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Xylitol

Although I’m sweet without it 😉 when I decided to go sugar-free, I started off using stevia. Although it worked out to add some sweetness to smoothies and flavor to certain dishes, I did not like the bitter after taste. Some people don’t notice it, but I do and it was really an annoyance and distracting me of the deliciousness of a dish. So when I heard about xylitol, I HAD to give it a try! So what exactly IS xylitol and how do you pronounce it? It is pronounced zy li tall and it is a natural sugar that is derived from trees and corn. Xylitol is granulated and looks like sugar, is sweet like sugar, can be used in cooking, baking, and sweetening beverages, and there is no aftertaste like stevia!  I was sold! What makes xylitol great is that it is low on the glycemic index, very low-calorie, good for your teeth, and is actually very beneficial for your health. So what’s the downside? Price for one, it is quite expensive but oh so worth it! The other downfall, is that some people, if they have too much, will  end up with digestive upset like cramps, bloating and diarrhea. But, if you’re on iron, like me, you hope for that after effect 😉 I have not had this happen to me but my 2 daughters made several glasses (3 or 4) of lemonade with 2 large spoonfuls of xylitol in each glass. They drank them one right after the other and ended up with one of those lovely side effects (I’m sure they’re glad I’m telling you). But, if you use it like a normal person then you will probably be safe. Read more about xylitol here

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Stevia

Stevia is the first natural sweetener I used and was happy to have at least something to sweeten and flavor my drinks and dishes. What I didn’t like was the bitter aftertaste. My daughter said she doesn’t notice it and she really likes it so maybe it’s just me. Pronounced stee vee yuh, stevia comes from the leaves of a plant. It is considered a zero calorie sweetener, can be used for cooking, baking, and sweetening beverages. What’s nice about it is that it comes in large bags as well as packets. Although the packaging says that you can use it cup for cup like sugar, I found it is too sweet for that and the aftertaste became stronger. I always cut the amount by at least half. You can read more about it here. I prefer to use xylitol over stevia.

Coconut Aminos

Coconut Aminos is a soy sauce substitute as well as a salt substitute. This liquid aminos is soy free but does contain added sea salt although the sodium content is less than Braggs. To me, this has a lighter flavor than the Braggs and I use it mostly on dishes that aren’t as strongly flavored because I’m afraid the Braggs may be too overpowering. That’s just my opinion though, I could be wrong. This one has 17 amino acids. Oh, and no, it doesn’t taste like coconuts! 😉 You can read more about it and see what it looks like here: Coconut Aminos

Braggs Liquid Aminos

Braggs Liquid Aminos is a soy sauce substitute that I use and is commonly used as a salt substitute. It has no preservative, gluten, chemicals, etc. The reason it is called liquid aminos is because it contains 16 amino acids.  I didn’t really like  it at first (I was a saltaholic and this just didn’t do it for me) but now I do. It tastes like soy sauce and you would never know that there is not any added salt.

You can read more about it and see what it looks like here: Braggs