Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Say Goodbye to Sugar (in 2014 and forever)!

I know food is a touchy subject. It is a sensitive topic. Because, let’s face it, food is tradition. Food is comfort. Food is cultural. Food is so much apart of our lives. So, sometimes cutting something out.. like sugar.. feels impossible!

Well, I am here to encourage you to give it up. Yes, the substance we have grown up loving. The substance that has us smiling when we think of our favorite Christmas treats or a spoonful of that yummy, oh-so-addicting cookie dough. The substance that adorns all the grocery isles in all the most exciting and colorful packages. The stuff we can hardly keep from our children and loved ones… and OURSELVES!!!

I have all but completely given up sugar. I will still have some here or there. But bottom line, I don’t crave it or depend on it anymore. I feel better and I have more energy. So, guess what? I think you should give it up too.

I have a few tips for you if you choose do it.
  1. Don’t go cold turkey. Make it a slow and steady change. It won’t happen over night. 
  2. Don’t think that because you want to avoid sugar you are going to be missing out on sweet treats. You won’t!
  3. When you are craving something sweet, it is very likely your body actually needs something of the nature. Have some of the sweet treats I recommend below.
  4. Just realize that you won’t have to give up sugar for the rest of forever. You won’t have to give up that favorite flavor of ice cream for the REST. OF. YOUR. LIFE. Don’t be so dramatic. (Admittedly that is why I was never able to give up sugar before now. I kept thinking of all the treats I loved and I how I just couldn’t possibly live without them. Just don’t think that way. Think of the healthy benefits and then realize that you WILL be able to take part in the beloved sweet traditions you have!) You can have some treats on special occasions and that is okay. But once you are “weaned” you won’t crave that stuff as often and when you do eat it, it may taste way too sweet to you or you may tire of it quickly. That has been my experience, anyways.
  5. Keep yourself nourished with real food and good meals (especially breakfast). When you go hungry you are more likely to grab the candy bar, donut or something else junky.
  6. Lastly, mind over body. You have control of you. Your brain has such incredible power and YOU CAN DO IT. If you don’t have health problems due to sugar already, you can almost guarantee you will have some in the future. Drastically reducing your sugar intake will help you feel better and avoid current or possibly impending health concerns.
Good luck! Check out some of the treats I eat to satisfy my cravings and keep me from eating too much junk.

Delightfully Sweet and Surprisingly Nourishing Treats
(You will never feel like you are depriving yourself, promise!)
At the bottom of the post I have provided a link to a PDF download with all 8 recipes on one page.



Apple “Crisp”
Okay so it isn’t really crispy, but it is darn good. I am actually eating some now as I type. I like to put unsweetened cream on it. It would be great with milk too (if you are afraid of too much fat)!

1 ½ cup oats
¼ cup melted butter
¼ cup 100% maple syrup
dash of salt
dash of vanilla

Mix together and let sit while you prepare the apples

4 apples peeled, sliced and diced, (I like bite size pieces).

Put apples in a square baking pan. I like to squeeze some fresh lemon juice on the apples and then sprinkle generously with cinnamon.

Top with the oat mixture and bake at 350 F for 30 minutes.

Hot Chocolate
The first time I made this my husband thought I had used our starbucks hot chocolate mix. So, yes, it is good! This morning Londyn and Trip had a tea party and they both had 3 mini cups of cocoa each. ( I didn't feel bad they were drinking it.)

2 cups of whole (or whatever you use) milk
4 tsps cocoa
raw honey or 100% maple syrup to desired sweetness 
dash of vanilla extract

I made a batch this morning and I don't measure the honey cause it is so darn sticky. I will guess I used about 3 teaspoons.

Hot Herbal Chai
Find an herbal chai you love! There are many. Prepare with patience (cover and steep for a good while to get that rich flavor). Add cream and either raw honey or 100% maple syrup. Better than spending 3 or 4 dollars at a coffee shop and much better for you.

Decadent Oatmeal
Often, I will make a tiny serving of oatmeal if I am craving a sweet treat hours after dinner.

Prepare oatmeal per package instructions and add cream, 100% maple syrup and a topping if you’d like! 
Bananas, blueberries raw nuts and (if you must) chocolate chips are all super yummy. The chocolate chips should probably be reserved for those extreme sweet cravings! Most the time I stick with cream and a little syrup and I am in heaven.

Yogurt Parfait
The nice thing about this snack is you can make it as healthy as you want.

plain yogurt (or your favorite kind)
chopped fruit (bananas, apples, berries, etc.)
nuts 
chocolate chips

Another option you have are cocoa nibs. I am new to cocoa nibs and I am getting used to them. They are unsweetened, raw cocoa flakes/chunks and taste fine with a bit of fruit and yogurt. Every once in a while I will get a really bitter tasting flake and I am not sure many people out there would love them.



Peanut Butter Chocolate Smoothie
Inspired by Jamba Juice’s Peanut Butter Moo’d

1 cup milk
1 banana
2 tsps peanut butter
2 tsps cocoa powder
dash of vanilla extract
raw honey/100% maple syrup to taste
ice to make it thicker or colder


Salted, Coconut Fudge No Bakes

1 1/2 cups oats
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup slightly warm coconut oil
1/2 cup raw honey
1 tsp vanilla

Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl. I like to make tiny round pieces so they are more like a piece of candy. I sprinkle sea salt on them and then I keep them in the fridge. The longer they sit the better! I have used these for road trip food, to take to friends homes and snacks for myself and my family.

*The above photo is the no bakes without the cocoa. If you ever skip the cocoa reduce the honey. I have also added peanut butter, and didn't love it!


Chocolate Chip Cookie "Dough" Bites
I like to send a little container of these with my husband to work. That way if he's starving he has something right there to munch on.

1 ½ cups oats
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup melted butter 
½ tsp vanilla

Combine in a bowl or on the stove and let cool slightly unless you want your chocolate chips melted.

Add 1 tbsp coconut flour
¼ cup (measured than chopped) nuts of choice *optional
¼ cup chocolate chips

Drop rounded teaspoon into mini cupcake liners. Sprinkle with sea salt and stick one chocolate chip on top for fun.


*Anything with oats is best made the night before so the oats have a chance to “soak” a little bit and thus are easier to digest. I think they taste better too!

*One more note without going into too much detail. In all the reading and research I have done in the past few months I have read much on saturated fat and how it isn't bad for you like we have been told all of these years. Because I believe it, I use cream, butter and whole milk. I don't eat a ton of it but I feel it is better than many of the alternative fat options, and especially the reduced fat options. I believe as close to the natural state, the better. (Versus processed oils, fats and hardly in their natural state fats.) Some of you may be thinking… "well there is no sugar, but there is butter in these treats… and that isn't healthy!" I have to disagree! I don't think you should eat large quantities of these things, but I believe there are beneficial nutrients in these fat sources and they are necessary in our diets.



2 comments:

  1. Alexis, this is so great! I love it. Thanks so much for posting. I agree. After I had Jo 2 years ago I made some changes and took sugar mostly out of my life. It took a couple of weeks not to crave it all day but once it's gone, you are right you feel so great. I have been thinking I need to kick myself back into gear and I appreciate this motivation!

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  2. YUM. going to def make some of these!!

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