Saturday, April 24, 2010

Agave Controversy

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I'm not usually one for controversial issues. Yes, I have opinions on them, but I prefer to discuss them in the private solitude of my home with Mr Scarecrow who always listens and pipes up with his opinion. However, I felt compelled to share a letter I received recently from the Loving Earth company. It came at such an opportune moment, after I'd stumbled upon two or three blogs knocking agave nectar/syrup in less then a week. Now, I respect and understand the need for one to do what they feel is best and healthiest for one's family. I get that, I do. I know a few people who think I'm a tad loopy myself for the efforts I go to in attempting the same goals. Yet, nothing drives me more insane then seeing people read one point of view and then walking away stating it as fact.

If you ever take a writing class and have to do a non-fiction piece you'll be told time and time again that you must get at least three sources who can agree and spit out the same information. Without three sources you aren't suppose to list it as fact. I went a step farther and I gathered information on both sides of the line, after all how can one be objective if they don't at least listen to the other side?

Here's the deal, agave syrup, like stevia and other forms of natural sweeteners, were finally permitted to be manufactured in mass production. Because, let's be honest, everybody wants to get in on it. When this happens quality is often sacrificed. Then there's those who don't get the all the hub, or the health conscience folks who decide to do a pinch of research into all these mass produced items. They learn that many of them are produced improperly and thus aren't that great for us. Does that make all of them bad?

Not all Agave is produced in the same fashion. Some are better then others. Quality matters. I can not, and will not, accept the fact that corn syrup is, in anyway, healthier then agave syrup. For one thing, did you know that corn is one of the top 5 genetically modified foods? I'm pretty sure when God said, "Be fruitful and multiply." He didn't mean go make laboratory safe food and eat it. I'm happy to take my risks with agave and to remember that moderation in all things is wisest.

Below is the email I received from the Loving Earth Company. I was given permission, from them, to post the entire email here for all of you to read, enjoy:


Hello,
I would like to take this opportunity to write to you about the recent agave controversy, and also to inform you about our newest products.
Loving Earth update
Recently there has been controversy regarding the use and promotion of agave syrup as a health food.Agave Nectar - The high fructose health fraud an article written by Rami Nagel and Beware of the Agave Nectar Health Food Hype by Dr Mercola are the sources of the confusion. Both authors have presented some valid information regarding conventionally grown and processed Blue Webber Agave. However, the information presented is not an accurate representation of Loving Earth's Agave products.

Our agave is a Wild Maguey (Salmiana Variety). It is wildcrafted, certified organic and organically processed at low temperature. Loving Earth works closely with the Indigenous Association of Ixmiquilpan. We have met our growers in person and seen their operation. Our growers do not produce tequila they run a small-scale operation producing only agave syrup. Our agave is raw - it is vacuum evaporated at 40º, and a certified organic, vegan enzyme is used to break down the sugars. It contains 70-75% fructose unlike the Blue Webber variety, which can have fructose levels as high as 90%. Visit http://www.raw-chocolate.net/indigenous-growers.php?country=mexico and click on the photos next to the Wild Maguey text to view the operation for yourself. Photo number seven shows the vacuum evaporator.

Doctor Mercola states that 'agave nectar as a final product is mostly chemically refined fructose'. The sugars in our agave nectar come from the breakdown of the inulin molecule through the introduction of the certified organic vegan enzyme. It is in no way chemically refined, there are no chemicals involved in any part of the production or packaging process. Our growers do not use chemicals, ionic resins, sulphuric/hydrochloric acid, dicalite or clarimex in the manufacturing of our agave syrup. Australian Certified Organic have audited the harvesting and processing of our agave syrup. They have verified that our agave syrup is pure and that no chemicals or genetically modified organisms are used. They have also verified that it is harvested sustainably. It is refined only as much as the excess moisture is removed from the juice of the plant to prevent fermentation.

Another erroneous statement was that all dark agave syrup is burnt. The light and clear varieties of Agave have undergone filtration, which is why they are lighter in colour. Our Dark Agave Syrup is richer in minerals, which results in its darker colour. Unlike high fructose corn syrup that stores its energy as starch, agave syrup stores its energy as inulin, also known as fructans or levulose. Inulin is typically found in roots or rhizomes. There is no starch in agave syrup. Inulin bypasses digestion in the stomach and small intestine and is digested in the large intestine. Inulin actually feeds the probiotic bacteria in our digestive system.

Agave syrup is a concentrated fruit juice. Like all sweeteners, Loving Earth believes that agave syrup should be consumed in moderation. We believe that agave syrup is a healthier sweetener alternative compared to cane sugar. When used respectfully agave syrup does have health promoting properties. Overconsumption and inappropriately using any food leads to health issues and imbalances of our bodies. Agave syrup should be used in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

NEW PRODUCTS

We have recently made two new additions to our range:
  • Yellow Kale Chips - the tastiest way to get your greens. 4kg of fresh Kale makes 1kg of Kale Chips! Kale is rich in chlorophyll, vitamin K, vitamin C and beta-carotene. We coat the Kale Chips in a blend of Really Raw Cashews, yellow bell pepper, olive oil and himalayan crystal salt. This coating gives our Kale Chips an amazing flavour and increases the nutrient value of this healthy snack.
  • We have also launched two products in new a breakfast line; Caramel Buckinis and Buckinis Deluxe. They come in 500g packets. Caramel Buckinis are made with Buckwheat. Buckwheat, despite its name, is not actually wheat. In fact it is not even a grain, it is a fruit. It belongs to the Achene family of fruits, which includes strawberries. Buckwheat alkalises our bodies, unlike other breakfast cereal bases such as oats, rice and wheat, which are acid forming in the body.

    We soak and sprout the buckwheat before it is flavoured, and then dehydrate it at low temperature (under 40º) to give it a delicious crunch. Buckwheat is a rich source of protein, rutin and manganese. Caramel Buckinis taste delicious, are low GI and mineral rich.


    Ingredients: Organic Activated Buckwheat, Agave, *Mesquite, *Cinnamon.


    Organic Activated Deluxe Buckinis includes our Activated Caramel Buckinis as the base along with an exotic array of the most delicious super foods we could find.


    Ingredients: Organic Activated Caramelised Buckinis, Organic Agave*, Mesquite*, Goji Berries*, Sour Cherries*, Cacao Nibs*, Coconut*, Activated Pecans*, Activated Sunflower Seeds*, Activated Pumpkin Seeds*, Incan Berries (wild crafted), Cinnamon*, Himalayan Crystal Salt.


    *Organic.


    Yellow Kale Chips and Buckinis can be found at your nearest stockist. Make sure you call them before visiting to ensure they have supplies available.
Special events
If you live in Sydney and are interested in coming to a Chocolate Party, we are holding two. One is at About Life Bondi Junction on Friday the 7th of May between 5-7pm - Contact Vladia for more information on 02 9389 7611. The other is being hosted by Maya at Chapel By The Sea in Bondi on the Thursday the 6th - she can be contacted on 02 9130 3445.

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In health,
The Loving Earth team

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