Healthy Now: A sugar-free life — how sweet it is |

Healthy Now: A sugar-free life — how sweet it is

How To

This recipe for strawberry trifle comes from TDRPD member Garee-Lynn Stewart, who is easing her way into the sugar-free zone with fruit, Stevia and a little Splenda. Perfect for this excellent strawberry season.

Sugar-free Strawberry Trifle


1 cup cold 2% milk

1 cup light sour cream

1 box sugar-free instant vanilla or cheesecake pudding

1 tsp. grated orange peel

2 cups whipping cream, whipped and sweetened with two drops of Stevia

8 cups cubed Hill and Valley® sugar-free angel food cake available in the specialty cold case at Safeway. This beauty is low in calorie and comes with protein and fiber.

4 cups sliced strawberries

Preparation: In a large bowl, beat the milk, sour cream, pudding mix and orange peel on low speed until thickened. Fold in whipped cream. Place half the angel food cake cubes in a large glass bowl. Top with a third of the strawberries; arrange berries in nice layer. Top this layer with half the pudding mixture. Repeat layers – cake, berries, pudding – and then top with remaining strawberries.

Amy Norman is what we call a Truckee-Donner Recreation & Park District success story.

In 2013 she joined our Fitness Center to “get in better shape, lose a few pounds” and, in 2015, ended up running the full (that means 26 miles) California International Marathon from Folsom to Sacramento in 2015.

In those days, Mike Barna was manning the desk overseeing the gym upstairs, a position he’d had since the facility opened in 2009. Barna was, and is a legend.

A big-time marathon runner in his spare time, he quietly and humbly encouraged and coached many of our members to take on the national marathon circuit, starting them off with half marathons (Amy completed two before the full event) and setting up training programs for them to reach his or her goals.

Amy’s picture now adorns the marathon wall upstairs, and she rocks a pair of leather pants when she works as manager of Bar of America in little downtown Truckee.

While quite a few of our members have taken up long-distance running under Mike Barna’s tutelage, they still aren’t exactly leather pants ready. We asked Amy how she did it.

First of all, she continued to work out even without another marathon on her calendar, killing it on our treadmills and elliptical machines.

Secondly, she cut out sugar. Amy points out it wasn’t the calories she eliminated with the sugar, which has attributed to her toned shape, but the overall mental serenity she now feels without the sugar highs — followed by the crashing sugar lows.

Amy finds she no longer “hits the wall” at work around 10 p.m., and her energy is consistent through the day — not burning out after a crazy sugar rush.

Shucks. Looks like bye-bye sugar, hello skinny jeans. Fortunately there is Stevia. Stevia is a sugar substitute derived from the leaves of the Stevia rebaubdiana plant, which comes in a liquid or granules. At 150 times the sweetness of sugar, a little goes a long way — and that does not mean to your thighs. One teaspoon of sugar is equal to, roughly, half a small packet of Stevia or two drops. (There are more extensive conversion charts online at Stevia is so easy to use in place of sugar in just about anything.

This column comes courtesy of Truckee Donner Recreation & Park District staff and members, inspiring creative, active lives for a healthy mountain community. For more information on how you can stay in shape this spring, visit

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