Sweeteners I Do and Do Not Eat

Honey-benefits

Before I stopped eating sugar, I did not eat artificial sweeteners.  In my opinion, refined sugar is better than an artificial sweetener.  Below, I will expand upon sweeteners I do and do not eat and my reasoning behind them.  Please do not take anything in this article as medical or health advice.  There is a lot of research done on the sweeteners listed below that you can look up and form your own opinion on.

Sweeteners I don’t eat

Aspartame

Aspartame is an artificial sweetener that is also known as Equal or NutraSweet.  I find that foods containing aspartame give me headaches.  As it is a synthetic chemical compound, I do not consider it clean.

High Fructose Corn Syrup

High Fructose Corn Syrup is basically sugar, but it is made from corn, which makes it a cheaper additive to sweetening foods.  It is processed and therefore, not a clean sweetener.

Stevia

Stevia is considered a natural sweetener because it is derived from the stevia plant.  Many people think it is a safe sweetener because it comes from a plant.  I do not like it because, like aspartame, it gives me headaches.

Sucralose

Sucralose is also known as Splenda.  It is a very sweet artificial sweetener.  It is chemically processed which is the main reason I do not eat it.

Sweeteners I do eat

Honey

Honey is my favorite sweetener.  It contains anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.  I purchase my honey from the local orchard.

Maple Syrup

100% maple syrup is basically boiled down sap from sugar maple trees.  It is a delicious and natural sugar.

Organic Cane Sugar/Juice

Cane sugar/juiceSw is less refined and less processed than white sugar.  It is a natural sweetener made from sugar cane.  I do not cook or bake with it, but I will indulge in foods that contain it such as granola bars or organic chocolate products.  It is cleaner than sugar, but still not a 100% clean option, so I do not eat it all the time.

Sources:

http://www.cleaneatingmag.com/food-health/food-and-health-news/our-favorite-clean-natural-sweeteners/

http://www.cleaneatingsurvivalguide.com/blog/2013/11/12/4pjq92k5wugbr5nttqkhm5t930l7bx

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/10/08/the-4-best-and-3-worst-sweeteners-to-have-in-your-kitchen.aspx

Why I Follow the 80/20 Rule of Clean Eating

A_little_sugar_in_my_bowl.jpgI first heard of the clean eating 80/20 rule from Tiffany at the Gracious Pantry. I don’t believe in diets and I most assuredly believe that life is too short to eat food that doesn’t taste good. So, what exactly is the 80/20 rule when it comes to clean eating? Basically, 80% of the time you eat clean, and 20% of the time you allow for special occasions, treats, or cheats. It is not a diet, it’s a lifestyle. You create your lifestyle by eating what you want and not falling into the confines of a diet or eating plan. I don’t restrict myself when I want to eat something, I just eat it.
Chocolate has been my weakness, but I have found clean alternatives that are not only tasty, but they are healthy as well. I do very well with not eating processed or refined sugars with the exception of dessert Sundays when I have dinner with my grandparents. You cannot say no thanks to Italian grandparents. And that is okay.
It’s okay to have a treat every once in a while. It is okay to eat something with more than five ingredients or an ingredient you can’t pronounce every once in a while. Just know that there are alternatives.
Tiffany at the Gracious Pantry talks math in her post about the 80/20 rule. However, I don’t believe clean eating comes down to the meals you eat as whole. It comes down to every aspect of your meal and includes the snacks you eat. For example, breakfast could be a dippy egg (sunny side up for all you non-PA folks), toast, bacon, and a piece of fruit. Is that bacon completely clean? It is if it’s not processed, which might be true, but it might not be. Is that okay? Yes, of course. As long as you’re not eating something processed every day, I think it is okay.
You choose the lifestyle that is right for you when it comes to clean eating. The 80/20 rule is just one aspect of that lifestyle which can help you choose alternative foods and ingredients that are clean, healthy, and taste good.