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A Spoonful Of Sugar
  t may help the medicine go down, but just one spoonful of sugar will suppress the immune system for 24 hours. If eaten every day, that means your immune system is continually being compromised. Right up there with white flour, sugar is one of the most highly processed, chemically-laden substances that we ingest, and North Americans eat it in massive quantities. Excess sugar is stored as fat, so the next time you see a product that boasts it is fat-free, check out the sugar content. If it is high on the list of ingredients, you can be assured that it will produce the same caloric effects as bad fat. Sugar can also be disguised in a number of forms, so be sure to read labels. Some other names given to sugar are sucrose, glucose, fructose, dextrose, maltose ~ in other words, anything ending in "ose". Over-use of both sugar, and the wrong kind of fat, accounts for the fact that obesity is more prevalent in Canada and the U.S. than anywhere else in the world. It has been reported that obesity has reached epidemic proportions amongst North American children, who are acquiring adult diseases for the first time in history! More and more children have been diagnosed with behavioral problems, depression, hypoglycemia, diabetes, cancer and even heart disease.
Alternatives To Sugar
Although there are many natural substitutes for sugar, keep in mind that most of them are still simple sugars, and should be used only occasionally. They can be high in calories, and stored as fat. Remember, as well, to check for allergies and sensitivities. The most common replacements are honey, molasses, and maple syrup. Other healthy alternatives include: fruit and berry concentrates, fruit juices, dried fruit mixtures, and grain syrups. In all cases, make sure the ingredients are all-natural, organic, and not processed. Honey should not be pasturized, as are most store brands; molasses should be blackstrap; and maple syrup should be pure, not the "table syrup" kind. Read labels! The fruit and berry concentrates should not be sprayed or sulphurized, as are most store brands of dried fruit ~ even the bulk kind can have sulphur added, so check before you buy. Artificial chemical sweeteners, like saccarin, aspartame,  sodium cyclamate, and silicon dioxide, as found in "Sugar Twin" and "Equal", should never be used. Studies show that these chemicals can alter brain waves, which can cause mood swings, behavioral problems and disease.
STEVIA ~ The Healthy Herb
Stevia is a little-known plant that is the healthiest alternative to sugar. It is a natural herb, also known as honeyleaf, that can be up to 300 times sweeter than sugar. It contains no calories, and does not produce fat in the body. Also, it   does not react in the body like simple sugars, so can be used by anyone, including diabetics. Sound too good to be true? Apparently, the U.S. government thought so, because at one point, they banned stevia. The reason given was that the safety of stevia had never been proven. In reality, that was just an excuse to have it removed from the shelves, because it was felt that it may compete with artificial sweetener and sugar producers. Stevia has been safely used in many other parts of the world for centuries, and has no known side effects ~ it is readily available in Canada at health food stores. It is the leaves of the stevia plant that are used, and they are sold dried, in liquid or powder form. Stevia can be used anywhere you would normally use sugar, but the quantity would be much less. In recipes that rely on sugar to add volume or texture, stevia may not be as suitable. However, it does work quite well in quick breads, muffins, cookies, some cakes, desserts and beverages. There are many recipes using stevia available at the library and on the Internet, so check them out. Also, stevia can successfully be converted using your own recipes. In baking, use organic whole wheat flour ~ the bread machine kind works quite well.
Conversions for Sugar Substitutes
The following substitutes will replace 1 cup of sugar.
SUBSTITUTE                                        AMOUNT             LIQUID BY
Honey or Rice syrup                                   3/4 cup                   1/8 cup
Maple syrup or molasses                             3/4 cup                   1/8 cup
Date sugar                                                    1 cup                       
Date/prune concentrate (recipe follows)        3/4 cup                   1/8 cup
Barley malt                                                   1 cup                   1/3 cup
Raisin concentrate (recipe follows)               3/4 cup                   1/8 cup   Fruit juice                                                     1 cup                      1 cup    Pure stevia powder (test amounts)         1/2 to 1 tsp.                      
~     Stevia liquid* (adjust to taste)                   2 1/2 tsp.                       ~  

*Liquid ~ Mix 1 tsp. stevia powder with 3 tbsp. purified water. Refrigerate.
                    Prune or Date Concentrate

                                 2 c. pitted prunes or dates
                                        1/2 tsp. cinnamon
                                          2 c. apple juice

Simmer in small pot, stirring occasionally, until the prunes or dates are tender and the mixture is thickened.Cool and puree. Refrigerate in glass jars. Can be used as a spread or in baking and desserts.
                           Raisin Concentrate

1 c. raisins
                            1/3 c. almonds or pecans (optional)
                                        1 c. purified water

Wash raisins thoroughly. Soak in hot water until soft. When cool, blend until smooth. This is very sweet and can be used in various recipes.
Experiment with different fruit, grain, and juice concentrates. Enjoy!