It felt so weird last Saturday not hanging out at the market. The rain was nice and the grass loved it, but I am looking forward to some market fun this weekend.
As most people know, Halloween is looming. Saturday will be full of ghouls, goblins, super heroes and princesses. They will want to fill their buckets with with goodies and the result will be a series of ups and downs from all that sugar. It is hard to avoid as an adult, much less resisting as a child–the candy corn and candy bars and lollipops at every turn.
Whether you call it dextrose, agave nectar, corn syrup, molasses, cane sugar, maltodextrin, evaporated cane juice, fructose, glucose, sucrose, honey, treacle…it is all sugar.
It is everywhere. I discovered recently it is even added to Sugar Free Coffee Creamer sold in the dairy section. Really??!! A lot of people don’t worry very much about their sugar consumption and many don’t realize how much they actually consume. When our daughter was little we educated ourselves about sugar and the impact it has on the immune system and physical/mental development. We took pains to avoid it as much as possible and it was not easy. From avoiding processed baby food and snacks to steering away from fruit juice, we hoped to influence her habits and preferences early to make it easier for her to focus on healthy choices later.
As she got older it became more difficult to avoid sugars, and led us to experimenting with sweeteners and whole fruits. Since my husband and I both avoid sugar as well it is a family challenge so our wonderful six year old daughter is not going it alone.
Why avoid sugar? This video by Nicole Avena for TED Ed Lessons is a good summary and place to start. As I have mentioned before, I am not a nutritionist or medical professional, but I can speak from personal observation of my own family.
My daughter is a great example of managing low levels of sugar in a diet. Her daily sugar consumption is usually made up one or two servings of raw carrots, apples and berries. She is an avid learner, able to focus on projects and has a cheerful demeanor. When she does have sugary candy or other concentrated sweets there is a noted change in her behavior and attention span for hours. She is more irritable and is not our typical alert, level-headed gal.
As for me, I get jittery and feel a bit nauseous. No, I am not a diabetic or pre-diabetic. I get tested every year, considering my father’s medical history. I stay away from sugar because I know how much better I feel when I don’t eat it. I also have a noted difference in food cravings and hunger pangs when it is excluded from my diet.
Grain Free Haven has one product that includes pure cane sugar. Our Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. The reason for it is perfection. They are perfect, except for the sugar. They are based on a recipe I started using when I was eight. We are working to perfect a sugar free version, but want to make sure it is a high quality product that stays together and tastes good. We are trying to create a cookie masterpiece with natural unsweetened peanut butter and sugar free chocolate. The quality is not quite what we want to offer yet, and the cost is still a bit steep. We offer the sugar version to accommodate our customers who want something sweet without sweetener. Speaking of sweetener….
There are a lot of sweeteners out there and a lot of people use them. My family has tried many and left all but one behind in our food journey. From aspartame to sugar alcohols and sucralose, we have tried them and read about pros and cons of them all. Having a sweet taste in a dish is not worth the poisonous and toxic impacts on the human body.
My husband even went through aspartame poisoning a few years ago and we now treat the chemical properly, like a poison. He was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and it took us on a long path of tests and exams. Saying no to therapy and drugs was our choice after a lot of research and thought. We chose a different path, which was eliminating aspartame from his diet. The result was disappearance of ALL the symptoms and the exclusion of the diagnosis during follow up medical exams. Some sources for your further perusal can be found here about aspartame, and sweeteners in general can be found here.
We cook exclusively with stevia from Stevita these days. The sweetener is sourced from a green plant called stevia rebaudiana (rebA) found in South America. Stevita relies on sustainable plant sources at their organic farm in Brazil. Some people have identified cons of using stevia, and others have identified pros. We landed on stevia because of the plant based source and nutritional benefits, along with an absence of toxic or poisonous effects.
BOTTOM LINE ON SWEET
If you are wondering whether sweeteners or sugars fit into your diet–there is a lot of information out there and nobody can make the decision for you except you.
Do they fit in specific diets, like paleo? It depends. Do they go with low carb diets? Answer may be yes. Have I confused you enough yet?
About half the standard Grain Free Haven products contain stevia, one is sweetened with pure cane sugar and the rest are not sweetened at all.
Here is where you can find us this week!
Grand Prairie Farmers Market on Saturday, October 31st, 8am – 1pm: this week’s market is if course Halloween-centric! The Grain Free Haven booth will have non-candy, non-sugar treats for the kids! Come on by and look for our allergen-free treat symbol–a blue pumpkin! Find more information about the Market and daytime trick or treating here.
I am still in the process of getting approved for the Dallas Farmers Market downtown. I will keep you up to date on when I will be there, so you can visit us and have more opportunities to restock during the week (outside of special orders)!
If you come by my booth and tell me this week’s discount code you will get $1 off any purchase of $15 or more! The code for this week is again PUMPKIN OVERLOAD.
Please feel free to forward and share this newsletter with anyone you like! I look forward to seeing you this weekend!