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Monthly Archives: February 2013

Powerful Powders:stevia

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Stevia is not so much as a super food but a super sugar alternative.

These days you may here more and more about the detriments of sugar.  Why is sugar so bad?  I could write you a mega-list. But I will say this:  sugar (refined cane/corn) offers a load of calories without any nutrition.  With that being said I am a huge advocate of asking your self, why do you eat?  For taste alone?  Nope, we eat to live, for nutrition & fuel… and flavor comes in a very respectable second place.

I could go on and on about sugar, it is addictive, causes inflammation and it is delicious.  I am human and love it too, but rock it in mucho moderation.  These days it makes me go bananas if I eat to much of it and sometimes even gives me an insta-sore throat.  Taking time to notice sugar’s more long-term effects may help you develop a different relationship with it.

So much of my work with clients explores with the concept of crowding out.  This means instead of quitting bad habits cold turkey, create new habits to crowd out old ones that don’t serve you.

Examples:  Herbal teas for coffee, exercise for over active mind, stevia for sugar!

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So back to stevia,  it goes by quite a few names and comes in quite a few different forms. My favorite name, just simply ‘sweet leaf’.  Stevia is 300x sweeter than sugar! Holy moly, so a little goes a long way. Just like all of the Powerful Powders in this series.

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Stevia is native to both North and South Americas.  It has a long history in South America where it was primarily used to sweeten medicines and teas (yerba mate). Japan made stevia available decades ago but just approved in the EU in 2011  (there were issues in how to classify it, as a sweetener or supplement).  It takes a minute to get used to the unique, sweet flavor. It also may take a moment to figure out exactly how to use it because it is SO potent.

Think of stevia not as a food, for it is calorie free, but more like a flavor enhancer, like cinnamon.  

You will find stevia in powder and liquid forms.  Many packets (the white stuff) is rather processed, to alleviate the bitter flavor that many people dislike.  Different sweet compounds called  glycocsides and steviocides are isolated, processed and either dried or mixed with water to form an easy to use product.

Personally I just use the ground green leaf, found in bulk at my local food co-op. I like my foods closest to whole. Stevia makes an appearance in my home mainly as a compliment to smoothies.  Personally I could go stevia free in smoothies BUT if I want my husband to drink them they NEED to be sweet as soon as they hit the tongue.

This lady loves her stevia, here is a great macaroon recipe. You can bake with it, preserve with it and basically supplement it all around for sugar. As usual, I recommend reading your labels,usage ratios are often provided.  Giving your blood a much needed break from insulin spikes, which subsequently offers you more blood sugar stability, so you don’t crash & burn.

You can find stevia all over the place now, some products more processed than others.  In conclusion, stevia is a great calorie free, low glycemic, carbohydrate free sugar alternative.   Read labels, look out for ‘natural flavors’, buy organic, minimally processed products.

Understanding your relationship to sweetness can be very complex. What is your sweetness style?

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Powerful Powders:MACA

This Powerful Powders series is a combination of holistic nutrition & lifestyle solutions. So you can learn about 4 superfood powders that have heavy potential to enrich your health. Super foods are a somewhat new classification of food. They  offer our bodies a whole slew of nutrients in concentrated forms.  Many superfoods are more fun to consume than supplements because of their vibrant colors, adventurous textures and their bold results!  

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4 powerful powders> Clockwise from the top: Spirulina, Maca, Stevia & Matcha

Part 2: Powerful Powders:MACA

 Powders are awesome because they are so easy to add to your diet, just a teaspoon (or so) at a time.  As mentioned in a former post on Spirulina, powders are often easiest to use by adding them right to smoothies. Not a smoothie drinker?  Pestos, soups, dressings, sauces, truffles and salads are all great places for super food powers as well!

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Maca root is aPeruvian tuber from the cruciferous family that packs a powerful punch.  A complimentary dose of calcium & magnesium, B-vitamins (including b-12!) and a nice amino acid profile is the strength behind this tuber’s force.  Its strong earthy flavor lets you know that a little bit goes a long way!  Maca can be classified as an adaptogen.  Adaptogens provide your body with the tools necessary to handle stress, in this oh-so modern & busy world.  Adaptogens are a whole other topic for another post, so here are some great books to check out if you would like to know more now.  Offering your body potent tools to handle stress subsequently leads to more energy, better moods and hormonal balance.

So you can live the life you want to live with fewer obstacles!

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Maca can be integrated into your diet pretty easily. Please, though, read your labels. This is a powerful root!  Taking it at night may lead to a jolt of energy that can lead to a restless night.  Usually, the best results from maca root are yielded when you take a small serving during the day, pre or just post lunch, over a period of time. There is considerable evidence that promotes Maca as a libido enhancer in men and a powerful PMS relief for women.  Do your research, talk to your holistic practitioners and as always with superfoods find top quality sources.

Why the focus on powders, superfoods and adaptogens? I have seen it over & over again and I am sure you feel it too… this world is stressed out!  We humans are designed to deal with stress but there sure is a whole bunch of it these days. With politics, war, health care, finance and jobs all stalking the headlines, as well as modern technologies compelling us to stay constantly connected and so much information coming at us all day, stress is a fact of life.  Adding superfoods to your diet is one way you can take care of yourself.  Combine these amazing foods with some stress busting tactics and your body can use its systems more efficiently to decompress stress. Then savoring life becomes more of a priority.

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Maca cashew truffles

2 cups raw cashews

1 cup dates

2 T maca powder

1 t cardamom

1 t salt

1 T vanilla extract

Pulse cashews in food processor until crumbly, but NOT butter. Add maca powder, cardamom, salt and vanilla, pulse until combined.  Keep processor top on and add one date at a time until they are all combined.  Scoop out choice size and roll into balls.  Store in the refrigerator up to a week (but they probably won’t last that long)

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Information for this post is not meant to diagnose or treat any condition and is sourced  from :

http://www.riceplex.com

http://www.naturalnews.com

Reading labels & my memory