You know, for as much as I love real food and skipping all the junk, I do still have a desire for that sweet little something at some point during the day. Though I do believe in showing restraint, I also think that one of the keys to success in the real food world is making sure you have a good option for “cheating”… or at least telling your brain that it has gotten it’s forbidden fruit, so to speak.
One of the common real foodie rookie mistakes (one that I have made in the not-so-distant past) is figuring out all of those cookie and other dessert recipes that use lots of honey or other natural sweeteners, whole wheat or grain alternatives and all of the stuff that the whole foods crowd loves and thinking that it’s a free-for-all! Thinking, “Hey! It’s all “real food” right? So it can’t be bad for me! Look at me make all of my own pop tarts, for crying out loud!” Sheesh. Just because it’s homemade or organic doesn’t make it healthy. Not by a long shot. Now, I’m not against the occasional cookie, provided it IS homemade and without the nasties of refined sugar and flour but, let’s not lose sight the goal. Reduce sugar… all types of it. Reduce grain intake… all types of it. Even the “healthy” sugars and properly prepared grains. For now though, we’ll just stick to the sugar and leave the grain for another day.
Honey is a lovely food. I just bought 2 quarts of it from a local farmer yesterday, in fact, and it should last me the better part of the year. Honey has many benefits (I use that word casually) that lead me to choose it as an alternative sweetener more often than not, when I need one. It doesn’t feed the bad bacteria, just the good, and it is in a form that your body knows what to do with. However, next time a recipe calls for 1 cup of honey (and yes, I have seen those recipes) please keep in mind that that is the equivalent of 278g of sugar!! 278! Holy frijole! That’s enough to put your body in shock. To break it down, one tablespoon averages 16g of sugar. That’s still a lot. It’s not too much ahead of regular sugar though, which has 12g per tablespoon.
But really, how much is too much? It probably depends on the individual and most likely not in the way you think. One of the problems with sugar is that it is, in a way, a silent killer. You see a skinny person indulging often in sweet treats and you figure that they must just be able to handle it because it’s not making them fat. Well, if we only judged a book by it’s cover then perhaps you would be right but, we are more than what we see on the outside. Sugar feeds cancer, bad bacteria and causes inflammation, all things that we can’t see by just looking at someone. So, the real test: do they have headaches, arthritis/joint pain, are they sick often, have food allergies, etc…? These are all possible signs of too much sugar.
Check out this list of sugar evils (taken from the article mentioned below):
• Sugar feeds cancer cells and has been connected with the development of cancer of the breast, ovaries, prostate, rectum, pancreas, lung, gallbladder and stomach.
• Sugar can increase fasting levels of glucose and can cause reactive hypoglycemia.
• Sugar can cause many problems with the gastrointestinal tract, including an acidic digestive tract, indigestion, malabsorption in patients with functional bowel disease, increased risk of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
• Sugar can interfere with your absorption of protein.
• Sugar can cause food allergies.
• Sugar contributes to obesity.
I’d like to say, no. thank. you.
If you have a few minutes, read this article Zapping Sugar Cravings that can be found on the Weston A Price webpage. There is a lot of great information in that article and I won’t bother repeating it all again here but, I definitely recommend checking it out!
For me, being off of sugar (and grains) means losing weight, a return of my cycle and, once so far, it meant being able to get pregnant. I’d say those are good reasons. I’m ready to be committed again to severely limiting my sugar intake down to practically nothing and I’m looking forward to the results.
So… all of that to say, here’s a great recipe for when you want a little bite of chocolate but don’t want the sugar. 🙂
1 cup of coconut oil
1 cup of cocoa or carob powder (I use 50/50 ratio)
Vanilla extract (I don’t measure… I like a lot. Use it to taste.)
Optional: a spoon of natural peanut butter, chopped (soaked and dried) nuts, a pinch of salt, cinnamon, coconut flakes… or whatever else you like.
I throw the first 3 things in the food processor and blend until smooth. Stir in any additives or simply sprinkle on top before putting in the fridge to harden.
After it has hardened, break into pieces and put in a lidded bowl/container and store in the fridge. Enjoy!
No sugar. Good fats. Yes, please.
Another recipe I make occasionally is a “milkshake” make with cocoa and/or carob powder, raw milk, ice and about a tsp or so of honey. Blend until smooth(ish). Really knocks out my sugar cravings and gives me the benefits of raw milk.
You can also add a raw pastured egg, coconut flakes/milk/oil, nut butter, berries, etc…
What’s your sugar journey? Do you have a limit? Do you notice changes in your body when you do or don’t consume it?
This post was linked to Sunday School!