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Archive for Sugar-Free

TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Better Bean’s Yummy, Ready To Eat Beans

The Better Bean Company makes a terrific product that should take off nationwide. We hope it will be the next big thing in delicious, nutrient-dense food for all meals of the day.

We hope you’ll try it. You can even get your first tub free (see below).

A NEW WAY TO BUY BEANS

The company is first to market a line of all-natural, refrigerated, ready-to-eat beans.

The beans are $3.99 for a 14-ounce plastic tub that is BPA-free, freezable, microwavable and reusable. The beans are solidly packed into the tubs: There’s no packing liquid or no air pockets taking up space; nothing to drain, no can opener required.

Just pop the top off the tub and dig in, or heat them as you prefer. Add them to recipes, use them as garnishes.

Prepared from scratch with freshly-harvested beans, the line is cooked in a gluten-free facility, and is non-GMO certified, vegan certified, nut free and soy free.

Bonus: The line has one-third the sodium of regular canned beans.

WHY THEY’RE EASIER TO DIGEST

Another bonus: Better Bean is easy on the digestive system. The company:

  • Uses freshly harvested beans, avoiding the challenges of digesting older beans (dried beans keep for years, and when you purchase them, you have no idea how old they are).
  • Soaks and re-rinses the beans, which eliminates gas-causing* compounds and activates enzymes that make it easier to digest all the nutrients. Dried beans must be soaked overnight before cooking, but you need to change the soaking water every few hours to removes the oligosaccharides* that cause flatulence.
  • Adds ingredients that help ease bean digestion. Onions, garlic and cumin help with this process, but the star ingredient is apple cider vinegar, which breaks down indigestible oligosaccharides.
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    *Oligosaccharides, a category of sugars in beans, cannot be digested by the stomach or small intestine. They get passed on to the large intestine where bacteria begin to break them down. During the process, the bacteria release several different types of gases, mainly hydrogen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide.
     
    MEET THE BETTER BEANS

    They are excellent on their own as a protein-packed side or snack; or can be added to dishes and recipes for every meal of the day.

    The Better Bean line currently has eight varieties: half with mild seasonings, half with medium spiciness.

    While the beans are cooked with garlic, onion and herbs, you can add fresh herbs, chopped scallions, more heat or other seasonings as you desire.

    Take your pick:

  • Better Baked Beans: mild; for sides—they’re in a tangy tomato sauce with a bit of maple syrup.
  • Cuban Black Beans: mild; for quesadillas, rice and beans, sides and soups.
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    Better Bean Uncanny Refried Beans
    [1] You can do so much with eight different varieties.

    Better Bean Roasted Chipotle Red Beans
    [2] Half the varieties are mild, half are medium-spicy.

    Black Bean Breakfast Burrito

    [3] An easy way to add protein to avocado toast. (all photos courtesy Better Bean).

  • Roasted Chipotle Red Beans: medium; for burrito bowls, nachos and tacos.
  • Skillet Refried Red Beans: mild; for bowls, burritos, quesadillas and tacos.
  • Southwestern Pinto Beans: for burritos, soups, sides and stir-fries.
  • Tuscan White Beans: mild; for bowls, curries, pastas and spreads.
  • Uncanny Refried Black Beans: for bowls, dips, quesadillas and tacos.
  • Three Sisters Chili: mild; a complete heat and eat meal or snack.
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    Any variety can be served hot or cold.

     

    Avocado Toast With Black Beans
    [4] Add protein to avocado toast (photo courtesy Better Bean).

    Mushroom & Bean Hors d'Oeuvre

    [5] Get creative: Instead of stuffing mushrooms with empty-carb breadcrumbs, stuff them with beans (photo courtesy Gather The Table).

     

    MORE WAYS TO ENJOY BETTER BEANS

    Beans are nutrient-dense and provide your body with essential nutrients, minerals, vitamins, and one of the most affordable sources of protein.

    In addition to the bowls, dips and Tex-Mex (enchiladas, nachos, quesadillas, rice and beans, tacos) recommended on the packages, try them:
     
    At Breakfast

  • Atop a savory waffle, with or without the bacon and eggs.
  • On any type of burger.
  • On toast, with or without avocado.
  • With breakfast eggs.
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    At Lunch

  • As a soup garnish (a small mound in the middle of the bowl).
  • In an avocado half.
  • In any wrap sandwich.
  • In lettuce cups and layered salads.
  • On a grilled vegetable sandwich.
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    At Dinner

  • As healthy vegan hors d’oeuvre (for example, top a rice cracker with beans, spices and a raw vegetable garnish).
  • As sides.
  • In casseroles.
  • In stir-fries.
  • With pizza: top the crust topped with beans, then mozzarella and toppings.
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    For Snacks

  • As a protein pick-me-up at home or work.
  • As a spread with crackers.
  • Paired with guacamole and corn chips.
  • With crudités.
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    GET YOUR FREE SAMPLE

    Try the the tub of your choice free. Just download the website coupon.

    Better Bean is carried by Whole Foods stores nationwide, Amazon Fresh and other retailers. Here’s the locator for retail store and e-tail websites.

    Head to BetterBeanCo.com for more on this very welcome line.
     
     
    THE HISTORY OF BEANS

    Beans are one of the oldest-cultivated plants, an important source of protein. Cultivated bean fossils found in Thailand date to the early 7000 BCE.

    Cultivation came later in the west: Wild beans that had been initially gathered in Afghanistan and the Himalayan foothills were cultivated by 2000 B.E.E. in the the Aegean, Iberia and transalpine Europe (modern Belgium, France, parts of Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland).

    The oldest-known domesticated beans in the Americas date to the same time [source]. In fact, most species in the bean genus Phaseolus originated in the Americas, and were grown from Chile to the northern United States.

    In the New World, indigenous peoples grew beans together with maize and squash. The beans would be planted around the base of the developing corn stalks, and would wind their way up, with the stalks serving as a trellis. The beans, in turn, provide essential nitrogen for the corn.

    Bean trivia: Beans are a heliotropic plant, meaning that the leaves tilt throughout the day to face the sun. At night, they fold into a “sleep” position.
     
     
    THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF BEANS

    Check out the different types of beans in our Beans & Grains Glossary.
     

      

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    GIFT: Sugar-Free, Gluten-Free Cheesecake

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    Delicious cheesecake, sugar-free and gluten-free. Photo courtesy Cinderella Cheesecake.

     

    For a cheesecake-loving mother who has given up sugar, here’s a find: sugarless cheesecake from Cinderella Cheesecake Company.

    It’s sweetened with maltitol, the finest-quality sugar substitute, and has a gluten-free cinnamon cracker crust.

    The classic-style cheesecake recipe also includes cream cheese, eggs, sour cream, natural vanilla flavoring. It tastes just as it should: rich, creamy, wonderful. Sugar-free observers, rejoice!

    Cinderella Cheesecake Company is a family-owned business founded in Riverside, New Jersey in 1965 with a broader product line. But by the early 1980s, the cheesecake business was so rocking that founder Alfred Rezende decided to drop the other baked goods to focus on expanding the cheesecake operation.

    The company sells cheesecakes to distributors, restaurants and non-profit groups for fundraisers, as well as direct to consumers online.

     
    In addition to the No Sugar Added cheesecake, the company makes conventional cheesecakes in Almond Amaretto, Egg Nog, Mango, Pineapple, Plain, Pumpkin, Sampler (two slices of each flavor), Southern Pecan, Washington Cherry and White Chocolate Peanut Butter.

    All cheesecakes are eleven inches in diameter and precut into 16 slices. A four-pound cheesecake is $38.00. It freezes nicely.

    Get yours at CinderellaCheesecakeCoInc.com.

     
      

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    GIFT: 5 Sparrows Hot Chocolate With Stevia

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    White hot chocolate with stevia sweetener. Photo courtesy 5 Sparrows.

     

    Five Sparrows is a line developed by coffee shop owners, who wanted commercial products created specifically for handcrafted beverages. They are now available to consumers as well.

    The company makes hot chocolate, chai and frappe mixes, which are available in versions sweetened with sugar or a combination of stevia and xylitol.

    Today’s recommendation is for the stevia products. It isn’t difficult to find a quality hot chocolate mix made with sugar, but good sugar-free versions are hard to come by. These taste very natural—no “artificial sweetener” aftertaste. They dissolve easily into milk.

    (And note that neither stevia nor xylitol are artificial ingredients. Here are the different types of zero-calorie, a.k.a. non-caloric, sweeteners.)

    For friends and family who prefer a beverage with zero-calorie sweeteners, here are:

  • Zero Sugar House Chocolate
  • Zero Sugar House White Chocolate
  • Zero Sugar Monumental Spiced Chai
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    A 10-ounce package is $11.00. Buy them online at 5SparrowsBrand.com.

     
      

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    PRODUCT: Marich Sugar Free Candy

    What’s Halloween like for people who can’t have sugar?

    While there’s no sugar-free candy corn (because candy corn is essentially sugar, corn syrup, color and flavoring), there are other sugar-free treats, from Gummies, hard candies including Cinnamon Buttons, Jelly Belly jelly beans, Jolly Ranchers, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and much more (for a great selection head to BlairCandy.com).

    Or, you could go gourmet at Marich.

    Marich Confectionery makes a lot of the all-American candies sold in bulk in better candy stories: bridge mix; caramels and toffees; chocolate-covered coffee beans, fruits and nuts; Holland mints, licorice; and our favorite malted milk balls.

    Some of the most popular items are available in sugar-free versions: Sugar Free Chocolate Bridge Mix, Sugar Free Chocolate Espresso Beans, Sugar Free Dark Chocolate Almonds and No Sugar Added Chocolate Cherries (the cherries themselves have natural sugar).

    Whether for Halloween gifts or for the holidays, in eight-ounce, ribbon-tied bags ($10.50, $11 for the cherries), we love these for gifting.

       

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    Sugar-free treats Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

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    Easy sugar-free gifting. Photo by Elvira
    Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    LOOKING FOR SOME SUGAR?

    From the regular line, two items great for stocking stuffers or party favors are two-ounce boxes of:

    • Christmas Holland Mints (red, white and green, $2.50)
    • Cinnamon Spice Apple Caramels ($3.00)
    • Pumpkin Spice Caramels ($3.00)

    The line is certified kosher by by KOF-K.

    Dig in at Marich.com.

     

      

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    TIP: Flavored Water Enhancers For World Water Day

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    Don’t buy flavored water: Make your own
    with this pocket-size squeeze bottle. Photo
    by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    It’s World Water Day, an observance begun in 1993 by a declaration of the United Nations General Assembly, to focus on the challenges of the world’s water supply.

    On previous World Water Days, we advocated buying a permanent water bottle to spare the earth the landfill of billions of plastic bottles a year.

  • More than 80% of empty water bottles end up in the nation’s landfills.
  • Fifty billion water bottles are used every year, about 30 billion of them in the U.S. This equates to 1,500 water bottles consumed per second! Amazingly, we utilize about 60% of the world’s water bottles, even though we represent just 4.5% of the world population and have safe municipal water everywhere.
  • Seventeen million barrels of oil are used each year to produce all of the water bottles—enough to keep one million cars fueled for an entire year.
  • Beyond oil, it takes three times the volume of water to manufacture one empty plastic water bottle. Because of the chemicals used in production, most of that water cannot be reused.*
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    ENHANCE TAP WATER WITH WATER ENHANCERS

    This year, for folks who don’t like plain water from the tap, we’ve advocating portable water enhancers instead of iced tea, Vitamin Water and other options. These small squeeze bottles fit in your pocket and turn your [reusable] bottle of water—or a glass of water—into a zero-calorie flavored beverage.

    The process is simple: Take your water bottle or a glass of water, squeeze in a few drops of water enhancer and shake or stir. No refrigeration is required; the enhancers are caffeine-free and gluten-free.

    As an at-home or on-the-go product, water enhancers are environmentally friendly, leaving one small plastic bottle to recycle instead of up to 32 full size beverage bottles.

    We tried two brands: AriZona, which makes flavored iced tea, and Stur, which creates flavored water.

    ARIZONA WATER ENHANCERS

    From the folks who make AriZona bottled teas, these water enhancers let you recreate your own diet AriZona in seven of the company’s most popular flavors: Arnold Palmer Half & Half, Arnold Palmer Strawberry Fruit Punch, Golden Bear Strawberry Lemonade, Lemon Tea, Mucho Mango and Peach Green Tea.

    Made with real tea and flavored with real juice and honey without artificial† colors or flavors, there is added sweetness from sucralose (marketed to consumers as Splenda).

    How can the enhancer have zero calories when juice and honey are ingredients? They have just a pinch to add flavor while keeping the calorie count less than 1%. If it’s less than 1%, the FDA allows the claim of calorie-free. (And by the way, it’s the same with any ingredient, including trans fats.)

    As of now, AriZona Water Enhancers are being sold at Walmart and online. They are expected to roll out to other distributors nationwide.

    The line is certified kosher by OU. For more information, visit DrinkArizona.com.

     

    STUR WATER ENHANCERS

    Stur is a water enhancer that adds flavor and vitamins. Instead of making iced tea like AriZona, it turns plain water into vitamin water.

    Flavors include Freshly Fruit Punch, Lemon Tea, Only Orange Mango,Purely Pomegranate Cranberry and Simply Strawberry Watermelon.

    The line is made with kosher ingredients but has not yet been certified kosher.

    Stur is an all-natural† product that supplies 100% DV of Vitamin C per serving, along with a blend of essential vitamins, including A, D, E, B3, B5, B6, B12.

    The company’s goal is to encourage Americans drink more water, by giving those who don’t like to drink a lot of water a “delicious way to hit those 8 glasses of water a day.”

    You can do more than enhance water:

  • Add to seltzer water for a carbonated beverage.
  • Make flavored milk or smoothies.
  • Top yogurt or sugar-free ice cream.
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    strawberry-glass-230

    Just squeeze a drop into a water bottle or glass of water. Photo courtesy Stur.

     

    You can buy a variety pack on Amazon, and individual flavors on SturDrinks.com, where you can buy any five flavors for $19.95 (which make 90 eight-ounce servings).

    Get some for yourself, and put them on your stocking stuffer list.

     
    *Source: Huffington Post.

    †Stevia, the sweetening agent, is a natural product made from the leaf of the stevia plant. While stevia can be a highly processed product like sucralose, sucralose detractors point out that it is created by the addition of chlorine atoms to sucrose molecules. Here’s more information from the anti-sucralose resource.

      

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