Today is all about Sugar.I am going to talk about what sweetener we use and how to make it.
I am so glad you have joined me today and checked in at the farmhouse. Its been a week since I posted last and it feels like forever. There are big plans in my head where I help you make some super yummy healthy treats, but I realized today that there is an important first step I need to share with you first. We need to discuss the sweetener that I use. As I sat down to write this I thought it would be so fast and easy but as I got into the meat of it I realized there really is so much to say.
We try to live sugar free as much as possible. I find my kids behave better and my pants fit longer. I don’t know about you but I really don’t like shopping for pants so this is a pretty good trade off for me. Living sugar free is difficult though. It can be expensive and it is hard to find a good substitute for white granulated processed sugar that gets all around rave reviews backed by solid science.
first lets take a minute to talk about inflammation. when my blood sugar gets high I can really feel it.
I am not getting any younger and I can feel a profound effect on my body when my blood sugar gets too high. Let me clarify, I don’t have diabetes, I am also not pre diabetic. However I do tend to be prone to inflammation and I feel it the most when I eat too many sweets or too many grains.
I feel this inflammation in my hands and wrists. It’s like carpel tunnel. For instance when I mow the lawn my hands will fall asleep. I also have troubles with my hands and arms falling asleep at night when I am in bed. My tingling arms and fingers wake me often and cause me to be tired in the day. Another place I feel inflammation is in my lower legs and they ache especially when I try to relax.
One last place I can really feel inflammation is in my back. If I am being careless with my diet my back gets so stiff it hurts to walk. I am a super active gal, I like to garden and keep up with my kids. If I am hurting so much that I don’t want to walk then I know something needs to change.
Lets just get right to it and see the recipe. You can read more about it if you want later on down below.
This is so easy to do. The only reason this is important is that you won’t enjoy eating Erytritol as a substitute alone. It needs to be balanced. The easiest way to do that is to balance it with other alternative natural sweeteners.
Sugar Free Sweetener Recipe.
Mix your Erythritol and your Stevia into a quart mason jar (as well as your Xylitol if you choose to use it). Put a lid on it and shake, or you can just stir.
Store it at room temperature. You can always double or tipple the recipe, I do. We don’t use Xylitol and the recipe works just as good without it.
You will find with this sweetener that yo don’t need nearly as much as with regular sugar. I like to go off of about 1/4 cup of the sweetener blend to every 1 cup of table sugar in the recipe. For things like smoothies it can be even less. When yo start out using it go by taste to get a feel for how much you need. If it starts to tingle in your mouth you have used too much.
THERE ARE A LOT OF OPTIONS FOR A SUGAR FREE LIFESTYLE.
There are a lot of choices out there for a sugar free lifestyle. With my kids I am much more easy going and liberal with what sweeteners they get to enjoy. I have no problem giving them 100% pure maple syurp or raw honey. I also love to make them treats with dried fruit, especially dates.
Sugar free living is super popular right now and you may have seen a lot of recipes about it online. Some popular diets like Paleo, Keto, Trim Healthy Mama, and Whole 30 all promote a sugar free lifestyle. Most of the alternatives to sugar are growing in popularity with some taking the lead if you want to loose weight.
Stevia, Erythritol, Xylitol and Monk Fruit are all moving to the front of the shelves in the store. You have likely heard of them along side those popular diets I mentioned above. Here at my house we have tried them all.
Why do we choose Erythritol?
Sadly there is no easy answer for many who try to give up sugar. For me the natural sugars in honey, maple syrup, and dates still fuel my inflammation and they still fuel bad bacteria in my gut (which is a topic for another day). So if I want to have any real relief I need to stick to options that do not raise my blood sugar. I have spent hours reading about all these options and the majority of what I have read is partial to Erythritol being one of the safest options for a sweetener. I still do enjoy honey, maple syrup and dates on rare occasion because they are yummy and they do offer health benefits.
One of the reasons that I like Erythritol is that it is natural. It is not the same thing as an artificial sweetener it is a sugar alcohol like Xylitol but is safer to digest. Sugar alcohols do not have an affect on blood sugar. Erythritol is also known to be an antioxidant.
why don't we use Xylitol?
We have tried Xylitol and it can really make my tummy rumble. I don’t like the gassy effect it has on me. There are people online and research has been done that say that Erythritol causes the same upset but I have never gotten any digestive upset from it. I think you would have to eat A LOT to get the same effect as a little of Xylitol.
Xylitol is also toxic to dogs, like deadly toxic, worse than chocolate and grapes. We have a dog. My stress level is so much better when we simply avoid it. We also have chickens and since I can’t guarantee that Xylitol is safe for them its just one more reason to avoid it as an option. Since its flavor is so close to regular sugar I did include it in my recipe. It might be a good match for you.
Stevia is another of our favorite alternatives to sugar.
Stevia is another option we use at our house to replace sugar. As in all things there is no suprise that there can be negative aspects to it as well. It is highly processed and some claim it can affect fertility. Some even claim that it is not actually safe due to the chemicals used to create it. It is also fairly bitter and it can be hard to find a good brand with no fillers.
Those negative points are all totally legitimate when it comes to Stevia. But when I know that regular sugar in all its forms is so bad for my health and compare the amounts used in recipes, Stevia is a no brainier. If I wanted to make a smoothie I would need at least 1/4 cup of sugar but only a pinch of Stevia since Stevia is so much sweeter then sugar.
As always everything in moderation
You know every time I write a blog post about health that I tell you to be sure to do your own due diligence. Spend some time reading about these sugar alternatives before just jumping in. Some people react differently and some may even be allergic.
Remember that it is not good to eat anything in excess. Don’t go and gorge yourself on treats that have been sweetened with sugar free alternatives, even if they are healthy ones. Remember that I am not a doctor and that you should consult with your doctor before making any significant diet changes.
For those of you who like to fact check I am providing a few links below. Go and read for yourself to see what will work best for you.
- Boesten, Danielle, et al. Health Effects of Erythritol. Research Gate. March 2015.
- Artificial Sweeteners and Other Sugar Substitutes. Mayo Clinic. Sept 25, 2018.
- Sugar Alcohols. Yale-New Haven Hospital Nutrition Advisor.
- de Cock, Peter and Bechert, Claire-Lise. Erythritol. Functionality in non-caloric beverages. Pure Appl. Chem., Vol. 74, No. 7, pp 1281 – 1289. 2002.
- Schaefer, Anna. Everything You Need to Know About Erythritol. Medical News Today. July 12, 2017.