Copyright 2004 by TheRawDiet.com
By Michael Snyder
It is time to prepare some delicious and guilt- free sweet treats! If you follow the recipes found in the average cookbook, you'll be using pounds of processed sugar. At last, there are now delicious alternatives to sugar that will amaze your taste buds. These alternatives to sugar are healthy and you won't feel guilty for indulging in dessert.
Most people are aware of the health dangers created by processed sweeteners such as white and brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup, cooked honey, and aspartame. These sweeteners must be avoided at all costs if you want to improve your health. If you haven't done so, please read this excellent article by Dr. Nancy Appleton titled "124 Ways Sugar Ruins Your Health". http://www.nancyappleton.com/pages/damages.html
The many dangers of aspartame are described in detail on this excellent website, http://www.holisticmed.com/aspartame/
The living foods diet provides many delicious and healthy alternatives to the processed sweeteners commonly used. Some of the most popular foods used as sweeteners in the living foods diet include stevia, agave nectar, fresh or dried fruits, dried or frozen berries, dates, young coconut, yacon syrup, and raw honey. If a cooked recipe calls for processed sugar, one of these ingredients will be an excellent substitute. Use these sweeteners to make living food versions of cakes, pies, cookies, ice cream, nut mylk shakes, puddings, chocolate bars, and similar goodies. You will feel wonderful after eating the raw food sweet treats and your energy levels won't crash an hour after eating.
Stevia is the ultimate sweet leaf. A native of Paraguay, South America, steviais a low glycemic herb that can be purchased as a powder, liquid extract, or as a dried whole leaf. It is 30 times sweeter than white sugar in its unprocessed form. It contains zero calories, it registers as zero on the glycemic index, and it contains health promoting vitamins and minerals. When stevia is concentrated in a powder or liquid form it is up to 300 times sweeter than sugar, yet it is safe for diabetics. You only need a quarter teaspoon to sweeten up a recipe or beverage. You can easily grow your own plant and grind the dried leaf into a powder. Avoid the alcohol-extracted and refined forms.
Agave nectar is an exciting new mineral-rich syrup that comes from the agave cactus. It has a natural and delicious taste similar to honey or maple syrup. It is absorbed slowly into the bloodstream and doesn't significantly raise blood sugar levels. It has a low glycemic index rating and is safe for diabetics and those with hyperglycemia. There are many companies distributing agave nectar but not all of them are raw. If the label doesn't say raw you may want to contact the company to verify that it isn't heated above 118 degrees.
Fruits are the perfect natural sweeteners for any recipe. The addition of apples, pears, dates, berries, bananas, or oranges will add a delicious sweet taste to your food. Fresh, raw fruit juice can be added to the recipe instead of water to give it additional flavor. Dried fruits such as raisins, tomatoes, and apricots are concentrated sugar sources and should be soaked in water for a minimum of half an hour. These nutritious foods are equally as sweet as processed sugar and they taste much better.
Young coconuts are highly nutritious, delicious, and easy to digest. The young coconuts, also known as Thai, jelly, shaved, green, asian, or water coconuts, are usually found in Asian grocery stores. They are white and cylindrical with a point on the top. The mineral rich water is very sweet and should be used in recipes in place of water. The coconut tree acts as a water filter and takes nine months to create one liter. The coconut water is virtually identical to human blood plasma and has a similar electrolyte balance.
The latest sweetener to hit the market is Yacon Syrup. The yacon is a root vegetable similar to a sweet potato from South America. The yacon is different from other roots and tubers in that it stores the carbohydrates as simple sugar instead of starch. This raw syrup can be used in recipes in place of honey and maple syrup. This is mineral rich raw syrup similar to agave nectar. Farmers in North America have recently started to grow yacon, which is becoming available in local Farmers’ Markets and health food stores.
These living food sweeteners will help you create the most delicious desserts ever made. Your friends and family will be amazed at how delicious they taste. They won't believe that something tasting this good is actually healthy! Use these foods in your recipes and have the sweetest year ever!