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All of the Christmas shopping is done. Family is starting to gather together. This afternoon I am relaxing, reading, visiting, and catching up on e-mail. I got some insightful comments after my November Blog about mints. Here are some of the best:
"As a pharmacist with many years of experience and a recent doctorate, I view both aspartame (Nutrasweet) and sucralose (Splenda) as chemical poisons. When Splenda first appeared on the market, our daughter called from college for advice and I said it was too good to be true. Upon researching I found that it is a substituted sugar. This means the actual sugar molecule is chemically altered. In this case 3 hydroxyls are substituted with chlorine molecules to retain the sweetness and subtract the calories. Another disaster for the public, which while not as dangerous as aspartame (a neurotoxin) it should not be consumed without long-term testing. We are seeing Splenda users with bright red rashes, abdominal bloating, gas, and pain; and one of the first questions I ask patients requesting my recommendation for any rashes or stomach pain is: "Do you use any artificial sweeteners?" I chew a Xylitol gum (Biotene and others) as unobtrusively as possible as it freshens breath and prevents cavities... My rule of thumb is to stick with natural products that are not chemically altered...Sugar is not the healthiest product but it will not harm you in small quantities. Xylitol and Stevia are both natural sweeteners that may be used safely"
"I know that any artificial sweetener is not good for me and I've heard all the negative publicity sugar gets. In the end I decided that sugar is mostly a natural product God has supplied for us so as long as I only use it sparingly I go for sugar."
"Check out longlifeunlimied.com they have xylitol products which are excellent. By the way their xylitol is NOT from corn, which most others are! Theirs is from tree bark!"
This comment is from Dr. D on one of the old message board archives, "Xylitol causes extreme flatulence in about 50% of the population."
The xylitolnow.com website deals with this issue saying, "Initial overuse can have a laxative effect with some people. If you have never used xylitol sugar before, start slow, allow your system to adjust to higher quantities. By doing this you are increasing the necessary enzymes in your stomach to digest xylitol."
I took the plunge and ordered both xylitol mints and xylitol gum. They arrived about a month ago. As Dr. D. predicted, I noticed a slight increase in gas. As xylitolnow.com predicted, it seems to be gradually diminishing.
If you Google xylitol gum or xylitol mints, you will find quite a few companies selling them under different brand names. I ordered from emeraldforestxylitol.com
I chose them because they had the best specials on the day that I ordered.
I really like the gum. I had previously tried a xylitol gum that began to digest and break apart after about 5 minutes of chewing. I was left with a nasty mush in my mouth that I didn't want to swallow. The emerald forest gum holds together for as long as I've ever tried to chew it. It leaves my mouth and teeth feeling really good.
The xylitol mints are powerful - more like altoids than starlight mints. I think I prefer the soft peppermints made with sugar, but I will probably continue to use xylitol mints.
Since it is the day before Christmas Eve, I thought this would be a fitting end to a blog about mints:
According to legend there was a candy maker who wanted to invent a candy that was a witness to Christ.
First of all, he used a hard candy because Christ is the rock of ages. This hard candy was shaped so that it would resemble a "J" for Jesus or, turned upside down, a shepherd's staff. He made it white to represent the purity of Christ. Finally a red stripe was added to represent the blood Christ shed for the sins of the world, and three thinner red stripes for the stripes He received on our behalf when the Roman soldiers whipped Him. Sometimes a green stripe is added as a reminder that Jesus is a gift from God.
The flavor of the cane is peppermint, which is similar to hyssop. Hyssop is in the mint family and was used in the Old Testament for purification and sacrifice. Jesus is the pure Lamb of God, come to be a sacrifice for the sins of the world.
So, every time you see a candy cane this Christmas, remember the message of the candy maker: Jesus is the Christ!
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