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88 of 90 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best stevia based sweeteners, October 17, 2009
If you're expecting the stevia flavor to be present, you'll be disappointed. This is not a true stevia sweetener, because it only contains reb A and none of the other compounds found in stevia.

Truvia is very similar to another brand called PureVia. They are pretty much equal in quality and flavor. Both are very effective at tasting close to sugar without the typical stevia flavor. Truvia differs from PureVia very slightly. PureVia has a slight creamy flavor, and Truvia is a little sweeter per packet (each packet contains more). Both are primarily sweetened with erythritol and purified reb A (another name for rubiana). Erythritol is a natural nearly zero calorie sweetener found in fruit. Reb A is a natural zero calorie sweetener isolated from stevia leaf. Unlike stevia, which is known for a leafy licorice like aftertaste, Reb A has almost no aftertaste and is intensely sweet. Because it's present in Truvia in isolated form without the other stevia compounds, Truvia tastes nothing like stevia.

Truvia contains erythritol, reb A, and natural flavors. PureVia differs in that it also contains isomaltulose and a tiny bit of cellulose powder. One big difference between PureVia, and Truvia is that Truvia contains far more erythritol, so erythritol has more of an impact on the flavor than it does in PureVia. Erythritol tastes more like sugar than reb A does, but it has a watery quality to its flavor and a cooling effect. Reb A has a thin sharp sweetness to it. When the two are combined they greatly enrich each other giving a more full bodied sweetness.

Truvia, NuStevia, and PureVia are the best stevia based sweeteners you can get when it comes to stevia sweeteners without the stevia flavor.

PureVia tastes better in coffee because it has a creamy flavor. Of course most people love cream in their coffee, so PureVia has an upper hand there because of the creamy flavor present. The creamy flavor of PureVia goes well in some things, but not all things. Truvia is not creamy tasting, is sweeter per packet and is better suited for general purpose sweetening where a creamy flavor might not be desired.

I did taste tests with my family using PureVia, Truvia, and Sun Crystals, three of the newest stevia based sweeteners. PureVia and Truvia were liked by everyone with PureVia judged slightly better for things requiring a creamy flavor and Truvia scoring better for things that taste better without a creamy flavor. Sun Crystals has the taste of stevia in it, and for that reason it scored lower, because the flavor of the stevia was a negative in some taste tests. Of the three PureVia tasted the most like sugar, Truvia the most like erythritol, and Sun Crystals the most like stevia. One thing that was interesting during the taste test that we found was that when PureVia was tasted plain after Truvia was tasted plain, PureVia tasted better, likewise when Truvia was tasted plain after PureVia was tasted plain it was judged to taste better, but when tasted together the flavor wasn't as good.

If you're looking for an effective all natural zero calorie sweetener, this is about as good as it gets. The taste is very similar to sugar, but like all other sweeteners, it has it's own unique flavor. While PureVia tastes a little more like sugar and has a creamy flavor, it's not as sweet as Truvia. Truvia is a better deal because it's sweeter per packet. The difference in flavor is very minor. Also PureVia relies more on reb A for sweetening than Truvia does. Reb A is great in small amounts, but not so good in large amounts, so when more sweetness power is needed Truvia is a better choice. Very large amounts of reb A will taste bitter, but when used in normal amounts, it doesn't taste bitter. Reb A is similar to saccharin in that way. Small amounts taste better than large amounts. There's a sweetness threshold with reb A, and if that threshold is passed, it starts tasting less sweet and starts tasting bitter. That's one thing you need to know when using a reb A based sweetener. Because Truvia relies more on erythritol for it's sweetness than reb A, this is not as much of a problem as it can be with PureVia. You can use far more Truvia packets before you get a flavor "overdose" of reb A than with PureVia.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 18, 2012 2:09 AM PST

Sun Crystals All-Natural Sweetener, 100-Count Packets (Pack of 4)
Sun Crystals All-Natural Sweetener, 100-Count Packets (Pack of 4)

39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great stevia sweetener, October 17, 2009
I think most other reviewers are really missing the point in this product. It's supposed to taste like stevia. The box says very clearly that it's "a blend of naturally sweet stevia & pure cane sugar". It tastes exactly like that.

I think this sweetener has been getting unfair reviews. This is a stevia sweetener using a whole stevia extract, not just the isolated stevia sweetener reb A. Whole stevia has a slight bitter aftertaste that some people are very sensitive to. The bitter taste is sort of a leafy licorice style aftertaste. Sun Crystals are a mix of whole stevia extract and sugar and it tastes exactly as it should taste. It tastes like stevia and sugar. There are other stevia based low calorie sweeteners that contain highly refined stevia with the bitter components removed such as Truvia, NuStevia, Purevia, ect. Those do not contain whole stevia and so they don't taste like stevia. Comparing this product to those other sweeteners that have the main flavor elements of stevia removed from them is an unfair comparison. It's like comparing highly refined sugar to sugar cane. There is simply no comparison. They are completely different types of products.

This sweetener is for people who like stevia as is and aren't bothered by the bitterness of a natural unprocessed stevia extract. I personally like stevia. I like the raw stevia leaves in my tea. Sun Crystals taste exactly as I expect it to taste. As a true stevia product, this is one of the best you can get. It's more convenient than using stevia leaves, has the flavor of stevia, and sweetens better than raw stevia does because of the addition of the sugar.

When you see other reviewers saying this taste bitter and is nothing like stevia, you're reading a review from someone who doesn't know anything about real stevia. I've grown stevia. I know what stevia leaves tastes like. I've used pretty much all the stevia based sweeteners out there. Some have the flavor of stevia present (Sun Crystals, Sweatleaf, etc.), others have it removed (Truvia, Purevia, etc.), and only include reb A which is just one molecule from stevia. Reb A comes from stevia, it's very sweet, but it doesn't taste like stevia.

If you're looking for a product that's sweet and doesn't taste like stevia, this is not the right product for you. In that case a highly refined stevia based product like NuStevia, Truvia, or Purevia is probably a better choice. Those other products have most of the stevia flavor removed. If you like stevia, and want the taste of stevia, those other products do not deliver. They are designed to taste like sugar, and not stevia. Sugar is a highly refined sweetener extracted from sugar cane. While most people love the taste of sugar, not everyone likes the taste of raw sugar cane. The same is true for stevia. Many people like reb A (the main sweetener of stevia), but not everyone likes the taste of stevia.

If you're looking for a natural low calorie sweetener, give this a try. You may find that you like the stevia flavor as I do. Taste is a very personal thing. I know some people are really put off by the flavor of stevia and they prefer highly refined reb A over stevia. For me, the flavor of stevia goes well with tea and coffee and is really good in certain home cooked dishes.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 26, 2013 4:40 AM PST

Miracle Electric Grain and Flour Mill - ME300
Miracle Electric Grain and Flour Mill - ME300
Offered by BIGFLY
Price: $244.92
4 used & new from $224.00

89 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great all purpose mill, October 15, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I was searching for a flour mill that could grind all types of grain, not just dry wheat and other easy to grind grains. I wanted a mill that could deal with the toughest of the tough. This was very hard to find. Most affordable electric flour mills can only mill dry hard grain and are damaged by other types of grain. My search ended with this mill. I was a little nervous to buy it because of the lack of customer reviews for it. After using it everyday for quite a while now, I have to say that I'm very satisfied so far. This mill has been able to handle everything I've tried with it. It will even handle moist and oily grain which would damage most other flour mills in this price range.

Moist or oily grain takes a little longer to grind than dry grain, and you can't fill the hopper up like you can with dry grain, because it will clog if filled too high. If it ever clogs, it won't damage the mill. You just disassemble the flour mill attachment and clean it, so it's no big deal. To grind highly moist or highly oily grain, you slowly add the grain to the hopper one tablespoon at a time while it's running, keeping the hopper and feed tube mostly empty. This way it can grind continuously without clogging. The wetter or oilier the grain is, the slower you should feed the hopper. Normally, if I have wet grain, I dry it prior to grinding it. This way it grinds faster, and I can fill the hopper completely and let it run unattended until done.

This mill can grind continuously, hours on end. If it ever overheats it automatically shuts off, preventing damage to the mill's internal parts. If this ever happens, you simply wait a few minutes for it to cool down, and then press the reset button on the bottom of the mill and you're good to go.

This grain mill uses a heavy duty conical burr to grind the grain. It has 16 grind settings from super fine to super coarse. Setting 16 is so course that most grain just falls right through unground, while setting 1 produces dust. It's a fantastic range, far better than most of the other mills available.

The motor base is completely separate from the flour mill parts. The motor base is never exposed to any flour. The flour mill is actually just an attachment to the motor base. This makes cleaning really easy. You can completely remove the flour mill parts, easily disassemble them, and clean every part exposed to the flour in just a few minutes.

The noise level is very minimal. You can easily talk over the noise without raising your voice. It's much quieter than my coffee mill, my blender, and my vacuum cleaner. My blender is easily about 4 times as loud. Most other mills in this price range are about as loud as a small vacuum cleaner or blender.

The speed of this mill is the only downside that I could see. It's a little slower than some of the other mills in its price range. However, nearly all the other mills are designed only for wheat flour and similar grain and cannot grind many herbs, spices, moist grains or oily grains without being damaged, so this slightly slower performance is offset by the fact that it can grind a wide variety of items and the fact that it's not nearly as loud as the other mills. Pretty much anything that can fit into this mill can be ground, even things like coffee beans, herbs and spices, you name it, it can do it. Pretty much none of the other mills are that versatile.

This is an open system mill. Some of the other mills are closed systems, and need to be for a good reason. They operate at extremely high speed and would send flour dust all over the place if they were not closed systems. This mill is different. It operates at a low 100 RPM using a geared down motor, meaning it grinds with power rather than speed. This has two benefits. One is that flour is not blown all over the place. It falls directly into the bowl below. The other benefit is that the conical burr used to grind the grain doesn't get nearly as hot, and this better preserves the nutritional content of the grain.

The motor base can be used for other optional attachments. There's a wheatgrass juicer attachment, a salad maker attachment, and a meat grinder/mincer attachment available. I don't own any of these yet, but it's nice knowing they are available if I want to expand the use of the motor base. The motor base is also available from some retailers as a separate product without the attachments, so if it ever fails and its beyond warrantee, it's nice to know you can purchase just the motor base.

I highly recommend this flour mill to anyone wanting an all purpose mill. If you just want to make wheat flour, there are other flour mills with a little faster performance, but if you're like me and you need an all purpose mill that can grind pretty much anything, this is clearly the best buy for the money. It's not too noisy, the price is good, it's very easy to clean, plus with the other attachments available for the base, it can be used for other purposes as well.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 7, 2014 2:09 PM PST

Pure Via Sweetener 40 Pack
Pure Via Sweetener 40 Pack
Offered by MyQuickMart
Price: $7.26
8 used & new from $3.95

48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best no calorie sweeteners available, October 5, 2009
This review is from: Pure Via Sweetener 40 Pack (Misc.)
I've tried pretty much all the no calorie and low calorie sugar substitutes available. None of them are perfect. Don't expect anything to taste exactly like sugar except sugar because there is nothing that tastes exactly like sugar except for sugar. That is a fact. The human taste buds, especially in certain individuals, are extremely sensitive to the various flavors each sweetener provides. Often sweeteners are compared to sugar, but in reality high calorie sugar substitutes like fructose even taste different from sugar. So please stop comparing other sweeteners to sugar, because only sugar tastes exactly like sugar, and attempting to find a sweetener with a different molecular structure that tastes exactly like sugar is impossible because the human taste buds can sense even the slightest difference in the molecular structure of the sweetener.

Now with that said, there are today available many sweeteners each with their own positive and negative attributes. The number one sweetener in the world is sugar, and most people find sugar to be the best tasting sweetener. That's why it's number one. The low calorie alternatives include both natural sweeteners (erythritol, stevia, xylitol, lo han, etc.) and man-made sweeteners (nutrasweet, saccharine, splenda, etc.).

This product is a mix of the three natural sweeteners erythritol, isomaltulose, and reb A (a sweetener extracted from stevia), as well as natural flavors to make the taste more like sugar.

Erythritol is a great all natural low calorie sweetener on it's own, but it lacks depth, and imparts sort of a watery sweetness unless mixed with other sweeteners. It goes very well with stevia, and is commonly found mixed with stevia based sweeteners, as is the case in this product. The combination greatly enriches the sweetness of each of the two distinct sweeteners.

Stevia normally contains stevioside, reb A (rebaudioside A), reb C (rebaudioside C), and dulcoside A. Of these, reb A is the most desirable, sweetest, and lacks the bitterness of the others. Most high quality stevia products contain mostly reb A. Reb A on it's own has a shallow but pleasant sweetness. It's a sharp sweetness and goes very well with other sweeteners that help broaden it's sweetness such as xylitol, erythritol, sugar, lo han, etc. The fact that PureVia only uses reb A from stevia means that it has none of the bitter aftertaste of some of the other popular stevia products available.

Isomaltulose is a full calorie sweetener very similar to sugar but like erythritol and reb A it does not promote tooth decay. It's presence helps to give PureVia a richer full bodied sweetness.

Ok, so those are the facts, but how does it actually stand up against the other sweeteners available? The taste is excellent. Most of the people I know who've tried it like it a lot. It has a flavor very similar to sugar, but like all other sweeteners out there, it has its own unique flavor. There is no bitter aftertaste or unnatural chemical taste present. It's sweetness is full bodied, not thin or watery. The manufacturers did a fantastic job of mixing the various sweeteners together to produce a rich full bodied sweetness. It has none of the drawbacks of most common stevia products (a thin flavor, bitter aftertaste), none of the drawbacks of erythritol (watery sweetness), and to top it off its all natural. What natural flavors are added are of course a trade secret, and these are partially responsible for PureVia's flavor being very similar to sugar.

PureVia is simply one of the best sugar substitutes you can buy. There are a few others that are as good (such as NuStevia and Truvia), but each one has its own unique flavor. Not everyone is going to agree on which one is the best tasting because each person has their own taste preferences.

I really like PureVia's individual tube packets better than those of most other products. They are easier to use. They are tubes rather than flat envelopes. This makes it much easier to dispense.

One bit of advice, if you're very picky about a full bodied sweetness, no matter which sweetener you prefer, using more than one sweetener nearly always improves the flavor profile. For example, a mix of splenda, nutrasweet, and saccharine will give a more full bodied flavor than each one can alone. The same is true for the natural sweeteners. Sugar and fructose together give a richer taste when combined together. Stevia and lo han give a richer taste when combined together. In general, the more sweeteners you combine, the richer the taste. You can get a sweetness that is better than sugar alone by mixing different sweeteners together. Also keep in mind that natural low calorie sweeteners like stevia and lo han vary dramatically from one brand to another, with the more refined ones generally being the most expensive and best tasting.

A combination I often use is saccharine mixed with a stevia based sweetener (such as PureVia, NuStevia, Sun Crystals, etc.). Saccharin was once thought to cause cancer in humans, but this is no longer believed to be true. Recent tests show it to be one of the safest manmade sugar substitutes available (far better for you than Splenda or Nutrasweet) and it is VERY CHEAP. I use a little bit, just enough to give the other sweetener a richer flavor. Saccharine has an off flavor that's unpleasant if too much is added, so I only add it as a booster. The other low calorie sweetener I'll sometimes add is all natural lo han (such as Lo Han Sweet, Sweet Sensation Natural Luo Han Guo Syrup, etc.). Lo han has a very unique taste, almost like brown sugar or honey. It's rather pricey so I'll use just a little bit. It greatly enhances the sweetness of other sweeteners. I avoid using splenda and nutrasweet because they are obviously very unhealthy. Splenda gives me stomach pains, and nutrasweet makes me feel drugged (driving on a nutrasweet drugged brain is dangerous), so I avoid those like the plague.

Give this product a try. Only you will know if YOU like it or not. It is one of the best stevia based products you can buy. Because it uses only reb A from stevia, it doesn't have the infamous bitter taste of many other stevia products. Similar stevia based products with the same quality include NuStevia and Truvia. Sun Crystals is another new stevia based product that I like. It's stevia mixed with sugar, but the stevia extract is not pure reb A and therefore it has a slight aftertaste like Sweetleaf has, but I like it nonetheless.

People who like stevia in general are likely going to love this product. People who've tried bad quality stevia in the past and were put off by the bitterness of a poor quality stevia product should give this product a shot. It's not truly a stevia product, because it only contains reb A, and none of the other sweeteners and compounds found in stevia that impart a bitter aftertaste. Reb A is a very decent sweetener, much better than the other sweeteners found in stevia. Most stevia products contain a mix of all the sweeteners found in stevia, plus other compounds present, which impart a bitter taste. Reb A is an isolated sweetener which doesn't taste the same as a full stevia extract. Much like how sugar doesn't taste like sugar cane or brown sugar. Pure reb A is more expensive than a common stevia extract, and so expect to pay a little more for it. The flavor of reb A is a lot better than a normal stevia extract, it's sort of like thin tasting sugar. Because PureVia contains two other sweeteners, and natural flavors, the taste is far better than reb A is alone. I really have to hand it to the manufacturers. They did a great job.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 24, 2016 6:45 AM PDT

Nishika N9000 35mm Quadrascopic 3D Lenticular Camera
Nishika N9000 35mm Quadrascopic 3D Lenticular Camera
7 used & new from $12.99

18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great lenticular camera!, September 11, 2007
I purchased this camera. I don't know where the other reviewer purchased his camera from but the seller I purchased mine from shipped it with updated instructions on where to get the pictures processed. I sent my pictures in. They came out great. I now have 3D pictures of my daughter's birthday! This is really nice for capturing those special moments in 3D. The 3D lenticular pictures look fantastic!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 14, 2009 8:41 PM PDT

Anadenanthera: Visionary Plant of Ancient South America
Anadenanthera: Visionary Plant of Ancient South America
by Constantino Manuel Torres
Edition: Paperback
Price: $58.95
23 used & new from $48.84

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The most thorough piece of work on the subject, July 19, 2007
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is to date the most comprehensive piece of work in existence covering the Anadenanthera species of trees from the perspective of their huge influence on indigenous culture in South America. This covers the botany of Anadenanthera, archeological evidence for the past use of Anadenanthera preparations with many photos of artifacts found, current Anadenanthera usage and related rituals among many existing tribes; it also covers the many chemicals found in Anadenanthera, and finally the pharmacology of bufotenine (the main active constituent of Anadenanthera beans). There is a wealth of information gathered from many different sources.

This is purely a reference book. It is very precise and to the point. While this work is very comprehensive it does lack a few things. In chapter 5, "The Pharmacology of Bufotenine", it sites many animal and human studies, covering toxicity, effects on various neurotransmitter sites in the brain, as well as other detail, but offers little information to the reader concerning dosage, various routes of administration, and doesn't convey to the reader what a bufotenine experience is actual like first hand. These are perhaps the most important elements of the subject and they are lacking. Also, most of these studies are based on acidic salt forms of bufotenine that were never used by indigenous cultures. Different forms of bufotenine have very different effects on human beings. For example, bufotenine oxalate, bufotenine hydrochloride, etc., are acidic salts of bufotenine, and they produce stronger unpleasant side effects than free base bufotenine. Because of the addition of lime, most Anadenanthera bean preparations do not contain acidic salts of bufotenine.

The information from Jonathan Ott found in The Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, September 2001, Pharmanopo-Psychonautics covering dosage and various routes of administration would help fill some of the knowledge gaps of this book.

Various different Anadenanthera bean preparations for making Yopo, Vilca, etc., are given from a cultural perspective and spread all over the book. It is difficult to find them without reading the entire book. Perhaps a small chapter on preparations alone would be warranted. It would be helpful to the reader if the steps used for these preparations were outlined and each step explained in detail. For example, the wide spread use of lime as an admixture to the bean preparations is mentioned, but no where is the scientific reason for it given. It's known, for example, that the addition of lime causes an important chemical reaction to take place, both reducing the side effects and making the bean preparations more psychoactive, but this is not mentioned in detail anywhere in the book.

First hand, detailed descriptions of the actual effects one experiences from Anadenanthera bean preparations such as Yopo and Vilca are completely absent. It is in fact the human experience of the effects of Anadenanthera bean preparations that have dramatically shaped many South American cultures. Because the reader is left with a void concerning the actual effects one experiences from Anadenanthera bean preparations, the reader cannot fully appreciate the impact Anadenanthera has had on these cultures. The reader is left with an outsider's point of view. For this book to be a 5 star book there must be an entire chapter solely devoted to the effects of Anadenanthera bean preparations on human consciousness. Because this is sorely lacking, and is in fact the heart of the history surrounding Anadenanthera, I have to give this book 4 stars instead of 5.

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