Help! The Great Artificial Sweeteners Debate


Look Ma! Valentine’s Day decorations!


My Mom’s already dekked out her house for the coming holiday (can you believe February 1st is on Tuesday?!) so a heart-studded tablecloth was the backdrop for the lunch feast she prepared for my Dad, Ben and me this afternoon!


Starring Pulled BBQ Beef Sandwiches on chewy rolls. I think she used the same recipe I do for pulled BBQ pork, just with a beef chuck roast. 


I ditched the bun halfway through. It was good, but taking over the flavor of the tender, smoky-sweet beef and sauce!


Baked beans played side-kick nicely,


but, like an oasis in the desert, fresh fruit salad was just what I needed!


There hasn’t been much time for super-nutritious eating between the enchiladas, blizzards and pizzas this weekend, and my mouth started salivating at the sight of this massive bowl of juicy, healthy goodness. :razz:


In the mix:

  • Kiwi
  • Grapes
  • Blueberries
  • Pineapple
  • Cantaloupe

Hand cut and Plenty, with a capital P, to go-around. Good for me since I got sent home with leftovers! ;)


Dessert with a Marie Calendar’s Triple Berry Pie.  


After the natural, simple-sweetness of the fruit salad, this tasted insanely, over-the-top sweet. I still ate it – I’m just saying…


Ben and I came home and assumed the position. Him: Twizzlers in hand/corner of lip, intently watching basketball.


Her: Computer in lap, laughing at her crazy husband’s antics. ;)


Ps: Please take notice that a can of Diet Mt. Dew is on my side of the table ONLY, (amongst the millions of books that Ben bought this weekend?!) as Ben is on Day 25 of NO DIET POP/ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS!! He read something online about aspartame turning into formaldehyde in your body (which I totally believe) and stopped cold turkey almost a month ago. I am SO proud of him!

I’d absolutely love to join in on the fun, but need to get strong enough to face the "2:00pm slump." My body seriously knows when I haven’t had diet pop and, around 2pm everyday, I get a pounding headache and get terribly tired if I haven’t had one. I 100% believe that artificial sweeteners, and regular sugar for that matter, are chemically addictive so I just need to face the dragon and go through a week of hell to try and start to break the addiction.

Ben said Day 4 was the worst.

Because he doesn’t drink coffee or tea, and gets bored with just plain water, Ben’s been drinking O calorie Sobe Life Water which is sweetened with all-natural PureVia, derived from the stevia plant, when he’s craving a flavorful bev.

I think that’s the biggest thing I’d miss about giving up diet pop – well besides the 2pm slump busting qualities – is just something flavorful to drink. I don’t drink tea, don’t really want to drink coffee all day, and water flavored with cucumber or citrus fruits is just not going to cut it. Diet pop is inexpensive and convenient, which only fuels the vicious habit. Help!

I guess it’s just one of those things in life that you do because you have to. Right? Typing this out is actually pumping me up too, so we’ll see what tomorrow brings. :)

In other news, like I mentioned this morning, I hit the grocery stores this am with gift cards and coupons in hand, and came home with four, big reusable grocery bag chock-full of groceries. Here’s our booty:

The Produce


  • Onion
  • Lime
  • Avocado
  • Green onions
  • Garlic
  • Honeycrisp Apples ($7.45 for 4 – died a little inside when those rang up)
  • Blackberries
  • Carrot chips
  • Salad
  • Broccoli florets

Frozen Items


  • Hashbrowns
  • Chili Lime Chicken Burgers
  • Garlic fries
  • Alexa Spicy Sweet Potato Fries
  • Organic multigrain cereal

Ok, so I have to show you this separately. They were sampling this frozen Organic Multigrain Cereal at Trader Joe’s this morning and I fell in love. The texture of the cereal – which includes wheat, barley, corn, rye, brown rice, millet, steel cut oats and flaxseed, spiced lightly with agave nectar and sea salt – is super chewy and thick, plus it’s 190 calories and so convenient. 3 minutes in the microwave + a drizzle of maple syrup + nuts + fruit = you’ve got breakfast! 


Refrigerated Items


  • Deli turkey
  • Eggland’s Best Eggs
  • English Coastal cheddar cheese
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Sliced cheddar cheese (we love cheddar cheese, apparently…)
  • Sliced pepper jack cheese

Pantry Items


  • Chicken broth (2 sizes of containers)
  • Pretzel bread
  • Green chilies
  • Chocolate cookies
  • Pomegranate Berry Cascade Ice
  • Whole wheat burger buns

Total: $37. I had a gift card for Trader Joe’s so I got $20 worth of free groceries there, then I had coupons for a dozen eggs free and free Alexa Sweet Potato Fries at the regular grocery store. Booyah!

All of these groceries will be used to create this week’s dinner menus:

Monday: Hot Turkey & Cheese Pretzel Sandwiches

Tuesday: Chicken, Corn & Potato Chowder with Green Chilies (made this tonight while prepping lunches for the week – oooooooooo BOY!)

Wednesday: Chili Lime Chicken Burgers with Guacamole & Garlic Fries

Thursday: Spaghetti Carbonara

Friday: We’ll be in Kentucky. Yeah! Details to come. :)

FYI – shopping at two stores (Trader Joe’s + regular grocery store) IS annoying, but worth it. Also – they’re right down the road from each other, so it’s not that big of a deal.

Ben and I are still pretty full from lunch, so we are having a "fend for yourself" night, in lieu of a sit down dinner. I’m thinking some English Coastal Cheddar + Honeycrisp Apple slices sounds MY-TEE-FINE right about now.

Have a wonderful week everyone!


Where do you stand on the diet soda/artificial sweeteners debate?

Don’t be afraid to speak up either way!

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