Sunday, January 9, 2011

Now that you know why, here's the what

Not sure where to start...I have had a request for what we do for sugar substitutes.  Therefore, I guess it is a good place to start.
All four of kids are allergic or sensitive to sugar.  In finding ways to feed my kids I have learned: that sugar is added to ALMOST everything, white Sugar is a common factor that suppresses your immune system, and fiber helps with the absorption of sugars.
What we do at our house for sugar substitutes are Raw Honey, Stevia, and Rapadura.

Raw Honey is different than store honey.  You can find Raw honey at Sprouts, Wild Oats and I am sure Trader Joe's has it but I am not certain.  Raw honey has different definitions so my definition of raw honey is the honey is minimally processed and minimally heated (under 115 degrees).  When honey is not processed it keeps valuable nutrients and enzymes that my kids need to digest these sugars.  Honey varies greatly, you will have to find one that you like the most.  I buy different honey for different reason; cooking, eating straight, and toppings.  Honey actually has different tastes.  We have tried lots of honey.  The one that we like from sprouts is called "White gold" it is made in Canada.  My husband loves this one for flavor and thickness! I just found a local company called "Made by Bees" who has a FABULOUS selection of honey.  They have a private stock line which I love.  Their Private stock desert wildflower which taste almost exactly like my hubby's white gold.  I love local and really want to support it.  Cost wise it is comparable to store bought, however I really like the test better than anything I have gotten in the store.  The three honeys I am using in my kitchen right now are all from Made by Bees, for cooking I use Private stock orange blossom, for eating I use Private stock desert wildflower, and for putting at a topping (like on toast) is private stock mellow yellow.

Stevia is basic enough.  It is an herb not a sugar.  Down fall for stevia is it is really hard to cook with.  We use stevia mostly for drinks, like homemade lemonade and hot tea.  Occasionally we use it to sweeten breakfast, like quinoa flakes or oatmeal when you just need a little sweet.  I have found two types of stevia.  The one you can buy at a grocery store, white like sugar in packets or in shakers.  This can be fortified or not.  You can decide which one you like.  The other type is one I found and ordered not knowing.  It is still called stevia, it is just unbleached.  Which makes it green and VERY earthy.  My family could not get over the color it made foods and drinks, so we do not use it for anything.  Just wanted you to know there were different kinds out there. 

Fun Stevia tip: We planted a Stevia plant in the backyard.  My kids would eat leaves while they were outside playing...

The last sweetener we use is called Rapadura.  I order this sweetener since I have not found it at a local store.  I personally buy it in bulk but it can be purchased in 1 pound packages.  Rapadura is an unprocessed sugar. Being unprocessed it retains it mineral and enzymes that help in the digestion process. It still has the molasses attached to the sugar.  It comes in granules, I like to put it in the vita mix and make it more like a powdered sugar to help it dissolve more readily in our foods.   The taste, nutrition and flexibility in cooking make it my families favorite sweetener.  I use Rapadura in baking, for ice creams, and as a topper for toast and oatmeal.  The biggest downfall to this sweetener is its color.  Since it still has the molasses, it is brown.  Taste wise it can be almost a 1 for 1 substitute for white/brown sugar in baking however, aesthetically the differences are huge.  I don't make white sugar cookies anymore. We go with lots of chocolate desserts to hide the color.

I am sure your head is spinning so I will finish sugar substitutes at another time. I will give some great recipes that you can use these to try them.

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