Artificial Sweeteners – Good Diet Aid?

Humusak / Pixabay

Artificial sweeteners.  They’re everywhere.  Pink and blue and yellow packets can be found in with the sugar packets on the restaurant table.  Low calorie foods contain artificial sweeteners to keep you from packing on the pounds.  Diet sodas and other low calorie drinks are loaded with artificial sweeteners.

There’s so much information out there about artificial sweeteners.  Some reports say that they cause health problems.  Others say they still cause an insulin response and can lead you to continue to crave sweet things rather than satisfying your craving.  Still others indicate that artificial sweeteners can cause your body to store fat.

I’m not a biologist.  I don’t know if any of this is true.  A few years ago, I gave up my daily Diet Coke in favor of sparkling water from my SodaStream.  I’m sure you’re thinking I’m going to talk about the major difference I felt in my health.  I can’t say I noticed anything huge, but I’m probably better hydrated and I don’t miss the Diet Coke.  I still have one from time to time for the caffeine kick, but I’m starting to think that maybe avoiding the artificial sweeteners might be the way to go, especially since I do notice that when I have something sweet, I continue to crave sweetness.

Some people swear by Stevia because it’s natural.  Again, I can’t tell from the information out there whether or not it’s actually a good substitute for sugar.  So if I NEED sweeteners, I’m going for the real thing – sugar and honey.  But since those are higher calorie, it’s only going to be in serious moderation.

I’m going to experiment with other foods and see if I can tell if artificial sweeteners are affecting me.  It’s never bad to be reading labels.  I’m going to swap my yogurt for plain yogurt with fresh or frozen fruit tossed in.  I’m going to read labels on granola bars and cereals.  I don’t plan to be perfect about this, but I think it will be an interesting experiment.

Have you given up artificial sweeteners?  Have you noticed a difference in your health?

Weekly Workout Recap

Since you all love cats so much, check out this Breaking Cat News.  Hairballs, man.  So gross on bare feet.

Now, on to our regularly scheduled recap.

Monday – Rest Day.  You know what hurts after a 24 hour bike event?  Everything.  Everything hurts.  It’s a good hurt, but still.  Well, the bum hurt isn’t all that good.

Tuesday – Easy 6 mile run.  I expected this to be way more horrible.  It certainly wasn’t fast, but it’s done.  1:20 total.

Wednesday – Bike trainer speed workout.  Hour on the bike, which clearly showed that I need a fit adjustment.  I’m determined to get this tri bike to work for me.

Thursday – Team Fight swim.   We did form drills, which is something I can always use work on.

Friday – Rest Day.  Bike fit adjustment!  Hooray!

Saturday – Ten mile run.  I did it on the treadmill too, because I was lazy and wanted to sleep in and then didn’t want to go run in a sauna.  So it was faster than it would have been outside, but better than nothing.  2:13:45.  Oh, for the days when I was “fast.”

Sunday – My schedule called for a 90 minute bike ride, but Liz’s called for 25-35 miles, so we did her 25 miles.  My Garmin said 25.9 in about 2:10.  Nice easy ride.  Even with the hills.  So much nicer than running.

Decluttering update and a kitten

So since so many people thought that yesterday’s post was going to be about a new kitten, here is a picture of my dad with a kitten purrito.

He doesn't like cats though.  Not at all.  Nope.

He doesn’t like cats though. Not at all. Nope.

So the cleaning out my house has stalled a bit.  I blame racing.  Apparently, when you have races or 24 hours of cycling or even a ten mile training run and a 25 mile bike ride, the rest of life gets away from you.  Let’s not talk about the dust.  I’m still trying to teach the cats how to dust.  What’s that fluffy tail for if not for wiping dust off of things?

But I thought I’d provide a quick update on my decluttering.  On the advice of a friend, I sent a few clothing items to ThredUp, which is basically an online consignment store.  They pay you for what you send in (shipping is free), then they resell.  I sent in a dress and two pairs of pants and got $15.  Not a ton of money, but I wasn’t wearing them, so hey, free $15!  They resell for probably three times what they gave me, so it’s not a huge markup.  I may check them out for adding items to my closet.

I also put my the bike saddle that came with my tri bike on eBay.  There was no way I was ever going to use that thing, and it was apparently a good saddle (designed for male anatomy), and came out $25 ahead.  Made a tiny dent in the new saddle I purchased.  I could have listed it for more, but I just wanted to get rid of it.

Next up is dealing with the books I’ve sorted out.  I think I’m going to donate them to the library’s book drive, but I need to go through the rest of the books first.  I think those things multiply.

New Family Member

So, I’ve been pretty quiet about this on the internet, but I’m ready to share my new relationship.  Meet Jude.

IMG_0982Named for the patron saint of hopeless causes, Jude is my new tri bike.  A Felt B14.  In size tiny.  Because I’m short.

It’s been a period of adjustment, and I’ve barely ridden outside.  I’m going to finish out the racing season on my road bike, then really work in the trainer all winter to get good on this new bike.

Why a tri bike?  A few reasons.  Number one, who doesn’t want a new bike?  Number two, Ethel, my beloved road bike, is actually too big for me.  The store who sold her to me basically wanted to get her off the floor.  After a really great bike fit, I can ride my road bike, but it starts to get uncomfortable after a few hours, and it’s the sort of discomfort that comes with fit issues.  So I knew if I wanted to tackle a 70.3, I needed something different.  Sure, I could have gotten a new road bike, but if I’m buying a new bike, why not go for a tri bike?

And no, I’m not getting rid of my road bike.  I love her too much.  You can never have too many bikes.

It’s been interesting getting fitted because I am short and chubby, and aero bars are totally incentive to work off the spare tire, but it’s surprising how comfortable the bike really is.  Of course, it did require a lot of saddle experimentation.  Thank goodness for bike shops with saddle trials.  I understand how people spend thousands of dollars hunting for the perfect saddle.

So that’s the big news.  Fancy new money pit that I need to accessorize.  There are so many hydration and fuel storage options out there!  At least I have some time to figure that all out.

Training Entertainment: Podcast List Update

kaboompics / Pixabay

I don’t know about you, but when I’m doing a long indoor training ride or a long training run, I get bored pretty quickly.  When indoors, I often have the tv on, but my go-to when I’m outdoors on a run isn’t music, it’s podcasts.  I occasionally listen while on the bike trainer as well.

There are a lot of great fitness-related podcasts out there.  I don’t listen to any of them.  When I’m working out, I don’t want to think more about working out.  I want an escape.  And since I’m constantly adding and deleting podcasts from my list, I thought I would update what I’m currently listening to.

Welcome to Night Vale remains on my list.  This is… well, I’ll just cut and paste their description.

WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE is a twice-monthly podcast in the style of community updates for the small desert town of Night Vale, featuring local weather, news, announcements from the Sheriff’s Secret Police, mysterious lights in the night sky, dark hooded figures with unknowable powers, and cultural events.

So… fictional (I hope) story of weird antics in a strange town.  I definitely recommend going back in the archives and starting with episode one.

Staying on the fiction track, I recently picked up The Black Tapes Podcast.  It’s a serialized docu-drama focused on the paranormal.  If you liked The X-Files, you’ll like this.  It’s definitely not alien focused or anything, just sort of the unusual and unexplainable.  It’s getting better and better as the team gets more experience.

Next we flip over to Sawbones.  This is a podcast by a husband and wife team, where the wife is a doctor and the husband is comic relief.  They discuss medical history in a funny way, such as how people used to strap whole chickens to their face to cure mumps (or something, all I remember is chickens on your face).  Definitely not too graphic, and pretty entertaining all around.

When I’m looking for random entertainment, I listen to My Brother, My Brother, and Me, a podcast by the previously mentioned comic relief husband and his two brothers.  They do comedy and advice, and it’s hard to explain, but it’s pretty funny.

For great interviews by funny hosts, you can’t go wrong with Girl on Guy and Nerdist.  I got into both of these because they were interviewing someone I was interested in, and the whole show was just so great that I stuck around.

Obviously, you can’t go wrong with the This American Life podcast, and I downloaded their app so I could have access to the show archives.  Another standard is Stuff You Missed In History Class.  Both of these are excellent and it’s worth the time to peruse their archives.

Another new podcast on my list is Mystery Show, which I didn’t think I would like, but I got totally sucked in.  The host finds a random everyday mystery to investigate.  And though the subject of the mystery might not sound interesting, the storytelling is so great that you get sucked in and you must know what is going on in the scene on the Welcome Back, Kotter lunchbox or whatever the subject happens to be.

There are others in my podcast app, but I think these are the ones that get the most attention from me.  I listen a lot while in the car or doing chores around the house in addition to during workouts.  What podcasts do you listen to?  Do you have different podcasts for different activities?