Posts Tagged With: walking

Fitness Friday #3 – Dirty Sugar Free

This week starts with a confession. My name is Erika, and I love gum. I have chewed this tasty delight as long as I can remember. I can especially recall an increase in my gum chewing once I started on the “health kick” 10 years ago. If I thought I was hungry when it wasn’t time to eat, after each meal instead of dessert, long car rides where snacking is too easy, at the movie theater where treats are too tempting, at the gym, on a run… the list goes on. Why is this a confession and not a suggestion?

Let’s investigate.

Gum gets it addictive sweet flavor from one of two things, sugar or artificial sweetener. So if you choose the “real” sugar brand like Chiclets or Double Bubble, not only are you asking for cavities (my mom used to work in the dental field, can you tell?) but calories! The average piece of bubble gum has 20 calories, 5 carbs and all 5 of those carbs comes from 5 grams of sugar. Not a horrible choice if you’re used to inhaling a few cookies after lunch, however if you generally stay away from dessert and choose to have a few (or dozen) pieces of gum a day, you’re looking at consuming an extra meal without even swallowing a piece of food! Yikes!

If you choose the ever so popular “sugar free gum” which is 99% of the options you see at gas stations, you’re looking at ingesting a pretty powerful ingredient known to have side effects that most Americans complain about. I properly introduce you to Phenylalanine, the chemical making up 50% of Aspartame which we’ve all heard about.

Check this out…

If you google top side effects from Aspartame and then search for the most common symptoms Americans report, they’re almost identical!




-Abdominal discomfort




-Weight gain

Did you see the last one? Weight gain! I suppose that’s one reason I chose this for our topic besides the general (frightening) health risks included. How can a Diet Coke or piece of gum prevent wight loss? Of course, it takes more than a drink to pack on the pounds, but consistent intake of this chemical seems to be proven to mess with more than just our taste buds.

My challenge for is this week is to avoid anything with Aspartame, Phenylalanine, Equal or NutraSweet… None. Zilch. Nada! This will be hard for me since I thoroughly enjoy my gum, but I’m curious to see if I can feel a difference in a quick 7 days.

Some of you little researchers out there (myself included) might be asking, what about Splenda, Stevia, Xylitol and all the others? Challenge accepted! Next week I’ll have further info and my personal opinion. This would be another hard one for me since I consume flavored protein shakes daily and we know powdered vegetables don’t taste like chocolate without some additional sweet lovin’.

Physical challenge! We’ve hit the stairs and picked up sticks, this week we’re bringing it back to the basics, walking! When you park at the store, don’t do laps looking for the closest spot, park far away and embrace the extra calorie burnage! Shoots, if you’re really feeling it, pick up the pace and speed walk! See if you can get your heart rate up before reaching the entrance. Have a friend that lives nearby? Walk to meet in the middle and enjoy a conversation that doesn’t include a “like” button or emojis. If you don’t live close enough, meet at a coffee shop then stroll from there, no excuses.

This weeks homework:

1. Take an update photo. Are you excited about this or dreading it!?

2. Keep reading the labels before opening the box!

3. Walk. Then walk some more and then a little more!

Wrapping up our lifestyle changes so far:

1. Use the stairs every chance you get!

2. Stick to the single serving amount or less.

3. Play with pop-cycle sticks and actually use them!

4. Consume products that are closest to their original state!

5. Avoid artificial sweeteners found in most sugar free products.

6. Walk as much as you can at every opportunity!

Categories: Edibles!, Fitness Friday’s!, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Foot, wheels, trams and boats, lets take a look at Amsterdam!

I’m so thankful for all of my travels to The Netherlands and the years of personal accommodations from dear friends that I’ve met abroad. This round, we get the keys to our friends empty apartment to come and go as we please! I would say “priceless”, but if you’ve ever done research, its definitely not priceless to stay the night in this popular city. So, a very big thank you to sweet Ioni for her open door and gracious hospitality.

Now, let me show you the magnetic energy that keeps me returning to the wonder world of Amsterdam!

Care for a stroll? So does most of the other people here! If you’re not feeling up for a walk, there’s also plenty of options with wheels to get you around.



















Need to pick up the pace? Add a motor to the wheels! For those who don’t want to be in the drivers seat, you can always hop on a tram for only 2.80€ one way. (It’s the blue and white train looking object in a few of the shots below).






Yep, it’s for real.


For a guided excursion there’s a walking tour, or a comfy seat in the brightly covered busses with a knowledgable person behind a microphone. Love water? You can always coast throughout the canals of the city with a friendly captain explaining the sights that surround you.




Now since we’ve covered some options of how you might get around, lets take a look at what you may see as you explore the daytime streets of Amsterdam.




















The “Hot Yoga Studio” made me giggle simply because I grew up in North America in which “40 degrees” is nearly freezing.


This sign stopped us in our tracks with a bit of confusion. What is it? A preventive new design that allows authorities to track thieves by a synthetic DNA code.


This is a lost and found station. If you find an item on the street or in a nearby cafe, you simply clip it up here with hopes that the rightful owner will come collect it. It also seems to be used as an easy way to advertise personal business or upcoming events. Today, I donated a sticker from the talented band Heritage. Side note, it was gone when I returned from a 30 minute walk… I’m thinking it was this happy fella who claimed to be lost and found!




Handstand shot!


Here are some creative pictures taken in this unique city using effects from my camera.





The next post will include but not be limited to food, friends and a smidge of the the nightlife!

Categories: Art, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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