Category Archives: Eating

“No-Sweat” Molasses Cookies

I have a confession.

I like to make low-calorie desserts, so I can go back for seconds and thirds without the guilt. I am all about moderation, but there are times when a girl needs to eat three cookies.

This was one of those times. I was having a severe sugary-sweet craving and, of course, I am in desperate need to go grocery shopping. Thankfully, I found a bottle of blackstrap molasses in the back of my cabinet! I don’t even remember why I originally bought it, probably for a “recipe-that-never-was,” but regardless I was up for putting it to good use.

I’d like to introduce you to my molasses cookies!


This is what happens when you stick me in a near-empty kitchen with a sweet-tooth, and a desire to make something I can eat in multiples of two without feeling like I will gain 10 pounds as soon as I swallow the first bite.


To make these a little less fattening, I substituted unsweetened applesauce for the butter. I also substituted 1/4 cup of the sugar with 6 packets of stevia. Instead of using all white flour, I used 1/2 cup white and 2 cups wheat.

At the end of the day, these cookies have approximately 92 calories and 0.3 grams of fat. The sugar is 10 grams, but play around with the amount. You may be able to substitute more packets for the sugar, or cut back on the amount of white sugar altogether. If you’re really feeling creative, I bet you could even sub flax meal for the egg. I thought about doing that, but seeing as how I was already doing a lot of substitutions, I didn’t want to let things get too crazy up in here!

 

 “No-Sweat” Molasses Cookies

inspired by: BonAppetit and Allrecipes.com

Ingredients:

1/2 cup white flour
2 cups wheat flour
2 tsp ginger or nutmeg
1 tsp baking soda
3/4tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
6 stevia packets
3/4 cup white sugar**
1 egg
1 tbsp water
1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
2 tbsp sugar

Directions:

1. Preheat over to 350 degrees.

2. Sift flour, ginger (or nutmeg), baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, salt and pepper into a small bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, cream together applesauce, stevia, and 3/4 cup of sugar** until light and fluffy looking.

4. Beat egg into the applesauce/sugar mixture. Next, stir in water and molasses.

5. Gradually add the flour and stir.

6. The dough won’t be thick enough to form balls. Instead, scoop the dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet by the tablespoon. Sprinkle with remaining sugar.

7. Bake for 8-10 minutes, and enjoy!

**Note: Again, if you’d like to cut back on the sugar, play around with the sugar-stevia ratio. This recipe seems to be very forgiving.

Why are they called “No-Sweat” Molasses Cookies? Because you can eat them without the need to go run 5-miles immediately afterwards…unless you want to that is!

Let me know if you try these, and how they turn out for you!
Do you have any yummy dessert recipes? Share!

Foodie Friday!

If you’re anything like me, you may have found yourself stuck in a rut in the kitchen. You end up cooking the same recipes over and over and, while they might be good, they get old fast.

I’ve been trying to kick myself of that habit by making a point of trying at least one new recipe per week. So far, I’m really enjoying tasting new dishes! I go out of my way to pick recipes that won’t use a bazillion unknown ingredients, and that are reasonably healthy.

On that note, if you haven’t already stumbled up Chocolate Covered Katie’s blog yet, I highly encourage you to do so. I found the recipe for my Double Chocolate Brownie Batter Pancakes on there, which were incredible and unbelievably low in calories! So far she’s two for two in terms of serving up heavenly and healthy versions of a variety of chocolatey goodness. This little baby is a recipe she created as well, and holy cow! It’s freaking good.

One-Minute Chocolate Cake
(can be gluten-free!)

  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 tsp cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons spelt flour (or white, or even peanut flour)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 stevia packet (or 1 more tablespoon sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or vegetable oil (Edit: many commenters have said it still tastes good if you sub applesauce or mashed banana. But I can’t personally vouch for the results if you make that substitution.)
  • 3 tablespoons milk of choice (I used almond milk)
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions:

Step 1: Combine dry ingredients: cocoa powder, flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, and stevia, and mix very, very well. I used one tablespoon whole wheat and 2 tablespoon white flour.

Step 1

Step 2: Add liquid, stir, then transfer to a little dish, ramekin,
or even a coffee mug. I used the unsweetened applesauce instead
of oil to add less fat to the recipe.

Step 2

Step 3: Microwave 30-40 seconds. If you don’t want to eat it straight out of the dish, be sure to spray your dish first (and then wait for it to cool before trying to remove it).

Step 3

Step 4: Chocolate Covered Katie has a recipe for raw frosting you can use to top it off, or do as I did and drizzle with chocolate syrup!

Voila!

If this doesn’t satisfy your sweet tooth, I don’t know what will! It’s the perfect single serving dessert, if you want something guilt-free! The pictures don’t even do this justice, in my opinion.

Of course, there are days when you just have to have the real thing, but this is great when you want to feel indulgent. My husband was out of town, so making a whole cake for just little-old-me seemed like a lot of work. This was a great alternative, and I could have my cake and eat it too! (Ok, that was lame.)

**I have since made this for a second time, but I added a tiny scoop of hot fudge in the batter before microwaving. If you’re not afraid of a few extra calories, this is a melt-in-your-mouth addition!

Do you have any recipes that are to die for? Do you splurge on desserts, or do you like to find ways to make them healthier? Share!

Birthdays, Cheese, and Happy Feet

Well Winter has officially hit Wisconsin.  Yesterday morning I stepped outside to find that it was easily -8 below zero, and that is not including the wind chill factor.  I don’t know if there is such a thing as it being “too cold to run,” but I wasn’t brave enough to lace up my shoes and head out into that ice box!  Overall, I’ve been sticking to my schedule though.  Last week, I ran a total of 8 miles — Saturday was my longer run of 4 miles.  I guess it’s not a lot of mileage compared to what I was doing last year, but it worked out well because the runs were easier to schedule around my Winter semester of classes.

And if you haven’t already heard about it…

TWITTER ROAD RACE THIS SATURDAY!

Oh yes, it’s happening.   created the Twitter Road Race, which will be this Saturday, January 21.  The distance is a 5k, so you basically just go out and run anywhere at anytime that day.  They have over 600 people registered so far, and probably more by now.  It just seems like a fun event — no one really wins.  After you run, you’ll submit your time and they’ll get everyone’s together and have the results posted.

If you want to register, this is where you need to go: Twitter Road Race Registration.

You can even get a bib!

In other news — my brother, Matt came to visit this week from England.  Of course we all gathered around to watch the Packers lose to the Giants on Sunday.  We all felt like crying, and eating away our sorrows.  So to recover, us cheese-heads took a trip to the local cheese factory.  I’m talking the best cheese factory of all time.  I guess that’s a little presumptuous, but not much.  People literally drive from surrounding states to get this cheese.

Matt making a goofy face, while shopping for some cheddar

To top off the week, January 16th was my hubby’s birthday!  Every year since we’ve been together, I’ve made him chocolate chip cookies instead of cake.  This year, I officially made the most delectable batch of cookies yet.  They were HUGE, and very chocolate-y.  Not too crispy, not too soft.  If baking cookies is an art, I just mastered the craft.  I can’t take credit for the recipe though, that was all thanks to Allrecipes.com.  If you too want to make the “Best Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie,” click here.

Just hand me a glass of milk, and I'm good to go!

So now you’re all caught up with my life as of late!   

Anyone else running the Twitter Road Race this Saturday?

 

Double Chocolate Brownie Batter Pancakes

Move over Wheaties.  There’s a new breakfast of champions in town, and it doesn’t taste like bran.  Nope, I’m talking about waking up to melt-in-your-mouth chocolate first thing in the morning.  I was lucky enough to stumble upon this recipe from Chocolate-Covered Katie for Double Chocolate Brownie Batter Pancakes.  Not only do these take minutes to throw together, you get to douse them in chocolate syrup.  I’m asking you, does it get any better?  Yes, it does.

Chocoholics of the world get their fix of deliciousness, plus the ENTIRE recipe is a mere 130 calories.  I made these for New Year’s Day breakfast, and they are as good as they look.  My husband can be quite picky at times, and his short stack was devoured in the time it took me to go into the kitchen and get a glass of milk.

Here’s what you’ll need to satisfy your deepest chocolate cravings first thing in the morning:

  • 1/4 cup spelt flour (or all-purpose or Bob’s gluten-free)
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 T Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa or dutch cocoa (You can sub regular cocoa, as well.)
  • 1 and 1/2 packets nunaturals stevia or 1 T plus 1 tsp sugar (you can use less if you’re planning to top with syrup and don’t want the actual pancakes to taste sweet.)
  • 1/16 tsp salt
  • 1 and 1/2 T applesauce (or oil, if you don’t like fat-free pancakes)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 5 and 1/2 T nondairy milk

1) First thoroughly mix all the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, cocoa, stevia and salt. I just used regular all-purpose flour because that’s what I had on hand.  I also used regular cocoa powder, instead of the dark.

Mix the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, cocoa, stevia and salt.

2) Add all the wet ingredients and mix well: applesauce, vanilla and milk.  I used fat-free skim milk.

Mix in applesauce, vanilla and milk.

3) Make pancakes!  You should get 6-8 silver dollar size cakes out of a single batch.  I chose to double the recipe because I wanted to make bigger pancakes.

I made these slightly bigger than silver dollars.

Now I read that both maple syrup and chocolate syrup tastes amazing on these little beauties.  I chose to use chocolate syrup because I wanted to really make these decadent.  Plus they’re already lo-cal, so you might as well!  I haven’t tried it yet, but I imagine adding sliced bananas or strawberries would taste yummy, too.

Need I say more?

I found the nutritional breakdown on Katie’s blog using whole-grain spelt flour, Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa, and Almond Breeze almond milk.  If you use different ingredients, this info would vary but probably not a whole lot.

For the entire recipe:

Calories: 130 Fiber: 5.5 g Added Sugar: 0 g Protein: 5 g Fat: 1 g

Let me know what you think of these!  

Resolving to Save the World: and other impossible endeavors

Just like millions of other people, New Years means I choose to make a major change in my life — and then don’t.  I’ve tried the “I will get a 4.0 GPA this semester” resolution, the “I will run a marathon” resolution, and the ever popular “I will I will lose 10 pounds by summer” resolution.  All of these I did strive toward for a couple months, and some were more successful than others.  My GPA isn’t a 4.0, but it’s pretty dang close.  I haven’t ran a marathon yet, but heck at least I run more than I used to!  And I lost 5 pounds, not 10.  So my New Year’s promises weren’t epic failures.  Still, I think I’ve been going about them all wrong.

I’m not going to resolve to not make a resolution because I do think it’s important to give yourself a goal and have something to strive toward.  I feel the problem with New Years is that people are completely unrealistic. Planning on going to the gym every single day is not practical.  If you have a family or any other obligation in your life, something will inevitably come up that keeps you from getting there one day.  Then you’ll feel like a failure and give up completely.  I’ve been there, done that.

This year, I’m taking my dear, sweet time developing my resolutions, but here are a few that I’m thinking about:

1) Do something to show my husband I love and appreciate him more often.

2) Continue to work toward running goals, and run first race this year.

3) Do something to give back to the world in some way – volunteer, donate, etc.

I feel like these goals are general enough that I cannot fail, but will still make me a better person in one way or another.  I didn’t make the same promises that I’ve made in the past because I don’t want my past failure to impact my new goals.

My advice for developing your own resolutions?

Make smaller goals. Success is relative — you don’t need a large goal to work towards.  Maybe you’ll even accomplish them early in the year and be more motivated to continue on!  So this time instead of telling yourself that you’ll lose 100 pounds by next year, don’t give yourself a set number.  Just resolve to see the number on the scale go down.  That way, your goal is reasonable and attainable.

Make more than one.  Heck make 4 or 5 resolutions!  Okay, at that point you might lose track of them.  But if you make multiple promises to yourself, you’re bound to keep at least one.  On the other hand, make sure if you’re doing more than one that you don’t spread yourself too thin.  Keep them small and simple.

Don’t resolve to do anything you failed to do in the past.  This doesn’t mean last years resolution to get in shape doesn’t matter any more.  Being healthy is one of those goals that never goes away.  I just feel your chance of fulfilling a New Years promise increases if it isn’t the exact same one you didn’t do last New Years.  If you resolved to “start eating healthy” before, and it didn’t pan out, make a fresh, new goal this year.  Instead of trying to do major calorie cuts in your diet, resolve to swap one junk food item for a more nutritious option.  If you eat out almost every day, resolve to make one meal a week at home.  These will still get you on a healthier path without the sense of imminent failure.

I hope these help! Have a safe and Happy New Year everyone!

This just made me giggle...

Have you made any resolutions this year?  What are some things you hope to accomplish in 2012?

Holiday Rewind

Once again another Christmas season has whirred past like a red and green blur. After all the wrapping paper is torn off the presents, and the last morsels of Christmas dinner are finally devoured, I’m always left with the feeling of remorse.  I don’t love winter, but I love this time of year.  I enjoy the time with family, and the excitement and anticipation that Christmas brings.  After it’s all set and done, I’m left feeling like a girl who just got dumped and wondering, “Is it really over?”

About all the decorating I could handle this year

This year was especially strange because none of our typical holiday traditions took place thanks to the stomach flu epidemic that invaded our household a week before Christmas! Instead of baking my traditional fudge and setting up decorating our tree, Nick and I took turns heating up Cambell’s Chicken Noodle soup for the two of us.  Very romantic.  I sound so sarcastic, but it really was awful.  The upside is we were feeling MUCH better by Christmas Eve, and managed the drive down to my parent’s house in time for “Santa” to arrive.

Luckily My Parents Got It Right

Christmas Day, I came to the realization that I am either completely spoiled, or I was a very good girl this year.  I received a Garmin Forerunner 305 from my husband, which was the exact one I was pining over.  My brother gave me a running journal and a gift card that bought me a pair of Brooks Infiniti Tights and an Asics soft shell running jacket.  I now feel like I can get down to the more serious training because the below freezing winter weather can no longer stand in my way.  I won’t be a slave to my gym’s treadmill any longer.  Ha!  And last but not least, my parents gave me my favorite Lola perfume, so now I can smell delicious whenever I’m not sweating it out on a run.  All in all, I feel completely blessed to have such a thoughtful family.  But the gifts were still not my favorite part of the holiday season!  I love the food.

Green Bean Casserole

I still managed to run despite all the hustle and bustle of the season.  I did 3 miles in the great outdoors before the flu bug struck.  I took my dog, Dixie, with me using my hands-free leash (which I still love).  She needs the good ol’ stretch of the legs as much as I do!  I even cut a minute off my running time compared to my pace on the treadmill.  I haven’t ran since Christmas, but personally I wanted to give myself plenty of time to rest and recover.  Plus, I truly feel spending time with family during the holidays trumps my running plans.  I know I can make up for the time off, and it only happens once a year.  I’m sure the more dedicated runners of the world were out running 15 miles, while I was watching Muppets Christmas Carol and sipping a cup of hot cocoa — but I enjoyed myself!

I love this picture

I hope you all had a lovely holiday!  

What were some of your favorite moments? 

Attack of the Christmas Cookies: and other things that are sabotaging my running goals

I am officially in a sugar coma!  This past Monday, my book club decided to do a Christmas cookie exchange on top of our typical book discussion.  I left the party with 6 dozen cookies of all varieties: peanut butter kisses, iced gingers, chocolate peanut butter no-bakes, chocolate chip, cranberry-white chocolate chip. Needless to say, I was surrounded by temptation of the most delicious kind!  Every time I walked into the kitchen, these little morsels of delight were staring at me from their plates and calling my name.  I think I heard them say, “Oh come on, what’s one more?”  I’ve been on a cookie binge for the last week and, despite my efforts to run, I can feel my body screaming at me to cut back on the freakin’ sugar!

The Infamous Chocolate Peanut Butter No Bakes

Luckily, this doesn’t happen often and I don’t plan on making any kind of sweets for a long time after our current stash is depleted.  Still, I need to work on eating better.  I feel like stress from school is becoming my excuse for not doing a lot of things.  In all seriousness, I’m sure my body is crashing knowing that I am days away from being finished with finals and this semester.  But, I can’t allow those things to get in the way of my goals.  Every day on campus, I see a handful of runners still going despite finals, despite the holidays and despite the cold.  They’ve been able to manage their time and fit in their runs.  I need to adopt that kind of focus, determination and attitude if I’m going to accomplish this half marathon.

I honestly don’t feel like I’m making nearly as much progress as I thought I would have by this point in the game.  Duh. My sugar overload combined with laziness this week probably hasn’t helped much.  But even before, my body has been struggling with the whole treadmill running concept.  All summer I ran outside, either on trails or on the sidewalk paths by the river.  I enjoyed being in nature and looking at my surroundings as I huffed and puffed and trotted along.  The treadmill has quickly become dull to me.  I am easily distracted by other runners, who discourage me with their ability to run faster and longer than I can at the moment.  Luckily, I have found something that is making it a little  more bearable: Podcasts!

LOVE!

A podcast called MotionTraxx is currently my favorite one to listen to while doing any amount of running on the hamster wheel.  Their episodes provide energetic, trance-like music that keeps you running at a specific pace.  I downloaded three so far.  One is a solid hour of music set at a 150 beats per minute pace.  The other two are treadmill-interval workouts at levels 1 and 2.  Both give you cues on when to increase the speed or incline, which keeps you from having to time yourself.  The music is wonderful because they keep the variety going and it is easy to lose yourself in the rhythm.  I totally forget about peeking to see how much longer I have to go.

I’ve downloaded some other podcasts like: This American Life and RunRun Live, but I find it more difficult to pay attention to them on the treadmill.  They’ve been great while cross training on the elliptical and I do like those programs, so I recommend them if you’re looking for something to listen to, other than music.

This has been quite the hodgepodge of a post!  I did find one last thing that I feel I need to print and duck tape to my mirror, so I have to see it every morning.  I think it would put an end to all excuses pretty fast.

I think this was directed at me.

Have any of you been struggling to keep your running goals lately?  What have you found that gets you back on track? 

 

What I LOVE Right Now.

Minutes ago, I was attempting to bake a chicken breast in the oven for lunch.  Being the lazy dishwasher that I am, I thought I would cheat by lining my baking pan with wax paper – it says right on the box that it should work for “easy” clean up! Well…no.  Seconds after I popped my healthy lunch into the oven, my smoke alarm starts obnoxiously sounding throughout the kitchen.  Oops.  Maybe I need to re-read what the heck wax paper is supposed to be used for because clearly it can’t sustain itself in the oven.  The smell of nasty chemical compositions aerated through the house.  I needed help.  Which brings me to the first item I am in love with at the present moment!

Lemon Verbena Soy Candles

Lemon Verbena Soy Candles

1. On a recent Target escapade, a good friend raved about these candles.  They burn clean and the scent in incredible.  I can’t tell you how fast my kitchen stopped smelling like burnt nastiness and started smelling clean, fresh and invigorating!  The best part is they don’t cost an arm and a leg – I believe I got away with this one for around $10.

Kindle + Third Book of the Hunger Games Series = Epic

2. Now, I realize I am late in the game here.  I’ve been hearing about the Hunger Games for a while, but I couldn’t get myself to read it.  I guess I had expected something along the lines of Twilight, which I couldn’t get into.  Plus the whole premise of the book was not anything I ever would have thought to pick up in the past. BUT! I couldn’t have been more wrong! I savored the first book.  The characters are so well developed, the plot moves along fast and is well thought out, the action is exciting and leaves you on the edge of your comfiest chair.  I’m currently midway through the third book, Mockingjay, and it hasn’t disappointed so far.  Even better? I get to read it on my Kindle.  I can’t tell you how much I love toting that to the gym.  I can’t read and run at the same time, but when I ride the bike or the elliptical I can get my fill of reading.  Plus you don’t have to fumble trying to turn the page while in motion, something I always had trouble with.

Saucony Kinvara 2

3. One thing I can’t get over is how much I adore these shoes.  I was in dire need of a new pair to run in and I’m not a big fan of too much cushion.  I wanted something lightweight and supportive, but I had no idea what I was looking for.  Before I just ran in my old, old tennies (yucky and smelly), so this was to be my first real pair of running shoes.  After visiting our local shoe store, my eyes immediately sought out this fiesty model on display.  I oogled and awed for about 10 minues, going to look at other shoes and finding my way back to these show stoppers.  After trying them on and giving them a brief test drive around the store, I was convinced (perhaps too easily, but my heart knew what it wanted).  I have never once regretted that decision!  These shoes are perfect. Everything I was looking for and more.  When I was running 6 miles over the summer, my feet never hurt or had blisters.  My high arches never ached.  Wonderful.

If you want more professional reviews for this shoe – click here.

Trader Joe's Candy Cane Joe-Joe's

4. Tis’ the season for all sorts of yumminess…egg nog, hot cocoa, homemade pies and all those sorts of things.  Obviously my waistline doesn’t appreciate these in the same way I do, but I am not one to cut myself off from having a little something sweet every now and then.  At my recent trip to Trader Joe’s, I was intrigued by the idea of candy cane oreo-like cookies.  The whole concept sounded pretty amazing.  What closed the deal was a man who ran up and grabbed three boxes right in front of me, while going on and on about how he can’t get enough of them during the holidays.  Good enough for me! I bought two boxes.  Lo and behold – they’re fantastic.  Creamy peppermint filling with bits of candy cane sprinkled in for good measure and then pressed between two chocolatey wafers. The result is perfection, especially with a cup of hot cocoa.

A Man and His Dog

5. Finally, I had to squeeze in my husband and our dog.  They’ve been cracking me up lately.  I catch them snuggling on the couch all too often.  This picture says a thousand words.  Apparently I have competition! <3

What are some things you love right now?

Revisiting Square One

My body has gone on strike. It’s amazing how I spent all summer building up mileage only to lose a good chunk of my progress in a month! I guess I’ve learned from my run today that this is not a sport that you can take a break from and expect to be just as good. My run today was a slow 2 miles, but just 1.3 miles into it my legs felt heavy and almost stiff in a way. I tried to pick up the pace at the end and oddly that seemed to help. I’m wondering if my slower pace was actually making the run more difficult because of the shorter stride? Who knows!

Regardless, I’m taking this a day at a time. This week I’m not running everyday simply to let my body ease back into the swing of things. I rented a couple of yoga tapes from my library to incorporate into this whole shebang. I’ve been doing about a half hour a few mornings a week to help with my total lack of flexibility…plus it’s a peaceful and energizing start to the day!

I refuse to be discouraged about my temporary regression. When the going gets tough, I have a tendency to throw in the towel – especially when it comes to sports. I’m in no way a natural born athlete, but I’ve decided I don’t care! Running is not something I do for anyone else. I just want to prove to myself that, in the words of Winnie the Pooh (cause you’re never too old!), I am braver than I believe, stronger than I seem and smarter than I think.

20111201-173424.jpg

Diet Soda May Hurt Your Diet

Somehow, I have a feeling this post will strike an unpleasant chord with many readers, as I know people who take their diet soda very seriously. I am not one who has ever been a soda addict, caffeine addict or sugar addict (at least not in drink form).  Ideally, I would try to stick to water, but I find myself drinking ice tea or low-fat chocolate milk (post-workout) and even the occasional coffee.  I try to stay as far away from soda as I possibly can for countless reasons.  Mainly, I don’t get any satisfaction from drinking the bubbly, sugary drink with artificial colors and flavors.  If anything I feel more sluggish and my stomach is upset from the carbonation.  I end up more thirsty than I was before indulging in the beverage and since my stomach is filled with so much air, eventually I’m back to being hungry too.

The main complaint I have with diet soda is their claim that it makes you think it is somehow “healthy” because the word “diet” comes before it.  The fact is diet soda still has artificial sweeteners which, although haven’t been proven to be harmful, are still best avoided.  Just because the FDA hasn’t stepped in doesn’t mean the product is a good one!  Saccharine was banned in Canada and other countries because lab tests with animals found that it was linked to bladder cancer; the FDA has chosen to remove warning labels due to inconclusive evidence as to the effect it has on humans.  Aspartame is a high profile, artificial sweetener that is highly controversial.  Aspartame was discovered as a sweetener while researching anti-ulcer drugs.  The scientist spilled some on his hands and realized it had a sweet flavor, so now it’s in many diet drinks, water packets and other sugar-free items.  There are many, many names for aspartame and claims have been made that it contributes to anything from cancer to psychiatric problems in humans.  The jury is still out on this one as well, but in my opinion it isn’t worth the risk.

Another point to be made is studies have found that people who drink diet soda are not healthier in any way.  Reducing the food energy intake of sugar in soda doesn’t imply that person will have a lower food intake overall or lead to weight loss.  An independent study also found that 48% of the 9,000 people in their test group were at higher risk for weight gain and elevated blood sugar levels.  The diet soda merely increased the person’s desire for sweet foods.

 

Homemade Sparkling Water Spritzer

Overall, I think it is best to avoid soda in general.  If you have to have it every once in a while that’s fine and dandy, but don’t justify your indulgence by telling yourself it is “healthy” and do your best to try and limit your intake as much as possible.

 

Best idea for soda drinkers?  Create your own soda!  Combine sparkling water (not club soda-too much sodium) and your favorite 100% fruit juice.  This is a great way to wean you off of the artificial crap and still get a taste of the bubbly stuff.  Sparkling water is hydrating and the NYTimes reported it can help keep calcium in your bones.

For a drink like this, pour glass half full with 100% juice of your choice and half full of sparkling water.

To make things more fun or fancy, try using frozen berries or fruit instead of ice cubes!!

Fancy Schmancy Fruit Cubes