Raisin Bran w/ Skim Milk

On today’s menu:

  • Hot, green tea
  • 1/2 grapefruit
  • Handful of organic cherries (washed)
  • 10 oz. bowl of Raisin Bran with skim milk

*TipTo help with portions, I purchased a package of (5) 12 oz., colorful children’s bowls from Walmart. Not only are the bowls environmentally-friendly (with no BPAs), but at $2.98 for one package, I can fill up a bowl without necessarily worrying about going overboard. This is great for portioning!

Is Vitamin Water as Nutritious as We Think?

I have a little theory that I have carried with me for quite some time, and it is based on the fact that if something tastes really, really good, then it probably isn’t so great for you.

Since Glacéau came out with VitaminWater Zero, it seems too good to be true: a tasty beverage that is not only packed with vitamins and electrolytes to help replenish your body,  but tastes halfway decent AND has NO calories? I can’t help but have doubts, but first thing’s first….

Ingredients

The particular VitaminWater Zero (pictured above) that I’ve been sipping on recently contains the following ingredients:

  • reverse osmosis water
  • less than 1% of: rebiana (stevia extract) & crystalline fructose and erythritol (natural sweeteners)
  • magnesium lactate
  • calcium lactate
  • potassium phosphate (electrolyte sources)
  • natural flavors
  • citric acid
  • vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
  • vitamin B5 (calcium pantothenate)
  • vitamin B3 (niacinamide)
  • vitamin B6 (pyridoxine hydrocholoride)
  • vitamin B12
  • beta carotene

Click to Enlarge

Labeling Issues

One of the main problems with people’s diets is that they seldom take the time to really look at the labels on certain products. This is America, so we want the quickest fix to everything; and if there is a product out there that comes in a neat looking package and claims to be healthy, then who are we to question it? So what if it has a couple of things on the label that we can’t pronounce- the vast majority of the other nutritional ingredients are recognizable, right?

Wrong.

As it turns out, there are a couple of ingredients on the label that have brought up recent debates over whether or not VitaminWater Zero is as healthy as it claims to be. The ingredients in question are highlighted above in red and are:

Erythritol- This is a type of sugar alcohol. However, contrary to it’s name, it is comprised of neither sugar nor alcohol. Some of you may already recognize the warning here when you realize that this is a sugar alcohol.  Sugar alcohols are usually combined with low-cal or artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, saccharin and crystalline fructose (to name a few) and provide fewer calories than actual sugar because they are not totally absorbed by your body. This usually results in adverse symptoms such as diarrhea, headaches and stomachaches. It is also the reason why companies are supposed to label their products with a warning.

Crystalline Fructose– To the average person who is trying to eat healthier, grabbing a bottle of VitaminWater may seem like a dream come true. If anything, it’s just some flavored water with some extra vitamins and minerals thrown in, right? In actuality though, there is more than 6 teaspoons of sugar in one bottle. Digest that for a minute. Based on recent research, if you see a beverage containing the word “fructose” in it, it’s probably best to avoid it. Especially where crystalline fructose in VitaminWater is concerned, Dr. Mercola reveals:

Whereas regular high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) contains 55 percent fructose and 45 percent glucose, crystalline fructose is at minimum 99 percent fructose, which could only mean that all the health problems associated with fructose may be even more pronounced with this product [source]

What’s the Solution?

Labels are produced with one focus in mind: to get a product sold. Each year, companies dump millions of dollars into advertising campaigns, pulling in the best graphic designers and marketing gurus to create an “image” for a product that looks really great, but this doesn’t always mean that it is going to be good for you.

While it would be great if there was a ‘magic beverage’ that promised to make us skinnier or reduce our risk for chronic desease, there is no substitute for a naturally healthy diet. When you shop at the supermarket, shop the perimeter of the store- you know- the areas where you pick up products and automatically know how to pronounce all of the ingredients. Shop fresh; shop local and shy away from unprocessed foods. And if you’re thirsty after an intense workout and you’re thinking that a beverage “packed with vitamins” is going to cut it, think again. Instead, grab a couple of glasses of water and make sure you eat something that is nutritionally packed with the vitamins you need. Your body will thank you.

Resources:

Breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This morning, mine consisted of:

  • Hot, green tea
  • 1/2 grapefruit
  • Organic steel cut oatmeal (w/ a sprinkling of ground flaxseed & cinnamon)
  • Organic blueberries (for my oatmeal)

It would be nice if the Food and Drug Administration stopped issuing warnings about toxic substances and just gave me the names of one or two things still safe to eat. -Robert Fuoss

One Foot in Front of the Other…

Sometimes that’s all you can focus on or hope for…that you can put one foot in front of the other and make progress towards wherever it is you are going.

For me, this was hill number 3. I still had 2 more big ones to go.

I must’ve been insane to do hill repeats at the hottest part of the day. It was still only 95 degrees in the shade, and the humidity wasn’t helping.

Also, I hate sweating, but there it was

streaming down into my eyes,

blurring my vision; causing me to use every ounce of energy as I lifted the 100 lb weight at my side to wick away the condensation on my face.

Focus. Focus. This is just a short workout. Think of how great you’ll feel afterwards.

My legs are burning. They’re on fire. My quads are on fire. I want to stop. I can’t stop. Don’t look down at your watch until you’re at the top. No matter what your time is, at least you will be able to say you got through it…

Running has transitioned for me over the years. It’s like having my own private diary composed, instead, of physical movement.

Early in the morning,

late at night,

in the quiet park trails…

No one else sees the deliberation of each foot plant; or the elegance and freedom of the next; nor the personal, persistent struggles that you face just to climb that first hill or ride out the last.

The quiet sighs of victory with each step taken; each breath drawn.

Each one is mine and mine alone.