Maintenance: Day Eight / High Fructose Corn Saboteur

I’ve never really considered myself an “organic” kind of person; I generally leave that portion of the grocery store to HIPPIES and COMMUNISTS who aren’t American enough to support the chemical industries of the United States by buying products with unpronounceable ingredients.

No, in all seriousness, though, I just never really put that much weight on buying organic products; for one, I’m a college student with a limited budget, and if there’s a cereal that’s comparable nutrition wise to an organic cereal, then I’m certainly not going to shell out an extra $2 for the organic version. That, and I buy products I enjoy tasting, and many organic products … well … they can be kind of vile. To sumarize: I just never thought that organic products were really worth the extra money. How bad can certain ingredients in mainstream products really be for me? Last I checked, Mr. Medieval was chomping on a high fructose corn syrup free diet, and while I am I’m 90% sure I’m beating him in the life expectancy department.

And then I came across this review on “Would I Buy It Again?,” which contains the following statement:

“… What makes High Fructose Corn Syrup so evil is that science has shown that the high fructose corn syrup is more likely to stick to the fat cells in your body than regular sugar and therefore make you fatter.”

Ahmygawd.

AHMYGAWD FAT GET IT OFF GET IT OFF GET IT OFF.

Now, maybe it’s just a testament to my horrible weight-related neuroses, but on my following trip to the grocery store, I started reading labels, and practically everything I would usually buy contained the aforementioned enemy. So, I put it all back, because now that I know that mainstream products are actually doing me harm rather than just chillin’ in my body with a few benign, chemical friends, I don’t know if I can really go back to mainstream food containing High Fructose Corn Syrup. Will it actually make a difference in my health? Who knows, but I can’t in good faith pick out a food containin’ the H.F.C.S., anymore.

So, what did I chomp on yesterday, the day I exiled H.F.C.S.?

Breakfast (9 a.m.): 58 g. of Special K (200 calories) with 15 g. of Mini-Wheats (55 calories) and 2 oz. of skim milk (20 calories)

Alright, I didn’t make it through my blogroll until after breakfast. Sue me. However, if there was any part of my diet I thought would be devoid of H.F.C.S., it would be have the breakfast cereal marketed to women trying to lose weight. And, had they had it in stock at the grocery store, I probably wouldn’t have checked the ingredients on account of this assumption. So, it’s a good thing they didn’t have Special K in stock (I ended up picking up this variety Kashi Go Lean, instead), because when I checked the ingredients this morning on a whim, there was H.F.C.S., all up in the cereal I’ve been eating in copious amounts. Traitor. Ironically, the Frosted Mini-Wheats are clean.

Lunch (Noon): Amy’s Lower Sodium Vegetable Lasagna (290 calories); 1/2 an apple (30 calories); two Reese’s Miniatures (90 calories)

Normally, I wouldn’t have two frozen meals in one day (I had one planned for dinner, too), but seeing as how this was a lower sodium variety I figured doubling up on ye olde laziness dishes was OK. I had never had the Lower Sodium variety of the Amy’s Lasagna before, but I loved the regular kind and decided to give it a try. The sauce tasted much more like fresh vegetable puree than marinara sauce, which wasn’t a bad thing, it was just different; it made for a much sweeter sauce (though it was a “natural” sweet, not a “sugar” sweet, if that makes sense). The cheese, however, was fantastic: A nice mozzarella that I would have liked more of.

Snack (3 p.m.): Kashi TLC Pumpkin Pie Fruit and Grain Bar (120 calories); 1/2 an apple (30 calories); Tuna sandwich (150 calories)

I don’t usually buy bars; I tend to eat them like candy, and I just don’t find them to be that nutritionally worthwhile. However, after finding my usual lunch supplement (Yoplait Light) contained H.F.C.S., I needed something else to bulk up lunches/snacks. I’d heard good things about the Kashi bars, and they were only 10 calories more than my usual container of yogurt and had the same amount of protein, so I picked up the Pumpkin Pie variety. Oh, man—so tasty. The texture is a little odd—the bars are labeled as being “chewy”, but it’s actually a layer of chewy pumpkin flavor on top of crunchy grain bar—and this threw me off a little at first, but they legitimately taste like a lighter version of the filling you find in pumpkin pie. Also, this snack kept me hell of full; I went to the gym after class at 4:30 and didn’t have dinner until 6:45 (which is late for me), but even when dinner did roll around I was only a tiny bit hungry.

Dinner (6:45 p.m.): Lean Cuisine Hunan Stir Fry with Beef (260 calories)

Personally, I don’t find this to be the most filling dinner, but I was having a big dessert and wanted something light. This makes an excellent lunch, though, and it is chock full of vegetables, including plenty of broccoli and edamame. The saucy is tasty, too, a kind of generic, sweet Asian sauce that isn’t very spicy but which is pleasant in its own unassuming way.

Dessert (8 p.m.): Betty Crocker Warm Delight in Hot Fudge Brownie (370 calories); one pint of Vanilla Haagen-Daz (875)

Oh, yes. I think next week, though, I may have to forego my usual foray with these two; I’d like to spread my bonus calories through the entire week, and this really takes a big chunk out of my allowance (I used 890 bonus calories yesterday, which leaves me with 510. Blergh). Sometimes, I have no idea how I’m going to go out to eat and such without gaining weight when I begin eating intuitively—if this takes that big a chunk out of my calorie allowance, what is a dinner out going to daily calorie intake? Am I going to have to skimp every other day of the week just because I go out? I just honestly don’t know how I’m going to adequately judge how much I need each day, especially when I indulge.

Do you buy organic? If so, why?