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Thread: The Healthy Lifestyle Thread

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    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    The Healthy Lifestyle Thread

    By popular demand (ie one person), this thread brought to you by Seana's interest in my whacky insistence on not being a lifelong legal drug addict at the hands of conventional medicine. And I quote:
    Quote Originally posted by Seana View post
    I'm very interested. I'd subscribe to the thread. Worst case scenario, you and I would publicly message back and forth about it.

    And if it ever gets a bit depressing, we could always pick up with where we left off in Teh Vague Who's on First?
    Short version of the 8+ years of lifestyle and dietary changes I have made:

    1) Less is more. I have become extremely spartan.
    2) "Made from scratch" generally supports life and health better than fast food, restaurant food, prepackaged food or anything you could describe as a "food product".
    3) The more ingredients listed on the package, the less likely it is to resemble actual food.
    4) Living without a car is a great way to get exercise while simultaneously avoiding exposure to chemicals to which I and my kids react really badly.

    Feel free to chime in with lifestyle changes you have made to live healthier. I have my own website for blathering on about living drug-free with a dread disease.

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    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    What is your philosophy on healthier food? How do you ensure that you are eating or buying healthier food without expending too much energy/time? I've been finding that eating healthy requires a major commitment of time to find the truly organic and nonprocessed foods and then a lot of time to prepare them.

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    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by imaplanner View post
    What is your philosophy on healthier food? How do you ensure that you are eating or buying healthier food without expending too much energy/time? I've been finding that eating healthy requires a major commitment of time to find the truly organic and nonprocessed foods and then a lot of time to prepare them.
    I hang out on some lists with folks who know the most amazing things. They recommended Celtic sea salt as the best salt around. I bought that. Since then, I've had the opportunity to try several different brands of sea salt and they are just not the same. Salt is such an important thing, I highly recommend switching to Celtic sea salt. I also have started buy organic spices. Spices tend to have medicinal properties and although they are a small part of our food, they carry a lot of kick. So most of the spices I have on hand are organic -- and most of them bought at my local grocery store (except for the organic pepper, which I order online from Celtic sea salt since I couldn't find any locally). When I can't find organic, I go with whole spices in grinders for freshness/lack of processing.

    For fresh fruits and veggies, I get organic if I can but I don't tear my hair out over it if I can't. It has to be reasonably convenient. I get the best I can/know of currently and carry on. As I learn more, I continue to tweak things.

    When I was a homemaker, I cooked a lot from scratch and was chained to the stove. These days, we do a lot from scratch but we do simpler meals and no one is chained to the stove. I modified a cookie recipe and I mix it in the dish it will be baked in and I don't go to pains to make it look "pretty". I modified a "one bowl" cake recipe and although I melt the chocolate and butter on the stove, I still mix part of it in the baking dish to cook down on steps. We make flat bread with quality ingredients and don't fuss over 'looks'. (Though I have had to insist my son learn to actually make the bread FLAT instead of lumpy blobs so I can spread butter and jam on it!) I just make a lot of one dish meals to avoid being made completely crazy. And we tend to have certain quick staples on hand: I have a bowl of homemade corn salsa in the fridge that I use for dipping chips and that I also use for making vegetarian "tortillas" (with the flat bread --- which is a modified tortilla shell recipe), and sometimes toss on mashed potatoes. Flat bread can be topped with stuff, eaten plain, or used to cook up vegetarian tortillas. I also buy organic junk food -- organic potato chips made with sea salt, organic corn chips, and a white cheddar version of cheetohs.

    I still drink diet coke daily. It's not like I live in a shack in the woods and grow my own garden (Ms. Black Thumb here). I still eat lunch out at eateries sometimes. But I find that I when I do that too often, my health starts deteriorating.

    Some things I prioritize: Healthy salt, healthy spices, and healthy oils. Those things pack a surprisingly big wallop. I read labels forever and still read labels when considering something new. I increasingly bring my own stuff to work so I can avoid the vending machines and cafeteria food as much as possible (I still get that stuff sometimes because I have a very high calorie need, so I sometimes run out of food to eat even though I bring a lot). Organic potato chips are a wonderfully healthy snack. Vending machine potato chips are a great way to cause myself problems.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    I eliminated trans fats years ago, and can tell when something I eat contains trans fat. When I eliminated high fructose corny-syrup, I also got rid of that nagging "I'm hungry but don't know what for" craving - the one where you stand in front of open fridge and can't find anything to eat.

    When my sons were small, and I had to keep close to home, I taught myself to bake. Breads, croissants, pizza, and most everything was made from scratch. Those days are gone now that I have 45 minute commute 2X day.

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    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    I avoid corn syrup as well. I have recently found that organic sugars -- especially organic turbinado sugar -- doesn't screw up my blood sugar the way most sugars do. So I'm fine if I bake homemade cake and cookies with mostly organic ingredients but I can get pretty messed up from most store-bought sweets.

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    Cyburbian Duke Of Dystopia's avatar
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    To those with food allergies I understand.

    The rest? All the effort to get an extra three years of life after you turn 70 just isn't worth the deprivation of taste, convenience, and a correspondingly sinful lifestyle!

    HI MZ!
    I can't deliver UTOPIA, but I can create a HELL for you to LIVE in :)DoD:(

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    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Duke Of Dystopia View post
    To those with food allergies I understand.

    The rest? All the effort to get an extra three years of life after you turn 70 just isn't worth the deprivation of taste, convenience, and a correspondingly sinful lifestyle!

    HI MZ!
    Give me something tasty to eat and a good beer to wash it down with please
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

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    Cyburbian Rygor's avatar
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    I've always been big into fitness. I started out as a runner, then became a competitive swimmer when I met my wife (she was a lifelong swimmer), then got into mountain biking and eventually triathlons. Started lifting to stay in shape for sports but then realized I loved the gym as much if not more than the sports I was into. Started lifting religiously which forced me to learn more about nutrition in order to enhance my strength and size gains. I started eating a lower carb diet and supplemented with protein, creatine, fish oil, fiber supps, and antioxidnats which I still take. I'm am now a big fan of a "paleo" diet consisting of mostly raw foods like fruits, veggies, and nuts with some meat and fish thrown in. I do drink milk but drink the organic stuff when I can. I've found that as my diet has changed I've been all-around healthier. I feel better, my joints ache less, I get fewer stomach aches, and I get sick less often and less severely. As I've gotten older I've never felt better!

    A friend of mine has a saying: "I love getting older because I get stronger every day!"
    "When life gives you lemons, just say 'No thanks'." - Henry Rollins

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    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    I forgot to mention PH balance. Most of the drugs I used to take had anti-inflammatory properties as their primary or secondary purpose. Getting excess acidity under control helped me gradually get off them. People with CF tend to be very acid and the typical American diet is acidifying. Excess acidity has also been linked to diabetes. CF Related Diabetes is very common. My blood sugar is much more stable these days. I think it's in part because of this factor.

    Quote Originally posted by Duke Of Dystopia View post
    To those with food allergies I understand.

    The rest? All the effort to get an extra three years of life after you turn 70 just isn't worth the deprivation of taste, convenience, and a correspondingly sinful lifestyle!

    HI MZ!
    Hi DoD. When are you going to use Chuckee the evil killer doll as your avatar? It would be so appropriate.

    Quote Originally posted by Rygor View post
    I feel better, my joints ache less, I get fewer stomach aches, and I get sick less often and less severely. As I've gotten older I've never felt better!

    A friend of mine has a saying: "I love getting older because I get stronger every day!"
    That's been true for me of late. I can't relate at all to the folks who whine about how "old" they feel (many of them are lots younger than I am). FWIW: I've concluded that a lot of joint pain is due to unrecognized infection. My joints have improved a lot in recent months. Cartilage is slow to heal in part because it doesn't get direct blood flow. I had to make a lot of progress on other things before I began seeing substantial improvements in my tendons and joints. I have an old sports injury that used to be very problematic and limited how much typing I could do. Those symptoms are nearly gone.

    PS/Re your sig: My saying is "When life gives you lemons, make lemon meringue pie".

  10. #10
    Funny that this thread is being brought up because this month's issue of Planning magazine is completely devoted to food programs and food policy vis-a-vis urban planning.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by kjelsadek View post
    Give me something tasty to eat and a good beer to wash it down with please
    Actually, I never really enjoyed food until very recently. I spent years making myself eat because I was about ready to pass out from low blood sugar, not because I was hungry or wanted to eat. My sons and I have never been big on eating beef but in recent months we have steak on Saturday and Sunday almost every weekend. This has nothing at all to do with deprivation. I think I am a bon vivant and for me this is The Good Life. Sea salt and organic spices taste better than the other stuff. And they are good for us. The first time we cooked with organic paprika, we threw the old paprika in the trash right after dinner and have never gone back.

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    maudit anglais
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    Quote Originally posted by Michele Zone View post
    I avoid corn syrup as well. I have recently found that organic sugars -- especially organic turbinado sugar -- doesn't screw up my blood sugar the way most sugars do. So I'm fine if I bake homemade cake and cookies with mostly organic ingredients but I can get pretty messed up from most store-bought sweets.
    I wonder if its the sugar or something else. My wife and I switched to "organic" sugar at one point but then found out that (at least in Canada), ALL sugar is actually refined (white) sugar, then re-processed back in other types of sugar. So we went back to buying the 2 kg bags of cheap white sugar and just use it sparingly.

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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    I've put more effort into selecting foods that have lower fat content. Because I'm married to a diabetic for the last few years I've been somewhat compelled to limit my carbohydrate intake, at least at meals. I'm fairly knowledgable about nutrition but still eat more junk than I probably should.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Michele Zone View post
    I forgot to mention PH balance. Most of the drugs I used to take had anti-inflammatory properties as their primary or secondary purpose. Getting excess acidity under control helped me gradually get off them. People with CF tend to be very acid and the typical American diet is acidifying. Excess acidity has also been linked to diabetes. CF Related Diabetes is very common. My blood sugar is much more stable these days. I think it's in part because of this factor.
    Just how do you reduce acidity?

    The best things I have done are to cut back on eating out (especially fast food) and to grow a garden this year. The downside of the garden is that, as some are aware, I had about 400 radishes ripen in a three-week period, I now have 28 zucchini sitting on top of my refrigerator, and I am starting to become apprehensive of the quantities of ripening watermelons and acorn squash. On the other hand, I will pick beans, lettuce, strawberries and other fruits or vegetables and eat them within minutes. Where there is simply too much, I am freezing and planning to learn how to do my own canning. No pesticides, herbicides, added salt or chemicals, minimal processing, and great flavor. MZ - your comment on spices is something I will look into. I only planted basil this year, but the flavor of a fresh leaf is amazing compared to the dried stuff. We will have a herb garden next year, and maybe grow a few plants indoors this winter.

    Some of the same things we are concerned about apply to our dogs too. The kids have done so much better since we eliminated corn and wheat from their diets, along with most products where there are lot of chemicals listed on the label. Quinoa is supposed to be exceptionally good for dogs as well as humans. It is one of the few things besides meat that has a long list of protiens and amino acids that we need. I plan to add more of it to our diets.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  15. #15
    Cyburbian cellophane's avatar
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    http://www.cookforgood.com/

    i found that a while back (on lifehacker maybe?) and it has some great ways to use more real food and less packaged crap - and for ridiculously low prices as well. the potato curry was pretty awesome, even if i messed it up by adding too many potatoes in chunks that were too big.

    the biggest problem i have with cooking for myself is just that - im cooking for one. i end up eating the same thing for 4 days straight and it gets boring, no matter how good it is the 1st time around. i have however started cooking more recently in an effort to pay down some credit debt and i have managed to learn a few new tricks - so go me!

    It is one of the few things besides meat that has a long list of protiens and amino acids that we need. I plan to add more of it to our diets.
    rice & beans (as a combo) is fantastically healthy for you and it is dirt cheap to prepare. the combo makes a complete protein and because it is complex carbohydrates you dont feel hungry after eating it. i LOVE some red beans & rice for dinner. if you use wild or brown rice you also get a lot of fiber.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal View post
    Just how do you reduce acidity?
    Short version: I tweaked my diet to include more alkaline foods (like corn and watermelon), ate large helpings of lettuce about 5 days a week until my system was better, eliminated peanuts and peanut oil, switched from yeast leavened baked goods to baking soda leavened recipes, and (when desperate) sometimes consume diet tonic water or baking soda in water. My problem tends to be really extreme and one study indicated that people with CF purge sodium bicarbonate at high rates. So I think that contributes to the tendency to be extremely acidic. Most people shouldn't have to go to such extremes. Of course, you can overdo it and make your system too alkaline, which is not good. I haven't done it, but I know a few folks who use PH test strips to track it.

    Quote Originally posted by Tranplanner View post
    I wonder if its the sugar or something else. My wife and I switched to "organic" sugar at one point but then found out that (at least in Canada), ALL sugar is actually refined (white) sugar, then re-processed back in other types of sugar. So we went back to buying the 2 kg bags of cheap white sugar and just use it sparingly.
    Turbinado sugar was recommended on a group I belong to. I had heard about it for a long time before my oldest son one day suddenly announced he wanted a chocolate cake. I informed him we would almost certainly have to dig up a recipe and bake it from scratch. We went to the store and began reading the ingredients on cake mix boxes and putting them back on the shelf instead of into our cart. I didn't even have a recipe yet and we bought some ingredients and went home and googled one up. Turbinado sugar is one of the things we bought. Once, I tried to make homemade pudding with it (something I used to do for the ex, eons ago when we were first married). The pudding wouldn't do what it was supposed to do. This stuff seems to be chemically different from regular sugar. I really haven't researched it. I just kept hearing "turbinado sugar" and tried it and it seems to work for me. We don't use a lot of it. We did make chocolate cake regularly for a while but not recently.

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    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tranplanner View post
    I wonder if its the sugar or something else. My wife and I switched to "organic" sugar at one point but then found out that (at least in Canada), ALL sugar is actually refined (white) sugar, then re-processed back in other types of sugar. So we went back to buying the 2 kg bags of cheap white sugar and just use it sparingly.
    Turbinado is made from evaporated cane juice, nothing is removed from it other than moisture. Brown sugar is basically white sugar with molasses added to it.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

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    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by kjelsadek View post
    Turbinado is made from evaporated cane juice, nothing is removed from it other than moisture. Brown sugar is basically white sugar with molasses added to it.
    We've switched over to turbinado to replace most refined sugar as well. Another suggestion would be to substitute organic honey for sugar although you'll have to experiment to get the taste and sweetness that you prefer or can tolerate.

    MZ, you mentioned acidity in an earlier post. While you didn't explicitly say so, I think that you were talking about acidity of the blood. This may not be relevant to CF and seemed to counter-intuitive to me but I was able to get off prescription antacids for GERD and gastric reflux by following a regimen of a daily glass of organic apple cider vinegar and organic honey for about a month. It actually became an acquired taste after a while and I rarely have any problems with reflux now even though I've stopped doing it. Would it have any effect on bloodstream acidity? Who knows? Just a thought.
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

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    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ofos View post
    We've switched over to turbinado to replace most refined sugar as well. Another suggestion would be to substitute organic honey for sugar although you'll have to experiment to get the taste and sweetness that you prefer or can tolerate.
    I like brown rice syrup. It doesn't spike the blood sugar since very little of it is comprised of glucose.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

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    maudit anglais
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    Quote Originally posted by kjelsadek View post
    Turbinado is made from evaporated cane juice, nothing is removed from it other than moisture. Brown sugar is basically white sugar with molasses added to it.
    YMMV: raw sugar...a raw deal?

    Keep in mind, this just applies to Canuckistan.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ofos View post
    MZ, you mentioned acidity in an earlier post. While you didn't explicitly say so, I think that you were talking about acidity of the blood. This may not be relevant to CF and seemed to counter-intuitive to me but I was able to get off prescription antacids for GERD and gastric reflux by following a regimen of a daily glass of organic apple cider vinegar and organic honey for about a month. It actually became an acquired taste after a while and I rarely have any problems with reflux now even though I've stopped doing it. Would it have any effect on bloodstream acidity? Who knows? Just a thought.
    I've heard similar stories from other people. I tried apple cider vinegar once (at least I think it was apple cider vinegar -- it's been a few years). Ten weeks of sinus infections turned into pneumonia in less than 48 hours and I was subsequently bedridden for about 3 1/2 months. Apple juice and apple cider are both really good for helping with correcting acid levels. And I think someone I know uses apple cider vinegar to good effect with their kids with CF. But I have been scared to try it again, given my bad reaction (granted, I was extremely ill at the time and I'm not anymore). Blood PH levels tend to remain within a fairly narrow range and the body will strip calcium from the bones to correct it. I suspect this is part of why people with CF are prone to early onset osteoporosis. Also, many of the strong antibiotics we get prescribed compete with magnesium (another alkaline mineral) and promote a magnesium deficiency. This is probably part of why people with CF end up dependent on certain drugs: The drug causes the very problem it treats (treats for inflammation and causes the excess acidity that leads to inflammation) and doctors don't know how to address the underlying issue effectively. People with CF tend to hoard both calcium and glutathione inside their cells. I suspect it is a desperate attempt to stop the body from frying itself. So I think the excess acidity issue goes a lot deeper than just the blood, at least in people with CF.

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    Cyburbian Rygor's avatar
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    Has anybody here tried Stevia as a sweetener? I've seen it only in organic sections of supermarkets and organic food stores, but it's popular and widely used elsewhere in the world. It supposedly 300-400 sweeter than sugar without affecting insulin levels.

    From http://www.vegsource.com/davis/sweeteners.htm

    *Stevia actually balances blood sugar levels, and is safe for use by both diabetics and hypoglycemics.

    * Unlike aspartame, there are no reports of adverse effects from stevia’s use and scientific studies throughout the world prove out its safety. Stevia has never been shown to cause brain tumors, seizures, blindness, or any of the other 92 adverse reactions associated with aspartame.

    * Unlike aspartame, stevia reduces the craving for sweets, making it the ideal sweetener for a society desperate to lose weight.

    * Unlike sugar, stevia reduces cavities by retarding the growth of plaque.

    * Stevia is used as a digestive aid in Brazil.

    * Stevia contains antiseptic properties which have proven beneficial in speeding the healing process of skin wounds.

    * Tests show that stevia’s antimicrobial properties inhibit the growth of streptococcus and other bacteria. This is especially noteworthy since some forms of streptococcus have become antibiotic resistant.
    "When life gives you lemons, just say 'No thanks'." - Henry Rollins

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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Rygor View post
    Has anybody here tried Stevia as a sweetener?
    Folks in the Great Lakes area used to consume it regularly as stevia was the sweetener used in Vernor's Ginger Ale from the mid 1800's up until the FDA banned it in 1991. The old Vernors recipe tasted a lot better than the new concoction IMHO
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    I haven't tried Stevia. I know some folks who use Xylitol in their food. My only use of Xylitol was as an additive to saline solution because of research in CF patients that it can help kill stuff on the surface of the lungs. I've done that for both sinus rinses and for nebulizing into my lungs. I no longer own a nebulizer but it did help keep me out of the ER and off antibiotics back when I was still pretty sick and trying to avoid getting "stuck in the mud" with the drugs.

    I am prone to severe hypoglycemia and everyone with CF is at risk for CF-related diabetes. So, even though my blood sugar is a lot more stable these days, I tend to just limit sweets in my diet.

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    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Rygor View post
    Has anybody here tried Stevia as a sweetener? I've seen it only in organic sections of supermarkets and organic food stores, but it's popular and widely used elsewhere in the world. It supposedly 300-400 sweeter than sugar without affecting insulin levels.

    From http://www.vegsource.com/davis/sweeteners.htm
    Truvia is the brand I've seen on the regular grocery store shelves. Basically it uses the best part of the stevia leaf as it's primary ingredient.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

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