Posts tagged agave nectar

Killer Sweeteners and Agave Nectar/Syrup – Not recommended!

Killer Sweeteners by Isabel De Los Rios – Certified Nutritionist
http://www.thedietkiller.com

In my practice as a nutritionist and personal trainer, new
clients are always coming to me telling me they are doing
everything they are “supposed” to be doing, but still, do not
lose weight. Of course, this is frustrating. Losing weight is
hard enough, and to change your eating habits and still see no
results, that’s even more frustrating.

So why do these people not lose weight? If I had to pick the
most common reason why most people’s efforts have proved no
results, I would say it is the deception of artificial
sweeteners and processed diet foods. Yes, you heard right. It is
the diet coke, diet snacks, processed foods and artificial
sweetener in your coffee that is keeping you fat. So how is this
so?

Artificial sweeteners overwhelm your liver

Your liver is your largest internal organ, and it’s responsible
for an astonishing variety of life-sustaining and
health-promoting tasks, including those that make healthy weight
loss and weight management possible. Integral to countless
metabolic processes, the liver supports the digestive system,
controls blood sugar and regulates fat storage. One of your
liver’s most important functions, and the most crucial to your
weight loss, is chemically breaking down everything that enters
your body, from healthy vegetables, to not so healthy fast food,
from healthy water to not so healthy soda.

It’s your liver’s job to distinguish between the nutrients you
need to absorb and the dangerous or unnecessary substances that
must be filtered out of your bloodstream. But when the liver is
clogged and overwhelmed with toxins, like artificial sweeteners,
it can’t do a very effective job of processing nutrients and
fats. If it can not process the nutrients and fats that your
body needs, this will cause you to gain weight or will prevent
you from losing weight. Your liver also produces bile, a crucial
substance for detoxifying our bodies.

It is the job of bile to help our bodies break down the fats we
need and to assimilate fat-soluble vitamins. But when our bile
becomes overly congested with the toxins it’s trying to filter
out, it simply can’t function properly. It becomes thick,
viscous and highly inefficient in breaking down fats. The
result: You are more likely to gain weight and to have a greater
difficulty losing it. So the more toxic your body becomes, the
more difficulty you’ll have losing weight and keeping it off
because your liver just can not work properly to break down fat.

Are artificial sweeteners considered a toxin?

So what qualifies something as a “toxin”? A toxin is anything
that your body does not recognize as a natural food source. The
reason why artificial sweeteners have “zero” calories is because
your body does not recognize them as a food source. For example,
the chemical process to make Splenda (sucralose) alters the
chemical composition of the sugar so much that it is somehow
converted to a completely different molecule than sugar. This
type of “fake” sugar molecule does not occur in nature and
therefore your body does not possess the ability to properly
metabolize it. This is how the makers of Splenda claim that it
has zero calories, because in theory it should not be digested
or metabolized by the body (Although it’s been shown that some
people’s body do absorb u.p to 15% of the artificial sweeteners
they ingest). So the more artificial sweeteners that you consume
in one day, the more you are overwhelming your liver with toxins
and the less able it is to do its job of processing fat.

And what happens if the liver can’t do its job? You can’t lose
weight or worse yet, you gain weight.

What if you don’t use artificial sweeteners? Don’t be fooled.
Almost every diet product on the market has some kind of
artificial sweetener added to it. Even some children’s snacks
are now being made with sucralose (Splenda) and most flavored
waters contain sucralose or aspartame.

Now add up how many things you eat in one day that contain some
form of artificial sweetener. The list may be very long. How
overwhelmed do you think your liver is? Does it have the ability
to work properly? Even if you keep your calories at bay and only
drink Diet Coke with your meals, will you truly get down to the
weight that you want, and stay there? It’s certainly been in my
experience that the answer is “no” and until you are ready to
commit yourself to a healthy way of eating, weight loss will
always be a constant struggle.

What else do sweeteners do? Sweeteners increase appetite

Artificial sweeteners tell your taste buds that, “sweet stuff
has arrived,” which to the brain means, “nutrition has arrived.”

When artificial sweetened drink or food reaches the small
intestine, the receptors find no nutrition. A message is then
sent back to the brain saying, “We’ve been tricked-there’s no
nutrition here.” The appestat (the part of your brain that
triggers satiety) sends the message to “keep eating because we
need nutrition to help process all this fake food and run your
body.” So even after you eat a good portioned healthy meal
(along with your diet coke) you still feel like your starving
all day, or you become very hungry soon after. Your healthy
eating efforts may be sabotaged if you continue to feel hungry
all day. No one likes to feel hungry so you continue to eat more
food until you feel satisfied, which in your effort to lose
weight, may just be too much.

Sweeteners increase our Sweet Tooth

Saccharin (Sweet n Low) is 300 times sweeter than sugar,
aspartame (Equal) is 200 times sweeter than sugar and sucralose
(splenda) is 600 times sweeter than sugar. Such sweeteners can
only increase our sweet tooth and increase our taste of sweet
things. If you can never get rid of your sugar cravings, any
healthy eating plan will be difficult because you will
constantly be craving “sweet”. Artificial sweeteners have also
shown to promote the same blood sugar fluctuations as regular
sugar, which, again will bring on “sugar lows” which will
i.ncrease appetite and cravings. This is not to say, that
something sweet now and again is not ok, but it is those people
who can not control their sugar cravings that are being
sabotaged by these artificial sweeteners.

What are some alternatives to sweeteners?

Giving up sugar and artificial sweeteners may be difficult,
especially if you are accustomed to everything having such a
sweet taste. A wonderful alternative to sugar and artificial
sweeteners is an herb called Stevia. Stevia is an
extraordinarily sweet herb, 200-300 times sweeter than sugar.

Stevia is almost zero calories, so it is perfect for people who
are watching their weight. Unlike sugar, it does not trigger a
rise in blood sugar so you will not get a sudden burst of energy
followed by fatigue and a need for another “fix”. It increases
energy and aids digestion by stimulating the pancreas. Stevia
also presents great advantages over saccharine and other
artificial sweeteners in that it is not toxic. Stevia is a plant
that is found in nature and is not man-made in a laboratory.

Stevia can be found at almost all health food stores such as
Whole Foods, and is listed under the “supplement” section.
Stevia can be used exactly like sugar and artificial sweeteners
to sweeten drinks and it can even be used in baking.

If weight loss or staying away from sweets has always been a
problem for you, take notice of how much artificial sweetener
you have been ingesting. That just may be the culprit. Make a
resolution this year to give up the “fake” stuff and stick to
natural alternatives like Stevia. You will not only be helping
your weight loss efforts but you will also be benefiting your
health. If you or someone you know is addicted to sweet drinks
such as sodas or beverages sweetened with sugar or artificial
sweeteners, try this “Tea Juice” and you will see that weaning
yourself off sugar or sweeteners will be much easier.

Tea Juice

-5-6 bags of any non-caffeine herbal tea of your choice (green
tea, peach tea, berry tea, orange zinger, lemon, etc.)

-3 quarts water

-Stevia powder or liquid to taste

Boil tea bags in a large pot. Add 1-2 full teaspoons of stevia
while still hot. (You may add more or less, based on your
desired sweetness) Let tea cool and then transfer to the
refrigerator in Ice Tea pitchers or individual size water
bottles.

This drink is a great replacement to Diet Coke or Diet Snapple.

Isabel De Los Rios – Certified Nutritionist
http://www.thedietkiller.com

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Agave Nectar/Syrup

Here is some info from the website Food Renegade: (here is the link to the site to read the full article – http://www.foodrenegade.com/agave-nectar-good-or-bad/). In a recent article now posted on the Weston A. Price foundation’s website, Ramiel Nagel and Sally Fallon Morell write, Agave “nectar” is not made from the sap of the yucca or agave plant but from the starch of the giant pineapple-like, root bulb. The principal constituent of the agave root is starch, similar to the starch in corn or rice, and a complex carbohydrate called inulin, which is made up of chains of fructose molecules. Technically a highly indigestible fiber, inulin, which does not taste sweet, comprises about half of the carbohydrate content of agave.

The process by which agave glucose and inulin are converted into “nectar” is similar to the process by which corn starch is converted into HFCS. The agave starch is subject to an enzymatic and chemical process that converts the starch into a fructose-rich syrup—anywhere from 70 percent fructose and higher according to the agave nectar chemical profiles posted on agave nectar websites.

Some more info from the article on this site: In a different article, Rami Nagel quotes Russ Bianchi, managing director and CEO of Adept Solutions, Inc., a globally recognized food and beverage development company, on the similarities between agave nectar and high fructose corn syrup:

They are indeed made the same way, using a highly chemical process with genetically modified enzymes. They are also using caustic acids, clarifiers, filtration chemicals and so forth in the conversion of agave starches into highly refined fructose inulin that is even higher in fructose content than high fructose corn syrup.

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Coconut Secret – Low Glycemic Coconut Products

Coconut Secret – Low Glycemic Coconut Products

The company, Coconut Secret, has “tapped” into a way to create great products made from the sap of coconut that are natural alternatives to traditional products on the market. To me, they are above board then even some of the “natural” products you see in health food stores and supermarkets. Some, of course, are better then others and some, I see as being worse for you then eating dirt or grass from your yard. So, “all products are not created equal,” in my humble opinion.

The owners, Leslie and Randy, found a personal need for their family and decided to create their own products because there were none on the market that met their expectations. As the saying goes, “necessity is the mother of invention.” They took this opportunity and ran with it and I am happy that these products came about because they are not only good for you, but they also taste good! You can forget about your traditional soy sauces, vinegars, honey and sugars because these products from Coconut Secret, in my opinion, will eliminate the conventional unhealthy ones from your pantry.

Coconut Secret does everything right and never cut corners in making their products. Most products (except for some of their chocolate bars that have dairy and not 100% organic) are 100% Organic, Vegan, Gluten-Free, Non-GMO, Kosher and no MSG in their soy-free seasoning sauce.

The benefits of using the sap of the coconut blossoms is that it’s very low glycemic in and of itself and also rich in vitamin C, B vitamins, minerals, amino acids and close to a neutral pH.

Another thing I am very pleased that the company opted to do when making their products, is to use glass bottles and not plastic. We all know that plastic, even the supposed non-toxic ones that are called BPA-free, likely still have some chemical components that may leach into the product. I have never personally had a BPA-free container tested for what it is made of in a lab, but it would be interesting to know that. Perhaps that can be researched further by “googling” it. I am not a “fan” of using plastics at all. I do understand that not all products can be packed in glass for various reasons, including cost, safety, etc. To me glass is the best option for a number of reasons: 1- no leaching of chemicals into food from plastic and the fact that it’s sitting in the plastic for who knows how long while it is sitting on the shelf in the store, 2- you can reuse the glass bottles or jars for many different purposes: food, gifting something to others, using as your water bottle and if nothing else, recycle it, 3- my opinion is that they have a better shelf-life, as well, 4- the food in the glass is much healthier for you, because why would/how could you want to make an organic product and then house them in plastic? To me, that is similar to buying fresh, healthy, ripe and organic produce and then washing it with chemically-laden tap water. Another example would be someone who was told they needs to exercise for health, so they decide to ride a bicycle, but smoke a cigarette while doing so. I think you get the message. Glass is best! I would go so far as to say, I never buy “plastic” water, because even if it is pure water, it has still been living in plastic for who knows how long and chemicals have been leaching into it. My tip to you: when traveling by plane and you can not take a glass or stainless water bottle, do not buy plastic water. The best bet, is to take produce that is rich in structured water that will hydrate you and also provide you with other beneficial vitamins and minerals. Some suggestions: apples, oranges, grapefruit, grapes, kiwis, melons, peaches, plums, nectarines, pears, celery, cherry tomatoes and cucumbers.

Also, their products has simple easy to read and understand ingredients that you do not need a degree in chemistry or the like to understand. The 3 coconut products I discuss here, are actually only made of one ingredient, that being coconut sap from the coconut blossoms (except for the coconut aminos that adds sea salt).

The 3 products I review here are:
Raw Coconut Vinegar, Raw Coconut Nectar and Coconut Aminos.

1) Raw Coconut Vinegar: This product is by far better tasting then any vinegar I have had in the past, including apple cider, umeboshi plum and rice vinegar. It smells exactly like traditional apple cider vinegar, in my opinion, and has higher nutritional value then similar products in its amino acid, vitamin and mineral content.

It also has the added benefit of being a great source of FOS – fructooligosaccharides – which is a prebiotic that feeds/promotes the growth of “good” intestinal bacteria, which are in fruits and vegetables, including, apples, pears, garlic, onion and asparagus (which differs from a probiotic, which is the “good”/beneficial gut bacteria that aids in intestinal/digestive health, such as found in foods like sauerkraut, miso, kefir, kimchi and kombucha). So, it taste yummy plus you improve your digestion – what a great concept! You can sprinkle it on your salad, add it to dressings, marinades, to season rice for sushi, in spreads, sauces and patés. It can also be used for cleansing internally, as well as skincare.

The reason it is called “raw,” is because it’s processed without any heat and therefore, is also rich in enzymes. It is made in small batches, which means it is fresher and they have more control over the results. This vinegar is naturally aged for 8 months to 1 year to give it the distinct flavor, which does not taste coconutty at all! It also does not need any refrigeration.

2) Raw Coconut Nectar: This is one of the best alternatives to sweeteners on the market today. If you want a product that pours like honey, is as sweet as any other sweetener, can be used in all your desserts, does not need refrigeration, and is safe for diabetics, has a low glycemic index, then this is the product you ought to buy and use regularly!

There are so many products on the market today if you have a “sweet tooth,” and the majority are made with unnatural, chemically processed ingredients, colored with carcinogenic dyes and then use products like aspartame, splenda, nutrasweet – which are actually all the same thing and produced by Monsanto. If you are not aware of them, they produce r-BGH [bovine growth hormone] milk, and GMO [genetically modified organisms] foods which have already proven to not help with the hunger issue in the world and also cause the plants to need to be sprayed with more pesticides, herbicides, etc. The yield are usually lower and animal fed GMO feed have developed all kinds of problems/illnesses/diseases and when they are fed non-GMO feed the problems all go away. If you would like to do your own experiment to see what happens, take an organic corn on the cob and conventionally grown corn on the cob [which is more likely then not to be GMO] and put them both outside and put a popsicle stick in the ground next to each one and write organic and conventional to distinguish the two of them. Then see which one gets mostly eaten by the birds and creatures. This will tell you a lot! Besides the fact, that if the companies decide to inject something into the seed that you may be deathly allergic to, such as peanut, soy, etc, you will never know.

Now you know why to stay away from the chemical products on the market, but even the supposed “natural” sweeteners may not be good for hypoglycemic and diabetic people, of which their is a very large population of the world in these categories, including very young children.

Their have been an influx of products using agave nectar, especially with raw food snack products, which are better for you, but adding agave changes that and it is tauted as being a better/healthier alternative. Most people do not know that it is actually worse or on par with HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) which causes numerous health problems. I will have an article on my blog coming up in the future that discusses this subject. So you know, it is not raw, is highly processed and high glycemic, which is not good for anyone, even if you do not have any issues with your pancreas, but over time, it could lead to it. I was even surprised that a company I know who bottles the best raw organic coconut water, in my opinion, are using agave as a sweetener in their raw tea! They already have access to the coconuts, so why aren’t they using the coconut nectar from the blossoms or contacting Coconut Secret to use their nectar? I hope to get in touch with the company soon, so this can be remedied!

3) Coconut Aminos: Are you still using Kikkoman, Braggs or any of the other soy sauces on the market? So you know, most soy is GMO (as explained above) and even with the ones that say organic, there is still the issue of cross-contamination if it was planted in a field where there are other gluten crops growing or grown in soil that was previously used to grow gluten crops (i.e. wheat, barley, rye, spelt, kamut, etc). This is an issue, especially for those who have gluten sensitivities/intolerance or celiac disease, but even for though of us who are staying away from gluten, as a preventative measure, because gluten, can reck havoc on the body, which specifically begins in the colon (where the health of the body begins) and cause numerous health problems. Think of the word gluten – sounds like glue and who wants something in their body that acts like glue, I don’t! That is why this is the perfect alternative to soy sauce and has a similar flavor without the soy. You can use it on your salads, in stews, dressings, sauces, bean dishes, etc.

Coconut Secret also sells other great coconut products, such as coconut flour, coconut sugar, etc and you can check them all out on their website: http://www.coconutsecret.com

Also check out my video review: http://www.youtube.com/TheRawsomeVeganGal

In closing, I hope that all markets/stores, in time will only carry products such as sold by Coconut Secret. A lot of companies can learn from them (and I wish they would) as to how to make great products for health and not compromise or “cave in” to cut corners based on their own selfish needs or being pressured by governmental “hounds” as opposed to the concerns and long term benefits to the people and the planet. They have their priorities right and straight! A big thank you and gratitude always!

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Company Review: Food On Purpose – Organic Raw Vegan Snacks Part 2

Food On Purpose – Organic Raw Vegan Snacks Part 2 in business since 2007 Their motto is: “Intentional Choices, Powerful Foods”

To read part one of my review of these company’s savory raw snacks click on this link:
https://rawsomegal.wordpress.com/2013/10/26/company-review-food-on-purpose-organic-raw-vegan-snacks-and-treats-part-1/

I am reviewing the sweet raw snacks from this company. I am not a “fan” of using agave nectar, as it is equated to HFCS – high fructose corn syrup and is not recommended. I did sample these products, anyway, as GK was kind enough to send them to me for review.

I would say a better option is date syrup or coconut nectar, if a thick liquid syrup is necessary. I actually prefer using the green stevia leaf or powder as it is not sugar and merely a sweet leaf discovered in South America and it is antibacterial, helps regulate blood sugar, etc. To read more about this amazing sweet leaf, read the book, “The Miracle of Stevia,” by James A. May.

I emailed GK about the use of agave sweetener and received this response from him. In an email from GK (National Sales Manager), he says: “We do use agave in our Roonies. They are tasty (especially Choco Roonies) but we are looking at other sweeteners.”

Here is a review of the products: They are all dehydrated, dairy free, gluten free, certified organic and raw.

Granola In The Raw
This is a really nice granola and uses sprouted buckwheat, nuts and seeds. It is tasty and mildly sweet (even though it uses agave, but to me did not seem like a lot of it). The ingredients do not stick today, as in other raw granolas that use dates, but remain separated. I tasted it right out of the bag as a snack and also used it with some coconut water, as a cereal (or you can make a seed or nut milk yourself that is vegan, as I don’t recommend any dairy consumption).

Roonies (as in Macaroons) – 3 varieties
Overall, these are moist and chewy with each one having a different flavor, depending on the ingredients used. One thing I found unnecessary was the use of coconut oil as they are actually soaking in the oil at the bottom of the package (I did not find that “oil pool” in the Choco Roonies) I took them out and used a couple of paper towels to absorb the oil. The would still be delicious without the oil and with another sweetener (as I mentioned above).

Sunny Roonies
These macaroons use mostly coconut and lemon. I like the lemony flavor. It is sweeter then the cereal, as more agave is used and it is the first ingredient listed.

Ginger Roonies
These macaroons have ginger and maca powder. The taste is not strong or overly sweet as the previous one I mentioned. The ginger taste kicks in later and is not overpowering.

Choco Roonies
These macaroons use Peruvian organic cacao, maca powder and vanilla flavor. These has a sweet flavor, but are not overly sweet. I may try and make them myself and use carob instead of cacao or a mix of both of them for a different flavor.

Birds In The Nest
First, I like the name, it is very unique and clever. This is made mostly with cashews and has a raspberry jam scoop in the center of it. I love the color contrast between the macaroon and the fruit. Perhaps other berries can be used such as strawberries, goji berries, blackberries, yellow raspberries, etc (I am salivating, just things about the possibilities, as I am always creating recipes in my head, as I am a chef). This product is flakier, dry and mildly sweet.

To find out more about these products and the company, go to http://www.foodonpurpose.com
I also have a link on the right hand column of this page under the title Blogroll.

Check out my youtube channel http://www.youtube.com/TheRawsomeVeganGal for a video review of these products and for many more product reviews, healthy living topics and recipe ideas.

Disclaimer: I was not sponsored to write this, but I did receive a sample of the product(s). These are strictly my opinions. I only review products that I, myself would use and purchase.

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