between 1990 and 2000 of soda and sugar-sweetened beverages, which they abbreviated as 'SSBs,' led to 75,000 new cases of diabetes and 14,000 new cases of coronary heart disease.

What's more, the burden of the diseases translated into a $300 million to $550 million increase in health care costs between 2000 and 2010."

1. It's the "real thing" . . . not exactly. Should having the number one caloric source in the world come from something that's entirely manmade be a metaphor for a dying world? It doesn't have to be this way. After all, there's nothing in soda that we need. In fact, there's nothing in soda that even comes from the earth except caffeine, and that's optional. It's a mixture of altered water (injected with carbon dioxide gas), artificial flavors (yes, "natural flavor" is artificial), artificial color, and phosphoric acid, along with its sole caloric source that is a by-product of genetically modified corn production and offers virtually no nutritional value. It's about as real as The Thing.


Monday, March 29, 2010

Times & Travels

Life, per usual, has been crazy, but it's all good. There's a lot of things that have been going on, and most of them are totally positive! I chose a new blog layout, and I think it's a bit easier to read. It's just a basic template now, so I'll have to see about tweeking it, but it's not a priority right now.

Right NOW, however, my son is down in Orlando with his dad and family and will soon be enjoying all the pleasures of Disney World. I'm so excited for him, and I'm so glad that he had this opportunity to go. He's going to be a busy lil bee. After he comes back from Florida, then at the end of April, he will be going to Wisconsin Dells, and then of course out to Boise to visit with me and Scott, and all the mini adventures we'll be doing, and then back to go on a trip with his NeNe at the end of August before school starts up. Quite the busy lil guy, eh? He won't be flying out to us until July because he has decided to take up the tuba in band, and they have a little summer school session up until the 1st of July. After that, he's all mine for 7 weeks! I cannot wait!

Speaking of travel, Scott will be here Saturday! I'm about as excited as I am nervous, and hopefully the week will fly by. I don't have to DJ this weekend because of it being Easter break, and the college kids won't be around to dance and sing, so it worked out for the best. I will finally get to see Him for the first time since September! *wiggles* I'm excited that Liam seems to enjoy talking with Scott, and my parents are wishing me the best when it comes to my future with Him stating that He sounds like a "wonderful young man". Heck yes He is!! LOL

I'll actually have THREE WHOLE DAYS OFF! IN A ROW!! Crazy, huh? The last time I had 3 days in a row off was back in December when I went to my folks for Christmas. Can you believe it? Going to spend time with Scott and his family Saturday night, and of course on Easter Sunday. Monday, it's whatever me and Him want to do, since I took a personal day.

The downside to all the excitement is that I've gained about 6 lbs in the last month. I know it's a combination of things, as I know I haven't been eating the best, as I'm always on the go, and the excitement and anticipation of seeing Scott has been messing with my sleep. I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve that can't fall asleep, because their mind is racing about everything! I know while He's here, we're going to hit the gym a couple times, so that's good. I know Eric, my trainer, has already seen on my MySpace status that I'm going to have a few days off, so he's already commented that he'll see me at the gym!

It's also all made me very moody the last few days. Not that I'm lashing out or anything like that, I've just been... well.. BLAH! Nothing's really the matter, nothing's bothering me, or wrong, I just have been feeling lethargic. I'm sure it's a combination of getting burnt out from work, not eating right, or sleeping well. I really need to find the time to get back to basics, and get back to ME, and taking CARE of ME. I'm no good to anyone if I'm worn out, tired, feeling like poop, and have the voice of Ben Stein droning out "Bueller, Bueller".

Well, back to work. You all have a fabulous Monday and a great week! It's supposed to be sunny and in the 70's this Easter weekend! Hope that forecast stays that way! Cheers folks! Take care!!


Thursday, March 18, 2010

One Pooped Puppy & Premonitions

Well, hello everyone! I guess these days my time allows me for, on average, one update a week. I wish I could blog more, because there's so much going on, yet when I actually sit down to write it out, I forget half of it! LOL

After all the rain this past weekend, this has turned out to be an absolutely GORGEOUS week! Sun is shining with temperatures in the upper 50's and it might have even reached into the 60's at some point. Because of the gorgeous weather, I decided to take Maddie dog for a walk. She loves walks, and started going crazy when I even suggested the "W" word. I headed over to Chris & Lori's to drop off their money from DJing, figuring they live about 2-3 miles away, so it would be a great walk roundtrip. It definitely was!! The temperature was just right. Not too hot to break a terrible sweat, but not to cold to get the chills. After getting back, poor Maddie dog was POOPED! lol. She drank some water and crashed at the foot of the couch, and didn't move for about an hour. After watching TBL, I too crashed out.

Yesterday was a blast DJ'ing for St. Patty's Day for the kids at St. Francis University at the Loretto Pub. I was only supposed to DJ until 9pm, but the crowd got bigger and more energetic, so Russ, the owner, asked me to stay until midnight. They really are a fun crowd to be around, and I got my full of Irish drinking songs, The Boondock Saints soundtracks, Dropkick Murphys, Flogging Molly and the local band from State College, that I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE - The Clover. <--click and take a listen! There's been so much happening, and it's all been really good. Today I headed to lunch with my bested bud Steve, and we played catch up. It's so rare to have the time to spend with my friends lately, so I was thankful we set aside even that lunch hour to chit chat. He and I will definitely have to make a golf date before I move. With me DJ'ing on the weekends and his band playing all the time, it's going to be tough. Guess we'll just have to play hookie from work one nice day and head out to Park Hills. I'll have to find some time to get over to the driving range and warm up so he doesn't kick my butt TOO bad!! I actually had tonight off, but I'm going to go help Ryan a bit, as he has his first DJ gig to do. He's filling in, but I know he'll enjoy it. Figured I'd be his first karaoke'er to get things started up for him, and make sure he's comfy with using the programs before heading home to relax. I definitely deserve this night off, although with having to run up there and get him started up, I won't have the time to talk Maddie for another walk tonight. I have, however, promised her that Saturday, it's ON! I'm excited though... really excited, because in 16 days Scott will be here!! I've already met his Aunt Jo and Aunt Mary Ann for lunch, but now I'll get to meet his mom and sister and the rest of the family on Easter Sunday. I'm a bit nervous, but definitely looking forward to it. Liam and Scott talked for the first time this past weekend, so that was awesome in and of itself. Liam said it was "cool" to get to talk to Scott, and I know Scott was thoroughly entertained to actually hear Liam and how he can banter on and on about things. I predict these two are going to totally hit it off this summer. I can't wait! Other than that, it's work per usual. As far as movies go, The Fourth Kind is definitely something you all need to check out. I love the mixture of movie footage mixed with live footage of the events that occurred. Kinda freaky, but done very well! Old Dogs and Did You Hear About The Morgans? were funny in a sit-at-home-and-kill-some-time kinda way.. LOL. Cute, but not overly entertaining. I forget what I have at home right now to watch. That will be my "after Maddie walk" relaxation time on Saturday before DJ'ing.

Hope you all enjoyed being Irish for a day yesterday! Have a great weekend!!


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Inspirations for LIVING!

As I sit here, trying to catch up with all my blogging friends, I came across a blog on the Diabetes Self-Management blogs I follow called "Why We Need Reasons To Live" by David Spero. One thing he wrote was this...

When things are going badly, it’s harder to focus on the good things, but that’s when it’s most important. It’s so easy to sink into despair or depression with the things that are happening to our environment, our economy, our politics, and our bodies. It’s easy to forget the good things, the love, the beauty, the fun, or just to let them go.

That is so true for a lot of us. We let things consume us in a negative light, when there is so much around us to be thankful for. So much to enjoy in life, including our partners, families, friends and so on.

One thing he did state is how in the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program that people were required to write a "plan of action" of sorts to their weeks ahead. Put down things that you want to do, or start doing. Most of you bloggers out there know how therapeutic blogging, journaling and writing our goals down are, and how it can really help us in whatever our journeys are. Whether weight loss, a more healthy lifestyle, promises to ourselves, people in our lives, or even our jobs and careers.

I speak not only to the diabetics like myself that may have gotten into couch potato mode, but to all those out there that find themselves moping around their homes, staying on the internet all hours of the day, or falling asleep out of no where out of boredom to make that plan of action! Write down the things that you want to do, or start to change in your life. There is so much to live for and so many things out there to appreciate, and you won't always find it in the walls of your home. Home should be a place to relax and enjoy. It should not feel like a prison, so if it does... GET OUT, GET MOVING AND EXPERIENCE LIFE!

I know I have my family and friends, my Partner, my son and so many other things that inspire me to do what I need to do for myself, so that I can be around for THEM, as well as enjoy the quality of life I want. What inspires you? It can be anything from a person to that pair of jeans you are determined to fit into again. Inspiration can be pulled from anywhere and from anything in our lives. It's time to search ourselves and find that inspiration and start living again!

Have a great day, and hope you have a fabulous weekend folks! *hugs*


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Excuses & Film

Looking through my friend's blogs today, my pal Josie did a GREAT entry today about those that whine they don't have time to exercise. CLICK HERE to read.

Some of these excuses behind having no time to exercise are just that.. excuses!! I know for myself I really could say, I work 14 hrs a day and I only get one day, IF that, off a week!! But when reality sets in, I really DO have time that I can fit in exercise. I could set my alarm earlier and get my butt up and get 20-30 minutes in before my morning shower. I could take advantage of the days I don't have to work two jobs, and head to the gym. There are times I could be exercising, and I'm guilty of sitting on my rump on the days I do have off. All that ever seems to do is make me even more tired and lethargic anyway!

Speaking of sitting around, there are a lot of great movies have come out already and coming out this month, so make sure to check some of them out!

Already out on DVD:
Law Abiding Citizen - Loved it!
Couple's Retreat - I'm a huge Vince Vaughn fan, 'nuff said.. lol
I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell - If you liked the Hangover, definitely check this movie out! Nonfiction account of writer Tucker Max's life. As he says in the beginning.. "based on true events.... unfortunately"
Everybody's Fine - this can really strike a cord for those that don't keep in touch with their family.
Where The Wild Things Are - classic storybook turned movie

Coming next week!! March 9th:
Up in the Air
Capitalism: A Love Story
Old Dogs
Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day

That's all I can think of at the moment. Phones are ringing! Have a great day everyone! *hugs*