Today I had the urge to talk about food substitutions.
A Bad Substitution (Yes, in my opinion): Aspartame
Aspartame is an artificial sweetener used as a sugar substitute in some foods and beverages. You’ll find people who believe this is harmful to your health, and then you’ll find others who say it’s fine and dandy. This man-made chemical is found in all your diet sodas, no sugar energy drinks, and some children’s vitamins. In 1980 a board discussed its relationship to brain cancer, later concluding they didn’t believe it was that much of a bastard. However, it still wasn’t approved at that time, because of many unanswered questions. Research showed it gave cancer to rats, and that fact was even written on packets of sweetener.
In 1983 it slowly started to creep into our lives. In 1993 it was in most beverages and baked goods with the claim of no sugar. By 1996 all the restrictions of aspartame were removed allowing it to be put in whatever the hell corporate money-hounds wanted it to be in. These are all just boring facts, and you can choose to believe whatever you want about this ARTIFICIAL crack originally made by a chemist accidentally. Yeah, it was like a mad scientist trying to create Frankenstein, and instead created a sugar substitute by fucking up Frank. Now, Frank is in your diet Coke.
All I really have is my own experience. I consumed diet energy drinks, diet tea, and diet soda 1 year out of my life in my late twenties. I had noticed myself becoming more aggro than usual. Just irritated for no reason. At first I assumed it was natural with how many brain-dead zombies I battled working my graveyard shift. But then I started to feel an all around…not right. I read an article about the rumors of the big A, and decided to quit the diet beverage addiction. Within a few weeks I was feeling better and more like the normal aggro me.
Around the same time I was being a responsible mom, and bought my daughter a bottle of children’s vitamins. I don’t recall how long she had been taking them before she became different. She was hyper and uncontrollable. She was not the same kid. Finally reading the label (something for kids wouldn’t have an iffy ingredient, right?) of the well-known brand of kiddy nutrients I found aspartame. Long story short: Took her off of them, and back to normal. I had my sweet, funny, kind, smart kid back. Five years later I found a non-personality altering vitamin from this AHH-mazing website http://www.swansonvitamins.com/
This is my experience. Draw your own conclusions. Make your own decisions.
A Good Substitution: The Greek Gods All Natural Plain Greek Yogurt
I wanted plain greek yogurt to blend with avocados and use as a healthier salad dressing option. Which I’m sure is tastylicious, but I have yet to try it. What I have done is put it on or in everything that usually involves sour cream.
The first night it accidentally fell into my families mashed potatoes. I waited patiently to see if anyone noticed a difference. Later on my husband says, “I don’t know what you did to those potatoes, but you have to always make them that way.” Yes, sir.
I’m so damn proud of myself when I discover a healthy sub my family will eat, since I tend to be healthy-edible-challenged. It’s great on tacos, burritos, baked potatoes, and anything clogged artery cream had previously been best friends with. The texture is different from most yogurt, it’s actually very close to sour cream. Tossing it in garden rotini pasta with olive oil, diced tomatoes, red onion, and olives, is a scrumptious dish that you might even be able to label healthy. Add cut up chicken breast and it’s even more scrum-dilly-umptious. When I make my daughter a burrito I ask her if she wants sour cream, but there isn’t any sour cream in this house. The eight year old never questions it. That is the true test to how truly great a replacement this is.