Friday, June 29, 2012

Beverages: Soda

Get the Inside Scoop on Soda by Reading This...If You're Brave Enough, Of Course.

   Everyone loves the sound of a fresh can of Coca Cola being opened and the quiet popping of the effervescence inside. Coke, being one of the most popular beverages in the country, as well as many others like Dr. Pepper, Pepsi, Sprite, and Mountain Dew, are desired and chugged down by Americans. I mean, what's not there to like? You have the yummy taste, the effervescence, and the refreshing feel - but wait! With this deliciousness comes a lot of other things too...Although great-looking externally in the can, these sodas do a lot of damage to you internally. Therefore, in this entry I'm going to talk to you about the health effects that soda brings along secretly - as briefly as I can.

   How many sodas will you drink today? One, two, three, four? Ten? As I have said in my previous blog entry, with the exponential growth in technology throughout the years, man is finding so many new ways to change food up for more taste for our taste buds. Lots of foods are enhanced with flavorings, chemicals, sugars, and more. Well, hate to break it to you, but the same is done with soda. I know that the finished product of soda may taste delicious and refreshing, and that the flavor you like may become addicting. Aaand I also know the phrase, "but just one won't hurt." That may be true, but if you continue to drink soda your whole life as a child and throughout your teenaged years and adult years, even having just one a day can cause potentially serious health effects.
   First of all, studies are showing more and more that soda is one of the primary causes of obesity. Why? Because of the nutritional content. Having little nutritional value at all, soda is considered a drink with lots of "empty calories." I found a good definition of empty calories on "Calories from solid fats/and or sugars...add calories to the food but few or no nutrients." So therefore, what you are drinking is an empty-calorie drink. You are adding calories to your diet that you do not need. And because those calories have no nutritional content, you are, in fact, gaining weight! Another way you are gaining weight is through the chemicals in soda, aka obesogens. When obesogens mess with our hormonal systems, they can cause weight gain.
   Second, soda can potentially affect the cardiovascular system of the body. The refined sugar in soda "can elevate your triglycerides, a type of fat that, when there is too much, can clog your arteries and makes you more susceptible to heart attacks and strokes" ( None of us want that! The heart is supposed to keep us living. Also, the refined sugar increases the amount of insulin going in the blood stream, and way too much insulin can cause high cholesterol, heart disease, high blood pressure,...the list goes on. Again, the chemicals in soda, when they mess with our hormonal systems, can also cause these same symptoms (heart disease, cholesterol, etc.). Wow!
   Well, how can you apply what you've read to your lifestyle? DRINK MORE WATER AND LESS SODA. Even cut down from three to two a day. Or two to one a day. And eventually get to the point where you can go without one for a day. It takes patience, but cutting down on soda is worth it. Life is too short to live an unhealthy lifestyle.

  So, I do not know if this convicted you in any way or just made you extremely mad, but I hope it got you thinking, even a little. Just thought I'd share my two cents on soda. Please, if you want to de-friend me on Facebook on unfollow me on Twitter, go right on ahead. I am just trying to change someone's lifestyle one person at a time. :)    --Caroline

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Rethinking YOLO

   Okay, so I'm completely obsessed with nutrition. If you know me, then you know that. My goal as a teenager in an increasingly obese country is to use what I've learned about nutrition to educate others about what they're actually eating. You can hate me for that previous sentence if you'd like to and de-friend me on Facebook, but this is my passion right here - to change the diet of Americans one person, and one blog entry, at a time. I may not be the best writer nor the best communicator (and if you know me, you know that as well), but I am working on it. This blog entry is coming straight from my heart to a computer screen to change others' lives through nutrition. I began this entry around 10:00 pm. This entry is long, but kudos to you who are still reading this right now. Enjoy.
Rethinking YOLO
   What does your diet consist of? Mainly fruits, vegetables, proteins, lipids, etc.? Or of fast food, chips, and soda? (If you answered with "YOLO babyyy," aka fast food, chips, and soda, then I would encourage you to continue reading). As technology is advancing, researchers and scientists are finding newer and newer ways to modify foods to make them "taste better," especially for us Americans who crave a lot of taste. But, many of these American foods (that aren't fruits or vegetables) with a lot of savory flavor are not necessarily good for us in the least. In this rather lengthy entry, I'm going to try and help you, the reader, rethink YOLO and I'm also going to try my best to make you aware of the crazy foods and additives out there today. I'll try my best. :)
   So, I'm going to briefly discuss the "food" at these fast food restaurants. There's Chick-Fil-A, McDonald's, Wendy's, Burger King, Dairy Queen, KFC, Braum's, Jack in the Box,...heck, probably more fast food restaurants than regular restaurants. Anyways, the "food" in these joints are filled with sodium, fat, preservatives, and refined sugar. The manufacturers do all of this to increase shelf life and to speed up the process of having the food ready for the customer, and to, obviously, enhance flavor (Philosophy: "More customers, the better!"). However, the additives (sodium, preservatives, refined sugar, and a lot more things) are the leading causes of America's growing obesity epidemic. These additives in our food increase blood sugar, pressure, and cholesterol, and the chance of heart attack. They make us gain excessive amounts of weight. Too much fast food has the huge potential to cause chronic disease and cancer. That is the exact opposite of what food is supposed to do for us! Food should provide the proper nutrients into our bodies for a healthy heart and the functioning of the body in general, not chronic disease and cancer. Do YOU want that lifestyle?
   Yeah, you might be thinking (or not)..."Caroline, I don't really care. Let's face it, if the food tastes good, I'm going to eat it. Chick-Fil-A and McDonalds are my lifeeee. YOLO baby!" But really, that is the problem right there! We are not caring about what we put in our bodies. We fill it with savory foods full of sodium, preservatives, and refined sugar that harms us. Think about it. Really think about what you are saying when you yell the phrase YOLO regarding food. (I have to admit, I was once bad about using YOLO regarding unhealthy foods, but not anymore). Is that YOLO really worth the potential health problems such as heart disease, obesity, and cancer? Eating the fast food, chips, and soda? Although it may seem good, you are killing your body by doing this. To me, YOLO literally means that You Only Live Once. Let me say that again. You Only Live Once. So then, why not save your life instead of slowly killing yourself with the junk foods and sodas that you consume? I am completely okay with sugar every once in a while, like some chocolate here and there, and, when I wasn't a vegetarian, a Chick-Fil-A sandwich if I was in a hurry, but all the time? That is only hurting my body worse. I do not want to live a shorter-lived life.
   Think about this. In the beginning when God created life, He didn't create McDonalds products, Burger King products, and contrary to popular belief, Chick-Fil-A products. In the beginning, God created real foods and liquids for us (His creation) - fruits, vegetables, water, proteins, lipids, and those odd letters that are on the periodic table of elements that keep our bodies running (the majority of them on there). For instance, I want to share a little bit with you readers about what I learned about iodine recently while at work. In trace amounts, this element is completely essential to human life. It provides thyroxin for your thyroid gland that helps control your basic metabolism rate. Also, researchers are discovering that it may be able to help prevent breast cancer. And it also helps with the reproductive system for men, but especially women. And you know what iodine is in? Lobster, salmon, soybeans, spinach, and many more foods - the natural stuff that God provided in the beginning. THAT is the good stuff. It is ALL there for us! The olive oil, the almonds, the cranberries, the sweet potatoes, the apples...yeah, healthy foods may not have as much savory, salty flavor as a McDonald's cheeseburger (I know they have some fancy name for it...), but think about what is better for you and your body in the long run. This life we live is about Only Living Once - survival in an obese and flavor-dependent country. So make the best out of your life here on earth with the foods that really matter - the natural stuff. What are YOU going to do? Remember, You Only Live Once!

I hope you enjoyed reading my rant. And I hope that this encourages you to change your lifestyle if need be. Thank you all ~