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As I have gotten older, and more aware of my diet and waistline, I am continually looking for an easy fast fix in the health department of my life.

I have yet to find a real fix at staying lean and fit without doing what we already know works: watching what and how much we eat with ample cardio. However, I’m not one of those people who love eating the same 20 foods all year long and going to the gym regularly.

I am more of a see-food eater: I see food and I eat it. And if it has sugar in it, all the better!

Now I know that I cannot sustain myself on cookies and sweets. Oh, I would if I could, believe me. My family doctor always tells me to leave the refined and processed sugars alone. Get my sugar fix from fresh and dried fruits. I love most fruits, but when was the last time you had an apple that tastes like a cinnamon roll or grapes that taste like a Snickers bar? Apples and grapes both taste good and are satisfying to me, but not when I want to satisfy my sweet tooth.

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is where I always fail with my diet plan. After a few days I have a Little Debbie in my hand and a soul full of dieter’s guilt.

What if I told you there was something that made fruits and some vegetables taste sweeter by tenfold? You are probably thinking, Chris is trying to sell a new gimmick or diet fad to me in this column.

The truth is that such a thing does exist, and it’s been around longer than mankind. It goes by the botanical name Synsepalum dulcificum, aka the miracle berry — and what a true miracle it is!

Synsepalum dulcificum is native to West Africa and was discovered in the 18th century. What makes this berry so astonishing is a special protein called miraculin.

When you eat just one gumdrop-size berry, the miraculin binds to your taste buds. The miraculin changes the way your taste buds process flavor, tricking your brain into thinking the food is sweet. At that point anything you eat that is sour instantly becomes sweet tasting.

Any fruit that is already sweet becomes sweeter with each bite. Lemons, limes, any citrus, vinegar, beer and pickles all become sweet. Foods like apples, strawberries, pineapples, etc. all become even sweeter than they are naturally. Making that sweet tooth thing a lot easier to satisfy and way healthier than a cookie.

Some people even throw miracle berry parties, where they invite people over to eat a berry and try different sour foods. In some Asian countries, doctors prescribed miracle berries to all diabetic patients in conjunction with or before trying medications.

The sad thing is, most of us in the United States have never heard of or seen these berries. That is because the Food Drug Administration refuses to recognize it as a food. That’s right folks, a berry that grows on a bush is not a food. It is only categorized as a food additive, and the FDA put import bans on it, too.

The good news is you can buy dried miracle berry on Amazon so far without any hiccups. But do know these berries have not gone through any FDA food inspections. In this case you are better off to grow your own tree at home like me.

You can purchase a Synsepalum dulcificum plant online from a few greenhouses for under $50. They make a wonderful house plant and you can freeze the berries to use year-round. If you like sweet things and have trouble with sugar, I highly recommend trying a Miracle Berry. They will truly blow your mind and all who indulge.

Chris Postalwait is the agricultural and environmental research station and greenhouse manager for West Virginia State University Research & Development Corporation. He is also the former owner of Orange Vine LLC., a wholesale commercial pumpkin and vegetable farm in Mason County. Contact Chris at