Day Twenty-Six: When Not to Be Sweet

So I've lately fallen heads over heels for Nectresse. It's one of those new organic, natural sweetners and the best part is that it's calorie free! I mean, that is if you're on a diet -- I personally just love how its flavor is so much sweeter than sugar and yet it has this strange sort of satisfactory flavor. When I sprinkle some into my morning coffee, I don't actually get a sugar high like I do over cream and sugar. Instead, I just feel this warm pulsing inside, telling me that this is really good.

I'm really hoping that's just me. Anyway, the only downside I've been able to find about this sweetner is the expense. It's made from the concentration of monk fruit, which is a fruit I've only been able to find dried and even that's only in obscure herbal medicine houses in Chinatown. It's basically like a melon, but it's supersweet and delicious. My family, all native to Fuzhou, has this tradition of boiling it into a soup and then drinking it whenever they're sick. That's something funny about China. Here in America, we have soups, bisques, stews, you name it. In China, though, soups are usually for medical purposes. They have clean-colon soup, low-sodium soup, soups that supposedly help ail your progression through a cold, etc. And the combinations they put in are really exotic, from starfruit and pig's feet to monkfruit and wolfberry. You don't eat the ingredients, either. Per tradition, the juices sort of seep into the boiling water and that's where all the magic happens.

I'm not really one to criticize, though, so I'll continue on my ode to sugars. There's so much variety in the world -- I'm sure everyone's fed up by now by all of the colored sugar packets. What do they mean anyway? I've gathered a pretty good understanding and although my list is far from comprehensive, here's what I know so far:

White Sugar -- This is the processed, refined sugars you usually see. It's commonly used in baking it's the white packet
Brown Sugar -- This is the less processed version of white sugar. It's kind of sticky, and goes great with oatmeal!
Raw Sugar, aka Sugar in the Raw -- If it's available, it's in the brown packets. It's the completely non-processed sugar and the best for organic foodies.
Molasses -- This is a bit different from regular sugar. It's like honey in thickness, but it's usually made from sugarcane.
Corn Syrup -- Obviously, this comes from the sugars of sweet corn. It's usually best in moderation.
High Fructose Corn Syrup -- Worse than regular corn syrup, but it's often used in manufacturing
Saccharin, aka Sweet n Low -- Research has shown that this low-calorie chemical sweetener may be a cancer-causing carcinogen. Proceed with caution.
Sucrose, aka Splenda -- Contrary to popular belief, Splenda actually contains calories. What's more, it may trigger responses from the body to consume more, which could be detrimental in the long run.
Aspartame, aka Equal -- This is also a nasty carcinogen, with side affects including nausea and stomachaches. Avoid this sweetener.
Sugar alcohols -- Including xylitol and sorbitol, these are in liquid form and found in manufactured products. They're usually safe to consume.
Honey -- This is the digested nectar and foodstuff of bees. It's also really healthy and unprocessed.
Agave Nectar -- Recently, its low calorie count has been noted in the media. It's also a natural sugar.
Stevia -- Coming from the stevia plant, it's a zero-calorie sweetner.
Nectresse -- Comes from the monk fruit and it's also zero-calorie.

As for my's certainly been interesting. I'm actually looking forward to seeing my new high school this coming week. I hope your first days back are smooth, too!

Breakfast: Greek yogurt and hard boiled egg
Lunch: Turkey lettuce wrap
Dinner: Mango salad
Snacks: Frozen figs, saltine crackers and swiss cheese


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