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SWEETNESS BABY: how to sweeten your food responsibly

Posted Jul 11 2013 9:35pm

I think we can all agree by now that white sugar {oh the horror!} can be kicked out of the pantry for good. Because it’s uber-processed and has an ultra high glycemic index, we generally want to stay as far away from it as possible. And it’s not as hard as you think.

Now, if you’re still eating the stuff, I know it can sound daunting to leave it in the dust. But I can assure you, that once you do, you will feel brighter, higher, happier, have more energy, and leave at least some of those digestive issues behind.

Because white sugar and some of it’s other derivatives (like brown sugar and agave) cause inflammation in the body via insulin spikes, we want to replace that sweetness with something that our bodies can handle better.

In Ayurvedic Medicine, the sweet flavor is one of the primary 6 flavors that should be on the palette. Apparently, it builds tissues and calms nerves. What else does sweet do? It brings us love. Sweet brings us relaxation. And sweet brings us bonding..to just name a few. From a modern nutritional perspective, the 6 Tastes satisfy each of the major dietary building blocks. Sweet foods, for example, are rich in fats, proteins, carbohydrates, and water, whereas Bitter and Astringent foods are high in vitamins and minerals, and it’s optimal to have each flavor with each meal. I like the sound of that, don’t you?

So eliminating the flavor all together definitely is not the answer. The answer is finding the healthy alternatives that work in your own body. For me, low-glycemic sweeteners are key as well as potent sweet superfoods.

Now, the good part- I’ll list some ways to sweeten your food responsibly starting with my favorites and the most highly recommended down to the ones I personally use least often.

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All of the stevia that you find in the stores are most likely extremely processed or derivatives of the real thing. Why not just use the real thing, my love? All you have to do is do a bit of online shopping, and poof! It’s there at your door. Green leaf stevia is virtually zero calories, doesn’t raise blood sugar, and a little goes a long way! It’s just the ground up herb and you can find it through Mountain Rose Organics.

Two foods with great nutritional and life-enhancing backgrounds, these all also offer a seriously low-glycemic punch to your day. Try them in smoothies, raw chocolates, or even mixed into some tea. You can find all of these through Matt Monarch’s The Raw Food World online store .

Your body may be perfectly fine consuming high sugared fruits such as bananas, mangos, peaches, watermelon, and grapes. Sometimes though, even that amount of fructose is harsh on our precious bodies. Notice your energy levels next time you eat a very sugary fruit- and if it’s lower than before you ate it, try some low glycemic ones next! The fruits with the lowest sugars in them are lemons, limes, berries, cranberries, apples, and grapefruit to name a few. These are also the ones I suggest if you have a bit of a candida action goin on.

Could it be that a sweetener could actually be good for us? You know how probiotics are so great for our health? Well- so are prebiotics! These are foods that help the probiotic grow and flourish, and yacon is actually one of those things. This botanical is a long standing favorite in South America where it has been empirically selected for its effectiveness over many generations.

Try it in my chocolate cherry muffins .

If you have yet to try a raw recipe with dates as the base- oh you are so missing out! These are the most natural form of sugar you can get- because hey- they’re a fruit! I love them to the T, but I still watch how many I eat, since they are so calorie dense and so high in sugars. I’m one to notice the spike in energy, and having too many dates may do that to me- but try them for yourself! Sweet, caramel, goodness.

Coconut Palm Sugar  comes from the nectar of the coconut palm flower, which is harvested and then carefully dried into a crystallized natural sweetener. And we all know I love each and every thing coconut, right? But on the real- I’d replace every recipe you’ve got in the books with this! It’s got a nice caramel like flavor and won’t give you as much as a crash and burn sugar feeling as most of the high gly ones.

Probably one of the most flawless foods on the planet. Just naturally made by the gorgeous bee- raw honey has everything you could dream of. Unlike most of the heated and processed honeys that you can find in the supermarket, raw honey is loaded with anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral properties. If you’re blood sugar seems stable and you don’t have a candida issue- raw honey is the way to go.

Although both are high in sugars and are notably high on the glycemic index, you can’t help but notice the amazing nutritional content of both of these babies. Maple Syrup is high in manganese and zinc, and molasses is known to supply the body with an ample amount of iron and calcium. Just 2 teaspoons of blackstrap molasses will sweetly provide you with 13.3% of the daily recommended value. If I could harvest and make my own maple syrup, that would be the way to go.

But, isn’t agave a good choice?

Actually, no- my love. Don’t let the whole “natural” gimmick get ya!

The chemical process for manufacturing agave nectar is nearly the same as the corn refiners using in making high-fructose corn syrup from corn starch- {EEEEEEEK face!} Our bodies have a difficult time digesting the full fructose load from this “natural” sweetener, and it’s generally NOT even low-glycemic although it claims to be. (It’s 70 percent pure fructose!)

Add healthy fats!

Healthy fats such as coconut oil, coconut butter, avocado, and cacao butter are all naturally sweet. When we get enough fat in our diets, we tend to crave sugars even less. Don’t be afraid of the fats- because the days of “fat makes you fat,” are so over!

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So grab yourself some super sweet, super nutritious, sugar-substitutes and melt your taste buds away!

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Tell me- is there one that I missed? What do you use to sweeten your life? Let me know below!

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YOUR FOCUS

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