Friday, May 09, 2014

Sad and Very, Very Mad

I am a huge tea drinker, or should I say, I WAS a huge tea drinker. Something weird has been happening to me and, sadly, I think I've narrowed it down to two things: tea & Splenda. 

You see, I am done buying any tea (especially from David's & Teavana) that have artificial or natural flavourings. As almost all the teas these two giants of the tea world sell have artificial or natural (read just another type of artificial) flavourings. I have been horrified by what I have been reading on the web. And not a little bit pissed off at what I feel is grossly misleading marketing. 

Recently, I've had a few issues. My anxiety has been sky high, I've been getting random head aches for no reason, I want to eat endlessly and I am just constantly gasy and bloated. I went to see my Dr. and she decides to send me for some blood work, it all comes back perfect. I’m totally floored, I ask what could be causing this, cause I know it’s not weight, lack of exercise, eating too much salt, or having too much caffeine. The first thing she says to me is “are you eating any processed foods?” Of course not! I make almost EVERYTHING from scratch. She’s stumped, I’m stumped, and I go home feeling clueless.

So I am wracking my brains. What could be causing this? At first I thought it was too much wine. But I had put operation drink less wine in action for weeks already as I trained for my summer triathlons. I had been practically abstaining for 2 weeks to be properly hydrated and rested for my first race. I'm just perplexed.

Two days later I'm going to a baby shower where I know there will be wine, so I pack my Blue Lagoon tea from David's. I make it up in the kitchen and add my splenda to it. Not two sips in and my heart starts to race and I start to feel sick to my stomach. WTF?? I stop. Is it the tea? Is it the Splenda?? I Google Splenda. The more I read the more upset I get. This stuff is practically the most toxic stuff on the planet. One website says it has more in common with DDT than sugar. 

Thinking about what has been going on with me, I realize I have all the negative symptoms associated with using Splenda. Most of which are on the chart below. I had no idea that this product could cause all these problems. 

But when I start to think back I can see the signs have been there for weeks. I was ingesting between 8-10 packets a day! Because its natural, right? It says it tastes like sugar, because it's made from sugar. Only that now appears to be a clever marketing lie. I keep following the rabbit hole and I am just horrified by the stories I am reading from people who have adverse reactions to Splenda and it appears aspartame  is no better. In fact it appears that there are only two things on the market that sweet and not toxic lab concoctions: sugar and stevia.
I had completely bought into the marketing crap.
Years of worrying about my weight had me so twisted up that I was panicked about putting 'fatting, bad for you' sugar into my tea. I was so concerned about the 16 calories from a teaspoon of sugar that I had steadily increased my consumption of one of the most processed foods on earth for months. I was completly oblivious to the fact that it was processed, or could have so many side effects.&nbsp

And guess what those side effects are? Increased anxiety. I had been feeling for months that my Effexor had not been working as well as it normally does on my GAD. Splenda has been shown in studies to DECREASE the effectivness of medications. This is a study done by Duke University. Well no wonder I feel like my medication wasn't working. Splenda also casues acid reflux, gas and bloating, and those random headaches? Yup, gone as soon as I stopped using it. I have dumped all my Splenda, and within two weeks all of these issues had corrected themselves. If I hadn't of experienced it myself I wouldn't have belived it. 

But I had to think, what was causing me to use so much Splenda to begin with? I never had used that much in the past. Why, tea, of course. This all started when I began drinking 3-4 cups of tea a day in the Fall. I figured tea was healthier for me than the 2 cups of coffee I drank a day. Even though I drank caffeine free coffee, I thought it would be healthier to substituted tea, and I put Splenda in it.

But, wait, the story gets more complex. So I had been off Splenda for a few days when I went to work and made myself a cup of tea (this time Fig Rose from Teavana). I add 2 packets of REGULAR sugar and settled down to drink it. Once again my heart starts to race. Not nearly as bad as before, but enough that I am noticing it. What is going on? Hadn't I pinpointed the problem? I grab the tin of tea and start to look for a label, no label, hmmm. So I do the next best thing, I look it up online. What I can find, and it wasn't easy, is that this tea is made with artificial flavours. What EXACTLY does that mean?
Are these "artificial" flavours Splenda or aspartame? I don't know, because that is all the infromation I can find. It is now becoming apparent to me that these "artificial flavours" don’t agree with me. Again I start going down the rabbit hole and I don't like what I am finding. A simple Google search on David’s and Teavana and I find that almost all of their teas have either artificial or natural flavourings. Again, what is meant by natural flavours? If they are "natural" why do they have to be listed as "natural flavours"? A whole seperate category ingrediant on the label? Why not just put: natrual mango flavours, etc.? I am realzing that natural flavourings are just another way of saying "artificial".If they were truly natural they wouldn't have to be listed seperately. 
But it's not just David's and Teavana, the majority of grocery store brands are full of artificial flavouring, GMO's and Pesticides. This is horrifying. Almost all the teas I have from David’s and Teavana are so full of artificial this, and that, I didn't even realize I was consuming 3-4 cups of processed food a day. For months. I can see now I have been putting my body through a double whammy in my attempt to be healthier. So here is what I am thinking sitting in my doctor's office: I am not ingesting anything PROCESSED! Yet, now I learn I am actually consuming 2 of the most processed products on the planet!!

I'm not a dumb person. Nor have I blithely ignored labels, or where I buy my food, and what I eat. I have worked extremely hard to cut out almost all processed food in this house. I cook most of our food from scratch. I buy clean products (or so I thought). Yet, this Trojan horse has been sidling up to me for months and I had no idea. Because, again, I bought into the marketing. I was making a healthier choice. 

So let’s look at this situation. I was drinking 2 cups (2!) of coffee a day and doing great. But coffee is so ‘bad’ for you, I decided to changed to tea. Does that qualify as ironic? Ultimately, I only have myself to blame. You have to be vigilant, and constantly be educating yourself on what your buying and eating. Question, question, question marketing messages about so called 'healither' alternatives. And if there is a natural product that they are substituting an ingrediate for, just use the natural product.

Guess who is going back to 2 cups of coffee a day.

What to know what's in your tea? Read this.

What the real 'skinny' on Splenda? Read this

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well said Heidi! We need to do more research into locally made teas. There are some available now but are not easy to find. I'll get Judith and we'll look into it.