Valentine’s Day is two days away and people all across the country are scrambling to buy their share of the 36 million heart shaped boxes sold annually for the holiday. Fellow real-food eaters should know that the chances of those chocolates NOT containing some sort of artificial sweetener is slim.
Be original. Give your loved one a piece of fruit instead.
Really Tiff? Isn’t that a little… um… boring?
Since when is being a hero boring?!
Why purposely spend your hard-earned money and allow them back in?!
Here’s eight, incredibly legit and scary reasons why we should all stop consuming high fructose corn syrup.
1. HFCS is not a food – it’s a chemical created in a lab. It doesn’t grow in the ground, it is not created naturally by an animal, nor is it simply extracted from corn.
2. It requires at least seven steps and 40 hours to make high fructose corn syrup. Creating HFCS is not the equivalent as keeping a sourdough starter in your fridge for a few days. These are complicated steps! Components are broken down, ground up, washed and dried and broken down again. If that weren’t enough, the molecules at this point are separated apart and a portion of them are mixed with fermented bacteria to create an increased concentration of itself. (The full write-up is here, if you need more details.)
3. One of the ingredients to make HFCS is sulfuric acid. You know the dangers of car battery acid, right? That it causes SEVERE burns and must be disposed of properly in order to not contaminate the air, water and soil in our environment? Want to take a guess which acid makes car batteries so dangerous? Sulfuric acid. As if this weren’t enough…
Read the remaining five reasons, plus where HFCS was hiding in my own kitchen here. Then you’ll COMPLTELY understand how giving your loved ones fruit instead of highly processed chocolate is saving their lives.
Fear not – there is still hope for chocolate on Valentine’s Day!
The opportunities to use natural sweeteners is so much greater now than it used to be. Making delicious homemade treats that aren’t filled to the brim with processed and artificial sugar is completely possible!
Stevia is one of those natural sweeteners. It comes from a plant (species Steva rebaudiana) that has sweet leaves. It’s really that simple! The most natural way to use the plant is to dry and grind the leaves, but most manufactures use a water extraction process.
Yay for no battery acid in our dessert!
Stevia was completely foreign to me until my sister-in-law bought some while on vacation last November. She doesn’t eat fake food so when she saw that I had packed a small jar of Splenda for coffee, she ran out to get Stevia in the Raw instead. To be honest, I was not a fan. It had a bitter aftertaste that nearly ruined my morning coffee. In fact, the bitterness was so strong that I stopped adding sweetener altogether before the trip was over.
The Splenda was still available, but it was embarrassing to pull it out in from of my sister-in-law when she had clearly turned her nose up at it. 😉
Last summer I won a giveaway of various types of stevia from a company called NuNaturals. They sent me some individual sized packets and a few bottles of their liquid formulas, but it had been sitting on the very top shelf in a cabinet in my kitchen – untouched. I was afraid to stray from my tried and true Splenda.
Taking my sister-in-law’s lead, I tried to ride as much “artificialness” as I could find in my own kitchen. I threw away my Splenda and gave stevia a second chance.
The first experiment was the coffee. I was ready for utter failure again, but the NuNaturals was MUCH better than what we had on vacation. It still had a slight after taste, but nowhere close to the other brand and it certainly didn’t ruin my coffee. Adding my half and half made it quite good!
NuStevia is the powdered form of stevia and the flagship brand for NuNaturals. It’s important to remember that stevia does not behave like sugar, so you cannot substitute NuStevia cup for cup in your recipes. However, you can substitute for part of the recipe and in turn, significantly decrease the amount of sugar used in the recipe. NuNaturals offers TONS of verified recipes on their site using NuStevia so you don’t have to bother experimenting with recipes only to waste expensive ingredients on flat cakes and ruined desserts.
The last time I made cranberry orange scones, I reduced the sugar from 1/3 cup to 1/4 cup and used orange flavored NuNaturals stevia in place of the orange juice concentrate. The ladies from bible study (and my kids) gobbled them up and no one could taste the fact that it had stevia in them!
Remember the lemon cheesecake I posted about on Facebook? That it looked great but I wasn’t sure how it would turn out given the experimental hodge-podge recipe?
Part of the experimentation included lemon flavored stevia AND vanilla flavored stevia in place of the vanilla extract and I think it completely boosted the lemony-ness of the cheesecake. It was so creamy and delicious! We’ve even added the orange flavor to homemade yogurt and you could use this to make orange yogurt freezer pops for the summer!
Imagine how you could change up and enhance the flavors of granola, homemade bars, smoothies, cookies and puddings AND reducing sugar at the same time!
NuNaturals is offering Crumbs readers a 15% discount on EVERYTHING on their site using the code BLG0613 through June 30, 2013! Browse their site and see what they have to offer – coconut sugar, zylitol, vanilla beans and even specialty herbal extracts. Their prices are some of the lowest available and shopping with a discount code is always better!
Disclaimer: NuNaturals sent me a sample to review.