Several weeks ago, while getting my morning coffee, I was handed an informational flyer along with my cup of joe. When I sadly realized that this was not a coupon for a free refill or muffin, I was hit with the realization that Mayor Bloomberg’s ‘Soda Tax’ was about to begin affecting my daily caffeination. In case you were wondering about my feelings towards coffee, my Twitter profile reads: “Death Before Decaf.” I am most certainly a proud member of this caffeinated nation.
The new NYC regulations, which were to be implemented on March 12th, banned restaurants from adding any sugar or sweetened, flavored syrups to larger beverages or from offering larger sizes of certain beverages. However, customers would still be able to add as much sweetener as they please on their own. I long for the days that begin with a refreshing large ice coffee and I like to enjoy that with milk and sugar.
Even before Bloomberg’s sugar ban was struck down in courts, I began to think about the many ways in which we need to enable moderation, whether it be sugar and cream in coffee or the marketing of cigarettes in convenience stores and bodegas. I am all for making the city and its residents healthier, but I am most interested in substituting the bad for something better for you.
I opened my arms to Agave Nectar, and quickly became a convert. Made from the Blue Agave plant, the nectar is an all-natural sugar replacement that is a healthy alternative to processed sugar and artificial sweeteners. I think one of its best attributes is that it can sweeten a beverage or baked good without altering the flavor or texture, making it the perfect substitute in the kitchen. It is 1.4 times sweeter than sugar so you end up using less and saving yourself the calories. In addition to being gluten-free and vegan, it is low-glycemic making it safe for diabetics.
Even though Bloomberg will not be controlling our hydration and caffeination, I still think it is important to be aware of what we are consuming, its affect on our health and how to scale back where necessary.