Alternatives to honey


So, my youngest daughter has decided she wants to try vegetarianism…and possibly become a vegan.

And being the type of mom who loves education and believes that you must know about that which you proclaim, I sent her on a mission to learn HOW to do this in a nutritious and healthy way as well as be able to answer WHY she would prefer this type of diet.

This particular daughter loves sugar.  Um, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!  And I recently came across an article that I shared with her … discussing alternatives to honey for vegans.

I thought I would share it with my readers as well for those of you pursuing the vegan lifestyle.  Click here to discover the 5 best alternatives to honey.

Have a sweet day!  🙂




7 requirements in protein powders

proteinMy last post focused on 8 ingredients in protein powders to AVOID.  Today, I want to talk about what I look FOR in choosing protein powders.

Let’s first discuss the nuts (pun intended) and bolts of protein.

  • Amino acids are the building blocks of protein.  There are 22 amino acids, including 9 essential amino acids.  Essential amino acids can NOT be made by the body and therefore must come from food sources.
  • Protein doesn’t store in your system and since your body doesn’t make essential amino acids, you must get an intake daily to meet protein requirements.  It’s a nonnegotiable to health.
  • Protein is essential to health … nails and hair are made mostly of protein, protein is used to make body chemicals such as enzymes or hormones, and is the actual foundational building block of muscle, skin, cartilage, blood, and bones. Pretty vital, right?

Okay, so what do I look for in choosing my protein powder?

  1. Plant Protein – Pea Protein:  

Pea protein is manufactured from yellow peas and is allergen free.   It’s superior because it has a high digestion rate (easier to digest than meat protein) and easily absorbable by the body.  It can be used by people who struggle with lactose intolerance (no bloating or gassiness) and is an alternative to animal protein.  It’s low in calories and carbs.  Compared to whey protein, it contains about 5 grams more of protein per serving, which makes it great for burning fat, heart health, and building muscle. And to top it off, it tastes good so there’s no need to add vanilla or chocolate flavoring to mask tastes

2. Plant Protein – Cranberry Protein:

Different protein supplements provide different benefits, so I like to combine different proteins in my powder for fuller benefits.  Cranberry protein is actually derived from cranberry seeds.  While it’s only comprised of 25% protein, the reason it’s so desirable is that its the only plant protein that consists all 22 amino acids, including the 9 essential amino acids!  It’s packed with antioxidants and flavonoids (these help fight aging and disease) and includes omega 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids.  It possesses a neutral flavor so again, there’s no need for vanilla or chocolate flavoring to mask taste.

3. Natural flavor:

If I have the option between a natural flavor or vanilla or chocolate, I’ll go for the natural every time.

4.  Must be free of all gluten, dairy, GMO’s, soy, and artificial flavors or colors…and no added sugars.   This is a non-negotiable for me!  Nuff said…

5. Probiotics and Prebiotics

BOTH of these have such great health benefits that I won’t choose a powder without them.



PREBIOTICS are a special form of dietary fiber that acts as a fertilizer for the good bacteria in your gut. PROBIOTICS are live bacteria in yogurt, dairy products and pills. There are hundreds of probiotic species available. Which of the hundreds of available probiotics is best for the average healthy person is still unknown.
PREBIOTIC powders are not affected by heat, cold, acid or time. PROBIOTIC bacteria must be kept alive. They may be killed by heat, stomach acid or simply die with time.
PREBIOTICS provide a wide range of health benefits to the otherwise healthy person. Most of these have been medically proven. PROBIOTICS are still not clearly known to provide health benefits to the otherwise healthy. Some are suspected but still not proven.
PREBIOTICS nourish the good bacteria that everyone already has in their gut. PROBIOTICS must compete with the over 1000 bacteria species already in the gut.
PREBIOTICS may be helpful for several chronic digestive disorders or inflammatory bowel disease. Certain PROBIOTIC species have been shown to be helpful for childhood diarrhea, irritable bowel disease and for recurrence of certain bowel infections such as C. difficile.
Chart from

6.  Enzymes

Another non-negotiable!  I will only choose a protein powder that includes enzymes in the mix.  Cooking destroys enzymes found in raw food, and yet enzymes are the very thing that help us digest our food!  Enzymes work to break down (help you digest) your food, thereby helping with digestive discomforts (bloating, gas, and heartburn).  They also deliver nutrients from the food to your body.   Since they also help to strengthen the immune system, the less deficient you are in enzymes, the stronger your immune system will be.

7.  Vitamins and Minerals

I look at my protein shake as another supplement.  Think of the word supplement… Merriam Webster says it means “something that is added to something else in order to make it complete”. “  So if I’m drinking a protein shake, I want to use it as a supplement to my nutritional needs while I’m at it … I look for vitamins and minerals to be included in order to round out the powder.

So…I’ve been asked that if these are my 7 “requirements” in a protein powder, which one do I use?  I use Slenderiiz PureNourish from Ariix.  For full disclosure, I sell this product.  But please know I sell it BECAUSE I love it and believe in it so much!







8 Protein Powder Ingredients to Avoid

spinach-shakeProtein powders are awesome.  I swear by mine and suck down a green protein drink every day!

People use protein powders for a variety of reasons, including improved athletic performance, healthy meal replacement options, meet necessary daily protein intake levels, and even improved digestion based on what’s in the powder.

Protein is a macronutrient, meaning the body needs large amounts of it (hence, “macro”). Protein helps to balance hormones; supports digestive health; is an extremely important component for building bones, muscles, skin, blood, and cartilage; boosts the immune system; curbs appetite; assists weight loss; and supports injury and illness recovery.

A quality protein drink should be made from whole food ingredients.  By including a quality protein drink in your daily regimen, you thereby help your body to achieve the optimal protein intake necessary for the aforementioned benefits.

Not all protein powders are created equal, so please read the label!  This can’t be overstated.    Here’s what you don’t want to find on the label:

1.  Gluten

Gluten has been a hot topic in recent years.  To people with sensitivities to it, it can  cause inflammation, hormonal imbalances, head aches, fatigue, skin conditions, and even mood swings.

2.  Dextrose

This is derived from starches.  It is used as an added sugar in many packaged and processed foods sweetened by the manufacturer.  The glycemic index is a ranking of carbohydrates on a scale of 0 to 100.   It is based on how quickly and how much the carb raises blood sugar levels after eating.  Dextrose can increase glycemic load and can contribute to fat storage.

3.  Glucose

You might also know this by the name of “sugar”.  It is a simple sugar and a component of carbohydrates.  Again, it can raise glycemic load and contribute to fat storage.

4.  Artificial Sweeteners

While we’re talking about sugar, let’s add artificial sweeteners to the conversation!  My kids have heard me say this is “poison” over and over.  You might see the sweeteners under the following names in the chart below.  Several negative side effects can include headaches, migraines, gastric distress, depression, and weight gain.

Artificial sweeteners Sugar alcohols Novel sweeteners Natural sweeteners
Acesulfame potassium (Sunett, Sweet One) Erythritol Stevia extracts (Pure Via, Truvia) Agave nectar
Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet) Hydrogenated starch hydrolysate Tagatose (Naturlose) Date sugar
Neotame Isomalt Trehalose Fruit juice concentrate
Saccharin (SugarTwin, Sweet’N Low) Lactitol Honey
Sucralose (Splenda) Maltitol Maple syrup
Mannitol Molasses


Chart reference:

5.  Soy

Soy protein contains phyto-estrogen, which is known to cause hormonal disturbances.  With high breast cancer risk in my family, I just steer clear of it!  Also, most soy proteins are derived from GMO sources (genetically modified organisms) with high pesticide use.  All around, it’s best to go soy-free.

6.  Casein

There are many powders on the market with casein or WPC (whey protein concentrate).  As discussed before, casein is high in lactose.  Many people who are lactose intolerant know to look for this, but for the average person, you should be aware that it can cause bloating, gas, and general gastrointestinal distress.

7.  Milk Powders or Milk Solids

In lesser quality protein powders, these skim milk powders and milk solids are added as a cheap bulking agent.  Again, they are high in lactose sugars as mentioned in casein above (with all the same potential side effects). The protein is not absorbed well by the body, so your body does not get the full protein capabilities.

8.  Vegetable Oils

Some protein powders have these oils added because they add richness to the mix.  These are high in trans fats, which are the fats that raise bad cholesterol levels.  Say no to vegetable oils!


Stay tuned for my next post and I’ll tell you what I LOOK FOR in a protein powder, and the one that I use…