It’s time to kick off the Healthy Eating Challenge! The Wellness Wednesday Link up will start up next week. What is the Healthy Eating Challenge? I will post a challenge every other week. Each challenge will recommend eliminating an ingredient (or set of ingredients) that aren’t healthy until we are closer to (ideally at) eating only whole, natural foods. This is ideal for a variety of reasons, so whether you are looking to lose weight, improve your overall health, and just overall eating better, this challenge is for you!
And remember, once we remove it, we don’t add it back in later. The challenge won’t work unless you are continuing what we start with!
Healthy Eating Challenge #1 – Say Goodbye to Artificial Sweeteners!
I wanted to ideally start with something that could be easy, but if you’re used to eating processed foods, having snacks, etc. like me nothing will really be easy. I might even venture to say eliminating artificial sweeteners is a little harder than you might expect! Why? Because they are used in products you may or may not expect like “diet” foods and drinks, liquid medications (particularly children’s), energy drinks, and even “health” products. Artificial sweeteners are unhealthy, though.
Now let me step up on my soapbox for a moment – health companies using artificial sweeteners like sucralose or aspartame (people now know the dangers of aspartame so sucralose is more typical) really irritate me. Anyone who knows (and cares) about health knows you should consume foods and drinks as natural as possible. There is no room for artificial anything in a healthy diet! We need to rid our body of chemicals, not consume them! What is even more worrisome to me is many of them will say they offer something like an energy drink that is “natural” yet it has sucralose. Isn’t the word “artificial” (as in artificial sweetener) the very opposite of “natural.” There are so many natural sweeteners available, I find it even more frustrating that they would choose to use artificial sweeteners.
OK, hopping back down. Please excuse my soapbox – I’m very passionate about this subject! Artificial sweeteners for me mean Fibromyalgia flare ups and major headaches. Sometimes I may consume something with an artificial sweetener (I recommend always reading labels), and I will know it had it based on how I feel. Sure enough, I confirm it and get upset with myself for not reading the ingredients first!
So, for me, just knowing they’re artificial and contain chemicals (and the side effects) are enough to be a no-brainer to eliminate them, but I don’t want to just say “remove this” without providing more information as well as healthy alternatives.
So why are they so popular? Because they have zero calories, but there are natural alternatives that do as well! Let’s start by taking a closer look at the two main artificial sweeteners – aspartame and sucralose.
Aspartame is an excitotoxin made up of a variety of artificial ingredients that can negatively affect a variety of our body systems including methanol which is a wood alcohol, which is know as a dangerous poison. Learn more about Aspartame including disorders to which it can be linked.
Sucralose, though a different compound, has its own set of health concerns including carcinogenic potential! My husband having had cancer twice, we try to stay far, far away from carcinogens! There are so many misunderstandings such as assuming it is safe for diabetics, which they have determined isn’t true at all. There are additional toxicology issues that have yet to be addressed.
Many of these “health companies” back it up with it being FDA Approved, but it is important to remember, FDA Approved doesn’t mean healthy! Learn more about sucralose.
Even if you feel artificial sweeteners are “safe,” there is still this simple point that you can’t deny – they’re artificial. They are chemical compounds made up of one or more chemicals. For Clean Eating, there is NO room for anything artificial. Period.
Alternatives to Artificial Sweeteners
Of course, the most obvious answer is pure sugar. We all know sugar should only be consumed in moderation, though, no matter how pure. The good news is – tere are many low-calorie to no calorie natural alternatives, though! Some examples include:
- Honey. Local, raw honey is best, but if it isn’t available, look for natural honey. Read the ingredients to be sure there isn’t anything added.
- Monk Fruit. Monk Fruit is available in packets like Monk Fruit in the Raw.
- Stevia. Stevia is also available In the Raw.
- Xylitol. Xylitol is really starting to be recognized by many different companies as a safe and even healthy alternative. Recently I reviewed Xlear Natural Dental Products with Xylitol, and they also offer the Xlear Xylosweet Bag.
Will you join me for this challenge? When shopping for groceries this week (or even dining out), be sure to choose products with no artificial sweeteners. If you’ve used them often, it may take longer to get them out of your system, but you can start now! Be sure to look for artificial sweeteners in particular in products that say “diet,” “sugar free,” “lite or light,” etc.
Need a little help? Be sure to join our Facebook Support Group!