At times, our country seems more preoccupied with vanity than with actual health.  Don’t get me wrong, I color my hair, wear makeup and seek certain skin treatments that help me maintain a more youthful visage-LOL.  However, there are times when I scratch my head at the amount of diet beverage consumption that takes place in this country.   Is the drinking of diet soda really keeping people thin, let alone, healthy?

I freeze grapes and snack on them. Great source of antioxidants, water and fiber

Why I don’t eat or drink Aspartame:  If the fact that it is considered an “artificial sweetener” doesn’t scare you enough;  apparently, when the temperature in aspartame exceeds 86 degrees, the wood alcohol converts to formaldehyde (I can’t get dissections from long-ago science classes out of my head when I hear that word) which then converts to formic acid which, in turn, causes metabolic acidosis.  Toxic, baby, toxic.  Here is a lengthy article on the evils of Aspartame:

http://rhondagessner.wordpress.com/2013/09/02/a-killer-in-your-fridge-sweet-poison-a-must-read/

So here is my advice:  Drink water.  If you are truly adverse to drinking water, try eating as many fresh fruits and vegetables as you possibly can during a day. Our eating culture promotes a lot of dry foodstuffs: crackers, energy bars, breads, dry cereal and crispy-crunchy snacks. We wash this down with some sort of liquid such as soda, water, lattes, wine and beer.  Why not sub out most of those things for a “Water + Nutrients” choice such as a cucumber, a cluster of grapes, a juicy ½ a grapefruit, a pile of carrots or a just-picked apple? These latter choices are simple, in their natural form and full of hydration.   I know that I look and feel my best when my diet is loaded with fresh, raw foods.  There is a reason (well, there are multiple reasons) that there are many people who follow a vegan, raw foods diet.    I can tell you from personal experience when my diet is 80 % or more raw fruits and vegetables, my skin looks younger, my energy level is higher, my athletic performance is stronger, my sleep is deeper and my mind is clearer and sharper.

Frankly, I’d take a 50 calorie glug of maple syrup over a packet of Equal in my breakfast beverage any day.  I might have to run an extra ½ mile or spend 10 more minutes on the cardio equipment at the gym to compensate for the calories but who cares? My health is more important.