A brave new HFCS-free world

>> Wednesday, July 2, 2008

We've been at our no-HFCS diet for about a week and a half now and so far so good. Of course, we started the week with a bang - donuts for breakfast. A smart, healthy breakfast choice. They were tasty, but afterward I think that we regretted the choice. All of that sugar, and the frosting (that probably contained HFCS), it just left a bad feeling in my mouth. But that's good, right? It's good that a donut now leaves me feeling yucky afterward, I guess. Of course it's bad that even though I didn't like the mouth feel after eating a donut or the way all of that too-sugary goodness felt afterward that I still ate so many - two days in a row. Despite the (rare - thankfully) donut binge, we've otherwise been HFCS free.

It seems that concerns about HFCS resonate with lots of people. Several friends have decided to take on the challenge with us. (How's everyone doing out there?) And oddly enough, my SIL and BIL gave up HFCS foods about a week before we did. We had no idea until they read the blog and informed us that they were doing the same thing. Anyway, it's nice to know that we have company in our endeavor.

This past week was our week of transition. It was a week to find substitutes for some of the HFCS items that we use a lot. We still have more to find, but we're making a dent. Syrup was first. Gone is Log Cabin syrup, and here to stay is plain ole pure maple syrup. That one was greeted with mixed results. At first, my 4 yr old son, Ben, didn't even notice the change - or so I thought. But after several days of eating syrup with pancakes and biscuits, he told me that he didn't particularly like the flavor of the syrup. And, I must admit, I find the flavor of the maple syrup that we're using a bit strong as well. We're going to play around with different grades of maple syrup and see if that helps.

Bread was next. It was surprisingly hard to find a non-HFCS containing sliced sandwich bread. There are a few out there, but they're HEAVY and typically aimed at adults looking for healthy, hearty bread. I mean, we want healthy, but we (at least the kids and I) would also like a nice soft bread that is in the typical bread shape (and not the large rectangle shape). I haven't found that quite yet. For now, goodbye to our super-soft Sara Lee Honey Wheat bread, which is super-soft in large part because of its HFCS content, and hello to Sara Lee Hearty and Healthy Whole Wheat bread. It's in the large rectangle shape that I'm not fond of because it makes BIG sandwiches, it's heavy - though not as heavy as most of the non-HFCS breads that I found - and it has wheat berries throughout. I mean, it's ok, but I guess I'm a typical American who likes my wheat bread to be blander. On the bright side, Ben took the switch without flinching. We made him a sandwich with it a few days ago at lunch, and he didn't seem to notice anything was different - at least he didn't say anything. So, for now, I think that we have our bread, though I will try other varieties as I find them. I can learn to like - or at least tolerate - this healthier, heavier, chunkier bread.

Yogurt is also a staple of our diet, and so many yogurts are filled with HFCS. Our Yoplait was no exception. Fortunately, there are also lots of non-HFCS yogurt selections if you're willing to spend a little time reading the ingredients. Most of the yogurts that are marketed as packed with probiotics seem to not have HFCS, though you should definitely double check the ingredients.

Finding a tasty chewy granola bar from the grocery store thus far has proved impossible. Seems like all of the tasty ones (at least in my son's opinion) are packed with HFCS. The ones without HFCS (that we tried at least) are either calorie laden or just not quite tasty enough. Chewy granola bars are one of my son's favorite snacks, so we all want a good replacement for them. Happily, I've found a recipe that is extremely easy to make and extremely easy. Not sure about the calorie content, but they're homemade, easy, and have ingredients that don't give me the heebie-jeebies. Look for the recipe next week in a separate post.

Ketchup proved to be easier than expected. Our local health food store (affectionately referred to as FoodTown by locals) had two varieties that we found acceptable. I'll leave you in suspense for now and post a more detailed review of our ketchup finds later.

We still have a few holes that need to be filled. Chocolate syrup is still a problem, though we've found a recipe worth trying as a substitute. I'd still love to find an already-made chocolate syrup without HFCS in it, but not sure that's going to happen around here. Rice Krispies have HFCS too. I'm pretty sure that I can find a substitute but haven't searched for it yet. And buns - buns are going to be hard. I don't know how I'll sell my kids on a non-HFCS containing hot dog or hamburger bun. I hope that I can find a nice, soft bun that doesn't have HFCS in it, but I'll also be surprised if I do. Oh - and bagels! While we are not big bagel eaters, my friend and fellow HFCS giver-upper Jehnie says that it's dang hard to find a good bagel without HFCS in it at the store, so we'll be on the lookout for bagels too.

Right now, we're enjoying company and getting ready for 4th of July fun, so look for reviews and recipes (or at least a granola bar recipe) to show up next week!


Rachel July 5, 2008 at 4:37 PM  

I think it is going to get easier and easier to find HFCS-free foods. I was shocked at Costco that the BIG thing they were all excited about when we were looking for soda to bring to a 4th of July get together was that they had the Mexican Coca-Cola, which was "sweetened with 100% cane sugar." That seems to be the new "it" in marketing.

site July 26, 2012 at 2:59 PM  

Little doubt, the dude is totally just.

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