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I have the distinct honor and privilege to work with many amazing women every week. We cover a variety of topics, but typically we are discussing ways to improve health through lifestyle adjustments and adaptations. 

We cover a lot of information in our initial appointment, and one of the questions that I ask during their nutritional assessment is if they are using aspartame or other artificially sweetened products. The conversation usually goes something like this:

Client: “Well, no, I stopped using that years ago.”

I follow up by asking if they chew gum.

Client: “Yes, oh, yes, I do chew gum. I always have.”

Me: “Do you have a package with you?”

Client: “Yes, would you like a piece?” as they pull the package out of their purse.

Me: “No, no, but let’s take a look at the ingredients.” 

I had four of these conversations just last week, and two the week before, and knew that I needed to share this information. I absolutely, without a shadow of a doubt, know that we, as consumers, are truly trying to make better choices. Gum is a sneaky way for us to literally be poisoning ourselves each and every day, though, and to elevate our health we need to have all the facts. 

Since we aren’t actually eating gum, we don’t usually think about the effects of it on our health. I was a gum chewer. Loved it. Loved the minty fresh breath. Loved chewing it as a deterrent to eating. My brand of choice was Clorets, a sugar-based gum. I thought it sounded superior - healthy even, since it had chlorophyll in it. I chewed it for years, and would buy it by the case instead of a single pack, and stash the box in a convenient upper cabinet in our kitchen. Then, one day, I suddenly began to have stomach pains. Like couldn’t stand up straight, doubled-over-the-sink pain. And it scared me. I had been a diet coke drinker for several years before that until I realized that the ingredients were lethal to my health, and I quit. It was difficult to quit. The molecular structure of aspartame is almost identical to cocaine, and it’s as addictive, but when I realized that every time I drank it, it was turning to formaldehyde, a substance used to embalm bodies, and methyl alcohol - wood alcohol - a known poison, I knew I needed to break that habit. And, then I became diligent about my ingredient detective work. I read every label and diligently avoided aspartame.

But then this mysterious stomach pain started. I couldn’t figure it out. I hadn’t done anything differently. They were getting worse each day, and more debilitating. And then one day, I happened to glance at my newest Clorets box label as I was grabbing ingredients to make supper. And I stared at it. Still had sugar, but there, 6 ingredients down, was aspartame. They had snuck it into this sugared gum. And it made me so angry!! I immediately threw the box away. And within 24 hours the stomach pain stopped. That was twenty years ago.

Aspartame poisoning doesn’t manifest the same way in every person. It’s a neurotoxin, so it affects each of us differently. For some, it’s stomach pain or headaches. For some, it mimics the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, or lupus. It penetrates the brain, destroys brain cells, and interferes with normal function, like ADHD, and OCD, and for some, it triggers the formation of tumors. There is now a known link between Alzheimers and aspartame due to methanol toxicity. The list of side effects is long. There are over 90 - yes NINETY - known symptoms and diseases directly related to aspartame toxicity. They are all bad, and they are all avoidable!

Aspartame and artificial sweeteners are not the only reasons to avoid chewing gum. It will also cause gastro-intestinal distress as the parotid glands, or salivary glands, trigger the release of stomach acid and digestive enzymes to break down the food that the body perceives has entered the system. It exacerbates Irritable Bowel Syndrome, bloating and abdominal pain. It can trigger TMJ due to the uneven and overuse of the jaw muscles. In regards to the teeth, the acidic compounds can cause erosion, and the constant pressure may release mercury vapor from existing amalgam (silver) fillings. Mercury is also a neurotoxin, adding even more oxidative stress to our brain. 

So, if you are chewing gum, I get it. Let’s make it as good as we can by choosing better. One option is Simply Gum, a non-gmo, mostly organic ingredients product with thoughtfully chosen assorted flavors. Each pack even includes tiny pieces of paper to dispose of your gum when you are done with it. I’ve gotten mine at WholeFoods Market, but you can check it out here too: https://www.amazon.com/Simply-Gum-Assorted-Natural-Chewing/dp/B00KGH8S0G/ref=sr_1_3_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1502561406&sr=8-3&keywords=simply+gum

If you want to avoid chewing gum all together, but like that fresh breath feeling, try drinking purified water with crushed mint leaves, or Newman’s Own organic mints. They also have a nice variety of flavors. Here is the link to the peppermint ones: https://www.amazon.com/Newmans-Own-Organics-Peppermint-1-76-Ounce/dp/B000LKU16C/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1_s_it?s=grocery&ie=UTF8&qid=1502561726&sr=1-1-fkmr0&keywords=newsman's%2Bown%2Bassorted%2Bmints&th=1

There are so many manufactured products that prevent us from being as good as we can be and one of those seemingly innocent items is chewing gum. I want to help you choose better so that you can be fully prepared and ready to live a Living Well life. Each decision matters. Honest, it does.

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