In my growing skepticism about prepared foods, including powdered drink mixes and protein bars, I’ve been experimenting with a sweetener called xylitol – pronounced zahy-li-tawl according to dictionary.com. I’ve come across it periodically on the internet and then started cooking with it when I began doing Jamie Eason’s training program here on bodybuilding.com (more on the training program later when I make it through Phase 3 – right now I’m repeating Phase 2, sigh).
I had been trying some homemade protein bar recipes but so many of them were more caloric than I wanted and often turned out to be sticky, goopy suckers. Then I tried this Chocolate Protein Bar recipe from Jamie and loved it! Since then I’ve been trying her various versions of them and experimenting with Stevia and xylitol because further informal internet study has me thinking that they are the healthiest artificial sweeteners out there right now. Stevia doesn’t have the chlorine that is in Splenda, and xylitol is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol. Right now I’m trying to balance them so that I can sweeten my coffee, tea and lemonade etc, and bake with them as well, while keeping consumption of each moderate. One warning – xylitol is totally toxic to dogs, and they love sweet stuff, so store it and keep your lemonade and protein bars out of the four-leggers’ reach.
Jamie uses Ideal brand xylitol and I plan on ordering some soon because they have a ‘brown sugar’ version that I want to try. But in the meantime I found this non-GMO version by NOW Healthy Foods at the local Healthway store. So, that’s what I used to tackle a bowl full of lemons. Here’s an attempt at an artsy shot of lemons. Feeling parched and in search of refreshment?! Thank you for playing along : )
I zested the lemons and am saving the zest because it feels like such a waste not to. But that’s just part of my own mental illness and you would be a very normal person to just juice the lemons. Another nice feature in the xylitol is that, unlike sugar, it will dissolve quite well in cool liquids, so I didn’t have to make a syrup first. So all I did was combine the lemon juice, water, and xylitol and stirred well for 30-60 seconds to make sure it was well dissolved. Taste it at this point because it might be sweet enough for you. If not, stir in a tablespoon of Stevia at a time until it’s sweet enough for your tastes. I added 2 tablespoons of Stevia and then poured it into this impossible-to-clean pitcher in the name of ‘sexy food photography.’ What I won’t do for a successful blog… what’s that you say? Wildly turned on? My pitcher and I thank you.
Cleaning laziness aside, it’s so refreshing to finally have a lemonade that doesn’t break the diet bank and isn’t made from a powder. It’s also making a rather decent Arnold Palmer out of my afternoon iced green tea. Am I buff yet?
Low Cal Lemonade
Yield: 1 1/2 quart
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Guilt free fresh lemonade! If you're entertaining you can combine the lemon juice and sweeteners, and then mix with a bottle of sparkling water instead of the flat water.
1/4 cup xylitol
4 cups chilled water
0-3 Tbsp Stevia
- juice lemons
- combine juice, water and xylitol and stir until xylitol is dissolved
- taste and sweeten to your liking with stevia