7 Best Supplements For Healthy Living

Why Take Supplements

best supplementsI am getting to the age where I have to think a little more about my overall health. Vitamins are a great way to help my body get the nutrients that I need. I have found the 7 best vitamins for me. I am an average American male with a reasonably healthy diet and lifestyle so I wanted to find the best way to supplement my diet.

There are so many dietary supplements that it gets a little overwhelming when you start to look at what supplements to take. I found what seems to be the best supplements for average healthy people to take.

Vitamin D

The first one I found is Vitamin D. This is probably the most important supplement that you can take because it effects more than 1000 different genes and is essential for hormones like estrogen, human growth hormone and testosterone. Vitamin D is one of the few vitamins that our bodies can make and we make it using sunlight and cholesterol but most of us don’t get enough of it.

Vitamin D Benefits:

  • can help you sleep
  • increased immune system function
  • decreased inflammation
  • helps with calcium metabolism
  • assists with bone formation

Magnesium

Magnesium is almost as important as Vitamin D for overall health. One of the reasons that we don’t get enough magnesium is that most available commercial produce is grown in soil that is deficient in magnesium. Magnesium oil spray is a great way to get your daily dose because it absorbs through your skin and it’s one less pill to take.

Magnesium benefits:

  • helps in reducing stress
  • improves heart health
  • can help prevent headaches
  • good for preventing muscle cramps

Vitamin C

The next one I found is Vitamin C. Everyone knows that Vitamin C is great for when you are sick or stressed but it is also a necessary vitamin supplement to take regularly because most of us don’t get enough from the foods that we eat.

Vitamin C Benefits:

  • helps form collagen and connective tissues
  • helps our bodies make antioxidants
  • enhances immune system function
  • can help prevent free radical damage

 

Vitamin K2

This vitamin is one that I had never heard much about. There is plenty of information about some of the other vitamins but not as much about the K vitamins. There are two types of K vitamins K1 and K2. K1 is found in leafy vegetables like kale and K2 is found in grass-fed animal products like milk or beef.

Vitamin K2 Benefits:

  • helps metabolize calcium
  • helps to prevent heart attacks
  • strengthens bones

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is yet another vitamin that we don’t get enough of unless we are eating lots of liver, hearts or kidneys. I don’t remember the last time I had a good helping of beef heart.

Vitamin A Benefits:

  • helps to form and maintain healthy skin
  • great for your teeth
  • promotes good vision
  • helps build skeletal and soft tissues

 

Vitamin B12 & Folate

This one I have heard quite a bit about because the typical vegan diet doesn’t supply nearly enough vitamin B12 or Folate and carnivores are typically deficient it in as well. B12 is found in many animal products such as meat, fish and dairy.

Vitamin B12 Benefits:

  • increases immune function
  • maintains nerves
  • helps to regenerates cells
  • protects against dementia

Copper

I would never have thought that I even need copper in my body but it turns out that copper is necessary for proper vascular and heart function. You can get this my consuming beef and lamb liver or by taking liver capsules. Copper is also found in dark chocolate, cashews, dark leafy greens and lobster.

Copper Supplement Benefits:

  • helps form red blood cells
  • aids in iron absorption
  • helps keep blood vessels and nerves healthy
  • helps with immune function

Conclusion:

So there you have it our 7 best supplements to take for the average healthy person to stay healthy. We would love to know what supplements you take and why.

How To Quit Sugar For Life

Sugar is the modern drug of our generation!

teamupIt has a bad influence on almost every organ in your body: the liver, gut, pancreas, brain and worst of all – the heart.

Starting from your health, mood and weight loss efforts, sugar is one of our all-time worst enemies. And the sad truth is that most of the people don’t realize the importance of getting this white poison out of their diet.

So because of that, I’m going to give you a full guide on why sugar is bad for you and how to give up on it once and for all. I’ll guide you through every single detail and show you step-by-step how I did it!

And believe me – It was a lifesaving experience!

First of all, let’s get started with what happens when this half glucose and half fructose carbohydrate enters our body:

  • messes up the hormone called leptin, so our body has a hard time recognizing when it’s truly full
  • gets your brain addicted to sugar, by constantly raising the dopamine levels in your body (it has been proven to be as addictive as cocaine and heroin)
  • causes problems with your pancreas – the more sugar you have, the harder your pancreas has to work
  • leads to diabetes, metabolic syndrome and heart disease
  • causes obesity – 1 out of 3 people in America is obese

But why did sugar suddenly became so bad for us, when people have been consuming it since forever?

And the truth is this simple:

Nowadays, sugar is added in almost every product on the market!

The sad statistic is that 80% of all the food items in America contain added sugar.

Food manufacturers add it to products you can never think of, because it makes every food taste better – and tasty food sells.

Because of the toxic reaction it causes in our body, they use many different names in order to hide it, so it gets trickier to avoid it.

So yes, sugar is one sweet killer, and by getting rid of it you’ll get many of the following benefits:

  • Lose weight
  • Get fit
  • Improve your sleep
  • Wake up with more energy
  • Build a better immune system
  • Stop craving bad foods
  • Feel energized instead of tired
  • Get smoother and healthier skin

 

How To Quit The Sugar Addiction

I live a life without sugar for almost a year now and I’ve never felt so good in my life! I went from being a real sugar junkie, to quitting sugar in just 2 weeks. And I managed to do that with “The Team-Up Technique”.

The Team-Up Technique: (My Personal Sugar Quitting Formula)

I came up with “The Team-Up Technique” when I first decided to give up sugar for life. I was looking for “sugar quitting” programs but I couldn’t find one that was free or that worked for me, at the time.

After few months of struggling with my sugar addiction, I came up with an idea – to make my own sugar quitting technique. After learning everything about my enemy, I started getting ideas on how to make it easier. Since I’ve studied psychology, I came up with a great method – support and teaming up!

So I finally started with my sugar quitting journey together with my boyfriend and surprisingly for both of us – IT WORKED!

We managed to quit sugar in just 2 weeks!

Despite our bad sugar cravings and horrible soda addiction, we managed to keep it up and lower our sugar intake from 130 grams to 5. Today we live happy and healthy lives without ANY sugar.

Since then, “The Team-Up Technique” has helped many people with their struggle of sugar cravings, and my main mission is to help as many people as I can to a better life!

Getting this white toxin out of my diet was the best thing that happened to me.

Yes, it takes patience and a lot of giving up to change yourself, but once you set your mind that you can do it, you’re halfway there. Just believe in yourself, because your body can do almost anything – it’s the mind that needs an extra push 🙂

Monica May owns fitgirlsdiary.com and writes about health and fitness.

Happy Earth Day 2015!

Today is Earth Day 2015

The Google told me about earth day 2015  this morning. My first reaction was “why isn’t everyday earth day?”. I wanted to see what my environmental impact is so I used the Earth Day Footprint Calculator and became very depressed. I thought I was environmentally friendly but apparently not. I drive a hyrbid car, I recycle (mostly), I buy local when I can, I eat little meat and live in a small home but that is still not enough.

Where did Earth Day come from?

Earth day was established in 1970 when the health of the environment was just starting to become a concern for our well-being. Earth day coincided with the passage of environmental laws and really started the push toward a clean environment in the US.

The Earth Day network has been responsible for promoting environmental economic policies, education and some great parties!

Solar Power

For Earth Day 2015 I have been learning a lot about solar power lately and I am encouraged by what I have found. We live in New York State and the government here is positioning themselves as a leader in sustainable energy usage for the masses by implementing the REV initiative.

REV stands for Reforming the Energy Vision and the goal is to reform New York State’s energy industry and regulatory practices. A big part of this initiative is to make residential solar power highly accessible to the average home owner without putting the utility companies out of business.

The US government provides subsidies to companies like Sun Edison and Solar City which allow them to offer free residential solar installations in New York and some other states. Unfortunately some states like Arizona are making the transition to solar very unappealing for homeowners by charging solar users more for distribution.

What More Can I Do?

It’s great to see what the Earth Network, solar companies and the government is doing for the environment what can can I do?

My earth day resolution is to buy more local food, use less energy and promote more sustainable energy practices like solar and wind power.

What are you doing? Let us know.

 

 

 

 

Side Effects of Body Cleansing

Side Effects of Body Cleansing

Cleansing is generally agreed upon to be a good thing in the natural health world. There are several types of cleanses. Internal cleanses usually consists of activities such as fasting, juicing, limiting your diet (only fruits and veggies) and specific organ cleansing (liver, intestines, gall bladder). External cleansing can be skin treatments like salt or sugar scrubs, salt baths or dry skin brushing.

However there can be side effects of body cleansing. We do regular cleanses and every time I experience some side effects. When I first started doing cleansing I used some natural products that help with the cleansing process and now I mostly do juice cleansing because that works well for me. The side effects from cleansing are more mild as you do it more often.

Our friend Cindy gave us some great feedback with this comment on our Facebook page.

I have been doing a lot of the cleanses you have posted about. You should let people know that if they break out in a skin rash after doing a cleanse, it is probably not any kind of allergic reaction, but an outlet for toxins. I have had an ear infection come out through my mouth after doing the coconut mouth cleanse, which I have continued daily. When first started the body brushing and using your scrubs, I got a rash on my back that lasted for about a week. I spoke with my doctor about it, and he believes that these rashes ARE caused from the detoxing and it’s the poison’s releasing through my skin. He told me to keep it up and let him know how it goes, he may start recommending some of your ideas to his patients. I just want to say thanks! Your website has really opened my eyes!

Comment paraphrased for length see the full comment here.

Post by Cynthia Freeman.

Cindy make some great points. These are some things everyone should know before they do a cleanse. Cleansing removes toxins from your body, this can happen in a number of ways. It can appear as a rash like it did with Cindy. I get headaches for the first day or two. The releasing of toxins is not usually a pleasant experience but the result is worth it. It’s like exercising; you get good results but it can be painful at first.

Here are some common side effects of body cleansing:

  • Skin rashes
  • Unusual perspiring
  • Sinus drainage
  • Headaches
  • Excessive ear wax
  • White tongue coating
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Loose stools

Everyone’s body is different. Some people experience no side effects of body cleansing and some experience many. The degree to how many side effects that you experience is usually based on how toxic your body is. If your lifestyle consists of generally unhealthy foods and little exercise then you will likely experience many of these symptoms. When you live a healthy lifestyle your body is cleansing itself on a more regular basis. When you exercise, you sweat which helps to cleanse toxins from your body.

Some side effects will be different depending on what type of cleanse you do. Cindy found that the coconut pulling cleanse pulled toxins from her sinuses and release through her mouth. Skin cleansing with salt scrubs showed up as rashes. Body cleansing results in headaches for me.

One of the best ways to minimize the effects of the toxic waste leaving your body is to drink plenty of water. Always keep a container of water nearby. You can set an alarm on your phone or computer to remind you to take a drink. I forget to drink water when I am working and this is the last thing you want to forget about while doing a cleanse. Adding cucumber, lemon or mint to your water makes drinking water more enjoyable and can help to replenish some nutrients easily. Other activities that help are walking, salt baths, saunas (be sure to drink more water) and mild exercise.

If you have never done a cleanse before it would be wise to consult your doctor before starting one.

We would love to hear your experiences with body cleansing. Please leave your comments below or join the conversation on Facebook.

Red Wine Health Benefits

Red Wine For Your Health

We like wine. Our favorite is dry red wine and there are so many to choose from and there are many red wine health benefits. Lately we have been enjoying the Shiraz (rhymes with pizazz) which is made from the same grape variety as Syrah. (Syrah is the European version) The Shiraz that we are enjoying has some black currant and spicy flavors.

We like Merlot (despite the movie Sideways) for its mellow taste and less tannic qualities. Cabernet Sauvignon is a nice big red with lots of tannins. Malbec is a wine we were introduce to a few years back and have grown to adore for its fruity almost jam like quality and its spicy flavors. Pinot Noir is an occasional purchase for us because it is a little softer and fruitier that some bigger wines. Zinfandel is nice and zesty.

We also drink wine for the health benefits as well as the flavors.

Red Wine Health Benefits

Most of you know that red wine has some health benefits from the antioxidants. I just found a great article about some of the other benefits of red wine that have been documented in studies. The article is written by Mike Geary who is an author and certified nutrition specialist.

The study that is cited shows that when you drink a couple of glasses of red wine each day (not a bottle!) the good bacteria in your gut increases and the bad bacteria decreases. The study also reveals how drinking red wine can lower blood pressure and decrease overall inflammation in your body.

Read the full article here..

Red wine is of course only one of many parts of a healthy diet and too much of a good thing is usually a bad thing. One or two glasses 4 or 5 times a week is plenty. We mostly have a glass of red wine in the evening either with or after a meal.

Learn More!

 


Photo by Lourdes Cardenal

What The Tongue And Eyes Can Reveal About Your Health

Traditional Chinese Medicine

I found this great article about a health practitioner who implements the basics of Chinese Medicine into a program that she designed to help assess modern health issues. This covers what the tongue and eyes can reveal about your health.

(NaturalNews) Many people today suffer from unusual health conditions that don’t seem to have an obvious cause, and that doctors often dismiss as overblown, or worse, nonexistent. Finding answers isn’t always easy, but health practitioner Tina Taekema has put together a course known as “Mirror of the Body” that might be able to help.

Combining her expertise in kinesiology, “tongue-ology” and iridology, Taekema developed a program for people to use at home that allows for diseases to be identified and eliminated, sometimes as quickly as in just a few days. The effectiveness of the course lies in its ability to target the root causes of pain, lack of mobility, fatigue and other conditions.

 

Found at Mirror of the Body: How the tongue and eyes reveal your body’s health – NaturalNews.com

The Tongue

The tongue is a map of the bodily organs according to traditional Chinese medicine. There are specific areas of the tongue that correspond to different organs of the body as well as the meridian lines. This is similar to reflexology. The person that knows how to read this map has the ability to learn about a persons overall well being.

Practitioners of Chinese medicine look for several indications on the tongue to assess the health of the patient. They look for the color of the tongue. Pink or light red is a normal healthy tongue. The tongue can be purple, have a red body or a red tip. It can have a scarlet, dark red, pale or even a green color. Each one of these colors indicate different conditions in the body.

Another indication of health is the overall tongue shape. It can be stiff, flaccid, long, thin, short or it can display a variety of swollen areas. Other indications of poor health are the tongue body features (rough, spotty, numb, loose, quivering or moving a lot), tongue moisture, tongue coating (white, yellow, gray, black), tongue coat thickness, cracks in the tongue or the tongue coat root.

The Eyes

Iridology is another way of assessing the health of a person and has been practiced since the beginning of recorded history. It was part of general health care in the ancient societies of India, China and Egypt.

The concept behind Iridology is the same as the tongue assessment. Different areas of the eyes correspond to organs of the body. For example the top of the eyes show the health of the brain and the lower part of the shows the condition of the kidneys.

The Body

Kinesiology is the study of human movement. The way the body moves and the overall structure of the body can be indicative of the general health of a person. There are several bodywork modalities that are based on the science of Kinesiology.

The human body is highly adaptable and will change its structure to balance itself. If you look around you will see a large percentage of the western population that have a forward head posture. This has become the accepted posture because of our office worker population. As this posture develops and becomes more extreme the body adapts and the upper spine curves, calcium builds up and creates what is called a “Dowager’s Hump”.

When you see someone with proper structure you think they are confident and maybe a little too proud. Generally the person with the upright posture and easy movement is more healthy that the person that is bent over and moves awkwardly.

Western medicine is all about measuring indicators. If it can’t be measured with instruments it doesn’t exist. The human body is a very sensitive instrument that is often overlooked by doctors as a tool for diagnosis. The implementation of these assessment techniques have the ability to enhance proper diagnosis and make personal assessment possible.

We hope you learned something about what the tongue and eyes can reveal about your health. Please let us know if you have any comments.

Meditation Benefits

Morning Meditation Benefits

We have recently started a morning meditation practice and have noticed some great meditation benefits. One of the most effective things for us to do to maintain our happy healthy lifestyle is to meditate. I have noticed that one of the biggest results for me is that when I meditate it is like a reset for my mind. I get to put everything on hold for a few minutes and be calm.

What is Meditation?

According to Wikipedia: “Meditation is a practice in which an individual trains the mind or induces a mode of consciousness, either to realize some benefit or as an end in itself.”

A lot of people say “I can’t just sit I have to move I have to be doing something”. There are meditations for people like this.  Moving meditations like Tai Chi or  walking or cooking. Anything you do can be a meditation with the right mindset. One of the benefits of learning a martial art is the practice of centering the mind which is the goal of meditation.

There are some great Zen stories that illustrate the purpose of meditation and the application of meditation into daily life. This is one of my favorites about two Zen monks from the book Zen Flesh, Zen Bones.

Tanzan and Ekido were once traveling together down a muddy road. A heavy rain was still falling. Coming around a bend, they met a lovely girl in a silk kimono and sash, unable to cross the intersection.

“Come on, girl,” said Tanzan at once. Lifting her in his arms, he carried her over the mud.

Ekido did not speak again until that night when they reached a lodging temple. Then he no longer could restrain himself. “We monks don’t go near females,” he told Tanzan, “especially not young and lovely ones. It is dangerous. Why did you do that?”

“I left the girl there,” said Tanzan. “Are you still carrying her?”

This story illustrates the value of being present which for me is the point of meditation.

What are the Benefits of Meditation?

There are so many meditation benefits that it can be overwhelming so here is the Happy Healthy list of 20 meditation benefits.

  1. It lowers oxygen consumption.
  2. It increases blood flow and slows the heart rate.
  3. Leads to a deeper level of physical relaxation.
  4. Reduces high blood pressure.
  5. Reduces anxiety attacks by lowering the levels of blood lactate.
  6. Enhances the immune system.
  7. Helps with weight loss
  8. Improved flow of air to the lungs resulting in easier breathing.
  9. Decreases the aging process.
  10. Cures headaches & migraines
  11. Normalizes to your ideal weight
  12. Builds self-confidence
  13. Increases serotonin level, influences mood and behavior
  14. Helps control thoughts
  15. Helps with focus and concentration
  16. Increases emotional stability
  17. Increases productivity
  18. Develops will power
  19. Helps you to react more quickly and more effectively to a stressful event
  20. Requires less time to fall asleep, helps cure insomnia

How to Start With a Meditation Practice

There are many different techniques for meditating and here are some that have worked for me.

Focus on the breath:

This is the most basic method. Just focus on the breath. Your breathing is more complex than you might think. Since breathing is an involuntary act you don’t really think about it unless you don’t have it. The focus here is what your body does with the air that you bring in. Feel the air traveling in through your nose, feel how your body feels when your lungs expand to take in the air. Be aware.

Count your breaths:

This works for me when I am very distracted. Just count. I don’t pay attention to the breath so much with this method but I have to keep counting. The counting keeps my mind working and focusing on the count. Counting down is an effective way to do this as well. Start with 100 and count down to zero. When you get to zero and want more time then start at 40 or 50.

 Use a mantra:

A mantra is a phrase that is repeated throughout your meditation. This technique gives you words to focus on and in turn helps to relax the mind. Some common mantras come from the ancient Sanskrit language, you may have heard some of these.

  • Om
  • Om Namah Shivaya
  • Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
  • Shanti Mantra
    Om Saha Naavavatu
    Saha Nau Bhunaktu
    Saha Veeryam Karavaavahai
    Tejasvi Aavadheetamastu Maa Vidvishaavahai Om

I will use these sometimes but I like the more modern mantras or ones that mean something to me. I will use the words Peace or Love. Sometimes I use a phrase like “Change my thoughts, change the world”.

Have an external object to focus on:

  • A candle can be useful as something to focus on.
  • A picture of someone or something that personifies the meditation goal that you have.
  • A religious icon of some sort like Shiva or Buddha.

These are just a few of the techniques used for meditation.

Who Meditates

One common practice that successful people have is to incorporate meditation into their daily lives. From musicians and actors like Paul McCartney and Russell Brand to business leaders like Rupert Murdock and Oprah Winfrey a meditation practice seems to be a key element in successful peoples lives. These successful people know about meditation benefits and how to get the most out out their meditation practice.

Take a few minutes and give it a try. I would love to hear your meditation experiences. Please leave your comments below.

 


Pagan meditation2” by Dedda71Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

10 High-Fat Foods That Are Actually Super Healthy

Healthy High-fat Foods

Healthy high-fat foods do exist. High fat foods have been given a bad name but not all foods with a high fat content are bad for you. As I’m sure you know there are good fats and bad fats. Kris Gunners wrote a great article on this topic. Kris lists 10 high-fat foods that are super healthy and explains why.

Ever since fat was demonized, people started eating more sugar, refined carbs and processed foods instead. As a result, the entire world has become fatter and sicker.

Bottom Line: Avocados are a fruit, with fat at 77% of calories. They are an excellent source of potassium and fiber, and have been shown to have major benefits for cardiovascular health.

Cheese, like other high-fat dairy products, also contains powerful fatty acids that have been linked to all sorts of benefits, including reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.

Bottom Line: Cheese is incredibly nutritious, and a single slice contains a similar amount of nutrients as a glass of milk. It is a great source of vitamins, minerals, quality proteins and healthy fats.

Many healthy and nutritious foods were unfairly demonized for being high in fat. Here are 10 high-fat foods that are actually incredibly healthy.

 

Found at 10 High-Fat Foods That Are Actually Super Healthy

This article discusses the following 10 high-fat foods:

Each of these foods have some great health benefits. The animal products such as butter, cheese and fish should be taken in moderation.

Avocados have a fat content of 77% but they are great for your heart and cardiovascular system.

Cheese is a great source of calcium and protein and I have to admit I love my cheese. I could not be totally vegan because of the cheese. That said there are some people that have adverse reactions to the casein protein that is found in milk products like cheese. If you are interested in a great study regarding casein you should read The China Study.

Dark Chocolate has some great antioxidant properties and contains iron, magnesium, copper and manganese.

Whole eggs used to be considered bad for you because of the high fat and cholesterol in them but recently there are studies that show that the cholesterol doesn’t affect blood cholesterol. Eggs are high in protein. I like to get local farm fresh eggs just so I know how the chickens are treated.

Fatty fish like salmon have omega-3 fatty acids and are great for lowering your risk of heart disease.

Nuts are healthy high-fat foods which have healthy fats, fiber, vitamin E and magnesium and are great for snacking and adding to meals.

Organic butter from grass-fed cows is almost pure fat. The key to healthy butter is that you make sure you buy butter from grass-fed animals and don’t overdo it.

Extra virgin olive oil is a staple of the Mediterranean diet which has been found to help reduce risk for heart disease, depression, and dementia.

Coconut products are amazing for your health. We use coconut oil to cook with and as an ingredient in lots of our food. I use it for my teeth, just swish it around for a few minutes and it does wonders for your teeth and mouth.

There you have it. Fatty foods that you can eat and feel good about.

The Power of Vitamin C

The Benefits of Vitamin C

This is a good video from Dr. Thomas E. Levy the author of Curing the Incurable. He discusses his interest in the benefits of Vitamin C and some of the ailments that may be treated simply with a high dosage of Vitamin C. He talks about how he was first introduced to it by a dentist who was using it for his patients and how they recovered much faster than usual.

iHealthTube.comCuring the Incurable with Vitamin C!

Vitamin C is great for overall health. Some of the benefits of Vitamin C are:

  • Protects cells and keeps them healthy
  • Helps wound healing
  • Allows out bodies to absorb more iron from plant sources
  • Powerful antioxidant
  • Maintains healthy skin, bones and blood vessels

There have been several studies about administering high doses of Vitamin C to cancer patients and the results are pretty interesting. Check out this DVD call Food Matters, it has some great information about vitamin C.

benefits of vitamin c

Healthy Natural Sugar Substitutes

What Are Good Healthy Sugar Substitutes?

Sugar that is added to your has the potential to cause some pretty bad health problems. According to authoritynutrition.com some of these problems include: Tooth decay, liver problems, fatty liver disease, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, cancer, weight gain and heart disease.

Don’t despair because there are several natural healthy sugar substitutes available. Real sugar is not bad taken in moderation but the more often you can use alternatives the better your health can be.

According to Dawn Combs, a certified herbalist and author. There are some great healthy sugar substitutes to add to your diet and some not so great.

Agave nectar has a low glycemic index and therefore is believed to help keep blood sugar levels in check and thusly prevent fluctuations in hormones. Worrying solely about the glycemic index of a food is not a good indicator of health. Unfortunately, agave syrup contains the highest fructose amount of any commercial sweetener, even worse than high fructose corn syrup. High levels of fructose create insulin resistance, an even bigger problem than a temporary spike due to sugar intake. Further, agave nectar is mostly produced from Agave americana.

Found at Natural Sugar Substitutes: Which are Really Healthy?

Some of the natural sugar alternatives that Dawn writes about are:

  • Maple syrup – Great for baking and we like to use it in our oatmeal as well as the lower gluten einkorn pancakes that we love to have for breakfast.
  • Honey – Find local raw honey for an excellent sugar substitute. We use it in our tea and it is great to bake with. Honey baked ham, honey dips and honey in bread is wonderful. I personally like honey for its extra antibacterial benefits.
  • Agave – This is a popular sugar substitute but not always the best choice for healthy eating as it contains the highest amount of fructose that any of the other alternatives. Not my favorite flavor.
  • Coconut sugar – You are probably aware of the benefits of coconut oils and coconut sugar is no exception because of the low fructose content. Make sure you get pure coconut sugar if you choose this alternative .
  • Brown rice syrup – Good if it is . This sugar substitute is mostly used in baking or cooking.

Some other natural sugar alternatives are products made from stevia which is an herb commonly found in Central and South America and is sweeter than sugar without the blood sugar spike. There is however a bitter aftertaste that is a bit like licorice but there are some good products out there like Sweetleaf and Truvia that are good sugar alternatives.

Another healthy sugar substitute is Xylitol. This is not one that I think of as a great alternative because of the way that it is processed. Xylitol is basically processed birch sap. Anything that is processed and hydrogenated I try to stay away from. Also the name makes it sound like a cough medicine.

I like to stick with honey, maple syrup and raw sugar for my sweet tooth because I know where they come from and that the process from nature to the store is very simple.