Thursday, November 1, 2012

Is Agave a Good Choice?

So I seriously don’t like what I’ve been hearing lately concerning agave. Some of you may be like me, looking for the most righteous sweetener possible. I don’t sweeten a lot of food. I’d just like to have a sweetener I can use in oatmeal or in my coffee without feeling bummed about it or worrying that I am going to grow a third eyeball in the middle of my forehead or something. Over the last several years I graduated from plain white sugar to raw sugar or sucanat, and from Equal and Sweet-n-Low to Splenda. Then I went totally Splenda. Then I discovered stevia and agave and dropped the Splenda. One problem for me is that I like stevia in hot tea, but not in coffee, so agave seemed to do the trick. It has a hint of a molasses flavor and is sweeter so I didn’t use as much. Agave is lower on the glycemic index so it doesn’t spike blood sugar like honey would, it’s plant based, and you can get it organic. What’s not to love? Now I’m hearing that agave is too processed and may even be so processed in some cases that you might as well be using high fructose corn syrup! Good grief! How can we take plants and mess them up that much?

My most recent purchase of agave was organic, raw agave that is low-heat processed. Apparently in agave this is the best we can do, but some experts I know are recommending we not use it. Word now is that stevia (also plant based) or small amounts of raw, local honey are the best in cases when you MUST have sweetener. There are some other natural sweeteners that aren’t readily available. Better yet to not use sweetener at all.

These are the two I’m using now – stevia and raw, local honey. But now I’ve found out that the pollination process with the honey involves cotton and soybean plants. I’m not a betting woman, (ok, maybe a few rolls of quarters in a slot machine once in a while), but if I was, I’d bet these could be genetically modified crops. Drats!!!

Well, my mom always said if you didn’t drink it black you weren’t a real coffee drinker anyway…

What sweeteners do you use, and how do you use them? 

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