Friday, January 29, 2010

Repost: HFCS - A FavoriteThings not so Favorite!!!!!

I have decided to re post this blog post that I wrote some time ago because of an Oprah show that aired a couple days ago. Micheal Pollan was a guest on this show and he was talking about the documentary Food Inc and his new manual called Food Rules : An Eaters Manual.
Also, I have been seeing the commercials (posted below) pop up on tv again after not seeing them for a while.

Over the past couple of weeks I have been seeing tv commercials and newspaper ads about High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).
HFCS is a sweetener that is sweeter and cheaper than sugar and the food industry puts it in almost everything . It is in almost every processed and frozen food. It is also in many foods like bread, condiments, crackers, bagels-foods that are not necessarily sweet.

The HFCS ads are basically telling consumers that HFCS is just as good for us to eat as sugar. They also mention that HFCS has the same amount of calories as sugar and should be used in moderation like sugar. Plus they tell us that HFCS is made from corn-so how bad could it be right? Yeah it is made from corn but not that supersweet corn that our parents, and grandparents ate as children. It is made from GMO (genetically modified organism), hybrid corn that is developed by scientists. This hybrid corn is developed and grown specifically for processing into other products such as animal feed, ethanol, HFCS, and other products.

HFCS also metabolizes in the body differently that sugar. Sugar digests in the stomach while HFCS digests in the liver. Therefore the liver releases more triglycerides (fat cells) and that can increase the risk for heart disease. Plus, HFCS lowers the release of leptin which is a hormone that lets the body know it is full. This is how one can drink a soda or juice, eat a snack, and still want something to eat minutes later. Since the body is not satisfied one can eat all day and never feel full.

I personally have eliminated HFCS from my diet and and have been doing so for about 3 years. Once I started eating real, unprocessed, and minimally processed foods my appetite changed. I did not find myself craving sodas, and cookies like I did before. I lost weight and did not feel so hungry all the time. The healthier I ate the more I began to dislike the taste of "fake food". I replaced artificial sweeteners with raw sugar, agave nectar, yacon syrup, stevia (I use the green whole leaf stevia powder instead of the white powders). I replaced soda with blended fruit and seltzer. I replaced candy bars with real chocolate or carob. Chips, pretzels, and other snacks were replaced with healthier versions from health food stores. These changes made a big difference. And please note that for every unhealthy food or snack, there is a healthier version. And I am not saying it's ok eat tons of snacks as long as they don't have HCFS; these snacks do have calories. However, I believe that these healthier snacks satisfy hunger more than their unhealthier counter parts.

Therefore, I sincerely hope that consumers do more research about what they eat and do not depend on tv commercials and newspaper ads to tell what is ok for them. Although the fact that these ads are on may be a result of consumers doing research and rejecting products with HFCS. Maybe the food industry is starting to feel the pinch of people eating healthier . Maybe the industry sees that more people are opting to read ingredients, and nutrition facts instead of taking the marketing buzz words on the label as fact. I sure hope that this is the case.

Here is a funny parody of one of the commercials

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I'm Going Natural!!! Update: I'm Natural Now!

In my last post I informed you all that I was going natural. Well I am there now! On January 8, 2010 I cut my relaxed hair off and am now sporting a twa (teeny weeny afro). My decision to cut my hair on Jan. 8 was sort of on impulse; I initially wanted to wait until to February to do the big chop. However, I was looking in the mirror and just decided to go for it. Besides, I was tired of trying to blend the two textures (which I did unsuccessfully anyway and just resorted to wearing a tam). And I felt that I had enough growth to work with. So I snipped away and the beau trimmed it for me with his clippers.
I am very happy with my hair I'm glad I made this decision.
Here are few pics (taken with cellphone so a little blurry) of my hair:

My Chopped Ends
My Newly Natural Hair

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I'm Going Natural!!!

This post comes about 8 months late but I am going natural which means that will no longer get my hair relaxed (chemically straightened) and will wear my hair in it's natural state (kinky/coily).I got my last relaxer or touch up about eight months ago and I am transitioning which means that my new natural hair is growing in but I still have relaxed ends. I will soon cut these relaxed ends off and wear/style my natural hair .

My decision to go natural is pretty much based on how I have been living my life for the past couple of years. I have been eating healthier foods, using healthier products on my skin and hair. I try to eat and use products that have very little to no chemicals so I figured the next step would be to get rid of the chemical relaxer that I put on my hair.

This is sort of a big deal for me and for many other women of color who decide to go natural because many of us have had our hair straightened from a very young age. Many of us have been taught/told that our natural hair is too nappy or unmanageable and that straight hair is better or best. Therefore, many of us don't really know what our natural textures look like. Hence, the fear of the unknown. If you don't understand how one doesn't know what their natural texture looks like, I will explain.

I (along with many other women of color) got my hair pressed as a young girl. My hair was washed, put into a couple of big braids to dry overnight, and then pressed in the morning with a pressing comb. I got my hair washed and pressed about once a week or every two weeks. And for the summer my hair was braided up until it was about time to go back to school. Once I got to be about 13 years old I got a relaxer and have been getting touch ups every six to eight weeks since, or at least until now. Therefore, I never really saw what my natural hair "really" looked like or what it could do on its own; it was always either straightened or up in braids. And I must say now that I am seeing my natural hair, I am loving it. I have also been reading a lot of blogs, watching YouTube videos, and joining online communities that are geared toward natural hair and they are really helping me through my journey. And I am discovering all types of products and hairstyles . I am really excited and will share my experiences with you from time to time.

Note: The photo is a close up of my hair from about a month ago.

RIP Mrs. Eunice Johnson!!!!

Yesterday I received a text from my friend informing me that Mrs. Eunice Johnson had passed away. This holds significance to me because I worked as a wardrobe assistant (my first real job after college) for the Ebony Fashion Fair which is the largest traveling fashion show in the world. I met with and interviewed with Mrs. Johnson for this position and was sooo happy that I got the job. And over the years I have worked on and off as a wardrobe assistant for Ebony Fashion Fair and can remember Mrs. Johnson being very involved (even in her later years) in putting the show together. I made so many friends and have so many memories thanks to Ebony Fashion Fair so thank you Mrs. Johnson and may God rest your soul!!!

Here is a clip of an interview with Mrs. Johnson from the Ebony Fashion Fair website.

And please peruse the Ebony Fashion Fair site if you would like to learn more about Mrs. Johnson and her legacy. She was truly a trailblazer and pioneer in the African American community and beyond.

Happy New Year!!!

I know this comes late but I want to wish all of you a Happy New Year! And if you are like me and had a rather crappy 09', I know you're looking forward to a new year and hoping for great things to happen. So here's to all of us having a fabulous 2010 and setting, working on, and reaching our goals.