Make Your Own Liquid Stevia Extract

I’ve written a couple of articles so far about the wonderful plant called stevia or more properly, Stevia rebaudiana. It is easy to grow and it is fantastic for dieters and diabetics because it has no calories and no glucose. In fact, some studies suggest that it might actually lower insulin resistance of cells and reverse some of the problem with diabetes. It can easily take the place of refined sugar in your diet because the plant is about 600 times sweeter than sugar. It is potent stuff. Stevia can be purchased as an extract, either powdered or liquid. This can be cost prohibitive. It can be purchased in the store, for instance as products called “Stevia-in-the-Raw” and “Tuvia“. However, these have other non-glucose sugars added, such as erythritol or isomaltulose (corn sugar). Part of the reason is that stevia is so powerful that a teaspoon of powdered stevia has the same sweetening power of over a cup of refined sugar. The additives make it less likely that a person will use so much that it is bitter. Still, considering the amount of stevia in the package, this is also expansive. I recently priced a bag of Stevia-in-the-Raw that weighed less than a pound and the cost was $9.97. Naturally, your health is worth far more than this, so it is worth it. However, most of this was taken up by other sugars, so the amount of stevia in the bag was minimal. A person can also buy dried stevia leaves and Continue Reading →

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The Truth about Cinnamon and Diabetes

There are literally hundreds of substances mentioned in the news and online that supposedly help people with diabetes. Not all of them are supported by scientific tests and studies. However, there have been quite a few studies done on cinnamon and its relationship with blood-sugar levels. It appears that this may be the ‘real deal’. Cinnamon information The cinnamon spice we use comes from the cambium or inner bark of a shrub-like tree. This is removed, ground, soaked in salt water and then the water is removed. The dried cinnamon is often pulverized at this point to result in a powder. All of this is well and good, but there are well in excess of 200 species of cinnamon plants. Of those commonly sold in the United States and throughout the world, two species are the most common. One is usually called true cinnamon and the other is sometimes called cassia. True cinnamon has been used for thousands of years, including medicinally. It is even mentioned in the bible. Cassia hasn’t been in use nearly as long. People might wonder if the studies were done with both true cinnamon and cassia and the answer is yes. The results are similar between the two and if anything, cassia may be the more beneficial of the two. The studies and findings Independent studies have been done in 2003, 2006, 2007 (two separate studies done that year) and 2012. The results of all of these is interesting, to say the least. It is important Continue Reading →

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Wild herbs – Terrific Tasty Tarragon

Believe it or not, there isn’t much difference between wild tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus) and the tarragon you can buy in the store. The store-bought variety is simply a specific cultivar, most often French tarragon. The fact is that all cultivars can be used in the same way and wild tarragon is a plant that grows wild through most of North America, Europe and Asia. It is occasionally called dragon wormwood because of its scientific name; dracunulus, meaning dragon. Wild tarragon in general This wild herb is found in places that get dry and that drain well, but which also get plenty of sunshine. In Montana, it is found from the lowlands of about 3,000 feet to mountainous country that is in excess of 5,000 feet. Tarragon is a perennial, bushy and hardy member of the sunflower family. Because of its hardiness, it is found from the Yukon in Canada to Southern California and east through Texas. It also grows in the midwest states. The plants are variable in size, from barely over a foot tall to about six feet in height. The leaves can get about three inches long but are quite narrow. On smaller plants, they don’t reach this length. The flowers are also tiny, seldom as broad as a fifth of an inch, most often dull yellow to yellowish-green. These produce a lot of seeds, but in some species, the seeds are infertile. Wild tarragon grows up from a rhyzomous root, rather like those of crabgrass. It can Continue Reading →

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Understanding the Grain and Diabetes Connection

The incidence of diabetes is growing, particularly in more industrialized countries like the US, Europe, the UK and Australia. However, there is a lot of confusion about the illness, in part because many aspects of diabetes are poorly understood by medical science. For instance, they can say who is at risk to get it, but they can’t say who will. They honestly don’t know why one person will end up with diabetes while another with an identical lifestyle and diet, won’t. The confusion extends to what foods are acceptable to eat, such as which grains. Some doctors go so far as to say that a diabetic or potential diabetic shouldn’t eat grains at all. This is obviously incorrect and the American Diabetes Association explains that not all grains are bad. They also caution that people require carbohydrates in their diets and this includes diabetics. So what’s the deal with grains? Diabetics have varying degrees of difficulty handling and maintaining blood sugar levels and much of the difficulty is with a sugar called glucose. Some grains tend to be very high in glucose and low in protein. If they are high in glucose, they are said to be high-glycemic. It really shouldn’t be surprising that in most industrialized nations where the incidence of diabetes is highest, the most used grains have a high glycemic index. They are also often overly processed, which removes proteins and can concentrate high-glycemic starches. The glycemic index is a numbered system that helps people understand whether Continue Reading →

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