Sweeteners 101

 

With so many different kinds of sweeteners available in the market today, it has become confusing to figure out which ones are good, and healthy for you. Here’s to help you decide which is best for your health:

Sugar or sucrose, also commonly known as table sugar comes from sugarcane or sugar beets. It is also found naturally in fruits. This is widely added to baked goods, ice cream, cereals, sauces and marinades, jams and jellies. Brown sugar which comes from the same sources gets its color from added molasses. Sugar gives you energy and will cause your blood sugar to rise rapidly, before crashing leaving you tired and more hungry.

Agave syrup is a sweet extract similar to, and tastes like honey. This comes from the same agave cactus that gives us tequila. Unlike table sugar, agave syrup does not cause your blood sugar to spike. Agave is much sweeter than sugar so you only need a little to get the same sweetness from sugar. This is ideal for diabetics.

Honey is a natural sweetener that is commonly used as a sugar substitute due to its high antioxidant properties and numerous vitamins and minerals. Honey is a delight to add to your tea, oatmeal, and yogurt.

Maple syrup adds a wholesome sweetness to a wide variety of foods as sausages, ice cream, pancakes, toast, waffles and baked goods. Just like honey, maple syrup contains antioxidants which are good for a healthy heart and immune system.

High fructose corn syrup is a super sweet liquid from the sugars fructose and glucose in cornstarch. This type of sweetener is in processed food like cereals, yogurts, sodas, desserts, baked goods, condiments, etc. as it gives food a longer shelf life. HFCs in a wide array of food consumed daily is believed to contribute to the sharp increase of obesity problems today.
Stevia is a natural no calorie sweetener which comes from the stevia plant. Stevia is available in granular form used as a diet sweetener, and it is commonly added to beverages, protein and diet shakes. Stevia, also marketed as Pruvia, Truvia, Sun Crystals is safe to use in baking and  cooking.

Saccharin is a calorie-free synthetic compound containing sodium, hydrogen and oxygen. This is more commonly known as Sweet ‘N Low. Saccharin is much sweeter than sugar and keeps its properties when heated, as in added to tea and coffee. While studies have linked this artificial sweetener to cancer in rats, there is not enough evidence of it causing cancer in humans. Saccharin is considered safe for diabetics.

Sucralose or Splenda is a chemically tweaked (not recognized by the body as a carbohydrate) sugar that  is calorie free. Splenda is in many cereals, desserts, baked and frozen goods, as well as beverages. This sweetener is much sweeter than sugar and it holds up well when used in baking. It is known to cause abdominal pain and discomfort in some people.

Aspartame also known as Equal and Nutrasweet is another artificial sweetener that is safe for diabetics. This is commonly found in sugar-free gum, and diet or sugar-free drinks/beverages, and added on to fruits, and cereals. Aspartame is not recommended for baking as it breaks down when heated. There is no sufficient evidence to support claims that Aspartame causes Alzheimer’s disease. But the use of this artificial sweetener is a common trigger for migraine headaches and is best therefore to avoid its use if you are a migraine sufferer.

Natural sugar intake must be reduced and the use of artificial sweeteners must be avoided altogether to reduce the risk of getting the following diseases: diabetes, obesity, cancer, alzheimers’ and heart disease. Nourish your body with only the very best there is for a long and healthy life.

Edible Gardening

Growing and harvesting your own supply of fresh fruits, herbs and vegetables is both very productive and rewarding whether it is done in your very own backyard, or with friends and neighbors in the community. There are several ways to start and maintain your edible garden and I’ve included these below.

Your gardening area can be anywhere you desire your edible garden would be if you have a lot of space in your yard, or in the absence of a yard, try container gardening instead which you can easily place on the patio or balcony, or on the deck or porch. You’ll find that there is a large number of dwarf plant varieties ready to grow in your choice of containers. And if you do have the space, then planting directly among your existing greenery is a great option. Raised beds is one to consider as well. With whichever one you choose or that would work best for you, it is important for your planted space to get a full 6 to 8 hours of sun daily to maximize your flavorful and bountiful harvest.

Fertile and well draining soil is the foundation of a healthy garden. Adding compost, wood products, and manure mixed in to existing soil will drastically improve the quality of the garden soil. Just make sure to let it blend well and settle for a few days before starting to plant. If the soil is of very poor quality, containers and raised beds would be your other options. Newly planted seedling and young plants need more frequent watering than mature or older plants. Keep soil watered to stay moist but not soggy. Water more when it is hot outside than when the weather is cool.

Deciding what to plant is usually not hard to do, but can be somewhat overwhelming because of the wide array of choices. Think of what you would like to eat, or what you would like to share with others and let that be your planting guide. Whether you start with seeds or seedlings is your personal preference. Seeds are generally cheaper and can be planted directly where you want it to grow while seedlings are more expensive but ready to be transplanted to your garden or container. Always read the seed packet instructions or seedling transplanting directions for the best outcome.


Other things to consider would be the time it will take from planting to harvesting. Annual crops like broccoli, lettuce, tomatoes, peas and peppers are ready in just a few months, while perennials including squash, herbs, and fruit trees will initially produce a small harvest but will typically yield a bigger harvest after the first year.

Feed your plants especially in their growth spurts, more so when your edibles are in containers. Using organic fertilizers is highly recommended for edible gardening. Organic fertilizers break down slowly releasing the nutrients into the soil gradually while chemical fertilizers are water soluble and do not stay long enough in the soil. Use mulch to reduce evaporation and to prevent weeds from growing. Organic mulch material including compost, bark and wood chips slowly add nutrients to the soil as this slowly decompose.

Now that your plants are in place and thriving, you’ll need to maintain your edible garden to keep it healthy, pest free and weed free. Check your plants frequently for disease and pests, and treat problems with a natural and organic herbicide. It is important to kill weeds early on when it first appears to prevent it from overpowering your garden. A white vinegar and water solution is highly effective to treat weed problems.

The wonderful flavors of the freshly harvested edibles from your very own garden is highly satisfying. It is food for your mind, body and spirit. It is never too early to start planning your edible garden for the next planting season.

 

 

 

 

 

Healthy Living – It Starts From Within

Healthy living – for some is the norm. For others like me, it can be a necessary change brought on by a life event. Change means to make or become different, and this could mean of varying degrees to different people as it can either be very minor or drastic in nature. But it almost always is for good or a positive outcome. Change also usually comes during the new year..a new year’s resolution. Sometimes it is easier said than done, especially when the change you want in your life is to stay healthier, or more active or something of that nature. Many resolutions or the desired change that we set for ourselves at the beginning of the year usually only lasts a few weeks on the average, so seldom does it stick through the next year.

The desire to stay healthy or healthier is a common goal for many, but without the determination and motivation, it stays just as it is, a goal. So how do you move it forward, and actually get to a healthier you? It’s important to take simple steps and make sure that what you set out to do is actually within your limitations, or achievable.

A good start would be to spend some quiet time to contemplate on what you want to do, and how you want to proceed. Having a plan and setting a realistic goal by starting with the basic and simplest things is a step towards your goal.
If you put your heart and mind to it, then you can do it.

If you are new to exercise or working out, or have not done so in a while, ease yourself into the basics, and slowly work your way up. Proper stretching and warming up is important, as well as keeping a steady pace that your body can actually handle is great. After a few sessions, chances are your exercise regimen will become more routine. Now is the time to introduce different techniques or more advanced moves to keep your newly reconditioned body up to the challenge.

Eat well, and healthy. Eating healthy does not mean having bland or tasteless food, so be adventurous and treat your palate to food that you have not tasted before. Do not be afraid to experiment and try different recipes, cooking methods, different cuisines. If taking on a new diet, gradually introduce the change to your body instead of taking on a rigid diet in a moment’s notice. You want this process to be enjoyable. Do not deprive yourself of foods you love or enjoy the most as this will only result in cravings cause if and when you do start to give in, then you’re essentially back to square one. Don’t forget to stay hydrated…drink up all the water and natural juices to quench and replenish expended fluids. Avoid caffeinated as well as artificially sweetened drinks, and limit alcohol consumption. Remember to take everything in stride…and in moderation.

Get a good night’s sleep of at least 6 to 7 hours each night to give your body time to recuperate from your daily stress. When you’ve slept well, your body in turn functions well as it had time to heal and recharge. You are alert, and all five senses work perfectly. Keep in mind that sleep deprivation takes its toll on the body causing mental and behavioral issues such as anxiety, depression, irritability, headaches, short attention span, all sorts of body aches and pain and mild to serious illnesses.

Avoid taking medication if it is not for a life threatening disease or disorder. Explore the wide range of natural and herbal remedies available for almost every ailment, or for taking preventive measures. If you exercise, eat healthy and sleep well, there may not be a need to medicate altogether. Indulge in a massage and enjoy the wonderful healing therapy for your body.

Take on a hobby, or do something you love like gardening, cooking, painting, and on and on. There’s so many activities that you can partake in to relax and give yourself a break from the daily grind. Even just taking a different way to work or your local store can be a refreshing change to your normal routine. Challenging your brain gives you mental clarity and keeps you young so don’t be afraid to learn something new everyday.

It is always great for your body, mind and soul to spend some time to recollect, meditate or pray, to give thanks and appreciation for life itself and everyone near and dear to your heart. Smile and have an open caring heart. Laugh like you’ve never laughed before. Love yourself and others freely. The good thing is we don’t have to wait for the new year to change something in our life. You and I can make it happen anytime, anywhere. Enjoy life and it’s blessings!
 

 

 

 

 

About Me

Hello my name is Sienna. I have always been intrigued by the intricacies of the internet world. Over the years, I’ve picked up bits and pieces of knowledge along the way, and have come to understand that it has become user friendlier by the day. Because of this, I have decided to take it on and make it a part in this new chapter of my life, in hopes of meeting new people, discovering new things and most especially hopefully finding some things in common with some of you in my quests for finding natural and drug free relief to migraines, as well as with the everyday aches and pains that just comes with life. Having suffered from this condition for over 30 years is my motivation to reach out to seek help, and provide the same in this exciting online exchange and sharing of ideas and remedies.
If you’ve ever had a migraine or is a chronic sufferer, then you know how it can be debilitating, it sets you back a little, though mostly a lot, and simply messes up your day, or days, or even weeks if you’re like me. Medication can only give temporary relief, which is why I am very interested in finding nature’s way to relieve, if not cure it. Lifestyle change is a major step, and when paired with natural remedies and massage therapy can surely work wonders and provide one with pain free days. I am always excited to get my hands on new things or remedies for migraine free living, and I am also happy to share what I’ve found to help any migraine sufferer achieve the same. People with migraines have different levels of tolerance, pain levels, triggers, etc. Understanding all this, and your personal journey I believe is key to getting it less and less, and hopefully no more of the episodes in the long run.
One thing that has helped me on those very bad episodes is having the company of my dog Sami. He is such a darling, very comforting and tender, with the sweetest unconditional love anyone could ask for. (I love you Sami!)
Please connect with me if you have any questions or concerns, or would just like to share something..it is always welcome.
All the best,

Sienna

naturalhealthychoices.com