Sugar, Sugar

by Melody Morrow

I don’t know about you, but I certainly have a sweet tooth! How to enjoy sugary and sticky sweeteners without using heaping teaspoons of the white granulated kind to complement a snack, drink or breakfast food is something I am always trying to figure out. Finding the right sugar tweak helps lessen my sweet tooth without sacrificing all of the taste.

Here are some of my favorites and require no cooking!

  • Sprinkling cinnamon in coffee and my all time favorite.
  • A spoonful of honey from Manuka flowers from New Zealand, which is supposed to have the most healing power and the highest nutritional value.
  • Pouring some natural molasses on pancakes, French toast, etc. Blackstrap molasses is known for its important health benefits, but I found it to be a bit bitter.
  • A scoop of brown sugar scoop on top of my oatmeal is always delicious, but unfortunately has no health value like its white sugar counterpart. However, since I find it a bit sweeter I don’t use nearly use as much as white sugar. How’s that for a guilt free scoop.
  • Like most people if you enjoy ice cream and want to create something new try this fun little exercise. It’s very good to help fine motor skills too. Buy a chocolate stevia bar, break it up in little pieces, add to an ice cream flavor of choice and enjoy your latest chocolate chip creation. Stevia is also good for people watching their carbohydrates. If you can find an ice cream substitute with less sugar in it even better.

More traditional sweeteners like maple syrup, sorghum, raw honey, lo han guo, palm sugar, coconut sugar, rapadura are supposed to be “better-for-you” sugars, meaning they are minimally processed.

The Luo han guo fruit was named after advance Buddhist practitioners, called “luohan” and is also known as monk fruit or longevity fruit. Many of its people live to be over a hundred in this region of Southwest China. Good for diabetics and to add to drinks like unsweetened iced tea. Rapadura is a type of natural sweetener derived from the sugar cane plant. Sugar cane is juiced and dehydrated to produce this type of sugar. It’s health benefit is that it contains molasses and is naturally sweeter than white sugar so you don’t need to add as much. According to Wikipedia, “palm sugar was originally made from the sap of the Palmyra palm, the date palm or the sugar date palm. Now it is also made from the sap of the Arenga pinnata (sugar palm) and the nipa palm, and may therefore also be sold as “arenga sugar”. Palm sugar is made by making several slits into the stem of a palm tree and collecting the sap. The sap is then boiled until it thickens.

Palm sugar should not be confused with coconut sugar, which is made from the sap of cut flower buds of the coconut palm, instead of from the sap of the tree itself.” The world’s largest producers of coconuts are in the Philippines and Indonesia. Coconut sugar has a high mineral content and has become a popular sugar substitute for diabetics and is sweet like a brown sugar.

Let me know how you can add some of the sweet stuff to your meals, keeping it simple, but keep in mind eating a healthy diet in general goes a long way.

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