Hi Sweet Friend,
I know you’ve been hearing a lot about sugar, and it’s been on my mind as well.
A couple of years ago I attended a workshop for healthcare providers regarding sugar and it’s impact on the brain – this was where I learned for the first time that sugar acts the same way, chemically, as a narcotic; in other words, it affects our brain the same way as heroin and morphine. That sugar was that addictive was a huge ‘aha’ moment for me.
Fast forward to spring 2014 – I attended another workshop on sugar conducted by Andrea Nakayama (you might have seen her on TED) – this workshop was just as informative but it also gave us alternatives to sugar which I’ll be sharing with you in this newsletter.
As human beings, we’re drawn to sweet things, it’s part of being human and helps us avoid poisonous foods. Most importantly, our cells and brain require glucose, which is the most basic form of sugar, for energy. So sweet is not bad for us – it’s the refined stuff that’s bad. Sugar cane is bleached and refined and as a result, nutrients and minerals are removed. This means that all the fiber, fats, enzymes, minerals, and proteins are stripped away and only empty calories are left.
Mineral depletion is a big problem in our country and we’re finding more and more people are depleted. Mineral depletion can lead to premature aging & endocrine issues, which can lead to thyroid issues, adrenal fatigue, sleep disruptions, weight gain, brain fog, and an overall acidic internal environment. This acid internal state can lead to more serious diseases such as cancer – and by the way, cancer loves refined sugar!
While we’re on the subject of minerals – let me give you some suggestions on how restore minerals in your body:
Epsom salt baths
Himalayan or Celtic Sea Salt
Bone broth (recipe included below) – add some apple cider vinegar in the broth when you’re cooking it to draw out some of the calcium from the bones – bone broth is the best way to get your calcium
Nuts & Seeds
Organic, fresh pressed green juices (unpasteurized)
So what exactly happens when we consume too much sugar? Well, for one, it decreases your ability to fight disease, such as bacteria, viruses, cancer, and parasites. Sugar suppresses your immune system and competes with vitamin C; it increases inflammation and feeds tumor growth. Sugar consumption can lead to increased levels of insulin leading to hypoglycemia causing you to feel tired, grumpy, overwhelmed, and foggy – leading you to crave even more sweets! When we have too much sugar in our body, the excess is stored as FAT! If you’re seeing midsection growing, your thighs getting bigger, etc – it could be due to excess sugar in your diet.
What is the alternative, do you have to give up sugar altogether? Absolutely NOT! Remember, every cell in your body needs glucose for energy.
Read on for my 5 sugar alternatives and their benefits:
Coconut Sugar – comes from the juices of the coconut palm blossoms. Great low-glycemic sweetener, contains fiber, vitamins, and minerals. You can replace regular sugar in recipes one to one.
Raw Honey – contains fiber and plenty of nutrients such as enzymes, minerals, and vitamins. Wonderful in warm and cold beverages, protein balls, and other raw desserts.
Brown Rice Syurp – consists of brown rice that has been ground, cooked, and mixed with enzymes that change the starch into maltose. Tastes like butterscotch and you’ll need to use 50% more brown rice syrup than sugar, while reducing the amount of other liquids in your recipes. It has one of the lowest glycemic responses!
Dates – a natural fruit from date palm trees. They are fat-free and packed with fiber, antioxidants and minerals such as iron and potassium. Dates can be soaked and blended to use as a natural sweetener in baked goods and desserts. I use them to sweeten my homemade almond milk.
Stevia – from a plant found in South America. Much sweeter than sugar, but cannot be metabolized by our digestive tract, so it essentially non-caloric and a great alternative for diabetics. Studies have shown that it can reduce blood pressure and lower blood sugar levels. Stevia can be substituted for sugar in just about any recipe – I even put it in my salad to give it a sweeter taste.
I hope you’re inspired to try these new sugar alternatives in your recipes, coffee, smoothies, etc. Enjoy several recipes below and visit the website of the creators of these recipes for additional inspiration.
If you really want to get the next level of your health evolution, feel nourished by your diet, and find a better rhythm so you can have the best winter EVER – then you don’t want to miss my Fall Yogi Rejuvenation Program coming in October 19th. I’ll be emailing you details and sign up information next month.
These brownies are a perfect little treat for after school, with tea, or when you want a little pick-me-up. The combination of almonds and hemp seeds provides a good hit of protein, making these a healthy indulgence.
What you’ll need:
1/4 cup coconut sugar
30-35 drops liquid vanilla stevia, to your taste
3 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive or nut oil (macadamia nut or walnut oil would be great in these)
1 cup raw natural almonds, with skin
1/4 heaping cup hemp seeds
2 heaping tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
Preheat oven to 350F. Ideally, line 9 mini muffin cups with mini paper liners. If you can’t find or don’t have the liners, spray nine compartments of a mini muffin tin with nonstick spray or grease with coconut oil, then dust with cocoa. Tap out any excess cocoa by inverting the pan and tapping on the bottom of each compartment; place upright and set aside.
In a small bowl or glass-measuring cup, combine the coconut sugar, vanilla, water and oil and stir to begin dissolving the sugar. Set aside.
In the bowl of a food processor, whir together the remaining ingredients until you have what looks like a powder (there should be no pieces of almond or hemp seed visible–this may take a few minutes). Add the wet ingredients and blend for a second or two, just until combined. Scrape the sides of the processor bowl if necessary.
Using a small scoop or tablespoon, divide the batter (it will be thick and sticky) evenly among the muffin cups; they should be very full. Bake in preheated oven 15-18 minutes, until a tester comes out just clean (it’s okay if it still has a few moist crumbs clinging to it). Allow to cool 10 minutes before removing from the pan. Cool completely before consuming (if you can stand it).
Yields nine two-bite brownies. May be frozen.
Recipe by Ricki Heller of Diet, Dessert & Dogs www.dietdessertndogs.com
DIY Energy Bar
What you’ll need:
Small amount coconut oil for greasing pan
1/4 cup (gluten-free) rolled oats
1 cup chopped toasted nuts:
try combinations or full quantity of almonds, walnuts, pecans, peanuts, or macadamia
3/4 cup combination of any of the following ingredients:
ground flax seeds, sesame seeds, chopped pumpkin or sunflower seeds, ground coconut, hemp seeds or more ground nuts
1-1/2 cups puffed or crisped grain cereal without added sugar:
try puffed brown rice or millet, or crispy brown rice puffs, (which may have added honey)
1 cup dried fruit: try raisins or juice-sweetened cranberries, coarsely chopped, or larger dried fruits such as apples, pears, dates, prunes or figs chopped into pieces as small as the coarsely chopped raisins.
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup brown rice syrup
1/4 cup nut or seed butter:
almond or peanut butter or tahini or sunflower butter work particularly well
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Grease an 8” square baking pan with the coconut oil. In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, ground seeds, cereal, dried fruit, and cinnamon. Set aside.
In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the brown rice syrup and nut butter. Heat gently and stir until smooth. Turn off heat and add vanilla or almond extract and salt.
Pour liquid ingredients over nut & seed mixture and stir until well combined and evenly incorporated. Spread into prepared pan. Using wax or parchment paper, press the mixture tightly into the pan. Take your time doing this and use a bit of force to really press out all the air bubbles and get the mixture as compact as possible.
Refrigerate for several hours or over night before cutting into bars. These stay well in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to one week.
Yields 16 bars.
Recipe by Andrea Nakayama www.replenishpdx.com
Carrot Banana Muffins
What you’ll need:
2 cups blanched almond flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon celtic sea salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 cup dates, pitted
3 ripe bananas
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1 1/2 cups carrots, shredded
3/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped)
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.
In a small bowl, combine almond flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. In a food processor, combine dates, bananas, eggs, vinegar and oil. Transfer mixture to a large bowl.
Blend dry mixture into wet until thoroughly combined. Fold in carrots and walnuts.
Spoon mixture into paper lined muffin tins. Bake for 25 minutes.
Yields 18 muffins.
Recipe by Elana Amsterdam www.elanaspantry.com