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Tired of Looking, I Made It Myself

For those of you who don’t know, I have diabetes. A few decades ago, the doctor I had at the time told me that it was not a matter of if I would develop the disease, but when. It’s hereditary, and I have it on both sides of my family going back generations.

I was diagnosed with hypoglycemia when was in college. It began in high school, but it took a few doctors before one got it right. I had a problem with fainting with no warning. After seeing several doctors who thought I had a variety of conditions (and one who thought I was pregnant at age 14, which was NOT the case), one doctor finally ordered a glucose tolerance test when I was in my early twenties. He explained hypoglycemia and how I needed to eat more often. I learned to live with that condition just fine.

I was in my late thirties when diabetes (high blood glucose) reared its ugly head, which is the opposite of hypoglycemia (low blood glucose). I was shocked and dismayed as I wasn’t expecting such a thing until I was much older, but I refused to let it define me. I attended a very expensive class at the hospital and bought several books on the topic. It took a while, but I learned to live with diabetes as I had hypoglycemia. I have diabetes. It doesn’t have me.

I have given up many foods and beverages I love such as rice, pasta, bagels, cappuccino, Italian cream soda, and other things. I still eat several items that aren’t exactly diabetic friendly, but I do well as long as I stay within my carbohydrate limit (It’s all about the carbs). In fact, my diabetes is extremely well controlled. As long as I stay away from Prednisone and other drugs that elevated my blood glucose, I will keep my condition firmly under control.

A couple of the things I love, especially during the winter, are a steaming cup of hot chocolate and a hot mug of apple cider. Until the pandemic hit, I was easily able to find sugar-free versions of those beverages in my local grocery store. I even had my choice of brands. Now, I can’t find them in any of my local brick and mortar stores.

I’m not one to back down easily, so I turned my attention to online retailers. I found several products, but they all tended to be quite expensive in relation to their sugary counterparts. I did purchase a canister of sugar-free hot chocolate. I got thirty servings for a little over $10.00. It tasted okay, but it was still far more expensive than the full sugar hot chocolate I could buy from my grocery store for $2.00 a box.

Sugar-free apple cider was available online, but I refuse to spend $7.00 for one box of ten servings. Therefore, I decided to make my own. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any apples. I figured out how to make apple cider myself using ingredients I already had in my kitchen. I used no-sugar-added apple juice, whole cloves, cinnamon, allspice, and orange zest.

Even sugar-free apple cider is not something I can drink often as there are carbs in the apple juice, so I only made enough for two cups. However, my home-made brew satisfied my yearning for my favorite childhood winter treat. My husband even loved it and asked me for more.

I plan to make my own sugar-free hot chocolate next. I always have Stevia on hand, so it should be easy enough. I’m certain I can make it far more cost effectively than I can buy it online. It’s the smart thing to do. It might even taste better than the mix I once bought from my grocery store.

What are you making yourself these days that you used to buy at the store?

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