Saturday, September 4, 2010

Stevia - substitute for sugar

I have been using Stevia which is a natural sweetner in cooking off and on over the last few years for Cooper. The Australian Government approved the use of Stevia in Australia in commercial foods and I followed this story with great interest. I was hopeful that new products containing this plant would be launched which I could use as a substitute for sugar.

The Japanese have been using this plant for years as a sweetener for cooking etc it has no calories. More info on Stevia. I tried to cook with dextrose but that always burns and rots your teeth. So Stevia is a great alternative.

Well my wish has been granted. There are a few products in the market place including, PureVia, CSR Smart (sugar and stevia), Hermesetas Stevia and Natvia.

I have tried Natvia which seemed to have a polyol which was the least offensive to a person with Fructose Malabsorption. So far I have made Cooper pancakes and muffins which he devoured. He was so happy to have muffins that tasted something like a real muffin.
The whole family ate them and now there is only 2 left.

I looked into the ingredients of these Stevia sweeteners and have to be careful because people with Fructose Malabsorption should avoid polyols. They have to combine the Stevia with another ingrediant to reduce the bitterness probably give it bulk and give it that sugar look and feel. So we feel confident using it.

I will continue to experiment with this new sweetener and hope that it has no ill effects on my darling boy. The pack does say something like (overconsumption may cause laxative effect).

Mummy why can't I have that

Well Cooper is nearly 4 years old now. We are still working through diet issues but things have improved over time. He can tolerate more foods now then when he was 3. I have made some major mistakes over the last year but I think I have his diet more under control then ever before. Which basically means less and less night waking with stomach cramps and a happier boy and mum.

Cooper is an extremely patient child given that his sister can eat anything in sight without a single reaction. His sister is now at school and has all sorts of treats and snacks for her lunch box. Rarely does Cooper ever make a fuss when she pulls out a fruit bar, muesli bar or roll up.

Today we went out and big sissy was thirsty and she asked for a drink. So I bought her a fruit juice, Cooper didn't even flinch and didn't ask where his drink was. He just accepts it (most of the time). He mainly drinks water and of course rice milk.

When it comes to big groups or parties that is when things get harder. He then asks 'Mummy can I eat that' pointing to a cream cake. I just tell him it will give you a tummy ache. Sometimes he just wants it so much and because his stomach aches are not instant he doesn't care and pushes it into his mouth.

The hardest part is when we are faced with him wanting to join me or big sissy or others eat cake. Every time he eats commercial or home made cakes he gets pain. I guess because they contain ingredients like dairy, soy flour and loads of sugar. It sometimes gets to the point that I just let him try some cake but then I always regret it because his pain is so great. I ended up saying to him no more cakes mate. Cooper replied with,
'Mummy there is nothing I can eat'. He looked so despondent. I replied with you get to eat lots of great foods and healthy food. He moved on but his comment stuck with me. You just want your kids to be happy. I wonder how he feels at child care when everyone else is eating yoghurt and he is sitting eating diet jelly, or the other kids are eating sticky finger bun and he gets a dry old rice cake. I wonder what goes through his head and hope that it doesn't make him feel alienated.

Accepting the foods you can't have - Apples and Biscuits just to name two
Cooper was desperate to try apple (a food which is high in fructose) his nan gave him some Pink Lady Apple which he seemed to tolerate. So of course I got game and gave him more. He was fine. Then he started having a least 1/2 apple over the course of 2 days. By day 3 I decided have a whole apple. Gee was that a bad move. His little system must have just got a build up of fructose and he had a miserable night. He was in such pain, crying out. During this unending session of cramping I said to Cooper, that's it no more apple. It's bad. He accepted this and has just on the odd occasion said to me, 'when I turn 5 I can eat apples'. My response was yeah! But I was thinking more like when you turn 20.

Sweet Biscuits is another item he does not get. I have tried so many times and without success he ends up with the same symptoms. A lady told me all the great biscuits that don't contain dairy like Oreos, Jam Fancies (by Paradise) and some other brand that I can't recall. I gave Cooper and Oreo on two occasions and both times it's just been awful. So these are off his list I suspect it's the high sugar content, golden syrup or invert syrup they put in these things. I really try to avoid having sweet biscuits in the house.