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Throwback Thursday

My grandmother said to me once, “As you get older, the years go by much faster.”  At the time all I could think is that the school year went by like molasses and the summers seemed to never be long enough.  Well, twenty-five years later, I now know exactly what she meant.  Where did the first half of 2014 go?

Most of you are probably new to Swerve Sweetener, within the past couple of years or so.  You may not even realize that we’ve actually been around since 2001.

The original Swerve logo from 2001.

The original Swerve logo from 2001.

 

An early Swerve ad, showing our original packaging.

An early Swerve ad, showing our original packaging.

 

With all the exciting news about greater awareness of sugar consumption, like the new proposed FDA Nutrition Facts labels highlighting added sugar, the FedUp Documentary, etc, I thought you might be interested in a little Swerve history and how we actually came to be the Ultimate Sugar Replacement.

The mission has always been to educate people about blood sugar and how it effects so many aspects of our health, like energy levels, weight management and overall hormone balance.  The original Swerve blend came out of unsuccessful attempts to sweeten protein shakes with stevia. We just couldn’t get it to taste great.  Enter erythritol, which at the time was a relatively new ingredient being made through fermentation.  What we ended up creating to sweeten the powdered drink mixes was so good that we decided it needed to have its own glory and not just be in a protein shake.  Swerve was born and begin hitting shelves around the greater New Orleans area.

For several years we stayed regional with Swerve being found at natural foods stores throughout Louisiana and Texas.  In 2011 we set out to change that and with a marketing makeover we begin introducing Swerve to stores on the East Coast and throughout the Midwest.  Now, thanks to all the support we have received our team is working with grocery stores and natural foods stores across the entire United States to make Swerve available to everyone.  As a matter of fact, I am just getting back from a meeting with Sprouts Farmers Market – so keep your fingers crossed!

It’s amazing to think it’s been more than 12 years since we started this journey.  There is still much work to be done to educate consumers about the over-consumption of sugar and why stabilizing our blood sugar matters.  Together we are making a difference – we’re committed to continuing to educate – it’s the only way we can truly affect change.

Thanks to you we recently hit 10K likes on Facebook.  We hope you’re one of them and if not please join the conversation – it’s a great way to to stay in touch and share lower sugar recipes, news and all the fun stuff going on at Swerve.  You get a little peek into our day-to-day operations and a connection with who we are beyond just another ingredient in your pantry.

Hopefully you have seen that we’re having our biggest sale of the year right now – and if not, check it out here.  Plus, stay tuned, we’re heading into the “Dog Days of Summer” and we’ll be celebrating with some fun Four-Legged Friends – so start getting your pictures ready!

Grandma was right – the years do go by much faster these days – but I still believe there is never enough summer (even in hot, sultry New Orleans).  To celebrate the warm months, we hope you will enjoy a new, fun summer recipe from our good friend Carolyn Ketchum – she never ceases to amaze us with her creativity!

From the entire team at Swerve – we wish you a safe, happy & healthy Fourth of July!

Mindful Eating

swerve-sweetener-mindful-eating
Mindful eating.
Intuitive eating.
Either pair of words can be used to describe my (finger-quote) diet (unFQ) over the past twenty plus years.
I eat when I’m hungry (there’s the intuitive).
I pause, grow still, and ask my body what it’s craving (there’s the mindful and sometimes challenging piece in today’s cacophonous world.).

I’m often asked how I became an intuitive eater.  While my personal process can be time consuming to explain, an illustration I frequently use is that of my now-eight year old daughter.

Back when she was around three years old she used to make me crazy with how s-l-o-w-l-y she ate and how messily she consumed her food.

Only upon reflection — ahh the 20/20 of hindsight—did I realize what she was doing was exhibiting mindful eating in its purest form.

In fact, the more I’ve spent time with children in general the more I’ve realized mindful/intuitive eating can be broken down into a basic four-step process.

A four-step process the littles appear to do intuitively and one we grown-up types tend to over-think and over-complicate.

Step one: Take time to assess hunger

It used to make me crazy how long my child took to decide if she wanted something to eat.

I longed to say: “Make up your mind!” or, on my most tired of mothering-days, “It’s not a hard question!  Are you hungry?”

Now, as I watch my daughter decide if she wants a snack or not, It’s occurred to me she goes through an internal checklist of sorts.

She really is deciding if she’s tired, sad, bored, hungry, etc. before she answers my question about a snack.  Until she completes this mental process she really doesn’t know yet if she’s hungry or feeling something entirely different.

Step two: Be selective.

It’s my job to encourage my daughter to try new foods.  I offer and, should she not like a food at first encounter, I always proffer at least one more time.

That said, I’ve noticed she doesn’t eat what she doesn’t like.

I’ll confess this initially annoyed me (food waste!) until I shifted my perspective

When viewed through the lens of mindful eating her refusal is her simply being selective.

I can think of numerous times I’ve mindlessly eaten what I knew I didn’t adore (hello lemon cake!) and not only did I not enjoy it—I ended up eating what I did like (greetings cheese puffs!) anyway.  In addition.

Being mindfully selective is a good thing.

Step three:  Embrace your food.  Literally.

Ahhh—kids.

It’s not enough to simply eat and be done with it.  They touch, smell, mash, taste, and embrace each morsel that goes into their mouths.

This trait, like her drawn out answer to the question: are you hungry, used to be a Mama-crazy maker.

I’ve come to realize it is a manifestation of the fact she’s wholly present when she eats.   She uses every sense available to her to savor each aspect of the calories she’s consuming.

I’ve come to realize this embracing is virtually the definition of mindful eating.

Step four: Parties or special occasions are about more than food.

Even now, as we head to a peer’s birthday party, my child is filled with questions about the cake.

What it will look like.  Will be cake-cake, ice cream cake, or cake made from cupcakes?  What flavor will it be?  When will they bring it out?

Her list of cake-specific queries is endless–until we arrive the party.

Once she spies her friends and the fun begins cake is entirely forgotten.

It happens every time and every time it takes me by surprise.

Later, when said sugary confection is presented, she and her friends typically take a few bites and abandon the confection in favor of time together playing (WE COULD LINK BACK TO THE PLAY POST HERE.).

This behavior is a needed reminder to us adult-types parties, holidays, and special events need not be centered around the food but upon the socializing.

Sure, kids focus on sweet treats ahead, yet once they’ve arrived at the event the biggest indulgence intuitively becomes raucous playtime with friends!

Not only can uninterrupted adult-conversation feel as decadent as food-treats—not having to prepare or clean up is a tremendous “treat” no matter what we’re mindfully consuming.

Hindsight is definitely 20/20.
Mindful eating is, indeed, a complicated process yet when viewed through the eyes of a child it becomes far less so.

What have you learned about intuitive eating from the littles in your life?
What’s your biggest challenge when it comes to mindful eating?

Eating Choices and Special Occasions – Tips and Tricks

Every culture, family, or group of people on earth has unhealthy traditions, no matter your perspective on health.  In New Orleans, we have Mardi Gras, a weeks-long bacchanalia of king cakes, beer, and “parade food”.  Probably nobody thinks Easter candy, Thanksgiving excess, hamentashen, or drinking to the New Year are healthy choices, but what’s a healthy person to do when everyone else is doing it?  It’s easy to fall back on asking “if your friends jumped off a bridge, would ……[Continue Reading]

Sugar Free Challenge Part 2 – How to Stay Strong

The first few days will be the hardest.  But once your blood sugar levels start stabilizing, it’s pretty amazing how the cravings just start to vanish.  In the meantime, here are some tips to help you make it through. -Arm your pantry and fridge with the right kind of snacks.  Veggies and hummus or different dips.  Remember, read the labels – sugar sneaks into things that are seemingly healthy. -Protein bars are a great option, however many are sugar laden, ……[Continue Reading]