Friday, October 5, 2012

Stevia > Sugar + Chobani Winner Announced!

I've received a few emails inquiring as to what "Stevia" is since a few of the recipes I've posted have called for it.  I decided to dedicate today's post to that very topic, as well as discuss other alternative options to sugar.

When I say the word sugar- I'm talking about the white stuff we all grew up having dumped in our Kool-Aid.  It is empty calories and offers absolutely no nutritional value whatsoever.  Granted, humans are hardwired to crave things like sugar-- the problem is that in previous generations, sugar hasn't been as readily available as it to us.

Granulated sugar consumption is a food less food.  It makes you fat, is incredibly addicting, increases your risk of obesity and diabetes, and raises your cholesterol.

Say no to sugar!

But, want to know what is JUST as bad as sugar?  Artificial sweeteners.


Yes, that the beloved Splenda (I see right through you and your chemical make up!)  That's right- Equal, Sweet-n_Low, NutraSweet- they are chemicals and are not real sugar.  They are made of things like aspartame and sucralose.  These chemicals that are tricking your body into thinking it's getting the sugar it is craving is also causing depression, anxiety, fuzzy vision, obesity, diabetes, cancer, the list goes on and on.

Stay away from them, okay?

So, that brings me to Stevia.  Stevia is 100% *natural*.  It comes from the herb Stevia Rebaudiana.  There are some discrepancies in it's history of usage- some say it's been around with native tribes since the 1800's but there is also some information that dates it further back than that!  To make Stevia, they extract the water from its leaves, then there is a clarification and crystallization process to follow.

Stevia helps to regulate your digestive track and has no glycemic index (aka- doesn't affect your blood sugar levels).  It is also 10x sweeter than sugar, so you hardly need to use any while cooking.  I use NuNaturals powdered Stevia, but it is available in raw forms and a liquid form that is very popular.

Some other alternatives to sugar are:

Pooh *always* buys local honey!
Honey!  We always have honey on hand and make sure we buy local.  Food Safety news found that 75% of the honey sold in U.S Grocery stores isn't even "honey."  Buy your honey from a local, trusted manufacturer at a farmers market, food co-op, and yes- even Trader Joe's!  But- store brand honey (think Walgreens, CVS, etc) is bad news bears.  I use honey when making granola bars, drizzled over fruit and added to warm or iced tea.  Honey (the good stuff) is full of vitamins and has a low glycemic index.


Another staple in our household is one of my favorites to drizzle on oats or baked goods and add to smoothies- Agave nectar!  (Uh-gah-vay).  Agave is super popular amongst vegans, and like honey- has a low glycemic index and contains vitamins that are gooooood for you!  (Make sure you buy organic Agave!)

Alright guys- it's also time to announce the winner of the Chobani Giveaway!


You have won a *free* case of Chobani yogurt!

To claim your prize-- send an email to mamasbellyblog (at) gmail (dot) com
containing your name and address!


I hope you guys have a *great* weekend!  We are headed to our friends wedding tomorrow-- thank goodness our Insanity workout is pretty hardcore tomorrow-- I won't feel so guilty indulging on adult beverages!

(That's right- Garrett and I are sans kids for our *very* first evening since Abram's birth!)

I'll see you guys Monday-- I'll be talking about Insanity and posting some pics of our progress thus far!


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