Monday, December 3, 2012

Its Sweet Because Its Sweet

I have no idea what this plant is, but
you've noticed that I'm desperate for pics
I have been feeling cramped, achy, and exhausted.

Washed out.

I know that the times I feel like I'd rather die than go outside are precisely the times when I have to get up and move. Anything at all is better than nothing.

We needed some basic groceries. Food disappears around here. Our Five-Headed Food Monster devours everything in sight! John Paul is a budget-buster all by himself (just like I was at his age).

Milk. Gosh, there's never any milk! We should just get a cow. Hmmm, make that two cows.

"Okay," I said, "I'm going to the grocery store!" I roused my great bag of aching muscles and joints, and went to get my wallet. Oh heck, I'm grumbling too much. Its not that bad at all.

"Can I go with you?" shouted Agnese.

These children are wise. They know better than to let the philosopher go shopping alone. He needs supervision. He might start pondering behind the cart, and miss the cereal aisle.

"Yes, great." I love going places with my number one girl. She will be 14 at the end of the month. I remember when she was just 8 years old and I "took her out" for a fancy dessert at a restaurant. I'm not surprised that she's growing up so lovely. And she's also very competent and practical.

Up and down the aisles. She grabbed the fruit, the cereal, the milk, the bread, etc. My main contribution was to say, "Get more! You guys will eat twice that much in one day!"

I needed something from the "natural foods" aisle. Yes, indeed. Organic foods, herbs, supplements, vitamins...you have made it to the Major Leagues! The supermarkets and the stuff marts now devote at least an aisle to you. Yes, its true: Big Food and Big Pharma have been forced to acknowledge the emergence of Big Natural.

I just needed some stevia. One of the great blessings that God has bestowed upon the world for the benefit of the human race: STEVIA! Naturally sweet, zero sugar of any kind, and its even good for you! Of course, I could get stevia in the regular aisle, right next to the rat poison that's sold as "artificial sweetener," now that their-Lords-and-Majesties-the-FDA have deigned to acknowledge that stevia is truly, officially sweet.

My taste buds have been government certified. I feel "real" now!

Still, I don't think Big Food knows what to do with stevia. They're always mixing it with something else! They think we need to "feel like" we're using sugar, so they have to add some useless white powder. I guess its hard to market the idea that something must be used in very small quantities. Very. Small. Quantities.

I've been using stevia for years. I'm not diabetic, but I keep my sugar consumption down. Its a healthy thing that I have found useful. I'll use some honey, but I try to avoid refined sugars and the whole "high fructose" menage of who-knows-what, not to even mention any kind of chemical blech-a-leene that's been engineered in a laboratory to create the illusion of sweetness.

Generally, I like to eat foods that have a simple answer to the question, "What is this stuff?" So tomatoes: "what is this?" A tomato. Perfect. But then we get to the latest Big Food "diet" product: SuperSweete! Okay, what is this stuff, really? Well, its a monophosphate poriferol of dipotassium monophyliceride phenosphenol....

Sorry, you lost me.

What is stevia? Its a kind of grass that tastes sweet. Its not sugar. Not even sneaky your-body-turns-it-into-sugar-later stuff. Sweet tasting leaves, very simple.

But I remember the days when you could only find it at certain heath food stores (or on the internet), and the bottles had to say "SUPPLEMENT" on them, because it was illegal for you to even think that it might actually be able to sweeten things. You had to pretend you were buying it for no reason at all (lol). Anyway, I still like the stuff straight up. Okay, maybe the "extract"? That's two syllables. I can handle that.

So we got a small bottle of stevia-and-nothing-but-stevia from Big Natural. And, of course, we paid Big Money. The fact is that the world of Big Natural is a real wild west. There's lots of fools' gold on the shelves and not a whole lot of real gold. But there are "some things that somewhat help some people some of the time." That's been my experience. There are things worth trying, depending on what your needs are. But don't go bankrupt trying to find a miracle. Please. Don't.

Stevia is far from a miracle (although it beats the heck out of rat poison). Actually, most people don't like the taste of stevia (at least initially). Personally, I love it.

But this is an enormous digression. Where was I....

See what happens in the supermarket? This is why I need help. I'm in danger of breaking out into discourse at any moment.

We got what we needed, and Agnese pushed the cart and bagged stuff. She wanted to do it. We had a jolly time (she'll kill me if she reads this, haha).

I had wanted to just go to bed, but it was much better to stretch out and do something. It was much better to go to the store with my daughter.

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