Naturally Sweet.

This is sponsored content from BlogHer and Crystal Light Pure Fitness.

You know, back in 1940’s and 1950’s America there was probably very little talk about keeping waistlines under control: those were the days of the regular “meat and potatoes” meals (followed by incredibly rich desserts) and all kinds of other goodness that doesn’t fly too much today. As time went on, Americans did indeed begin to talk about waistlines, weight, and overall health. It became clear at some point, decades ago, that maybe we could do a little better for ourselves, health-wise, if we came up with artificial (i.e. NOT REAL, or chemical) sweeteners to use in our food, to save a bunch of calories without sacrificing taste.

So we did. By “we”, I mean the scientists came up with it. And we Americans ate it up, literally, without much regard for the fact that the definition of artificial is (courtesy of the Free Online Dictionary):

1.a. Made by humans; produced rather than natural.
b. Brought about or caused by sociopolitical or other human-generated forces or influences: set up artificial barriers against women and minorities; an artificial economic boom.
2. Made in imitation of something natural; simulated: artificial teeth.
3. Not genuine or natural: an artificial smile.

As a youngster, I never worried about that, much. Most youngsters wouldn’t, though I think today’s kids are very much more savvy than we were!

The first time I remember thinking about the possibility that artificial sweeteners weren’t necessarily the be-all, end-all was when I watched the late, great Gilda Radner perform in character as Rhonda (with the Rhondettes). They sang the catchy tune, “Goodbye Saccharin”, which is a classic, and can be found by clicking here if you’re interested.

Other forms of artificial sweeteners, of course, have appeared on the scene in the last forty years, and every time I turn around I’m hearing bad things about them. It makes me want to avoid them completely–it’s about time I take charge of what foods and drinks I put into my body!–and so these days I’ve been trying to “keep it real”. Great news: natural sweeteners are out there: take honey, for example. That’s a great one. So is molasses. Even some fruit or fruit juice can be used to sweeten up foods, like plain yogurt (which I find icky by itself!). Of course, the one I use is determined by what I’m making at the time, but the options are out there.

When I all but stopped drinking diet soda (and believe me, this is the toughest artificially-sweetened thing I’ve ever tried to ban from my life!), I cranked up my water intake. I add fruit to my water to change up the flavor a little bit, and when use one of my handy-dandy Crystal Light Pure Fitness drink mix packets, I feel good about the fact that it is naturally sweetened with cane sugar, because I’m done with using artificial sweeteners all willy-nilly.

What about you? What kinds of naturally sweetened foods and drinks do you enjoy? Here’s how you can tell me about it, and win:

I’m giving away a $100 Visa gift card as part of this review program, sponsored by Blogher and Crystal Light Pure Fitness. You’ve got three ways to answer; please note that a separate comment must be left for each of them (include your e-mail address, too!):

1. Leave a comment telling me what kinds of naturally sweetened foods and drinks you enjoy.
2. Tweet about this contest and leave a comment with a link to the tweet.
3. Follow this blog publicly with Google Connect, and leave a comment telling me that you just started following. If you already follow, leave me a comment telling me that!

I will be awarding the $100 Visa gift card at the end of this campaign, to a winner chosen using random.org. If I don’t get a response from you within one week of my e-mail to you, I will have to choose another winner.

You also need to get yourself over to the BlogHer.com Crystal Light Pure Fitness exclusive offers page, because there you will find links to the other participating bloggers’ posts (and you can enter THEIR $100 Visa Gift Card giveaways, too!), and you can also enter to win $1000!

Click here for the official rules, and click here to check out Crystal Light Pure Fitness drink mix for yourself!

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