The legal standard for false advertising seems to be very low. It seems that you can give completely misleading impressions about a product without facing any liability. Gone are the days when consumers can just pick up what they want from the supermarket shelf without worrying about studying the ingredients list (or maybe those days never existed). Now, we all have to be savvy consumers, especially if you are health conscious!
Artificial sweeteners have received a hoard of controversy over the years. Unsubstantiated scandals of cancer and side-effects of headaches and nausea have plagued their existence. However, Stevia, which is a zero-calorie, super sweet compound derived from plants, has gotten a lot of press in recent years for being “natural” and “safe.” It’s difficult to say exactly how “safe” anything is, but people seem to equate “natural” as being the same thing as “safe” (I’m not sure how great this illogical reasoning is, but that’s another matter).
Stevia has gotten so popular that several soft drink manufacturers have produced supposedly Stevia-sweetened sodas, such as Blue Sky Free and Zevia. However, if you drink these drinks or use Truvia (a popular brand of sweetener that contains Stevia), then you may have been duped….most of those drinks and sweeteners contain much higher quantities of sugar alcohol than Stevia!
Let’s talk briefly about each of 3 popular brands, either of Stevia itself or of a soft drink supposedly sweetened with Stevia:
I personally think that sucralose is the best artificial sweetener out there both in terms of the slim chance of health problems and in terms of taste. But if you’re determined to use Stevia, then you ought to realize that very few things are currently flavored with just Stevia. SweetLeaf, which you can buy at Wholefoods or on Amazon, is a pure Stevia sweetener as opposed to Truvia. But it does taste more bitter, which is why Truvia, Blue Sky Free, and Zevia have chosen to put erythritol into the mix.
It’s hard to know who to trust when it comes to information about artificial sweeteners, but you should try not to be fooled by all the claims of “naturalness” from the advertisers! “Natural” does not always equate with “health,” and advertisers have zero interest in your health!
It would be wrong of me to go on about these delicious low carb muffins (gluten-free and grain-free) without giving you the recipe for them! So, it’s below… The muffins are 2g net carbs each and are really moist and full of flavors because of the spices and apple chunks in them. I keep them in the fridge and microwave one for 10 seconds on high to warm it up. They’re really convenient to take with you as breakfast or as a quick snack. You can try making them with other flavors, but I’ve generally found that apple and cinnamon go really well with artificial sweeteners (i.e. you can’t tell that it’s not real sugar!), whereas chocolate is really bad at hiding artificial sweeteners.
These muffins are flaxseed meal and almond meal based. You can either buy bags of flaxseed meal and almond meal (Wholefoods and a lot of larger grocery stores and health stores generally carry Bob’s Red Mill brand pictured below or you can buy it online at Amazon.com) or you can make your own by placing flaxseeds/almonds into a food processor or blender (the almonds can wear down the blade in your blender/food processor quickly). I generally make my own as it’s much cheaper to buy flaxseed and almonds unprocessed, but if you’re just starting to try low carb baking, then you might want to start with a small bag of flaxseed meal and of almond meal and see how you like the muffins before buying them in bulk. The other essential ingredient in low carb baking is coconut flour, and my next muffins post will on that!
Ingredients (makes 12 muffins)
Equipment: muffin/cupcake pan
I’ve noticed that the muffins do shrink a bit once they cool, and they don’t look as fluffy as regular muffins, but they are deliciously moist even on reheating and much much healthier. In fact, I think these are better than many regular full carb muffins! Let me know what you think of the recipe and what variations you’ve tried.
When I shop, I like to look to see how many calories and how many carbs are in my foods. But, most of the numbers I’m used to seeing are under 10g of carbs per serving as I usually look at low carb foods. Even seeing something with 10g of carbs per serving might make me think twice before buying it! I had therefore completely forgotten just how many carbs were in non-low-carb foods!
I recently made some delicious apple cinnamon muffins, and I was interested in knowing how their nutritional values compared with Starbucks muffins. Starbucks has very helpfully provided all the information on their website.
That’s a 53g difference! It’s no wonder you feel so sluggish after your Starbucks break.
2012 is going to the year when I unleash my cooking potential! Already this year, I have made 3 new dishes (2 low carb desserts) and bought enough food that my refrigerator is staring to groan. However, I’ve made enough resolutions to know that 2 weeks is the average amount of time before the resolution crumbles and then collapses into a distant memory of yet another failure.
So this year, I’m going to help my lack of perseverance along a bit. Instead of just saying I’ll “cook more,” I’m going to be a bit more definite – I am going to cook at least twice a week. I’m also going to make more simple dishes, so that cooking doesn’t eat into my evenings too much. To kick start this new resolution, I made a really simple dish tonight. It took me all of 15 minutes and was delicious. The recipe for the so-simple-even-you-can-make-it eggs and Chinese chives stir-fry is below, but first, let me explain what Chinese chives are and why they are so amazing!
Chinese chives look a bit like tall grass (see the photo on the right), but they have a very distinct fragrant smell and taste. Although they are similar to normal chives, they have a much stronger taste. It’s hard to describe the taste since it’s quite unique, but it’s probably something close to that of a leek with the sweetness of green onions and a touch of garlic. Doesn’t that sound delicious already?? Unfortunately, you can only find Chinese chives in Asian supermarkets, but you can substitute leeks or regular chives for the Chinese chives.
It’s a great dish to have for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. And it’s easy and super quick to make! I wish all recipes were so simple!