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Spinach, the Vegetable of the Week

Friday, April 23, 2010

This leafy green is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, magnesium, folate, manganese, iron, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin B2, potassium, and vitamin B6. It’s a very good source of protein, phosphorus, vitamin E, zinc, dietary fiber, and copper. Plus, it’s a good source of selenium, niacin, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Spinach is loaded with lutein. It’s a carotenoid found in spinach that is protective against eye diseases such as age-related cataracts and macular degeneration. The Lutein in spinach might be absorbed better if you eat it with a little fat, such as a small amount of olive oil, or the food that you’re eating it with contains some fat.

A carotenoid found in spinach and other green leafy vegetables fights human prostate cancer two different ways, according to research published in the the Journal of Nutrition. The carotenoid, called neoxanthin, not only induces prostate cancer cells to self-destruct, but is converted in the intestines into additional compounds, called neochromes, which put prostate cancer cells into a state of stasis, thus preventing their replication.

The nutrients in spinach can also help with conditions in which inflammation plays a role. For example, asthma, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis are all conditions that involve inflammation.

Vitamin E-rich Leafy Greens Slow Loss of Mental Function
Mental performance normally declines with age, but the results of Chicago Health and Aging Project (CHAP) suggest that eating just 3 servings of green leafy, yellow and cruciferous vegetables each day could slow this decline by 40%, suggests a study in the journal Neurology.

Spinach contains choline and inositol, the substances that help to prevent atherosclerosis or thickening and hardening of arteries.

Spinach is also helpful in the following health issues : Anemia, Tumors, Constipation, Insomnia, Obesity, Neuritis (inflammation of nerves), Nerve exhaustion, High blood pressure, Bronchitis, Colon cancer, Prostate cancer, Breast cancer, Osteoporosis, Dyspepsia (chronic indigestion), Also helps ailment of the kidneys, bladder and liver.


Spinach salad with Strawberries and Pecans

8 ounces fresh torn spinach or baby spinach
1 1/2 to 2 cups cleaned and sliced strawberries
1/2 cup pecan halves or pieces
2 to 3 ounces goat cheese or blue cheese, crumbled, optional


1/4 cup Canola oil or Olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/8 teaspoon each onion and garlic powder
dash dry mustard

Toss spinach with sliced strawberries, pecans, and cheese, if using.
Combine dressing ingredients in a jar; shake until well blended. When ready to serve, drizzle dressing over the salad and toss lightly.
Serves 4 to 6.

Potato and Spinach Soup With Lemon
By Anastatia Curley

The potatoes and parsnips give this soup body, and the spinach and lemon make it bright. It's sustaining, yet light and exciting.

Spinach and Pasta Soup

1 pound of turkey sausage
1 large onion chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
1 28 oz can of chopped or diced tomatoes
1 1/2 quart of chicken broth
3 quarts of water
1 pound of farfalle(bow tie pasta) or favorite small pasta
1 10 oz. pkg. of frozen spinach
2 15 oz. cans of small whit beans or canneloni beans

Heat an extra-large soup kettle over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and brown, breaking it up with a spoon. Add the onion and garlic, and saute 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, breaking them up with the spoon. Stir in the stock and 1 quart of the water, and raise the heat to high. Bring to a boil, add the pasta, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Then add spinach, beans, and remaining quart of water (add extra water, if needed), and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until spinach is tender. Add salt to taste.

Number of Servings: 12

(this recipe I put into Spark Recipes so it can be put into my Fodd Tracker)

Crustless Spinach Quiche

Recipe courtesy of Food Network Magazine

Vegan Spinach Linguine with Mushroom and Pepper Sauce

spinach linguine, enough for 2 people
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
1 small box mushrooms
2 tablespoons oil
1 medium jar spaghetti sauce

Wash and slice mushrooms. Cut peppers into 1/2 strips. Heat oil in pan. Add mushrooms and peppers. Stir fry over medium heat until peppers are wilted. Pour sauce over all and heat through. Put spaghetti on plate and spoon sauce over it. You can be very versatile with this recipe. You can use garlic and onion. You could also add a yellow pepper to make this very colorful. Serves 2.

Lentils & Spinach

1 bunch spinach, washed, drained and chopped
3 to 4 cloves garlic, crushed (optional)
1/2 cup chili peppers chopped
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
sea salt to taste
1 cup cooked lentils
2 Tablespoons virgin olive oil

Heat oil in a pan. Sauté crushed garlic, ginger & peppers for one minute.

Add chopped spinach. Cover and cook for 2 minutes.

Add cooked lentils, salt to taste and lemon juice. Cook and stir about 30 seconds

Serve on a bed of rice.

Chana Masala (Spicy Chickpeas) with Spinach

1 can chickpeas in water (also called garbanzo beans) or 1 1/2 cups precooked + 1/2 cup
1/2 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
3 tbsp olive oil
juice from one lemon, (approx 2 tbsp )
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 large bunch of spinach or two handfuls, rinsed

In a large skillet or frying pan, sauté onions and garlic in olive oil until soft, about 3-5 minutes.
Add chickpeas straight from the can, including all the water. Add spices and lemon juice, cover, and simmer about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, adding more water if needed, until chickpeas are cooked and soft.

Bay Scallops with Spinach

3 lbs of fresh spinach, stemmed and washed, not dried.
1 lb of bay scallops.
3 large cloves of garlic, peeled.
¼ cup of white wine.
2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice.
2 teaspoons of olive oil.
2 teaspoons of salt.
1 teaspoon of grated lemon zest.
Freshly ground pepper, to taste.

Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.

Add the garlic and lemon zest and cook for 20 seconds, stirring continuously.

Add the spinach and toss occasionally until wilted.

Drain off the liquid and season with 1 teaspoon of salt and pepper. Keep warm.

Heat the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Add the scallops and sauté for 1 minute or until just cooked through.

Remove the scallops from the pan and add the lemon juice and wine.

Cook, scraping the bottom of the pan, for 15 seconds.

Remove from the heat, then toss in the scallops and season with the remaining salt and pepper to taste.

On serving plates, place a mound of spinach in the middle and surround with scallops.

Different combos for Spinach Smoothies:

handful of spinach
1 banana
1 1/2 cups of fresh pineapple
2 oranges
2 cups of water


One package of fresh baby spinach
One frozen banana
One cup of frozen blueberries
½ cup of frozen strawberries
One cup water


Creamy Tropical Green Smoothie

1 large banana, ripe and peeled
1/4 avocado flesh
6 oz spinach, fresh
3/4 cup pineapple, frozen
3/4 cup mango, frozen
4 ice cubes
1 tablespoon coconut milk powder
1 packet of stevia (optional)
1 1/2 cup pure water

Pour water in first. Then place the banana and avocado closest to the blade with the rest of the ingredients on top. Blend until smooth.
Serves 1-3

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHIRLEY2010 4/25/2010 6:21PM

    Like Popeye I love me spinach. I am going to make the spinach salad first but I think I will use walnuts instead.

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LITTLEMINX57 4/25/2010 1:02PM

    I never heard of putting spinach in smoothies. I am going to have to try those recipes 1st. Thanks for sharing.

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FUNNYGRANNY71 4/24/2010 4:08PM

    More good information and great recipes. Please keep them coming.

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SAMTHEMAN60 4/24/2010 12:19PM

    I am going to have to try some of these smoothies with the spinach in it and that strawberry pecan salad.

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DEBBIEANNE1124 4/24/2010 10:25AM

    I'm going to let you do all the recipe adds and i will do some putting them together...

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DAWNWATERWOMAN 4/24/2010 12:58AM

    I love love LOVE spinach! I need to go get some tomorrow and have a YUMMY salad! Thanks for these recipes. Hmm, strawberries & spinach. The best of both worlds..fruit & veggie! Love ya, Dawn

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WEDDWT 4/23/2010 4:40PM

    I was a big Popeye fan when I was little, he got me to eat my spinach, and I still love it. Thanks for the recipes.

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GOLDENGIRL88 4/23/2010 12:56PM

    thanks for the recipes!

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DEBBIEANNE1124 4/23/2010 11:50AM

    Great recipes I have to try. Thanks!

I ahve never been one for cooked spinach but i do love it fresh.

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DS9KIE 4/23/2010 10:47AM

    thanks for the great recipes

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DEFIANTVEGAN 4/23/2010 10:19AM

    I love spinach especially that salad with strawberries and pecans I've made it before, one thing I like to do is buy the pecans that are caramelized with brown sugar or with cinnamon delicious. emoticon

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JBDIAS 4/23/2010 10:18AM

    Thanks for the tasty recipes will be trying these out soon.

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L*I*T*A* 4/23/2010 10:09AM

    great recipes.........
thanks for sharing........
blessings and hugs............lita

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NWFL59 4/23/2010 9:28AM

    Love to eat spinach, must try the strawberries and pecans recipe this afternoon while I have all fresh ingredients.

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BANTHENICKEL 4/23/2010 9:24AM

    Had a cup of fresh spinach with lunch yesterday. In the past, spinach has given me horrible gas, but I managed yesterday well - probably because my body is now used to the high fiber intake.

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GEORGANNE39 4/23/2010 8:51AM

    Yummy! I will definitely try some of these!

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BARBARAJ73 4/23/2010 8:33AM

    Am a big fan of spinach! Thanks for the info and recipes - spinach salad for lunch today

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LOOZINITNOW 4/23/2010 8:31AM

    I was going to buy some spinach today to make some smoothies with! Great info!

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RD03875 4/23/2010 8:25AM

    I love spinach, unfortunately people with gout can't eat it that often.

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DYNAMICDEB53 4/23/2010 8:23AM

    I just love spinach cooked or fresh. As a kid mom wou;d make it often normally cooked with hard boiled egg. I learned to eat it with a little vinegar, not sure why but I like it.
I had not realized how good it is for you. I new about the good iron, which is one reason I ate it for a number of years dealing with aneamia.
I will be enjoying it more in the future. Thank you for the recipes too.

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DEVORA4 4/23/2010 8:22AM

  Thanks for info. Love it I never heard of a spinach strawberry and walnut salad but since YOU recommend it I am willing to try. You are emoticon

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FITNESSFOODIE 4/23/2010 8:05AM

    I love spinach, it's one of my favorite vegetables! Thanks for some new recipes! emoticon

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WILLOW49 4/23/2010 7:21AM

    Spinach...a staple in this household! One of my favorites :)

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MTNHIKER1971 4/23/2010 7:15AM

    Great one Yvonne! Strawberry's, pecans and spinach. mmm mmmm Popeye would be proud

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MRDPOLING 4/23/2010 7:02AM

    I was a weird child...I actually enjoyed Spinach from the can with a bit of lemon or vinegar on it.

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Happy Earth Day! What does that plastic bag really cost to use?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Today is Earth Day. We are all here on a healthier quest for our bodies. Don't we want the same thing for Earth? A carbon footprint is defined as: The total amount of greenhouse gases produced to directly and indirectly support human activities, usually expressed in equivalent tons of carbon dioxide (CO2). Have you ever stopped to think about the impact on the earth by using those plastic bags instead of reusable canvass bags. You as just one individual/family have the potential to replace some of the estimated 1,000 plastic bags that each family brings home every year by using reusable canvass bags. Multiply that by everyone in the United States and that is impressive.

It takes 12 million barrels of oil to produce the amount of plastic bags the US uses per year. If we all stopped using them just think how much the cost of gas would come down.

The production of plastic bags requires petroleum and often natural gas, both non-renewable resources that increase our dependency on foreign suppliers. Additionally, prospecting and drilling for these resources contributes to the destruction of fragile habitats and ecosystems around the world.

A plastic shopping bag can take anywhere from 15 to 1000 years to decompose.

According to the Wall Street Journal, only 1% of plastic bags are recycled world-wide.

According to the British Antarctic Survey, discarded plastic bags have been found as far north as the Arctic Circle and as far south as The Falkland Islands.

An estimated one million birds and 100,000 turtles, whales, and other sea animals die of starvation each year after ingesting discarded plastic bags which block their digestive tracks. Discarded plastic bags mistaken for food. Turtles think the bags are jellyfish, their primary food source. Once swallowed, plastic bags choke animals or block their intestines, leading to an agonizing death.

Ireland, the first European country to impose a tax on them, has decreased plastic shopping bag consumption by 90% since 2002, reducing overall plastic bag usage by 1.08 billion.

In the past five years, over a dozen countries have banned or put a tax on disposable bags.

Why hasn't the United States? Sure some stores give you 5 cents back for using one but we really need to ban them. People have had years to get used to using the canvass bags.

What else can you do to help save the environment:

Install water-saving devices on your faucets and toilets.

Wash and dry only full loads of laundry and dishes.

Recycle printer cartridges.

Use compact fluorescent light bulbs to save money and energy.

Insulate your home as best as you can. Install weather stripping around all doors and windows.

Plant trees to shade your home.

Replace old windows with energy efficient ones.

Use cold water instead of warm or hot water when possible.

I could go on and on. there are so many ways we can be green and reduce our carbon footprints. I think the reasons above are painless and will also help us save money. We are all here in a journey to become healthier. So I will ask again don't we want the same for our planet?

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FUNNYGRANNY71 4/23/2010 5:01PM

    Lots of good information in your blog. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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EGRAMMY 4/23/2010 6:50AM

    I love spinach salad. Your post is a tribute to spinach. emoticon

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DEBBIEANNE1124 4/23/2010 2:05AM

    Wonderful blog here.
I really enjoyed this.

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SKINNYROBIN100 4/23/2010 1:11AM

    Hi..I remember when the stores started using these plastic things and I was still pretty young. But even then, my first reaction was...WHY?? What was wrong with the good, old brown ones?? I didn't like them then and I still don't. Most of the stores that I shopped at, gave us a choice on paper or plastic...for a while, anyway. They should be banned and they should never come back. Tax them. Tax them high! I have some Native Indian in my geneology and I have always tended to follow an earth-loving way of preserving and living more naturally. But it had become very hard say the last 15 years. and I'm so glad that things are turning around and our generation started the GREEN movement. Remember the American Indian add on TV in the 70's about litering?? The tear running down his face? Well, here we are and it does make me cry !!! I could go on and on! emoticon But I won't. We are such a messy keeper of our earth house. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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TEDYBEAR2838 4/22/2010 8:40PM

    Oprah had a great recycle show on today, but I missed a big part of it. Didn't realize it is earth day.

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FITNESSFOODIE 4/22/2010 8:25PM

    I have a great collection of shopping bags and I recycle my plastic bags when I get them. I always keep them in my trunk. Thanks for reminding us about plastic bags and their effect on the environment! emoticon

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MRDPOLING 4/22/2010 6:55PM

    I've seen video's online of people that turn those plastic shopping bags into purses and clothing.

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EGRAMMY 4/22/2010 6:35PM

    I do make use of any plastic bags to pick up dog poop and figure that in million years that chemicalized stuff with the food excrement will form a gem more valuable than today's diamonds? emoticon

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WILLOW49 4/22/2010 6:26PM

    We've been using canvas bags for a long time. On the rare occasion when I forget, and we use plastic, I always recycle them.

We all need to be kind to our Earth!

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DYNAMICDEB53 4/22/2010 6:07PM

    I have been a long time believer in reuable grocery bags. I have used them for a very long time. I even used them at department stores before that was normal. When I am getting just a small thing I dont use a bag at all. I also like my bags since I can get more into them and they are easier to carry.
Great day to focus on doing the right thing for our earth and us.

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BARBARAJ73 4/22/2010 4:56PM

    Thanks for the great Earth Day blog.

Handed one of my handknit "string bags" to the young grocery clerk yesterday. He turned it upside down and right side up then asked me if I was buying it... I simply smiled and said it was handmade & it was for my groceries. He grinned and said "No wonder I've never seen it before." Cute... I'm pleased to say the number of totes being used locally is growing! Wish I saw them used as much at non-grocery stores.

Like others, I occ. forget my bags. That's when I ask for paper and use them for my recycled newspapers. emoticon

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CATHYGETSFIT 4/22/2010 4:04PM

    Great earth day blog! emoticon emoticon emoticon The only problem I have is that I sometimes forget to bring my canvas bags into the store. I always recycle them though and recycle any and every thing else I can. I just wish the 3, 4 and 5 recycle stuff could be recycled. They could if I lived in a much, much bigger city. It's amazing that this little podunk, backwoods hillbilly town does any recycling though. So I guess I shouldn't complain too much. Wait, though, every city, no matter how big or small should recycle EVERYTHING in my opinion. Anyway, thanks for the great blog!!

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DEFIANTVEGAN 4/22/2010 10:22AM

    emoticon yes we should use 100% emoticon recycle we are the most advanced country in the emoticon

I already have like 5 bags from Trader Joe's 2 from Fresh & Easy and if I forget my bags I use the plastic ones for recyclable items like glass or plastic containers and when it's full I toss in the recyclable trash bin.

I am also starting to use a chemical free hair dye to help not only for the environment but it will help my body in the long run.

Since today is earth day I wasn't sure what exact day but I have seen that it's this whole week and I decided to eat raw all day. I'm excited about this I want to see how my body feels too. emoticon emoticon emoticon

Thanks for posting this emoticon blog!

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NO_SNOW_BODY 4/22/2010 10:20AM

    I don't use plastic bags at the stores anymore, I crochet my own, also people need think twice when they grab a soda or water in a plastic bottle, not only does it take so much to make them, it cost even to re-cycle them. I always think twice when I deal with plastic, I have a filter on my sink to filter water and store it cold in the refrigerator.

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OTTAWABOUND 4/22/2010 10:11AM

    I'm walking any distance that it less than 1.5 miles! Not only is it great for the environment and non-renewable resources, but it really helps my Spark program.

These days, I've always got a few folding bags with me--it's great not to have the giant plastic bag collection under the sink.

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L*I*T*A* 4/22/2010 9:45AM

    wonderful reminder for us all................
great blog
thanks for sharing.......
blessings and hugs.........lita

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NWFL59 4/22/2010 9:43AM

    Thanks for the blog. Happy Earth Day and we'll make every day Earth Day emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JESSICA_0029 4/22/2010 9:39AM

    Great blog I switched to canvas bags awhile ago. I love them they are good for the environment and stronger. emoticon

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DIGBOI 4/22/2010 9:38AM

    Wonderful thoughts. All of us need to tread gently on this one and only Mother Earth we have. emoticon

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JBDIAS 4/22/2010 9:37AM

    Thanks emoticon emoticon

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KARVY09 4/22/2010 9:28AM

    Thanks for the reminder!

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SOQUIET 4/22/2010 9:18AM

    What a wonderful contribution to Earth Day!

Thank you!

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CUTESUZYQ 4/22/2010 9:06AM

    Your post is a great reminder about the things we do that impact our world. I love using my canvas bags because they hold so much more stuff than the plastic ones do. I would much rather carry 1 bag with 15 things it than 3 or 4 bags with just a few things in each.

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It is your choice of how you perceive and how you respond to life’s obstacles.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Life is a grindstone. But whether it grinds us down or polishes us up depends on us."
—L. Thomas Holdcraft

RunToMyDreams wrote a blog yesterday entitled, “ Accent the Positive and Eliminate the Negative. She is always positive and I really admire her for that. All of us here on Spark People really need to accent the Positive in order for us to reach out goals.

It real got me to thinking and I felt the need to blog about it as well. I think it is so important for all of us to remain positive, to live in the present, and not dwell on the past.

Life is an experience . Everyday the scenario changes up. Circumstances change through out the day and we are faced with choices as to how we are going to handle it. You get to choose how you react. You can look at every situation in one of two ways, it is either good or bad. It is how we choose to respond to those circumstances that will determine our success on our journey to a healthier lifestyle.

Positive thinking is a mental attitude that is conductive of our growth and success. A positive mind anticipates happiness, joy, health and a successful outcome of every situation and action. Whatever the mind expects it finds.

Negative thinking is enemy of our new healthier and victorious life. Our mind is a powerful thing. Our thoughts can make or break our life. Negative thoughts will distract your focus from the important and drain your energy.

Balancing positivity vs negativity is the difference between victory and defeat.
If something “bad” happens to us we can either choose to see it as something that is polishing us up to make us stronger, more successful, and our lives better or we can choose to accept defeat, wallow in it, and have a grand ole pity party.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LITTLEMINX57 4/25/2010 1:04PM

    Never heard that quote but it really fits into anyone's goal on anything whether it is diet, exercise, job, etc.

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DIETMEISTER 4/24/2010 6:31PM

    another insightful blog!

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WINGSOFCHANGE 4/22/2010 4:39PM

    I love that quote!!! You've given me a new way to look at the challenges we all face. Thank you for posting this today because the CHOICE of being ground down or polished is totally up to me! I appreciate the reminder my friend!
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DJS-DEBBIE 4/22/2010 6:07AM

    Great quote - I have never seen it before!

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    Excellent blog my friend. I am going to do my best to focus on the positive! Love you, Dawn

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MIKROS2 4/21/2010 10:47PM

    Great Blog!!! We have to work many times because so many things around us accentuate the negative. I have been really trying to send positive notes to all those who have been so kind, caring, and thoughtful during this month when things have been so chaotic in my life. Scripture tells us we are to be JOYFUL in every situation; still working on that!

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TEDYBEAR2838 4/21/2010 9:04PM

    Yup, yup, yup. SO TRUE. It's not what happens to us as much as How we react to what happens to us.

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ASHLEEWEBART 4/21/2010 4:21PM

    It is not easy being positive on some days because things happen that, at least temporarily, cause us to lose perspective for awhile. Thank you for your blog and for reminding us positivity is something we have to work to achieve and keep!

Comment edited on: 4/21/2010 4:55:05 PM

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MRDPOLING 4/21/2010 2:59PM

    Love that quote!!!

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DYNAMICDEB53 4/21/2010 1:38PM

    Right on.....attitude is a player in our success. If you can keep it positive and not dwell on the negatives, you increase your changes to make the best decisions. It is something to keep working on.

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WILLBOYWONDER 4/21/2010 1:21PM

    Great wisdom. Our success or failure begins and ends with each one of us.

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RUBYKNOWS 4/21/2010 1:01PM

    Great blog! Thanks! We all need to remind ourselves of this every now and then.

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CAROL3SAN 4/21/2010 12:58PM

    Thank you for a great blog. Positive thinking is the major thing that keeps me on track to live my healthy lifestyle.
Enjoy the rest of your day.

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LOOZINITNOW 4/21/2010 12:01PM

    Great blog! emoticon I have been doing a little bit of wallowing myself lately. Enough!

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DIGBOI 4/21/2010 11:53AM

    I agree with you. Thinking positive is the only way to get the best out of life. As always thanks for sharing. emoticon

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DEVORA4 4/21/2010 11:51AM

  once again you hit a homerun

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MIATIA1 4/21/2010 11:41AM

    Nicely said and to go along with that I always repeat to my self
"Take the first step in faith for we don't always have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step".
T. emoticon

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NWFL59 4/21/2010 11:40AM

    Thanks for posting. I find thinking positive is a lot more fun and helps me turn around the occassional setback as I strive toward various goals.

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L*I*T*A* 4/21/2010 11:38AM

wonderful blog as always....
thanks for sharing......
blessings and hugs...........lita

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Tahini is not just for hummus...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

You will never see me use bottled salad dressing. I usually just make a salad dressing of extra virgin olive oil and fresh squeezed lemon juice or balsamic vinegar and various spices.

I just add a little of this and a little of that. My basic tahini salad dressing is tahini, fresh lemon juice, sea salt, cayenne pepper, splash of water. I just mix it and thin it out with the lemon juice and water. I will sometimes add a place of olive oil. For those of you who need precise measurements here are a few recipes:

Creamy Tahini Salad Dressing

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons tahini
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
Black pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients by blending with a fork. Don't be shy with the pepper.
Makes: 2 to 4 servings, Preparation time: 3 minutes

Tofu-Tahini Dressing

1/2 pound silken tofu
1c. water
1c. olive oil
1/4c. white wine vinegar
1/4c. tamari
1/4c. tahini
2t. onion powder
1/2t. garlic powder
1T parsley
11/2t. basil
1t. veggie salt
1/4t. cayenne

Mix in blender until smooth.

Tahini Salad Dressing Version II

1 cup tahini
1/2 bunch fresh curly-leaf parsley (chopped)
1/3 cup lemon juice
4 crushed garlic cloves
1/8 cup tamari soy sauce
2 cups water
1 cup canola oil

Blend all ingredients and store in refrigerator.

Goddess Dressing with Parsley

1/2 cup tahini
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp dried parsley
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup oil

Add all the ingredients, except for the oil to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth and creamy. Slowly add oil until well mixed. Dressing will be thick, but you can always add a bit more water if you prefer a thinner consistency.

Spiced Tahini Dressing

1/2 ts Whole cuminseed
1/2 ts Whole coriander seeds
1/4 c Tahini; (sesame seed paste)
1/4 c Hot water
2 ts White-wine vinegar; or to
1/2 c Sour cream

PreparationIn a dry small heavy skillet toast cuminseed and coriander seeds over moderate heat, shaking skillet, until spices are fragrant, about 2 minutes. Cool spices completely and in a mortar with pestle or in an electric spice or coffee grinder grind fine. In a bowl whisk together tahini and water until smooth and whisk in spices, vinegar, sour cream, and salt and pepper to taste. Dressing may be thinned with additional water if necessary. Makes about 1 cup.

Many uses:
1.You can use these salad dressing on a simple salad of fresh tomatoes, sliced onions, and cucumbers.

2.It is great over any green salad.

3. You can put it over steamed be vegetables in place of that awful cheese sauce Moms use to disguise the fact they are getting vegetables into their kids without a revolution at the dining room table.

4. You can use this as the salad dressing over a cous cous salad. Just cook your cous cous, chop up your veggies, and mix. Yummy different cous cous version. Great for sides for dinner or makes a nice salad for lunches to bring to work.

I make a cabbage salad, yes another cabbage salad. Cabbage is good for you and I am constantly concocting new ways to eat it. It is such a powerhouse of Vitamin C, great for Cancer prevention, loaded with fiber, is rich in iron and sulfur, and a really cheap vegetable to eat. Red cabbage contain anthocyanin (red pigment/color) is an antioxidant that can help protect brain cells, thus can help prevent Alzheimer's disease.

Travelnista’s Middle Eastern Cabbage Slaw

4 cups thinly sliced cabbage - Napa Cabbage works well here as well as green cabbage
some thinly sliced red onions
1 large shredded carrot
½ cup of chick peas
1 Tbsp tahini
some fresh squeezed lemon juice
splash of water if needed
sea salt
pinch of cayenne pepper
pinch of cumin-optional

Mix cabbage,onions, carrots, and chick peas in a big salad bowl.

In a separate smaller bowl mix tahini, lemon juice, a splash of water if needed, and your spices till blended well and the tahini is thinned out.

Mix together and eat. It does make 4 servings but I eat the whole bowl as a meal. Zippo calories for an entire meal if you ask me but oh so healthy.

Winter Squash Puree With Tahini

Courtesy of Recipes by Health by Martha Rose Shulman

This popular appetizer from the Middle East is a sort of sweet-tasting hummus, in which winter squash substitutes for chickpeas. This recipe is an adaptation of one by the cookbook author Clifford A. Wright.

2 1/2 pounds winter squash, like butternut
1/3 cup sesame tahini, stirred if the oil has separated out
2 large garlic cloves, halved, with green shoots removed
Salt to taste
2 to 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, lightly toasted and ground
Pomegranate seeds and extra virgin olive oil for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with foil and brush lightly with olive oil. If using butternut squash, cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds and stringy membranes, and lay cut-side down on the foil-covered baking sheet. If using a thick slice of squash, scrape off any membranes. Bake 45 minutes to one hour, or until very soft. A knife should cut through it without resistance, and the skin should be wrinkled. Remove from the heat and allow to cool, then peel and transfer to a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the tahini, and puree until smooth and creamy.
2. Combine the garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a mortar and pestle, and mash to a paste. Add to the food processor along with the lemon juice and cumin, and blend together. Add salt to taste.
3. Mound the puree in a wide bowl or on a plate. Drizzle a little olive oil over the top, and garnish with pomegranate seeds. Serve with warm pita bread.
Yield: About 3 1/2 cups.

Romaine Salad with Tahini Dressing

1/4 cup tahini, well stirred
1/4 cup water
2 1/2 tbls. lemon juice
2 tbls. soy sauce
1 tbls. honey
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne
1/2 lb. romaine lettuce, torn
6 radishes, thinly chopped
1/2 seedless cucumber, thinly sliced
4 scallions, thinly sliced


Blend all ingredients in blender until smooth
Add more water, a little at a time if needed

Toss together all salad ingredients with enough dressing to coat

Chocolate Tahini Smoothie

2 cups water
4 Tbsp Tahini
1/3 tsp vanilla extract
4 Tbsp raw cocoa powder
4 Tbsp raw honey or agave nectar
3 frozen bananas
ice cubes

Combine all the above ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until smooth! Pour your drink and enjoy.

Papaya, Banana, Tahini Smoothie

1/2 of a Papaya (peeled and de-seeded)
1 ripe Banana
2 tablespoons raw Tahini

Blend all ingredients together in a blender. Mmmmmmm Good!

Kelp Noodles with Green Onion Tahini Alfredo

You can substitute the shirataki noodles, soba noodles, or any pasta.

*****here is the link for the Middle Eastern Slaw if you want to put into your Food Tracker

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHIRLEY2010 4/25/2010 6:23PM

    Different but I will be trying them. So far you are always on the money with your recipes. You have a great pallet.

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LITTLEMINX57 4/25/2010 1:07PM

    I love hummus so I am sure I will love these recipes too. Never would have occurred to me to use as a salad dressing. The Kelp Noodle recipe looks really good too. Where can I but the kelp noodles? I think I will try it with angel hair pasta till I find those kelp noodles.

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SAMTHEMAN60 4/24/2010 12:21PM

    I always learn new things, ideas, or ways to look at things with you. I never even heard of using tahini in these items.

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WEDDWT 4/23/2010 4:48PM

    The tahini in my fridge is used for hummus only, so I really needed these.

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EGRAMMY 4/23/2010 6:51AM

    I love spinach. Your post is a tribute to spinach. emoticon

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JBDIAS 4/22/2010 9:40AM

    Thanks for the recipes. Your blogs like this are very helpful for me and hopefully others.

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NO_SNOW_BODY 4/21/2010 9:11AM

    Another blog to print off so I can save your recipes

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WISLNDR 4/21/2010 8:09AM

    So many great ideas! Thank you for posting this, I can't wait to try some out!

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CRAVINSUCCESS 4/21/2010 12:52AM

  You are making me hungry! The photos look so good. I can tell you are a cook because the presentation is great. emoticon

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DJS-DEBBIE 4/20/2010 11:39PM

    Thanks for all the info!

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KATHYSCOLLIES 4/20/2010 11:32PM

    What wonderful recipes! Thanks so much for sharing them with all of us! I
will definitely be trying some of these- they all sound soooooo yummy!


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DAWNWATERWOMAN 4/20/2010 11:18PM

    You kill me! Love you, Dawn emoticon

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PAPPHEM 4/20/2010 9:56PM

    Holy cow, my mouth is watering! I'm going to try a couple of those this week!

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DERTREFFER 4/20/2010 8:39PM

    Thanks for the recipes! I usually have problems with salad dressing since I don't do dairy . . . hence I shy away from salads. With these recipes to try, I might become a salad enjoyer!


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GOLDENGIRL88 4/20/2010 7:29PM

    Thanks for the recipes! I have never made my own salad dressing, but I will start with your recipe. I'll let you know how it turns out.

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SANDYZEE 4/20/2010 6:44PM

    You write the best blogs. Love the pictures, direction, statistics, etc.
Someone should hire you as a columnist or similar.

Guess I need to read more and find out what you do for a living. LOL

Good Job!! emoticon

Sandy in CA

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MYGOLDENBOYS3 4/20/2010 5:49PM

    Definite keeper recipes. I love hummus and have tahini in my cupboards. Thanks for sharing all of these recipes. emoticon

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NWFL59 4/20/2010 5:10PM

    Thanks for the yummy receipes.

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DEBBIEANNE1124 4/20/2010 2:42PM

    I loved the simple dressing you sue on the cabbage salad with cayenne pepper, lemon juice and virgin olive oil so thise will probably be a hit with me as well. tyhanks bunches.

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L*I*T*A* 4/20/2010 2:05PM

    wonderful recipe ideas..........
thanks for sharing.......
blessings and hugs.............lita

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MRDPOLING 4/20/2010 1:48PM

    You just made me hungry....Mmmmm

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DEVRIES51 4/20/2010 1:43PM

    Thanks for the suggestions. I will have to try some of these recipes. I have never thought of using tahini in so many different ways.

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GEORGANNE39 4/20/2010 1:40PM

    You are making me hungry! LOL! emoticon

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IMVEGAN 4/20/2010 1:22PM

    The one caution about tahini is that it is loaded with fat. The first recipe for salad dressing that states 2-4 servings. I calculated the fat for 4 servings. There are 5.4 grams per serving!

A couple of the recipes call for 1 cup of tahini. I cup of tahini has 1,349 calories and 122 grams of fat.

SO be careful and judicious with this and understand that is a fat source.

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CACLARK262 4/20/2010 12:54PM

  Oh I LOVE tahini!!! I've never thought of using it in a smoothie but that sounds great.

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BEGONIAC 4/20/2010 12:49PM

    Awesome....tahini is one of those things that just takes up frig space til I use it up in hummus. I found chickpea flour last week to use in hummus. Can't wait to try that! Thanks for all the yummy recipes. The cabbage salad sounds wonderful! emoticon

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Agave or not to agave; that seems to be the question...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Blue Agave Plant

I was not going to blog about this but have changed my mind. I have been getting questions on this in my Spark emails and it has been the discussion in a number of teams I am on. Today I received in my personal email a newsletter from and guess what the topic was. Yuppers!

I am no expert but I know what works for me and this is my opinion on the subject. Each of you needs to make up their decision whether to use agave or not.

I feel agave is the flavor of the month. Right now everyone has an opinion. You have to consider the sources where the info is coming from. The corn fructose people are of course knocking it. I was taken aback by Kevin Gianni's (the Raw Renagade) blog on agave. I really like the things he writes. He is one of my Raw gurus. Now I don't know what to think. I will say that agave nectar and blue agave nectar are 2 different things.

I personally like agave. I think it falls into the category of one day butter is good for you and then, oh no, now you have to use margarine. They all keep changing their minds. One day coffee is bad and the next day it is bad. I have never drunk coffee myself. I personally don't think it is good for you. How can it be good for you if you have withdrawal symptoms from not using it? I understand those headaches can be brutal till the caffeine is out of your system.

I find my body reacts better using agave. Sugar or fructose corn sweeteners make me feel sluggish plus want to eat more sugar. Agave does not. Agave is also better for my with my Diabetes.

Here is a good site to look at. Look at the different sections before you make YOUR decision about agave. I have the link below so you can just click on it. It is the last link I posted at the bottom.

If I have to choose between agave, corn fructose, sugar, or artificial sweeteners I will choose agave.

Now as for the email I received here is the link to the email I received today:

Here are the important parts that I have reprinted:

" First of all, Dr. Miracle didn’t exactly say that, although he allowed it on his web site. Mercola is a brand, a big company, employing lots of people, including staff writers who write stuff for the site and newsletters. The chiropractor named Joe Mercola doesn’t do the research and writing. So when I say “Mercola” in this article, I mean “it” (the company/brand/staff), not “he” (the founder of the company)."

"Controversy, right or wrong, unfortunately, adds to Mercola’s 7-figure mailing list and profits. Mercola (and the chiropractor himself) may or may not be aware that it is wrong about agave. Comparing it to high-fructose corn syrup, or to tequila, is a tenuous, false, almost ridiculous exaggeration. It reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of the organic chemistry differences."

"Mercola’s staff writer acts as if fructose is poison. Yes, fructose is the sugar in high-fructose corn syrup, too. One point Mercola and I agree on is the fact that the highly refined sweetener HFCS is deadly. But fructose is the sugar in fruit, too! Is it possible that fructose can be either good or bad?

Here’s a key point Mercola overlooks. Agave’s sugar is a long-chain polymer of fructose, which is not absorbed by the body and therefore passes through you. Thus there’s a much-reduced impact on your blood sugar of consuming agave (versus HFCS, cane sugars, and honey). It’s not hard to document that agave’s glycemic index is one-third that of sugar or honey."

"But as sweeteners go, if you’re going to use them—and please use all concentrated sweeteners sparingly—raw, organic agave is a very good option. And another of my favorite sweeteners, stevia, contains a compound called steviasides, which shut down insulin production in the pancreas—stevia is an even better (calorie-free) option, especially for diabetics.

So, the answer to the question, is agave a superfood or a poison, the answer is, “Neither one.” Don’t fear it. Don’t overuse it either." Ronin Openshaw

If you use or are thinking of incorporating agave in your diet I would read the entire blog she wrote because it really breaks it down and gives examples as to why Robin Openshaw is saying what she is saying. I would also read these:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MYREALANA 4/20/2010 4:07PM

    IMO - it's a sweetner. Like any sweetner, you should use only a small amount.

In the end, I don't think it makes a TON of difference whether you choose sugar or agave or honey or whatever. What matters is that you don't overdo it.

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DJS-DEBBIE 4/20/2010 5:09AM

    I think the problem is people's all or nothing attitude about agave (or anything else). As with everything, we are all different and what works for one does not necessarity work for another. You have it in a nutshell - don't fear it and don't overuse it. I thnk that can be said about most things.

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MRDPOLING 4/20/2010 12:22AM

    There is a survivalist on Discovery Channel that talked of this in once of the episodes. At least it looks to be the same...i could be wrong.

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MRDPOLING 4/20/2010 12:22AM

    There is a survivalist on Discovery Channel that talked of this in once of the episodes. At least it looks to be the same...i could be wrong.

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DAWNWATERWOMAN 4/20/2010 12:20AM

    Thanks for this information. I love your blogs. You help teach us so much! Love ya, Dawn

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TEDYBEAR2838 4/19/2010 9:00PM

    I would not mind trying it either. I want a healthier option to sugar and substitutes

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WEDDWT 4/19/2010 7:11PM

    I am not a chemist, and when I read all that has been written about how our bodies break all of these substances down, what's harmful and what's not, I am just grateful that I use sugars very sparingly. In my pantry I have blue agave, honey, brown rice syrup, brown sugar, unsulphured molasses, and organic date sugar; mostly for baking needs. The only thing I use granulated sugar for is to make sugar water for the hummingbird feeders, 1 part sugar to 4 parts water.
Me, I'm happy with a sweet apple.

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DEBBIEANNE1124 4/19/2010 7:09PM

    I am willing to try it but to ate never ahve.

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L*I*T*A* 4/19/2010 4:33PM

    thanks for the great share .....
so much to consider.....
blessings and hugs...........lita

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EGRAMMY 4/19/2010 2:28PM

    So much to learn. Thanks.

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DEFIANTVEGAN 4/19/2010 2:21PM

    I totally agree drives me nuts when people say its' good one day it's bad the next. emoticon emoticon

I also agree coffee is not good for you although I drink it for warmth I really need to find alternatives ( I recall your post on a Coffee substitute) I just need a kick in the butt.

I know it's bad for you because my gums react to it. That's enough for me to say it's bad I don't get headaches at all so I know if I got off of it which I have in the past all I did was catch up on sleep - I have insomnia ( probably from the coffee).

As for the Agave it seems to be similar to HFCS - If it's pulled from any vegetable or Fruit it's a form of a HFS it's Bad. Sheesh that word is inbedded in our heads that it is bad so then it's bad.

I personally feel that it's not! I like the taste although I don't have any problems with my sugar and I can't say other then the taste from those synthetic sugars it does taste better.

I would rather start now and eat and use healthier products that will eventually affect me down the road.

I have used in my coffee, my baking and It doesn't alter the taste of anything that I have baked. It's a win win for me. emoticon emoticon emoticon

I also use Stevia I'm sure there will be something saying it's bad for you no it's good for you down the road, maybe it's out I just haven't heard of it yet. LOL

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DEVORA4 4/19/2010 1:01PM

  Interesting blog but I will take stevia anytime Thanks for info. emoticon

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NWFL59 4/19/2010 11:54AM

    Agave is something I tried a couple of times and it just didn't appeal to me at all so I don't use it and actually prefer refined cane sugar as my occassional sweetner of choice.

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KARVY09 4/19/2010 11:25AM

    I am sold on agave. I only need a tiny bit of it to add that sweetness I need to smoothies, oatmeal, Greek yogurt, etc. It's basically like any sweetener though: moderation!

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