Eating Healthy  

Posted by Michael

Let me begin by quelling the thoughts you may have had in simply reading the title of this blog:

I don't always eat well. I do love cheese, pizza, chocolate, cheese, Dr Pepper (Dublin of course), cheese, sweet tea, and many other things that include cheese in their ingredients.
I don't judge others that don’t think as I do on this subject.
I don't believe I am absolutely right in the way I think about eating healthy.
However, I do believe there is enough evidence on these matters that it would be foolish to disregard this or other sources of information you run across on eating healthy.
I do realize this blog has the potential to be really boring, but I'm ok with that.

**PLEASE take the time to watch these videos before you continue reading so that you can have a healthy (no pun intended) view of our food industry, what we are eating and what we are feeding our kids. I promise that watching all 5 of these videos will be well worth your time:

How to Get Fat Without Really Trying: How The Food Industry Is Deceiving You (Parts 1-5)

How The Food Industry Is Deceiving You (Part 1)

How The Food Industry Is Deceiving You (Part 2)

How The Food Industry Is Deceiving You (Part 3)
A quote from Part 4:
Peter Jennings: “You know what’s less healthy. You know where asparagus and soda pop line up.”
Paul K., An Advertising Specialist To Children: “You are absolutely correct that I am not going to get the same return on investment for a client in advertising asparagus and spinach to a kid, as advertising some of the so called less healthy products to kids...
Guilty as charged.”

How The Food Industry Is Deceiving You (Part 4)

How The Food Industry Is Deceiving You (Part 5)

This ABC special encouraged me to study the food we eat including natural and organic foods and the sweeteners and other ingredients used in our food. Much of our diet in America is rich with highly refined sugars, nutritionally barren flours, transfats, high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils and other processed ingredients that aren’t natural. By "natural" I mean ingredients that are straight from the plant or animal-or they are made from whole ingredients, with as little processing and as few added flavorings, stabilizers, and preservatives as possible which ultimately keeps nutrition and original flavors intact. The more I read, I find that the body doesn't even recognize as food some of the highly processed products and convenience foods that have been introduced into the food supply in the the last 60 years. Examples of these foods would be commercial salad dressing, breakfast cereal, processed lunch meats, chips, crackers, soft drinks, most fast foods (hamburgers, fries, shakes), and many of the other foods in the video above.

I want to spend some time on 2 highly processed ingredients found in most foods today: High Fructose Corn Syrup and Partially Hydrogenated Oil (or Trans Fat). Until now, little laboratory evidence has been available on these topics.

In "How The Food Industry Is Deceiving You", the term High Fructose Corn Syrup (or HFCS) was used many times. Here is a definition and a little history I found for HFCS:

High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)—A corn sweetener found in many foods and beverages, including non-diet soda pop, baked goods, and condiments that has been associated with blood sugar problems, depression, fatigue, B-vitamin deficiency, hyperactivity, tooth decay, periodontal disease and indigestion. It is has become the sweetener of choice for many food manufacturers because it is considered more economical, sweeter and more easy to blend into beverages than table sugar. It is derived from the wet milling of corn. (The corn wet milling process separates corn into its four basic components: starch, germ, fiber and protein.)
HFCS is any of a group of corn syrups which have undergone enzymatic processing in order to increase their fructose content and are then mixed with pure corn syrup (100% glucose) to reach their final form.
The process by which HFCS is produced was first developed by Richard O. Marshall and Earl R. Kooi in 1957 and refined by Japanese researchers in the 1970s. HFCS was rapidly introduced in many processed foods and soft drinks in the US over the period of about 1975–1985.

HFCS puts people at risk for metabolic syndrome which, according to the Mayo Clinic is a cluster of conditions that occur together, increasing your risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes, particularly in children. Having just one of these conditions — increased blood pressure, elevated insulin levels, excess body fat around the waist or abnormal cholesterol levels — contributes to your risk of serious disease. In combination, your risk is even greater.

There is a rise in uric acid in the bloodstream that occurs after fructose is consumed. The temporary spike of HFCS blocks the action of insulin, which typically regulates how body cells use and store sugar and other food nutrients for energy. If uric acid levels are frequently elevated over time, features of metabolic syndrome may develop, including high blood pressure, obesity and elevated blood cholesterol levels.

Research by the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reveals that high fructose diets shorten the life span of laboratory mice from the normal two years to a mere five weeks.

Chi-Tang Ho, Ph.D., conducted chemical tests among 11 different carbonated soft drinks containing HFCS. He found ‘astonishingly high’ levels of reactive carbonyls in those beverages.
These undesirable and highly-reactive compounds associated with “unbound” fructose and glucose molecules are believed to cause tissue damage, says Ho, a professor of food science at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J. By contrast, reactive carbonyls are not present in table sugar, whose fructose and glucose components are “bound” and chemically stable, the researcher notes.

Reactive carbonyls also are elevated in the blood of individuals with diabetes and linked to the complications of that disease. Based on the study data, Ho estimates that a single can of soda contains about five times the concentration of reactive carbonyls than the concentration found in the blood of an adult person with diabetes.

Here are some products that contain HFCS:
Capri Sun, Sunny Delight, Snapple (except Snapple Antioxidant Water), Hawaiian Punch, Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice and in most energy drinks. It is also found in chocolate drinks like Yoohoo, Arizona Tea, SoBe Beverages, cookies, ice cream, Campbell soup, Heinz Ketchup, Mayonnaise, Ragu, Aunt Jemima Syrup, Hershey's Syrup, Breyers Yogurt, Kraft Barbecue Sauce (and many other BBQ sauces), Smucker's Preserves, Nutri-Grain bars, Claussen Pickles, Mott's applesauce, Ice Cream (Ben & Jerry's, Blue Bell, etc), many breakfast cereals and some breads! HFCS is also in Robitussin, Vicks NyQuil and other cough syrups.
High fructose corn syrup also masquerades under the name of crystalline fructose in Glaceau Vitamin Water and some energy drinks.

This site has an even more extensive list of foods containing HFCS:

This site lists menu items of fast food restaurants that have HFCS:

This site has a list of foods free of HFCS:

Sugar In General
The average American consumes an astounding 2-3 pounds of sugar each week, which is not surprising considering that highly refined sugars in the forms of sucrose (table sugar), dextrose (corn sugar), and high-fructose corn syrup are being processed into so many foods such as bread, breakfast cereal, mayonnaise, peanut butter, ketchup, spaghetti sauce, and a plethora of microwave meals.
In the last 20 years, we have increased sugar consumption in the U.S. 26 lbs. to 135 lbs. of sugar per person per year. Prior to the turn of this century (1887-1890), the average consumption was only 5 lbs. per person per year. Cardiovascular disease and cancer was virtually unknown in the early 1900's.
The "glycemic index" is a measure of how a given food affects blood-glucose levels, with each food being assigned a numbered rating. The lower the rating, the slower the absorption and digestion process, which provides a more gradual, healthier infusion of sugars into the bloodstream. On the other hand, a high rating means that blood-glucose levels are increased quickly, which stimulates the pancreas to secrete insulin to drop blood-sugar levels. These rapid fluctuations of blood-sugar levels are not healthy because of the stress they place on the body.
One of sugar's major drawbacks is that it raises the insulin level, which inhibits the release of growth hormones, which in turn depresses the immune system. This is not something you want to take place if you want to avoid disease.
An influx of sugar into the bloodstream upsets the body's blood-sugar balance, triggering the release of insulin, which the body uses to keep blood-sugar at a constant and safe level. Insulin also promotes the storage of fat, so that when you eat sweets high in sugar, you're making way for rapid weight gain and elevated triglyceride levels, both of which have been linked to cardiovascular disease. Complex carbohydrates tend to be absorbed more slowly, lessening the impact on blood-sugar levels.

Sweeteners To Avoid:
Brown Sugar, White Granulated Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup & Artificial Sweeteners.

Artificial Sweeteners include:

Saccharin (Sweet'N Low) - This is a potential carcinogen.

Aspartame (Nutrasweet & Equal) - Causes headaches, depression, cancer and increased hunger.

Sucralose (Splenda)- This provides essentially no calories and is not fully absorbed. Sucralose is made when sugar is treated with trityl chloride, acetic anhydride, hydrogen chlorine, thionyl chloride, and methanol in the presence of dimethylformamide, 4-methylmorpholine, toluene, methyl isobutyl ketone, acetic acid, benzyltriethlyammonium chloride, and sodium methoxide, making it unlike anything found in nature. The presence of chlorine is thought to be the most dangerous component of sucralose.

where i got this info:

This is a great article from Time Magazine this year about sugar substitutes:,8599,1711763,00.html?cnn=yes

The best thing to do is avoid all artificial and chemical sweetener substitutes. They have NO food value, trick the body into thinking it is eating something sweet, and they have by-products of harmful toxic side effects.

Sweeteners To Seek Out:

You want to look for sweeteners produced from crops that had been farmed without chemicals and pesticides because sweeteners are concentrated, and therefore pesticides and chemicals used on crops concentrate in the final product.

Natural Cane Sugars - Look for these words on the package: natural, raw, unrefined, whole and/or unbleached.

Agave Nectar - This sweetener is made from the juice of the agave plant and is known for having a low glycemic index.

Honey - Look for raw, unfiltered, unprocessed honey. Darker honeys contain higher levels of antioxidants.

Partially Hydrogenated Oil (Trans Fat)
Trans fat is the common name for a type of unsaturated fat with trans- isomer fatty acid(s). Trans fats may be monounsaturated or polyunsaturated.
Trans fat comes from adding hydrogen to vegetable oil through a process called hydrogenation-a process developed in the early 1900s and first commercialized as Crisco in 1911. The goal of partial hydrogenation is to add hydrogen atoms to unsaturated fats, making them more saturated.
Trans fats interfere with important, normal functions by inhibiting enzymes which are necessary for the body's normal metabolism of fats and they keep doing it for a long time. Using trans fats in the manufacturing of foods helps foods stay fresh longer, have a longer shelf life and have a less greasy feel.

When you eat normal cis fats, the body metabolizes half of them in 18 days. When you eat trans fats the body requires 51 days to metabolize half of them. This means that half of the trans fats you eat today will still be inhibiting essential enzyme systems in your body 51 days from now.

The difference between cis fats and trans fats is the molecular structure. cis fats exist naturally and have hydrogen atoms crowded on one side, which causes the structure to bend allowing molecules and enzymes to bind to it. The bending prevents cis fats from solidifying at room temperature.

Trans fatty acid structures have one hydrogen atom added to one side of the structure and the other atom to the other side which prevents the structure from bending, thus making it more difficult for molecules and enzymes to bind to it. The very fact that the structure is straight allows trans fats to solidify at room temperature

When it comes to fat, trans fat is considered by some doctors to be the worst of them all because of its double-barreled impact on your cholesterol levels. Unlike other fats, trans fat — also called trans fatty acids — both raises your "bad" (LDL) cholesterol and lowers your "good" (HDL) cholesterol.
A high LDL cholesterol level in combination with a low HDL cholesterol level significantly increases your risk of heart disease, the leading killer of men and women.

Reading food labels:
How do you know whether food contains trans fat? Look for the words "partially hydrogenated" vegetable oil. That's another term for trans fat. The word "shortening" is also a clue: Shortening contains some trans fat.

It sounds counterintuitive, but "fully" hydrogenated oil doesn't contain trans fat. Unlike partially hydrogenated oil, the process used to make fully hydrogenated oil doesn't result in trans fatty acids. However, if the label says just "hydrogenated" vegetable oil, that usually means the oil contains trans fat.

Although small amounts of trans fat occur naturally in some meat and dairy products, it's the trans fats in processed foods that seem to be more harmful.
For more information on how to read food labels, see this site:

Books We Recommend:
Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson
Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld (Faith makes the mac & cheese recipe for Evan all the time…good stuff!)
Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubles

Magazines We Recommend:
Cooking Light
Real Simple
Food & Wine (not for health reasons, but just because we love both Food and Wine!)

Websites To Hit:,8599,1711763,00.html?cnn=yes

There is SO much information here and I have only scratched the surface on healthy eating. There are so many other things we could talk about like practical & healthy foods for meals and snacks, recipes, liquids that are healthy when used in moderation (i.e.- coffee, tea, wine and even water in moderation. Have you ever heard of Hyponatremia? Not good.), working out (if you would like a great tool for working out, check out Crossfit: We have a small community online where we share our struggles and wins from our workouts, encourage each other and give each other constructive criticism/ideas/resources, etc. If you would like to be added to our email list, let me know. Josh Patterson sends an email out each week with our workouts for the week in detail.) and so many other things.
If you have any questions, please post them and I would love to research it for you. If you haven't yet, go back to the top and watch the 5 videos posted. These videos opened my eyes more than anything else to our health crisis in America.

In conclusion, health isn't the goal of my life. Working out isn't the goal. Doing all this to the glory of God is my goal. If I stop eating certain foods that will harm my body and choose to eat foods that will give me nutrients, I do this not to gloat, I do it all to the glory of God.
"Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" - 1 Corinthians 10:31

I hope this was helpful! Thanks for reading.

here are a couple email responses I've received after posting this:

I have not eaten any sugar, white flour, trans-fats, high fructose corn syrup, or partially hydrogenated oils since December 31. I've lost 23 pounds, and counting...

We read your blog post and LOVED it! Good for you and your family for being aware of what goes into your body. It can be a difficult task with little ones, but it is sooooo worth it! We are trying to convince our children that it is totally because we love them that we don't allow so much "junk" to go into their little bodies. Our daughter is in a preschool and she takes her lunch to school. You should hear/see what all the other children eat for lunch! Sad, really sad.

Snow in March??  

Posted by Michael

It was great looking out our window tonight and seeing huge snowflakes! I grabbed my camera and tripod and had some fun.
Here are the results:

these were all taken at the same time (8pm).

Lee & Andrea Lewis (our next door neighbors)

Seattle 2008  

Posted by Michael

2 weeks ago, the Pattersons, Chandlers, Caudles and Bleeckers hopped on a plane to Seattle for a much needed vacation. I don't want to go into too much detail about our trip because Lauren Chandler did an amazing job describing our adventures. You can find the Chandlers blog under our Friends to read more about our trip.

The Pattersons

The Caudles

The Chandlers

The Fish Thrower guys tossed a pillow that looked like a fish right at the girls and it resulted in a great pic of Lauren

Faith hamming it up!

Eleven Winery on Bainbridge Island. This wine was very good.

Breakfast & Fake Laughing at La Panier Bakery

Canlis Restaurant Check it out online:
From service to food to view, this restaurant was amazing.


Mount Rainier  

Posted by Michael

I grabbed my camera just in time to snap some of these as we passed by the 14,411 ft volcano. Though it ranks 21st in the "tallest mountains" category, it was stunning both in Seattle (60 miles away) and what seemed like a few feet from our airplane.

When I took this I thought about that Bob Ross guy who was on "The Joy Of Painting". Remember that guy with the poofy hair that would paint a masterpiece, draw a huge black line down the middle of it at the end and then somehow make it look really good?? Anyway, this made me think about him painting snow with his little fan brush on the mountain. He would whisper everything: "We'll take this fan brush and just cover this little guy with snow...he's a happy mountain now".
God makes it look a little better than Bob did though.