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Living Health: Stick with the Good Sugars

Part 1 in our series on Living Health. What sugars are good for you? Which ones should you avoid? A must read for those with a family history of diabetes.

This week, we're starting a new series for our blog, simply entitled "Living Health." Each week we're going to bring you some tips that we've gathered over the years on how to stay healthy naturally. For many years, our family has followed a few guidelines that have kept us away from MDs and allopathic medicines (AKA drugs).  

People often ask us how we could go 20 years without ever going to the doctor for some disease or the other (the last time I went was for a physical to be on the swim team in high school). This blog series will be our chance to share that with you.

Today, we're going to start with one of the basics: sweets. It seems that our society today has an obsession with sweets, from candies to pastries to sodas. And they are causing a huge problem, with diabetes levels skyrocketing and our children getting fatter and fatter by the generation. So for this first post we present:

Guideline #1 - Stick with the Good Sugars. What do I mean when I say good sugars? Well, most of the sugar we eat today is highly refined. The sugar you're used to eating is bright white, and stripped of any and all nutrition it had when it was grown as sugar cane. It's pure sweetness. The only thing worse is its recently introduced chemical cousin: High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). HFCS is an even more highly refined sugar. It goes directly into your blood stream, wreaking havoc with your insulin levels. A diet high in refined sugars, such as white sugar and HFCS, will most definitely increase the likelihood of someone developing diabetes. Instead stick with what we call the "Good Sugars":

Sucanat is basically sugarcane juice which has been evaporated down to small crystals. You can use it just like your would refined white sugar, but it releases into the blood stream more slowly, and retains most of the nutrients found in sugarcane juice. Sucanat is available at any health food store.

Jaggery or Panela is a traditionally made unrefined sugar made in India and Latin America. It is very similar to Sucanat, but is usually sold in block form. It is easily available at most Indian and Latino markets.

Agave nectar is the concentrated nectar of the agave plant (also used to make tequila). Unlike table sugar, agave nectar is a complex carbohydrate. This means that it has a very low Glycemic Index, which is a measure of how fast a sugar releases into the blood stream. Agave nectar is available almost everywhere now, even Trader Joe's. Buy raw agave nectar if you want its medicinal qualities as well.

Honey is considered a miracle food in most traditional cultures. Besides being extremely sweet, honey has loads of other medicinal qualities, such as being an anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory. Like agave nectar, honey has a low Glycemic Index, and therefore doesn't interfere with insulin levels. One big thing to look for, however, is where you buy your honey from. Most commercially available honey is pasteurized, meaning it is heated to extend its shelf life (even though honey naturally has a shelf life of thousands of years). Pasteurized honey is devoid of all of the medicinal properties of unheated honey, and is even considered to be a strong poison by Ayurvedic (traditional Indian) medicine. Look for unheated, raw honey at your local farmers market or health food store. HINT: Buy honey lots at a time. It never goes bad and you'll save money.

So that's it. Our Good Sugars list. Stick with these, in moderation, and we can almost guarantee you and your family with be free of sugar-related diseases like diabetes for life. Remember, just because they are on our Good Sugar list, doesn't mean you can gorge. Sugar is a treat in life, and treats always come in small packages.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Rishi K December 02, 2011 at 06:59 AM
Thanks Gabriela and Fred for your kind words. Lets spread the word and get the health of our community back together.
Harvey Klee December 07, 2011 at 08:38 AM
Very interesting Rishi! Learned a lot. What are the powdered greens Gabriela is talking about? Sounds unappetizing.
Gabriela Klein December 07, 2011 at 04:06 PM
HaHaHa Harvey! While it's true that many Spirulina/Chlorella/Barley Grass powders taste like the bottom of a pond, I have found one that has been formulated with fruits and vegetables to equal 10 servings of fruits and veggies sans calories or sugar. I became a distributor (no MLM) because my clients needed it, so if I bought it for them as a practitioner, they would save money. The company is in San Diego county, and they make other products like Omega 3-6-9 fish oil, vegan Omega, dynamite protein powder from colostrum milk from organic fed cows, etc. And everything is formulated to taste great, an extra plus. My husband needed yearly allergy shots and nasal sprays before these products. Amazing, really. Let me know if you want more information, I would be happy to send it to you. Our food is so depleted, we need the help, though eating from Growing Home garden is a great start!
Rishi K December 07, 2011 at 04:44 PM
We make our own powdered greens here at the Growing Home also. Very easy if you have a dehydrator. Just grow or buy organic greens: kale, collards, mustard, spinach, etc. Stick them in the dehydrator at around 110 degrees (keeps them from cooking). After they're down grind them down in a coffee grinder. If you don't have money for a dehydrator, consider building some drying racks like I did: http://thegrowinghome.net/2011/11/weekend-project-drying-racks-and-seed-cleaning-screens/
Gabriela Klein December 07, 2011 at 05:13 PM
Rishi is absolutely correct, there is no replacement for eating whole foods, nutritious and healthy. The human creature should be consuming 5-9 servings of fruit/veg every day. Unfortunately, these days we need them to be organic and that can be expensive and too time consuming for most people. A convenient powder that includes superfoods helps many to improve the way they look and feel, including minimizing allergies, chronic health problems, body fat, eyesight, mental clarity, and energy. Please refer to my articles on Superfoods, Retirement, and organic foods. We have a giant uphill battle to convince people to take the time to eat right, including paying more for better quality food, but once you make the switch, you realize the benefits, and won't go back to the American Way. Do you sell your dehydrated greens, Rishi?

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