Sunday, March 7, 2010

Changes in our pantry

So, if you look at a nutritional label, you will see Sugars listed under Carbohydrates. Those sugar grams could be from lactose (milk products), fructose (added fruit products or the dreaded high fructose corn syrup), sucrose (white sugar, brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, cane juice, molasses, raw sugar etc,), glucose (light corn syrup, dextrose, etc.). 

That number doesn’t say too much, but if it is more than 4 grams per serving, I would be suspect and read the ingredients.   4 grams is equal to 1 teaspoon of white sugar. 

Although many would argue that all sugar is not the same.  From what I have learned, and the fact that I am not diabetic, I am not too concerned about glucose or lactose.  I am trying to limit sweets in general, but added fructose and sucrose (1 glucose molecule and 1 fructose molecule), in particular.  To be clear, fresh organic fruit and vegetables are part of every meal around here.  It is added sugar I want to reduce.

We eliminated High Fructose Corn Syrup years ago, but learning that sucrose is 50% fructose and HFCS can be anywhere from 55% to 90% fructose, I can’t really see how sucrose can be considered any healthier, except maybe raw honey.  While there may be issues with the manufacturing of HFCS, the fructose part is probably a bigger issue.

So, I had to go through our pantry again.  We don’t buy the usual junk food. I buy a lot of organic foods for other reasons. I make all my baked goods from scratch, including bread, but not usually bagels. So here are a few surprising foods I found in our cupboards that contained sugar:  organic marinara sauce, organic chicken broth, Annie’s canned ravioli, chicken bouillon, canned chili beans, flaked coconut, tortillas, organic ketchup, seedy mustard, mayonnaise, peanut butter, Worcestershire sauce, and every condiment in the refrigerator.

Not so surprising sources, that now seem unacceptable: Honey Nut Cheerios, or any boxed cereal, Hero jam, granola bars, graham crackers, orange juice, baked beans, and sweetened yogurt.

New stuff in the pantry:  jam with less sugar (loving Crofer’s Superfruit Spread and pumpkin butter), organic peanut butter (and almond, no sugar), snack bars without added sugar (Oliver loves his snack bars!  I had to find something, LaraBars are pretty yummy with a simple list of ingredients), homemade granola and steel oat porridge for breakfast, more dried fruit, new (canola-based, sugar-free) mayonnaise, a variety of whole grain flours, and more actual whole grains,   You won’t find all-purpose flour, and the white and brown sugar are almost gone.

We have been experimenting with sugar alternatives in our baking and have some other new stuff in my baking cabinet: barley malt syrup (great in bread),  brown rice syrup, Karo light corn syrup (glucose), dextrose crystals, xylitol (sweetener made from birch trees, I put it in my morning decaf coffee).  In baking, which has mostly been breakfast muffins, I have been using the Karo or brown rice syrup, dextrose crystals, and a little molasses or maple syrup for flavor.  It results in less sugar grams per serving, and little to no fructose in a recipe.

Oh, if you come over, the only drinks I can offer are water, milk, tea, decaf coffee, and maybe beer on the weekends.

Now, I do believe in moderation, but there is no moderation, if food manufacturers put sugar in every processed food product.  The only alternative they offer is products with artificial sweeteners.  I won’t buy that stuff either.  So, I find myself making even more stuff from scratch and as a bonus to the environment, we have less trash to throw out/recycle.

Basically, my goal is to get sugar out of our everyday foods.  That way when I make a yummy dessert, it will be a treat, and undeniably sweet.

So, enough about the food for a bit.  My next post will either be kid or sewing related, or both.

2 Comments Manage Comments for this Entry

Larabars are good.  When I am eating good I try to eat whole foods, with less that five ingredients (i.e. a Larabar qualifies)
Wednesday, March 17, 2010 - 09:21 PM
I like the 5 ingredient rule too, especially ingredients I recognize and can pronounce.  Larabars have all the real flavor for the 3-5 ingredients in them.  Yum.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010 - 10:14 PM

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