If you’re interested in a healthy natural sweetener to substitute for a portion of your dietary sugar, you may want to consider monk fruit (also called luo han guo, or lo han kuo). From the perennial vine Siraitia grosvenori grown in southern China, this melon-like green fruit is said to have gained the name “monk fruit” because it was first used by Chinese monks in the 13th century.
When dried, it is incredibly sweet (reportedly up to 300 times sweeter than sugar) and has no calories. Its sweetening ability comes from a chemical component of terpene glycosides known as mogrosides.
With only a slight aftertaste, it is heat stable, quick-dissolving, and can be used in cooking or baking. This herbal-sourced sweetener does have to be processed to a certain extent to produce a powder or liquid form.
1) Good source of amino acids and vitamin C.
2) Historically used in treating allergies and cancer in Asian healing practices. Also used in treating heart disease.
3) Supports healthy digestive and respiratory systems. Used to treat coughs.
4) Supports healthy liver and immune function.
5) May be useful in diabetes due to its ability to lower blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels.
6) May help fight sugar cravings.
One study from 2008 was performed to evaluate the safety of PureLo, a brand of powdered luo han guo. It was found to be well-tolerated and produced no particular adverse effects.
ORANGE SPICE TEA
With autumn approaching, you may want to include the following recipe in your repertoire. It uses Monk Fruit In The Raw®.
(Prep Time: 5 minutes | Cook Time: 5 minutes | Makes 4 cups)
4 1/2 cups of water
2 cinnamon sticks (broken into 1-inch pieces, crushed with meat mallet)
1 tsp. of cardamom pods (crushed with meat mallet)
1 tsp. of whole cloves
Zest from one orange
4 regular black tea bags
6 packets of Monk Fruit In The Raw
In 1 1/2-quart saucepan, mix water, spices and orange peel. Bring to a boil.
Remove from heat; cover. Let stand 20 minutes.
Return to a boil; remove from heat.
Add tea bags. Let steep 3 minutes.
Stir in Monk Fruit In The Raw. Strain into teapot or cups.
The Lord Speaks to Israel
“’Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,’ says the Lord Almighty.” (Malachi 3:10-11 / NIV)
What is one of your favorite recipes that might benefit from luo han guo as a sugar substitute?