Natural Sweeteners – Sugar Alternatives

The only sugar our ancestors knew of was unrefined sugar found in fruits, vegetables, and other plant sources, and eventually sugarcane, but not in a “packaged” form. Processed or refined sugar became widely available since the 1500s. It didn’t take long to catch on in popularity. The average American consumes at least 100 pounds of sugar a year, of which approximately two-thirds is added to foods during processing.

Below is a list of natural sweeteners, that I recommend using as sugar substitutes in your recipes and look for these on the labels of the processed foods you do consume.

Have you ever meet a person who didn’t like sweet foods?  I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t eat any sweet foods.  I know some who say, “I don’t like sweets.”  But, truth is they do eat sweet foods, even if it’s not a sweet dessert food and just fruit.

Any baby offered a sweet-tasting food seems to prefer it over other bland baby foods.  Babies much prefer bananas, pears, and applesauce to oatmeal and rice cereals or green beans.  Even sweet potatoes babies prefer because of their natural sweetness.

I read there are two ideas about why most humans are “naturally” drawn to sweet foods.  One is that our DNA provides a survival mechanism whereby we can differentiate between poisonous substances in the wild (generally bitter) from edible sources (mostly non-bitter).  Another idea is that as human beings we are unable to manufacture vitamin C, found mostly in sweeter foods, like fruits, therefore God gave us a “sweet tooth” so we would naturally crave the foods we need in order to survive. Continue reading “Natural Sweeteners – Sugar Alternatives”

Pumping Iron (into your Body!)

No, I’m not talking about lifting weights (though you won’t hear me complaining if you you’d like to try that, too). I’m talking about pumping more iron into your body. There’s a popular fallacy that the best source of iron is beef, but there are iron-rich plant foods that are much healthier for you.

No, I’m not talking about lifting weights (though you won’t hear me complaining if you you’d like to try that, too).  I’m talking about pumping more iron into your body.  There’s a popular fallacy that the best source of iron is beef, but there are iron-rich plant foods that are much healthier for you.

Fresh Raw Spinach

Iron rich foods include all legumes (beans, soybeans, lentils, chickpeas, etc.), sesame seeds, squash seeds, spinach and other dark leafy greens, and most nuts.

So why is iron important?  Iron is necessary to create hemoglobin, the substance that carries oxygen from our lungs to every tissue in our bodies. Continue reading “Pumping Iron (into your Body!)”

Flax Seed

I was unaware of the benefits of flax seed until five years ago and since then I try to consume 1/4 cup in and on the foods I eat daily. Freshly ground flax seed meal provides a nutty flavor and can be sprinkled on salad and vegetables, added to soups, oatmeal, cooked cereal, cold cereal, baked goods and smoothies.

I was unaware of the benefits of flax seed until 2005, when I attended Karen Knox’s Reclaim Your Health and Energy seminar.  Prior to that I had been taking flax seed oil, but was unaware of the bulk flax seed benefits.

Golden Flax Seed

Flax seed comes from the flax plant and has been around for over 4,000 years, known for its healthful benefits.  Some of the health benefits of flax seed: used to lower cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar, help reduce inflammation, and since it provides 800 times more cancer-fighting properties than any other food, it is used to lower the risk of breast, prostate and colon cancers.

Flax seed is high in omega-3 essential fatty acids, knows as a “good” fat, and it is a rich source of alpha linolenic acid.  Flax seed provides fiber as well and helps to suppress the hunger hormone ghrelin. Continue reading “Flax Seed”

Our Journey to Healthy Eating

Our family’s journey of eating healthy began in July of 2004 as I focused more on the benefits of healthy eating. This was the BEGINNING for me of reading food labels. What an eye opener this was! Do you know that SUGAR is in almost every ingredient list?

My journey of eating healthy began in July of 2004 as I focused more on the benefits of healthy eating.  This was the BEGINNING for me of reading food labels.  What an eye opener this was!  Do you know that SUGAR is in almost every ingredient list?

I would have said our family ate pretty well.  We rarely ate out.  In fact, my son was 14 before he ever ate at a fast food restaurant and he wasn’t with me when he did!

But, cooking was not my thing.  I much preferred to clean up the kitchen after the cook, rather than the actual preparing and cooking of the meal.  This was a real challenge for me. Continue reading “Our Journey to Healthy Eating”