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Hey =)
Well I eat raisen nearly on a weekly basis. I buy them boxed or get them fresh from the health food store. Some you can find enriched with calcium and others you will find with added sugar. Raisens are sweet enough without added sugar. However, I also eat other dried fruits (no bananas). Dried mango are sooo yummy but unfortunately they are coated with sugar (yuck). What my school nutritionist said was that I should mix my own trail mix and that way I would be able to increase my protein, fat, & calorie intake (for wieght gain). I was already doing this and indeed it is a bit more costly, but it tastes amazing (fresh raw nuts).

When I'm desperate, I will by the packaged stuff, but since I'm avoiding hydrogenated oils, I haven't done that in awhile. I don't follow Food Combining Laws, perhaps if I did I would be rid of this 1%, so I can't tell you what to do there. I eat raseins and other dried fruit throughout the day (when I have them). This does include Cranberries every now and then, which are not only flavored but w/ added sugar. I eat nuts mixed with dried fruit (really yummy) or I'll eat them alone. I eat all kinds of nuts (whether I like them or not) except for Peanuts (legume), Cashews, and Pistachios. I eat all kinds of dried fruits, although usually it's the more common ones, except for bananas. If sulfured foods are a problem for you then get them fresh from a health food store. I will say that there's nothing like the taste of watermelon (food dehydrator) and dried apples. Oh and I also by the 100% fruit bars or fruit strips made from pure fruit ;-)

If you find that you are breaking out in cysts, please think about whether you are consumping Peanuts or Cashews. In fact, Cashews, Pistachios, Mangos, and Peaches all run in the same family. So if cashews are a problem then pistachios may be as well (darn they are good) and MAYBE Mango also. I believe Perricone's Acne Prescription even tells you to avoid Bananas and Mangos. The above are foods that I rarely indulge in so it's hard for me to know if mangos and peaches are a problem for me.

I haven't tried the Almond butter, but I love the smell, I enjoy eating them and Almond Milk is sooo much better tasting and flavorful than Soy, Rice, or Grain Milks! These were the companies I came across Futters Nut Butter, Maranatha, and Sun Organic Farms. Which have you tried?

Oh and as for sweeteners, the best thing to do is to get organic natural sources of sugar. No fake sugars, no modified sugars, none of that. Stevia (herb) is supposed to be good, but it's SUPER sweet so all you basically need is a 1/2 a pinch to sweeten something ;-) Otherwise look for:

Sugar Cane,
Brown Sugar,
Pure Cane Juice,
Brown Rice Syrup,
Blackstrap Molasses
Beet Sugar
Sorghum Molasses
Fruitsource (rice and fruit sugar)
Maple sugar

All of these have their own tastes and are far more nutritious and healing than Refined Sugar. You can also look for organic syrups or flavorings so that you can spice up your drinks...if you want =)

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