Easy Sugar Formula

Trying to convince a toddler that he, in fact, does not need to eat yet another donut can be a tricky thing. Yesterday I used a simple formula that I’d just learned.

In the nutrition information on the back of the package, convert the amount of sugar per serving, listed in grams to teaspoons by dividing by 4.

For example: Sugars: 32g means that snack has 8 teaspoons of sugar in it.

We do a lot of cooking so my toddler knows how much a teaspoon is and also how coated your throat gets with sticky gooiness when sucking sugar right from the spoon.

After I told him how much sugar was in the snack, he decided he still wanted to get it, but after the ride home, I discovered it next to his seat, uneaten.

“I not like it,” he said with a frown.


Although the average American eats a lot more, the recommended sugar intake for women is only 6 teaspoons a day and for men; 9 teaspoons. If you want to know more check out this link.


Rachael Ray Talks Surprising Ingredients

The Rachael Ray Show had a segment with The Biggest Loser trainer Bob Harper about surprising food ingredients yesterday. One of the items they talked about was shellac. This insect secretation coats candy and apples to make them look shiny and last longer. I’ve been telling people about this amazing and surprising food additive for quite some time now but I’ve encountered a lot of skeptism.

People generally mistrust the government so tell them to trust it and you’re going to encounter resistance. People tend to trust the food that they eat however and give them a reason NOT to trust it and you’ll encounter that same resistance.

Part of it is that these surprising ingredients are hidden in plain sight. It isn’t advertised that they are in there but it’s not denied either. The FDA approves all these items for food use and their usage is very wide spread. Another part is that any negative health effects from them is usually delayed, so the connection between the two isn’t immediately a concern.

I wonder how long America will continue to be a sleeping beauty, biting into the poisoned apple.

Wanna wake up? These Food Revolution speakers are a comprehensive overview of some of the food issues we’re dealing with. This group is organized by Ocean Robbins but Jamie Oliver is having his own Food Revolution in school food choices and both are worth a look.



Anal Gland Juice in Food

Let the beaver jokes commence. This Huffington Post article points out the wood pulp, antifreeze and butane used in some common packaged foods but they save the juiciest for last. The anal juice that is. Beaver anal gland juice is used to make raspberry artificial flavoring, they say, called Castoreum.

Which reminded me of all the other places bits and pieces of a wide assortment of animals are being used in everyday products. The crushed beetles used to make red food dye raised eyebrows in the news communities last week, but that’s just the beginning.

Shellac, which is used to put that shiny sheen on candy, is made from insect secretions.

Pepsin, an enzyme used in the production of cheese is derived from pig guts.

The pigs bristles and hooves are in many fast food products containing L-Cysteine (E920) which is also made from human hair and duck feathers.

Relax and Grab a Beer?

This just skims the surface of all the places where animal by-products are used. If knowing about the assorted animal parts in your food is grossing you out, you may not want to reach for a beer or a glass of wine to relax. Alcohol is often clarified with gelatin, a substance found in many foods; marshmallows, skittles etc, made from ground up and boiled down animal bone. Isinglass, made from fish like sturgeon is also used for clarity in alcohol.


Getting Clean

If you’ve decided to skip the beer but are still feeling dirty after learning about all this, taking a bath isn’t going to be a way for you to escape it either. The keratin in your shampoo comes from ground-up horns, hooves, feathers, quills, and the hair of various creatures. The tallow in the soap is from animal fat. That sharp and spicy Musk smell in perfume and home fragrance may have come from the genitals of the North Asian small hornless deer.


Hidden Non-Vegetarian Ingredients: Animal-Derived Foods Hide in Unexpected Places

Jill Harris. Suite101. Jun 10, 2008. http://jillharris.suite101.com/hidden-nonvegetarian-ingredients-a56686

What Does Food Coloring Contain? By Karen Ellis. Ehow.com http://www.ehow.com/facts_4966022_what-does-food-coloring-contain.html#ixzz1isVcL8yU

Gelatin. Mary McNulty. How it’s Made. Copyright Advameg, Inc. 2012. The Manufacturing Process of gelatin http://www.madehow.com/Volume-5/Gelatin.html#ixzz1isN2a0zF http://www.madehow.com/Volume-5/Gelatin.html

12 Dangerous and Hidden Food Ingredients in Seemingly Healthy Foods. Vivian Goldschmidt, MA . http://saveourbones.com/12-dangerous-ingredients/

Hidden Animal Ingredients. http://cyberparent.com/eat/hiddenanimalsinfood.htm Source: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Being Vegetarian by Suzanne Havala, M.S., R.D., F.A.D.A., Food Lover’s Companion by Sharon Tyler Herbst, The Vegan Sourcebook by Joanne Stepaniak, M.S.Ed.

Hidden Animal Ingredients in Foods. http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/hidden-animal-ingredients-in-foods.html

7 Common Hidden Animal-Derived Ingredients to Avoid. Mickey Z. July 29, 2009. http://planetgreen.discovery.com/food-health/common-animal-derived-ingredients.html

Inside Easter

So now that all the eggs are found, the candy half-eaten and the special Easter dresses all worn, I’ll share all those things you’d rather not know about Easter.

First, a note about compassion. We happened to stumble upon the Bag It movie during Easter weekend. A documentarian who goes to the extremes of trying to cut out all plastics from his life is an example to me of how much of our wasteful lifestyles actually do impact the entire world.

So this compassion for the entire world, its people and oceans was paired up with my compassion for my little toddler and how to make Easter fun for him right here and right now.

The stores and Easter egg hunts were overrun with disposable plastic toys and candy in disposable plastic wrappers. We have to make the best choices we can with the knowledge we have.

So in addition to considering our plastic and packaging consumption, I was considering the Easter candy itself.

Easter Candy

We limited the candy intake somewhat this year as compared to last, but the energy spasms from all-day candy consumption that our 3 year old experienced were still painful to watch.

The situation would’ve been much worse except for the fact that I found out what was in Easter candy. A few of the highlights: caster oil, chalk and a chemical that requires its own OSHA warning procedure just to handle it. Why companies decide we should then injest it is a mystery to me as I refuse to believe that they are intentionally trying to harm us. Then again, I’m naive about many things.

So here’s the list along with the simplified list of what’s in some of our favorite Easter candy. It’s a long one that should impress on you the prevalence of sugar; called sucrose, lactose and dextrose:

Nerds   Jelly Beans Nerds   Jelly Beans
Dextrose Sugar
Sugar Sugar
Corn syrup Corn sugar
Water Water
Modified food cornstarch Modified food cornstarch
Malic acid Fruit acid
Tapioca dextrin Tapioca sugar
Carnauba wax Palm wax
Natural and artificial flavors Natural and artificial flavors
Colors added: blue 1, blue 2 lake, red   40 lake, yellow 5, yellow 5 lake, yellow 6 Colors added: petroleum , petroleum, petroleum , petroleum , petroleum, petroleum
Sour   Patch Jelly Beans Sour   Patch Jelly Beans
Sugar Sugar
Glucose syrup Sugar
Modified corn starch Modified corn starch
Fumaric acid Petroleum acid
Citric acid Fruit acid
Artificial flavors Artificial flavors
Artificial colors: red 40, yellow 5,   yellow 6, blue 1 Artificial colors: petroleum , petroleum   , petroleum , petroleum
Lemonhead   Jelly Beans Lemonhead   Jelly Beans
Sucrose Sugar
Corn syrup Corn sugar
Food starch-modified Food starch-modified
Fumaric acid Petroleum acid
Adipic acid Petroleum acid
Malic acid Fruit acid
Natural and artificial flavors Natural and artificial flavors
Confectioner’s glaze sugar
Lactic acid Sugar chalk acid
Acacia (gum Arabic) Sap
Citric acid Fruit acid
Lemon juice concentrate Lemon juice concentrate
Sodium lactate Corn sugar salt
Carnauba wax Palm wax
Sodium citrate Salt
Titanium dioxide Metal
Color: red 40, yellow 5, yellow 6,   blue 1, blue 2 Color: petroleum, petroleum , petroleum   , petroleum , petroleum
White mineral oil (processing aid) petroleum
3   Musketeers 3   Musketeers
Milk chocolate: sugar, chocolate,   cocoa butter, skim milk, lactose, milkfat, soy lecithin Milk chocolate: sugar, chocolate,   cocoa butter, skim milk, milk sugar, milk fat, soy soy
Sugar Sugar
Corn syrup Corn sugar
Hydrogenated palm kernel oil and/or   palm oil Hydrogenated palm kernel oil and/or   palm oil
Cocoa powder processed with alkali Cocoa powder processed with salt
Egg whites Egg whites
Artificial and natural flavors Artificial and natural flavors
Milk chocolate: sugar, cocoa butter,   chocolate, skim milk, lactose, milkfat, soy lecithin, PGPR, artificial   flavors Milk chocolate: sugar, cocoa butter,   chocolate, skim milk, milk sugar,  milk   fat, soy soy, caster bean oil, artificial flavors
Sugar Sugar
Enriched wheat flour (wheat flour,   niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid) Enriched wheat flour (wheat flour, nicotine,   metal, corn soy petroleum, soy, bacteria acid)
Hydrogenated palm kernel oil and/or   palm oil Hydrogenated palm kernel oil and/or   palm oil
Corn syrup Corn sugar
Skim milk Skim milk
Dextrose Sugar
Salt Salt
Cocoa powder Cocoa powder
Baking soda Baking soda
Soy lecithin Soy soy
Artificial flavor Artificial flavor
Snickers Snickers
Milk chocolate: sugar, cocoa butter,   chocolate, skim milk, lactose, milkfat, soy lecithin, artificial flavors Milk chocolate: sugar, cocoa butter,   chocolate, skim milk, milk sugar,  milk   fat, soy soy, artificial flavors
Peanuts Peanuts
Corn syrup Corn sugar
Sugar Sugar
Milkfat  milk fat
Skim milk Skim milk
Partially hydrogenated soybean oil Partially hydrogenated soy bean oil
Lactose  milk sugar
Salt Salt
Egg whites Egg whites
Chocolate artificial flavor Chocolate artificial flavor
Milky   Way Milky   Way
Milk chocolate: sugar, cocoa butter,   skim milk, chocolate, lactose, milkfat, soy lecithin, artificial flavors Milk chocolate: sugar, cocoa butter,   skim milk, chocolate, milk sugar,  milk   fat, soy soy, artificial flavors
Corn syrup Corn sugar
Sugar Sugar
Hydrogenated palm kernel oil and/or   palm oil Hydrogenated palm kernel oil and/or   palm oil
Skim milk Skim milk
Milkfat  milk fat
Cocoa powder processed with alkali Cocoa powder processed with salt
Malted barley Malted barley
Lactose  milk sugar
Salt Salt
Egg whites Egg whites
Chocolate Chocolate
Artificial flavor Artificial flavor
Reese’s Reese’s
Milk chocolate: sugar, cocoa butter,   chocolate, nonfat milk, lactose, milkfat, soy lecithin, PGPR, emulsifier Milk chocolate: sugar, cocoa butter,   chocolate, nonfat milk,  milk sugar,  milk fat, soy soy, caster bean oil
Peanuts Peanuts
Sugar Sugar
Dextrose Sugar
Salt Salt
TBHQ (Preservative) BUTANE PETROLEUM (Preservative)
York York
Sugar Sugar
Corn syrup Corn sugar
Semi-sweet chocolate: chocolate,   sugar, cocoa, milkfat, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, PGPR, emulsifier,   vanillin, artificial flavor Semi-sweet chocolate: chocolate,   sugar, cocoa, milk fat, cocoa butter, soy soy, caster bean oil, vanilla,   artificial flavor
Invert sugar Invert sugar
Egg whites Egg whites
Oil of peppermint Oil of peppermint
milk milk

Kids Crest Toothpaste : Brushing on the Cancer

How bad can children’s toothpaste be? This is what I found out: toothpaste is a sick concoction of poisons, sweeteners and paint. Toothpaste scrapes off tooth enamel and can cause everything from allergies to wrinkles to cancer.

But we don’t swallow, we spit out toothpaste. It only harms you when it’s swallowed, we’ve been told.  Toothpaste is immediately absorbed by sensitive skin tissues inside the mouth and on the lips, it turns out, soaking into the bones and the rest of the body.

There’s no need to sit eagle-eyed watching to see if your child spits out his toothpaste, because as soon as it gets into his mouth it’s already too late. Swallowing it just puts more into our system.

So now instead of trying to force my child to brush with toothpaste poisons, I’m going to encourage him to brush using a bare brush and I’m going to try to do the same. I’m going to miss the paste and the minty freshness feeling so I’m going to try this natural toothpaste recipe from a blog that I really like and that’s full of good info called A Real Food Lover. If I like it I’m going on to the mouthwash, face creams, cleaners….etc.


Sodium fluoride: Chemical pollutant also found in rat poison and used as a sedative. Can cause skin conditions like wrinkles, cause cancer and damage all different parts of the body, for a list, see here.

Sorbitol: artificial sweetener found to cause cancer with prolonged use.

Hydrated Silica: abrasive made out of sand and stone particles that can actually scrape off tooth enamel  along with tarter so teeth might be whiter but are weaker too.

Glycerin: coats teeth and prevents bacteria but also prevents the helpful absorption of calcium. An ingredient in many “natural and non-fluoride” toothpastes, so even Tom’s of Maine Toothpaste can block your teeth from regenerating themselves by absorbing minerals from the healthy foods you eat.

PEG-12: chemical that is also a laxative (all of our favorite this to clean up in kids) and found to damage organs.

Flavor: Could be anything, companies not required to list.

Cellulose Gum: scraped out of trees and cotton, this substance binds ingredients together. It is not digestible by the human body, so if swallowed will simply pass threw it, with laxative-like yumminess.

Cocamidopropyl betaine: chemical that makes the toothpaste foamy but causes allergies

Sodium saccharin: Products were required to have a danger warning label if this artificial sweetener was in them until 2000, but now is in children’s toothpaste-yeah! Connections found that it can cause cancer but also skin rashes and headaches due to allergies, weight gain, and diabetes.

Sodium benzoate: chemical preservative that causes cancer by choking oxygen from the cells.

Mica: rock particles that make toothpaste sparkle, not surprisingly, may be hard to digest.

Titanium dioxide: color additive that causes cancer, also found in paint, so likely painting on those white teeth.

Blue 1, Red 33: Petroleum-based coloring found to cause cancer






The 5 Hidden Dangers in Toothpaste. Scott Baker. Down with Basics.  July 3, 2011. http://downwithbasics.com/?p=7

Dangerous Ingredients Lurking in Your Toothpaste. Diane Hanson. http://www.nichetopics.info/dangerous-ingredients-in-toothpaste.html

Natural Toothpaste and Toothpaste Alternatives. Natural Health Restored.


How Dangerous is Fluoride to Your Health?




Sodium benzoate is a preservative that promotes cancer and kills healthy cells

Thursday, September 29, 2011 by: S. D. Wells

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/033726_sodium_benzoate_cancer.html#ixzz1qA0BwC8k

Pring! Spring and the Dictator Habit.

 If a doctor’s job is to keep you well, pay him when you are well, don’t pay when you are sick.

Free the Mind. Notice the Things that Over the Years You Have Stopped Noticing, or that You Never Noticed

“We can ask the universe for all sorts of signs, but we see things when we’re ready to see them.”

Wisdom that found me from a moment of How I Met Your Mother, of all places. A show that I watch out of habit because it is on at a convienent time, my husband and I both like it, and NPH makes it consistantly, mildly amusing.

What a dictator Habit is I, like a lot of people right now, are paying attention to because of buzz about New York Times author Charles’ Duhigg’s new book The Power of Habit.

I always thought of myself as a bit spontanious and have had many people ask how I can just DO things without much of a plan first. Children thrive on routine, I’ve been learning, but we can all squander in it when we are blind to it.

Ways of Seeing

“Spring’s here!” Someone shouted to me this week.

Someone shouts it out to me at least once every year. It’s comforting and familiar. Spring weather has been creeping out from under the leaves, sunshine filling the sky for a couple of weeks now after what could easily be called a very spring-like winter. What made this day different? Was it the warm sunshine-y weather mixed with the slice of excitement and rejuvination that comes with Friday afternoons? Or was it just the right time to be appreciating and SEEING that Spring was slipping in?

And that was just one thing that happened this week.

Taking Stock and Keeping Track

I saw a girl that can see every word in her mind backwards and say it back to you, so “spring” becomes “gnirps”, and so on.

I had to explain to my 3 year old why we have holidays and the rituals associated with them which collapsed into a magic show to explain why we celebrate tricks on April Fool’s Day.

And we started keeping charts about the weather, when we feed the fish and what fruits and vegetables we eat each day.

I saw how long it takes to read all the labels of everything you buy in the grocery store when you don’t just grab what you usually buy off the shelves.

And I saw that it’s worth it.




PBS Stands for the Public Buying Smart?

I came across this PBS website while researching impulse control and television viewing behavior in children.

That PBS, a television network, is essentially saying, “monitor your media consumption habits” is much like the tobacco companies sponsoring the “stop smoking” campaigns, I was hooked on this site until I clicked on almost every button.

While it is simple and aimed at kids, the quizzes were short and interesting. I designed a cereal box, identified the mystery in Totino pizza rolls and got a blast from the past playing “Hot or Snot”.

I’m happy to see this website (http://pbskids.org/dontbuyit/buyingsmart/) is out there and after you take a look, maybe you could suggest that your kid should too. Then maybe turn off the tv and the computer, the video games and the phones and give your brain a rest.