Cutting back on sugar intake is a smart move for any diet. Excessive sugar consumption is closely tied with obesity, tooth decay and countless other health problems, all of which everyone clearly wants to avoid. Super-sweet, processed foods often contain high fructose corn syrup and sugar in levels that aren’t healthy in any context. Even if you cut out junk food and rely on artificial sweeteners, you may not be doing yourself any favors. Aspartame is a controversial ingredient in most artificial sweeteners that many critics deride as being harsher on the body than sugar. A sweet solution is to go natural!
If you are only familiar with white, processed or confectioner’s sugar, you might be surprised to learn of the wide range of natural, unprocessed options. Turbinado sugar, honey, brown rice syrup, pure maple syrup, succanat, agave nectar, and Stevia are all healthy options when used in moderation. The recently popular Stevia can be up to 300 times sweeter than sugar when used in certain concentrations. Using it in coffee, tea, and simple baking is a healthy, effective means of getting your sweet tooth fix. Green Living Tips has information about how white, processed sugar is manufactured that may help you decide natural is the way to go. Click here to access the Whole Foods Market guide which explains what types of natural alternatives should be used in various foods and recipes that call for white sugar. More information is available from Wholesome Sweeteners.
Like a Bee to Honey
Supporting local beekeepers by buying raw, organic honey from your farmer’s market is not only eco-friendly and sustainable—it’s delicious! The Alabama Beekeepers Association has more information about certified Alabama honey. You can also find it at many of the areas farmers markets, and online at http://www.localharvest.org/store/bee-prods.jsp.
Alabama: The Cane BioFuel State
Alabama is often referred to as the cane state, as according to Encyclopedia of Alabama, canebrakes once “covered large portions of river floodplains in every valley and parts of the uplands, reaching its greatest extent in the richest and most well-watered soils.”
Farmers have been growing sugar cane in Alabama as far back as the 1800’s, and it soon may pay off in more than just molasses. There have been recent efforts to fund biofuel projects that may turn sugar cane into jet fuel for the US Air Force. This would potentially position Alabama as a leader in the biofuel industry. For more information on the biofuel project, read the Governor’s official press release on the State of Alabama website.