The True Meaning of Prosperity

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The true meaning of prosperity is not just wealth.

The true meaning of prosperity to me is much more than having money or things.  It includes peace of mind, health, happiness, a social network of family and friends and the ability to use your talents doing that which you feel called to do and are best suited.  There is nothing wrong with being bountifully blessed financially; in fact that may be what gives you all the other trappings of prosperity.  I is really hard to follow your dream when you are struggling to support yourself.

The true meaning of prosperity to me is having enough financial reserves to get all the other things that goes with it to make the whole package.   Bill Gates could not be doing the good he is now if he had not had the success he had earlier but instead was still struggling to make a living for himself.  In some cases we can work on all the aspects of prosperity as we go along but in a lot of cases the money or the security afforded by it must absolutely come first before some of the others.

Happy family outdoors.

Another element of prosperity, joyful, happy relationships.

 

Let’s break down some of the aspects of prosperity and look at them separately.  Take peace of mind and happiness for instance; They certainly can be had without riches but if we or those we love are hungry, cold or have other basic needs we can not provide, then that is pretty well impossible for us.  Second let’s look at health.   Some of us are born with good health and if we take care of ourselves and have a reasonable degree of happiness and peace of mind, have some good friends, maybe a loving family we should be okay there.  On the other hand if we are in a constant struggle to make ends meet, always under stress, never feeling like you are making any progress, use smoking, alcohol or drugs to help us cope, then maybe that good health passes by the way.

Being able to do what we feel called to do and what our talents are best suited for to me, is number one.  A few lucky souls get to do this without having riches, and some even become rich doing it but some of these things either do not pay or pay very little.  Following your calling can lead to great happiness but not being able to provide for yourself or your family can take all the joy and satisfaction from it.

The true meaning of prosperity requires a balanced life, not just being blessed in one area of it.  I know some of us feel that money is evil or we feel that those who have it are evil or at the very least have gotten it illegally or by cheating someone to get it.  We get this belief from our parents, friends and even from our religious teachings.  We are not successful and we feel we never will be so we convince ourselves that we have to do wrong to be successful or that having more than a minimal living is a sin.  We wear it as a badge, like we are not like them, we are better because we don’t have all that evil money.

In my next posts I will dwell more into the true meaning of prosperity. There is a book that I read a couple of years ago and am currently rereading that I would like to recommend.  It is called Open Your Mind to Prosperity by Catherine Ponder.  It is not a recent book, copyright 1971 but it is as valid today as when it was written.  Ms. Ponder has written many books but this is my favorite.  You can get it here.

Thanks for visiting, you are always welcome here. May you and yours have a healthy and happy day.       David Johnson

How Important is Exercise to Living Healthy?

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How important is exercise to living healthy really?  We hear almost constantly about the importance of exercise but do we believe it, do we do it?  Do we know what kind, how often and how hard we need to push ourselves to get the maximum benefits from the exercise we do?  Just recently there was a post on Facebook that said that our bodies are the only machine that breaks down when we don’t use it.  I believe it.  A couple of years ago during the worst of winter, I  had been more or less housebound for a couple of weeks due to the cold and the rain and I got to feeling pretty crummy, even depressed some.   When I finally realized how bad I was getting to feel, I also realized that I needed to do something about it, like right now.   It is at least a quarter mile to my mail box and I usually walk to see if I am blessed with any bills, not that I really want them but that is life I guess.  When the weather was at it’s worse I guess I had skipped checking as often so I resolved to go every day and to do it at a brisk pace.  That was a godsend, I immediately felt much better, the vigorous exercise and the cold wind hitting me in the face coming back was invigorating to say the least.  I learned a good lesson from that experience and will not let that happen again.

If you will notice the photo at the top of the page; that is me with my exercise partner starting one of our walks with my dog Boots.  We usually never go more than two or three miles but we get a great benefit from it, whatever the distance.  It just makes Boots’ day too, she is just beside herself with joy.

Starting to exercise is not hard; we start where we are.  We start with the ability we have and don’t worry that we can’t do what some others can.  If we have chronic health problems or are obese we may have problems at first and will be limited in what we can do but we can do something.   Even those that are bedridden, if they can move at all, can start to exercise and can make a difference in how they feel.  Any movement is a start.  If 10 feet is as far as we can walk, then 10 feet it is but we do it as many times a day as we are able.   Before long we will be doing 15 feet, then 20, then 30, then out to the street and then down the block.  There is a saying that says that mile by mile it is a trial, yard by yard it is hard, but inch by inch it is a cinch.   If we start small enough we can do almost anything.  Remember the “how do you eat an elephant” joke?  One bite at a time. That is how we start exercising, one step at a time, we actually start moving, we get off of our behind and start moving it.  I want to encourage anyone who thinks they can’t do it, to try and to stay with it long enough to see results.  It won’t take long.  To get where you want to be will take awhile but you didn’t get where you are now overnight either.

Last winter I wanted to be able to exercise and not have to go out in the cold so I purchased a recumbent exercise bike so I could get some exercise in the comfort of my den.  I didn’t want to spend any more than was necessary so I went to Amazon, my favorite shopping place and read the reviews until I was sure which one I wanted.  I picked the Marcy Recumbent Mag Cycle.   For what I wanted it for, it fills the bill nicely.  For someone who is out of shape the easiest setting should be no problem and you can increase the resistance as you build up to it.  It seems the perfect solution for that rainy or cold day or for just multitasking while you watch TV.   I wouldn’t say this would be what you would want if you are already in great shape and just want to maintain it during bad weather but then you are not the one I am talking to here either.  If this sounds like what you need to get started exercising you can get it from my Amazon partner here.
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Thanks for visiting, you are always welcome here. May you and yours have a healthy and happy day.       David Johnson

 

 

Nutritious Food, Key To Good Health, Not Being Hungery

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Black bean and corn salad

This is a low calorie and nutrient dense food and qualifies as a nutritious food.               Thanks to Sandra Suzanne Gettings-Newkirk for the photo.

 

Nutritious food is the key to good health, a healthy weight and freedom from constant hunger and cravings.   So what is a nutritious food?   Nutritious food is as close to nature that it came from as possible and as far removed from the complicated processes developed by the food industry to refine it or remake it.   Obviously some foods need some type of processing before we can eat it but we can make a conscious choice to chose foods that are as minimally processed as possible.   We do have choices, if a food is highly processed using heat, chemicals, acids and other things that we suspect might be harmful to us, we can chose to just not eat it, at all.  There are more than enough foods out there that aren’t overly processed to supply us all our nutritional needs.

The key to using nutritious food to maintain our health is to eat lots of the foods that are high in nutrients and relatively low in calories.   One half to two thirds of our plates should preferably be cooked and uncooked low glycemic plant based foods.   These are the nutrient dense foods, they give us the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, polyphenols, phytonutrients, flavinoids and other micro and macro nutrients our bodies need.   Meat, poultry, fish, dairy, whole grains and fruits go in the remaining portion of our plate.   I do not advocate cutting all fats from the diet but we should choose healthy fats and eat in moderation, all fats calorie dense; a little goes a long way calorie wise.  Adding foods that contain healthy fats to our otherwise nutritious food diet is the best way for us to get our required fat.  Our bodies need healthy fats and they are a healthy part of a nutritious food diet.   Refined flour ( white flour ) is not a nutritious food, it contains mostly calories and little else and will not be found in a nutritious food diet because it is not nutritious.   Refined sugars ( and most added sugars are refined ), should have a very limited role in our diet and not be eaten on a regular basis.   They should never be part of a meal that already consist of a lot of starchy or other high glycemic foods as this will compound the effect on our blood sugar levels.   Sweets are better consumed with proteins and other slower to digest foods as this slows down their digestion rate and prevents the sugar spike that would normally happen.

I am not vegan, vegetarian, paleo, nor into any other classified group way of eating.  I believe there are nutritious foods in all the food groups.  I do believe that the majority of our diet should be plant based to be at it’s healthiest.  Meats and fish are best if used sparingly and not usually used as the major focus of the meal.  Eggs if eaten in moderation can be a part of a nutritious food diet.  The same with dairy for most people, I prefer the fermented or cultured products such as yogurt and kefir, and I avoid the no fat version of anything.   If you can afford them, I recommend grass fed or pasture raised, these contain more of the healthy nutrients we want and less of the unhealthy ones we don’t want.  In the same sense that we are what we eat, our food is what it ate or absorbed from it’s environment in the case of plants.  Here is a book that will give you the low down on the the real relationship between what we eat and our resulting health, it is available from our Amazon partner.

I will have more in my next post.  In the meantime it you have any questions please let me know.  This can get confusing so I am now doing individual coaching for those that might need some extra help getting started and/or need someone to hold them accountable and keep them on track.   Contact me if I can be of service to you.  As always if you know anyone that this information might help please pass it on to them.  I will certainly appreciate it when you share with your Facebook and Twitter friends as well.  Thanks for your help.

Thanks for visiting, you are always welcome here. May you and yours have a healthy and happy day.       David Johnson

 

Healthy Eating, the Starting Point to a Healthier You

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Healthy eating would be my starting point to get healthier.   The easiest starting point to healthy eating is to consciously decide what you want to put in your body and use every means possible to make that happen.   To do that we must know the ingredients we want to consume, read labels to determine if in fact that is what we are getting.   Once we know what we want to eat, the easiest way to be sure we are getting it is to learn to prepare our own meals.   Even if you can’t boil water without burning it, you can learn to cook, enjoy it and enjoy the food.   I know, no time to cook.  There is a TV show that comes on mid-day during the week called The Chew and they have a segment where they take five ingredients and cook a healthy meal in five minutes.  It will take you longer than that to go through the drive-thru at Micky D’s and what you cook will be a whole lot better for you and probably cheaper as well.   Preparing you own food means making a conscious decision to do so, we all have 24 hours each day and we each decide how we use them.  Is making a conscious decision that will allow us to do most if not all the things at age 60 or even 70 that we were able to do at age 40 worth some effort on our part?

Healthy eating is ditching most prepared foods.   Don’t believe anything you read or hear in a food add unless you can independently verify what they are saying.   Some food manufactures outright lie and most others fail to tell you the truth.   Some just fail to tell you what you need to know before you buy their product, a lie by omission.   Others send your head spinning with buzz words that have no real meaning, such as lower in fat, lower in salt, wheat, whole grain, no trans-fat, natural, healthy, diet, cage free, leaner, ect.   If the ingredient list looks like a long paragraph or has a lot of words you can’t pronounce and have no idea what they are, you don’t want to buy it.   It does not matter how good it taste, it is poisoning you body and destroying your health.

Healthy eating has been on my mind for years, just not to the degree that it is today.   I like a good cracker and for years I have been buying a store brand from one of the largest grocery chains that is labeled thin & crispy wheat saltines, they actually look like wheat and they taste very good, much better than the white looking ones.  I knew they were not real whole wheat but I continued to buy them because I liked them and I guess I was putting my head in the sand somewhat too.   I didn’t really want to know they weren’t that good for me.   Recently I took a good look at the label and whole wheat flour is in there.  While it is not the healthiest cracker out there, it certainly is not the worst either.   We all make trade offs but as long as we make more really good choices than bad ones we will be okay.  After all none of us are perfect.   Healthy eating is doing what we know we need to be doing most of the time and not beating ourselves up the other times.

In my next post I will give you some idea of what we need to eat to get the nutrients our bodies need and at the same time allow us to feel full and satisfied.   You can not eat enough of food without nutrients to not still feel hungry, nor can we keep from eating to much of high calorie foods when the amount of calories we need does not make us feel full.   Healthy eating is the only solution to getting the nutrients we need and feeling satisfied.

Thanks for visiting, you are always welcome here. May you and yours have a healthy and happy day.       David Johnson

Healthy Living; Our Responsibility or Not ?

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Healthy living; do we take responsibility or do we let that responsibility fall to others?   I have news for you; no one else cares enough to make it happen.   No one else has the same incentive as we do, we would hope that we want to live.   Looking at our fellow citizens it is plain to me that a large percentage of us either do not want to live or that we are expecting some third party to rescue us before our excesses kill us.   With 60% of Americans overweight and 35% obese; very few of us seem to be taking responsibility for our health.   Apparently New York City’s mayor Bloomberg wants us to live and be healthy but how many others can you think of that put their money where there mouth is.   In my previous posts I talked about the doctor shortage, the higher costs of insurance and the millions more people the healthcare system must be able to accommodate in the future with Obama Care.   This to illustrate the fact that as healthcare availability decreases, we are getting increasingly less healthy.   With each pound we gain; we multiply the chronic conditions we suffer from. Healthy living is just not something most of us are acquainted with.

Healthy living is the only way I see that we can have a long life with the health required to enjoy it and be a productive citizen.   The medical profession at it’s best as it relates to the chronic conditions caused by lack of exercise, poor food choices and excess food intake can only offer a band-aid approach.   They do not cure these conditions, they just manage the symptoms so we can keep doing the same unhealthy things for a little longer, either to the point of limited quality of life or death itself.

Healthy living is not easy, there is so much misinformation out there that sometimes when we think we are doing the right thing, we are not.   Healthy living is like a long journey, there are wrong turns and detours, we have to keep correcting to keep on the right tract.   Healthy living will keep us healthy and will lessen our need for remedial health care.   When that happens we will be less dependent on a system that may be less and less able to provide care to all those needing it.

In the next post in this series posts, I will give you some healthy living tips that might help you get started on your journey to being healthier.

Thanks for visiting, you are always welcome here. May you and yours have a healthy and happy day.       David Johnson

Healthcare; What is Our Responsibility?

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Healthcare is and has always been our own individual responsibility.  Unless we are children or some others who clearly are not capable of taking care of ourselves; then our own healthcare is and has always been our responsibility.  Before health insurance; if we needed the services of a doctor we found a way to pay for that service just as we would if we needed our car repaired.  Insurance leads people to start thinking that they are not paying for their medical care but instead someone else is and that someone owes us anything we need.  In a way it is like going to an all-you-can-eat buffet and pigging out and wasting food because we feel we have paid for it and it is our right.  When we have good, all inclusive insurance, we are tempted to run to the doctor or worse, go to the emergency room when all we need to do is maybe take a cheap over-the-counter med and go on our way.  The doctor’s visit or emergency room visit cost us very little and of course we feel entitled to it, so we go.

Healthcare has gotten expensive mainly because of the involvement of the government and the insurance companies.  They have made it big business.   What if we started buying insurance to cover all our car repairs and the government said that anyone that could not afford to repair their own car, it would?  The same thing would happen to car repair prices as has happened to medical care prices.  The reason that Obama Care is being forced on us is that people haven’t been responsible.  Many who claimed they couldn’t afford health insurance simply wanted to spend the money on something else rather than be responsible.  Whether it was the wide screen TV, a nicer car, pizza whenever they wanted it, or a thousand other things, what it was doesn’t matter but that it happened, does.  I can’t say I like having to pay my bills either but except for 2 or 3 short periods in my life I had health insurance.  One time it was partially paid for by my employer but for most of this time it was me writing a check for it after making a conscious decision to buy it.  I remember a couple of years ago seeing something on the evening news about people who didn’t have health insurance or couldn’t afford it, I don’t remember which.  One of the people they talked to worked for a well know government agency that I was very familiar with and the man said he just couldn’t afford it.  I knew what he was making and I knew about how much he would have had to pay, not a lot.  He had a much bigger TV than I did and lived in a much nicer house.  He couldn’t be bothered to take responsibility for his own healthcare; he wanted to buy other things.

Healthcare responsibility comes in other ways as well.  In my next post I will talk about how we can lessen our dependance on a system that is likely to become more and more compromised over time.   Now is the time to think about how we can best manage with the coming changes in our healthcare system.

Thanks for visiting, you are always welcome here. May you and yours have a healthy and happy day.       David Johnson

 

Obama Care; What We Need to Know About the AHA.

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This post starts a string of posts about healthcare, lack of it, the government’s role or responsibility, our responsibility, societal responsibility, the decline in the number of doctors and the impending overwhelming of the healthcare system.  At this point I have no idea how many posts it will take to get this off my chest but I ask that you bare with me.  This is solely my opinion: which I feel I have a right to have and you certainly have a right to disagree or not as you please.  Please give what I have to say a chance,; if nothing else it may make you look at things in a different light.  Comments pro or con are certainly welcome.  Obama Care being a hot topic, that is where I will start.

Most of us are familiar with Obama Care or more correctly called the Affordable Healthcare Act (AHA) . Whether we wanted it or not; most of us either love it or hate it, there is not much middle ground.  Congress pasted the act without even having any good idea whether it was a good thing or even what was in the bill.  We still don’t really know the ramifications of what it is going to do to or for the healthcare system.  President Obama said it would save money and at the same time allow millions of people who could not afford or get health insurance to be covered.  The full implementation of Obama Care will not happen until 2014 but we are already seeing massive cost increases for health insurance coverage.  This is caused by the government mandates as to what must be covered in the policies.  We are all different and have different needs; it is like the government requiring us to get leather, a moon roof and a $2,000 music system if we want to buy a new car, whether that is what we want or not.  The cost savings is to come from cuts by medicare in  how much they reimburse doctors.  Medicare already has such a low reimbursement rate that many doctors refuse to see medicare patients and certainly more doctors will decide to do that after their payments are further reduced.  The population is getting older and we seniors already have more need for healthcare care and the number of doctors who are there to treat us is declining as we speak.

Obama Care is slated to add some 30 million new people to the roles of the insured when it is fully implemented and according to a report on NBC News recently, we already have a doctor shortage.   The Association of American Medical Colleges says there is a shortage of up to 20,000 doctors now and that could grow to 100,000 over the next ten years.  The doctor population as well as the population in general is getting older and a large number of current doctors are nearing retirement age.

Since 2000 medical schools have increased enrollment by16.6% and will be graduating 5,000 more per year by 2019.  The limiting factor that is slowing the training of new doctors is that the healthcare industry relies on the government to provide funding for residency programs that all doctors must have before they can practice on their own.  Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz and Congressman Aaron Schock have sponsored a bill that would fund 15,000 new residency slots over the next 5 years.  This certainly shows the fallacy of waiting for the government to provide us with something.  You would think that with what the healthcare industry charges they would be eager to reinvest in the system and not have to wait for the government.  I guess a lot of businesses are like a lot of us, they want someone else to pay the bill.

Whether Obama Care is here to stay, is ultimately repealed or is modified to eliminate some already obvious flaws, we have challenges ahead.  It doesn’t matter if everyone is covered by a great insurance policy if we don’t have the doctors and other medical personnel to treat us when we need it.  Medical care could be free but would be of no benefit if there was no one to provide it.

Personally I don’t believe that it is government’s responsibility to provide us with healthcare or to mandate what kind of insurance coverage we must have or even if we must have it.  Nor is it government’s job to train our doctors, or plumbers or any others except for those in our military and those who need specialized training to do their government jobs.  It is getting so that there are so many depending on Mama government to take care of them that it leaves too few of us left to support the government.  The government is taking from a program that I have paid for ( Medicare and Social Security ) to support something I didn’t want and something I think has little chance of succeeding.

Obama Care aside, next I will be talking about our personal responsibility in all this.

Thanks for visiting, you are always welcome here. May you and yours have a healthy and happy day.       David Johnson

 

What’s spirituality; How Are We Missing the Point?

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This blog is about me living healthy and by my example might lead you the reader to see something I am doing that may work for you; that at least is my hope.  By living I mean we have a physical side, a mental component and last but certainly not in my opinion the least is our spiritual being.  It has been said that we are spiritual beings having a human experience.  What’s spirituality to you, how do you see it, is it important?

A couple days ago a friend and I were talking how much hatred and animosity there is between supposedly decent people. The best example probably being the Democrats and the Republicans.  You would think that they were bitter enemies and were killing each other in the streets by the lies they tell about each other and their policies.  The same can be said about rival sport enthusiasts whose support for their teams sometimes turn violent.  We even drive down roads that are for the use of all and we act like they are our own private roads and get angry or violent toward others if we don’t like how they are driving.  What’s spirituality if it is not having love and good will toward our fellow man.

The only thing we have to concern ourselves about is what we have control over and what can harm us.  Someone’s political view is not our business and probably not something we can change.  We can support the politician with the view that is most compatible with our view.  We can even try to change the views of others and certainly try to minimize the damage caused by others actions.  As for sports rivalry; it is a game stupid, it is supposed to be fun.  In all other areas of our lives there will be people doing things we don’t particularly like and in ways we would do differently, so what, it is a free country.  Your rights do not include you being everyone’s boss.  They don’t have to run their life the way you would have them to.  Further more; unless they are causing you harm, it is none of your business anyway.  When we take care of our own business and let others handle theirs, we are all happier.  What’s spirituality if not having peace in our lives.

Are you always looking for conflict and drama in your life?  Spirituality is being closer to our higher selves, and our God and not focusing on ourselves and our supposed importance.  There are 7,120,000,000+ people on this earth with us and they each have the same God and we all each have a soul and each one of these people are just as important as you or I are.  The consciousness of this world will rise in the same proportion to the changes we each make to be more accepting of others.  Just because someone is different in some way, looks different, does things differently, talks differently, doesn’t make them our enemy.  We each are as one of the tiny grains of sand on the beaches of the world, neither more or less important than any other grain of sand on any beach, anywhere.  Just as a single grain of sand is a part of the beach and the beach would not be the same without it; we are a part of mankind and who we are influences the whole and mankind would not be the same without us.  What’s spirituality then if we make no effort to be a better part of the whole.

I hope I have said something that has made an impact on how you feel about your fellow earthly travelers.  If you disagree or agree please let me know.  I believe we can change the world one person at a time.  It amazes me to see the trivial things that people get upset over, who has the energy or needs the stress.  Let it go of the trivial and find peace.  It takes much less energy to love someone than to hate them.

Thanks for visiting, you are always welcome here. May you and yours have a healthy and happy day.       David Johnson

Healthy Sugar Alternatives, Are They Worth It?

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Sugar alternatives, blackstrap mollasses, honey and stevia

Sugar alternatives I already use.

 

Healthy sugar alternatives, are they worth the effort and the considerable higher cost in some cases over just using plain old white sugar like most of us have always done? White sugar can be compared to white bread as white sugar has been stripped of all nutrients except for the considerable calories.  With white bread our loving government at least forces the food companies to enrich white flour by artificially adding back some of the nutrients that they intentionally stripped out of it during the manufacturing process.  In the case of white sugar, I guess our government feels that it is such a lost cause that adding anything would be a waste of time and effort.  Do I think the government should just ban white sugar?  No, I think the general public should educate themselves about white sugar and them voluntarily quit eating it as I have, for the most part.  It is something you just can’t totally avoid.   Should the government educate us about it?  No, they have botched it in so many ways in trying to educate us about food.  You can believe about as much about healthy eating coming from the government as you can believe of what the average politician says.

When I first started preparing to write about healthy sugar alternatives I felt that some of the alternatives may be better for us.  With some of these alternatives costing many times more than white sugar, could the benefits be worth the tremendous cost differential?  Then, I felt that limiting the amount of sugar we use and using the best of the affordable and commonly available sugars would work best for most people.  I still think that whatever sugar alternative we use we should also limit all our sugar intake and for some they must severely limit it or suffer dire health consequences.   For me price is almost always a factor in what I buy but for the relatively small amount of sugar I buy, I believe the benefits of some of these healthy sugar alternatives do justify the cost compared to white sugar.  Next I will give you my opinion as to the best choices.

Raw honey is something that anyone who likes something sweet should have in their kitchen, there are so many benefits.  It contains vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, enzymes, phytonutrients and it is even anti-bacterial.  Raw unfiltered honey also contains pollen which has been shown to help desensitize us to those pollens.  Remember to not give babies honey until they are at least a year old.  Some honey contains botulism spores and the babies undeveloped immune systems may not be able to handle it.

Blackstrap molasses is another item I feel is good to have although it has limited uses.  It contains most of the nutrients from the cane juice and it adds a pleasing taste to some things and is not expensive.  I love to use it in breads instead of sugar, I even prefer it to honey for bread,  You lose a lot of the nutrients in honey when you heat it.  Honey is good if you just want the honey flavor.

Stevia can be used for other things but I prefer it for sweetening tea or other drinks.  It is good to sweeten oatmeal or other cereals.  I have never used it to cook with myself.  My friend has used it in muffins and to replace a portion of the brown sugar in recipes.  Recipes that require sugar for texture would not work with stevia.

Dates are good to chop up or process and use to sweeten baked goods such as cookies, muffins, health bars or to sweeten cereal.  Dates not only add sweetness but you get the fiber and all the other nutrients that you don’t get from just sugar.

Coconut palm sugar is probably my number one choice of all natural sugar alternatives for white sugar. Although it is about one third higher cost wise than my next choice whole cane sugar, I believe coconut palm sugar is worth the extra cost.  In fact I know it is worth the extra cost for those who suffer with diabetes.  It has a glycemic index ration of 35 and will not spike our blood sugar levels like most sweeteners do.  It is a one to one swap for both white and brown sugar, works great in baked goods and most people like the taste.  It is also rich in potassium and iron.  Go here for coconut palm sugar.

Whole Cane sugar such as Sucanat, rapadura and planeta which is made by slowly heating sugar cane juice to remove the water content.  It is one of the least refined sugars made from sugar cane and retains most of the nutrients from the sugar cane juice. The following; evaporated cane juice, unrefined brown sugar and organic sugar are made from the same raw cane juice but are considered more highly refined and contain less of the original nutrients from the cane juice.

Maple syrup is the perfect compliment to pancakes and waffles and great to use as a flavoring in other foods. It is 60% as sweet as sugar and has a lower giycemic index number at 54, verses 80 for white sugar. Maple syrup is available in three grades with grade C being the most flavorful and containing the most nutrients but it is not readily available.  Grade B is usually the one we see recommended but if you like a more delicate flavor then get grade A.  It is great to use in moderation if you like the flavor.  You can also get maple sugar but neither is the best replacement for white sugar for general use.

Agave syrup is lower on the glycemic index, has more nutrients than white sugar, is 1.4 to 1.6 times as sweet as sugar and dissolves easily.  It is also composed of up to 90% fructose and due to the unanswered questions about the long term affects of consuming high fructose containing sweeteners I can not see it as a good alternative replacement for white sugar.

Whatever you choose to use, read the label and be sure you are getting what you think you are getting.  A syrup you find in your local grocery with a label  that says maple pancake syrup, may just be high-fructose corn syrup with a fake maple flavoring.  There is certainly no need to try to eat healthy and end up with an inferior product.  In addition, please limit how much of any of these sweeteners you use, there are few of us that do not eat too many sweets and that is the core cause of many of our chronic ills.

If you like or benefit from anything you read here please share it with your friends and family, I would sincerely appreciate it as I appreciate you, my readers.

Thanks for visiting, you are always welcome here. May you and yours have a healthy and happy day.       David Johnson

 

 

Natural Healthier Sugar Substitutes

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Natural healthier sugar substitutes can make something that most view as unhealthy, a lot less unhealthy, if eaten in moderation.  When I first started thinking about writing this post I wondered if there truly was a healthy substitute for white and high fructose corn syrup.  As for the high fructose corn syrup, avoidance is the key word, none, nada.  As for as white sugar there are many choices, some are a simple one to one trade, others are lesser or more sweet than white sugar. My list of natural healthier sugar substitutes listed below are listed starting with the ones I feel have the most merit to be included in a healthy diet.

White Sugar, the traditional sweetener.

White Sugar, the traditional choice.

Raw Honey – Honey is first on the list because it 100% natural.  It is the only natural sweetener that does not come directly from plants although bees make it from plant products.  Honey contains anti-oxidants,enzymes, has many minerals we need and even prevents bacterial growth, I love it. Honey is indeed a natural healthier sugar substitute and first on my list.  If you have a local source, buy local if not, Buy raw honey here.
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Stevia - Stevia is about as natural as you can get if you read the label and get a product that only contains stevia.  The powdered stevia in the little packets have added sugars, the liquid steva has only a carrier fluid, either alcohol or glycerin.  You can also get a stevia plant and grow your own, I did earlier this spring. You could just use the leaves, they are very sweet to the taste. Stevia is said to be 300 times as sweet as sugar. Next to honey this is about the most natural healthier sugar substitute that you could use.  It is also calorie free. Buy stevia here.

Blackstrap Molasses – Blackstrap molasses contains all the concentrated minerals and nutrients that were in the cane juice except for the enzymes and phytonutrients that are destroyed by the refining process.  It has a distinct flavor and may not be a suitable substitute for some uses.  It is only 65% as sweet as white sugar and not a direct one to one replacement. Is blackstrap molasses a natural healthier sugar substitute?  Not 100% natural but has it’s merits. I use it myself, especially in making bread. Buy blackstrap molasses here.

Sucanat – is the more natural sugar substitute I see mentioned on food blogs  most often.  Sucanat and Rapadura are brand names.  You can get Rapunzel Organic Whole Cane Sugar here or for a less expensive version of what appears to be the same thing, go here.This is refined in such a way to retain the nutrients from the natural cane juice.  It is a one to one replacement for white sugar but has a brown sugar like color and a distinct taste when used in some ways.  Is this a more natural healthier sugar substitute?  It is one of the most naturally produced of the sugar alternatives.

Coconut Palm Sugar - Coconut palm sugar is made from the nectar of the coconut palm flower, is sustainably grown and environmentally friendly.  It looks somewhat like brown sugar and is a one to one replacement for both white and brown sugar and can be used in any way they would be used.. The reviews I have read report that it works very well for baking, for texture as well as taste.  It is very low on the glycemic scale at 35 and does not spike our blood sugar like most sugars do. It is rich in potassium and iron. Buy it here.

Dates – Dates while not really a sugar are and can be used to sweeten and in that sense is a natural healthier sugar substitute.  These  can be processed in a food processor and used to sweeten cookies, muffins, food bars and other baked goods.  They can be used to sweeten oatmeal and other cereals.  I have used them myself and they work very well.  There is also a sugar made from dates but it is rather pricey.  This is definitely a natural healthier sugar substitute.

Maple Syrup – Maple syrup and also maple sugar contain manganese and calcium and are less processed than white sugar which has no nutrients left.  It would qualify as a more natural healthier sugar substitute. Get grade B here.

Agave Syrup - Agave syrup is said by some to be overly processed but to me the process seems along the same lines with some of the other sweeteners. You can get it in a light amber color, amber and a darker amber, the later being less filtered and having more nutrients. You can also get raw agave which has been processed under 118 degrees and qualifies as a raw food. Agave syrup is 1.4 to 1.6 times as sweet as sugar and has a lower glycemic number.  I would say it is a more natural healthier sugar substitute.

Unrefined Brown Sugar - Unrefined brown sugars such as what you find in most regular grocery stores include demerara, muscovado and turbinado.  While these are more refined than those higher on the list, they are certainly better than white sugar but are much higher in cost than white sugar and you get more bang for your buck elsewhere.  These are a more natural healthier sugar substitute if you overlook the natural part.

Evaporated Cane Juice – Evaporated cane juice is claimed to be less refined.  Anything less refined would be better than white sugar.

Organic Sugar - Organic sugar is organically grown but is much like brown sugar, better than white. At least you know it is not GMO.

In my next post I will give you my conclusion as to what I feel is the best alternative to replace white sugar.  I believe that we need to find a natural healthier substitute for white sugar, our health depends on it.  If you like or benefit from anything you read here please share it with your friends and family, I would sincerely appreciate it as I appreciate you, my readers.

Thanks for visiting, you are always welcome here. May you and yours have a healthy and happy day.       David Johnson