Here are my personal favorite sweeteners in the order that I like to use them:
(But before we get to that, I want to add a link to Yakon Syrup: Click Here to buy Yakon Syrup.) Because this was advertised on the Dr. Oz show, it is getting a lot of attention. I don’t trust all of the “hype”, so I just ordered 2 bottles (to get the free extra bottle) and will evaluate the taste, and its effect on my energy levels (it is supposed to be a metabolism booster). I will also report if it has any positive effect on my hunger (it is supposed to be an appetite suppressant). And, because I am EXTREMELY Sensitive to any fluctuations in my blood sugar levels, I will find out if it causes swings in my blood sugar levels (I know that Stevia does not). Yakon Syrup is also alleged to be good for maintaining stable blood sugar levels. AFTER I TRY THIS, I WILL REPORT BACK…
My report: It tastes amazing (like an improved, sweet version of molasses), and doesn’t seem to affect my blood sugars adversely. It is not a miracle metabolism booster as advertised (at least not for me), but doesn’t seem to trigger additional carb cravings like sugars to for me either. I also like knowing that it is a pre-biotic (feeds our friendly bacteria). It is too expensive (for me) to use as a replacement for Stevia, but I do keep it in the house and use it as a treat. Sometimes I just eat it by the teaspoon full – it is like candy syrup to me!
#1) Stevia (my favorite sweetener)
(Learn more about Stevia here – it is an herb – not a chemical – and has NO effect on your body like sugar) I have more information on Stevia below…
LESS IS MORE!!! A tiny bit of Stevia goes a LONG way – a whole packet of Stevia would ruin a cup of coffee. I use a whole packet of Stevia in a FULL pitcher of juice. Any time I’ve heard people say, “I tried Stevia and I don’t like it”, I’ve asked them how much they were using and every time, it turns out that they were using a whole packet in something small like a cup of coffee. Try 1/3 of a packet in something the size of a cup of coffee and see how that tastes to you first! Better yet, buy your Stevia as a liquid (it is easier to measure tiny amounts). I prefer the unrefined liquid Stevia (it is black in color). I keep a bottle in my purse and a bottle at home. I like this kind because I can easily measure it drop-by-drop. The white liquid Stevia (Stevia Glycerine) is too “syrupy-runny” for me to get a decent “drop” out of the dropper – I often get too much as it “runs” rather than “drops”. This is my FAVORITE kind of Stevia (NuNaturals Liquid Alcohol Free Vanilla) from iHerb, or from Amazon. NOTE: If you are a first time customer of iHerb, enter code ZIC184 in the shopping cart (before check-out) for an instant $10 off your first purchase of $40 or more, or $5 off smaller orders.
GREAT Hint – if you find that you just don’t like Stevia, as a last resort you could try mixing cutting your “regular” sweetener in half, and adding “just a couple of drops” of Stevia. This allows you to cut back on the amount of the “other” sweetener you have to use. Stevia is great for boosting the sweetness of other sweeteners and this is a great way to greatly reduce the amount of other high glycemic sweeteners, but get the same amount of sweetness!
It is important to keep in mind that where Stevia is concerned, the FDA is operating in the interests of “Big Agra” and the sugar industry. The FDA will go to any lengths to protect “Big Pharma” and “Big Agra”.
After I wrote the above information, Coca Cola wanted to use Stevia, so of course, the FDA has reversed its “negative Stevia” stance. I actually liked it better when Stevia wasn’t “approved” by the FDA as a sweetener because it was “pure” back then. Now you will find products like “Truvia” that are not pure Stevia, but have other chemical sugar substitutes added. I recommend that you get your Stevia from a health food store and don’t get any Stevia product that as anything else added to it.
#2) Dates (my second favorite sweetener)
(high in potassium and fiber)
Personally, I just plop in a couple of whole, pitted dates when I want to add sweetness, but you can also make a VERY sweet date puree with your Vita-Mix by soaking the dates in water over night and then pureeing them. I haven’t tried to make it myself yet, but I see in my Internet research that you can also turn dates into a powder. Dates are my #2 only because they are easier to buy and cheaper than my #3, Bee Pollen.
#3) Bee Pollen
I get raw, locally grown Bee Pollen at my Farmer’s Market. Learn more about Bee Pollen here. It is an awesome, nutrient packed sweetener. It has a unique taste so try it once to see if it suits you.
#4) Agave Nectar*
(lower in glycemic index than honey)
*I no longer recommend Agave based upon Dr. Mercola’s advice, as well as this article, and this one. I use it in shows because Vitamix won’t allow us to use any other sweetener except Honey. Since some people are allergic to honey, and it does not pour easily in shows, and because I can’t find raw honey in a Costco or Sam’s Club, I use Agave, but I HIGHLY recommend either Pitted Dates, or Stevia as the recommended sweetener for smoothies and other cooking needs.
#5) Raw Honey
(high in “B” vitamins, also contains amino acids, minerals and antioxidants) It is best to buy locally so that the bees have gathered nectar from flowers from your area – this helps greatly with allergries! I try to limit my use of honey (even raw honey) as it is a concentrated (albeit natural) sweetener.
#6) Welch’s Concentrated 100% Fruit Juice
(be sure to buy the containers with the yellow lid so you aren’t getting high fructose corn syrup!) Start out with just a tablespoon, see if that is sweet enough, then add more a little bit at a time if it isn’t sweet enough. You don’t want to add too much sugar (even if it is a natural sugar like concentrated fruit juice).
Learn more about Xylitol here. An awesome sweetener – prevents cavities as well!
Remember, this list is just my personal preference. Another sweetener you might want to research and try is: Lo Han aka Monk Fruit,
Things You Can Add To Your Smoothies:
This list is only what I add… there are lots of “supplements” and “nutritional boosters” that people add to their smoothies and juices. Also, I don’t add all of them all of the time, and sometimes I don’t add any of them!
With the Vita-Mix, you don’t have to use Flax Oil (which can go rancid) or even grind your Flax Seeds first… (ground Flax Seeds can also go rancid). You can put the flax seeds into your juice whole and just like the strawberry seeds, the Vita-Mix will “liquify” them right in your drink as you make it! This means that you will always have FRESH, non-rancid Flax oil and fiber for your body!
Do a Google search to learn how nutritious this oil can be for you. I buy my Coconut Oil by the gallon from Tropical Traditions. If you are a first time customer with Tropical Traditions, you will get this book Free!
Note – to comply with FTC law, I must let you know that if you order from Tropical Traditions by clicking on one of my links and have never ordered from Tropical Traditions in the past, you will receive a free book on Virgin Coconut Oil, and I will receive a discount coupon for referring you.
Visit Dr. Mercola’s website and do a search of his website to learn how nutritious raw eggs can be. You will also learn how to choose and prepare raw eggs.
Whole Nectar Soy Protein Powder
This is the brand I used to use at shows. Although some demonstrators still sell it at shows, we no longer use it in recipes. When I did use soy at shows, I only used one half of a scoop at a time. I know that the jury is out on Soy. I’ve looked at both sides of the issue, and all I can say is, “all things in moderation”. I don’t use soy at home. I wouldn’t recommend using Soy powder as part of a daily program. I don’t recommend that you use Any Protein Powder on a regular basis – I think of protein powders as “kind of healthy fast food” (at least better than McDonalds). Protein Powders are something you might use in a pinch if you can’t get another less processed form of protein. If you are going to use SOY Protein Powder, I prefer the brand that we sell at a Road Show because it is the only Organic, non-GMO soy powder, that uses the Whole soy bean – not just soy protein isolates. Enter this code: 15244 to save 20% on the Whole Nectar Protein Powder sold at shows by Vitamix sales demonstrators.
My Favorite Protein Powders
I use Protein Powers on rare occasions (perhaps once a month?), but when I do, here are some of my favorite kinds. Hemp is a great source for Protein Powder. Whey Protein is a great protein, and an exception to the “doesn’t taste good” rule. The Whey Protein from BioTrust is far and away my favorite brand. IMPORTANT! If you use protein powders, make your smoothie first, then turn the machine to a lower variable speed and just stir them in. In the case of whey protein, this will help prevent foaminess. Also, you should never put a protein powder in first as eventually it can work its way into the blade assembly, and freeze up the bearings.
This is a whole topic in itself… suffice it to say, you CAN add Wheat Grass to your green smoothies – and I do!
This is great for energy – do your research on Google for side effects and the best way to use it (you don’t take it daily).
Matcha Green Tea Powder
This is another additive that I love! Again, I’ll let you do your own research. Here is my favorite source to buy Matcha Green Tea.
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By Lea Ann Savage Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved