Holiday Sweets and Treats Without the Sugar Overload!Nov 14, 2021
It's that time of year! Temperatures are dropping, snow is in the forecast, nights are getting longer, and the holiday season is almost here. And while it can be a wonderful time of year with friends and family, social interaction (safely, of course) and lots of celebration, that also includes the potential of an overload of sugar, refined flours (baked goods) and other not so healthy food products.
Why are Sugar and other Refined Carbohydrates such a problem?
The body functions at its best when whole, high quality, fresh and nutrient-dense Real Food is ingested, digested and absorbed on a regular basis, while toxins and wastes are eliminated, allowing the body to inherently keep itself in a state of balance (homeostasis).
However, many people today are overfed (too many calories) and under-nourished (not enough nutrients). They consume cheap, quick, highly processed, chemically-laden, calorically-dense, micronutrient-stripped, often synthetic, nutritionally limited “food products.” And sugar is one of the worst offenders, showing up under many different names in LOTS of packaged and processed foods.
Overcoming the “Gruesome Twosome” – Sugar & Refined Grain Flour
Sugar is one of the most addictive substances on the planet! It was brought to Europe from the east in the 1100s, and was a prized and popular delicacy in the 1600s. Sweet foods taste great! They give us comfort and act like endorphins to feel good. But our consumption of sugar has increased from 25 to 125 pounds in the last 100 years, and increased 30% in the last 20 years. This is considered to be the primary cause of the fastest-growing disease in the world, diabetes, and the doubled incidence of depression. Sugar has been found to cause inflammation, disrupt blood sugar balance and fuel the growth of all sorts of harmful pathogens in the gut.
Corn, sugarcane, beets (sources of sugar) and grains (flour) have naturally occurring fiber, vitamins and minerals, but these beneficial nutrients are discarded in processing. The extraction process leaves a potent, crystallized concentrate, not unlike cocaine or opium.
In fact, sugar is believed to be even more addictive than cocaine! And it is added to most processed foods, especially now as fat and gluten are often reduced.
Refined Grain Flour is converted to glucose (the basic sugar molecule) massively and quickly. Sugar and refined flour are commonly found together in breads, cereals, baked goods, desserts, so that they are doubly addictive. They are not really foods, as they act more like drugs with mood altering qualities. Addictive substances are very attractive because they allow us to feel better, feel “happy” and stress-free. BUT these good feelings will not last, we will want more and more, leading to cravings and setting up a cycle of repetition, leading to addiction, both psychologically and physiologically. And this can be hard to resist!
“No one can exert cognitive inhibition, willpower, over a biochemical drive that goes on every minute, of every day, of every year.” ~ Dr. Robert H. Lustig
So what can we do to avoid or reduce sugar overload?
The good news is that there are many substitutions you can use for the sugars and refined gluten flours (even whole wheat) that will have your body and mind thanking you.
Did you know? It is possible to wean yourself off sugar, retrain your taste buds, and learn to love the natural flavours of Real Foods!
Instead of refined sugar try incorporating these into your recipes (but don’t eat them alone!)
- Raw honey
- Maple syrup
- Coconut sugar
- Applesauce (no sugar added, great for baking!)
- Stevia (although some find it leaves an aftertaste)
- But NEVER artificial sweeteners which we now know are neurotoxins
As your taste buds adapt, you can use even less of these sweeteners, so plan to experiment!
And try flours such as chickpea flour or almond flour (not too much as they are still refined) to avoid flours that include gluten.
- Stay hydrated with water, herbal teas, bone broth – 2 to 3 litres per day
- Increase fibre intake, eat more protein, increase intake of healthy fats – remember: protein, fat and fibre at every meal and snack. (link to BLOG)
- Use herbs and spices to flavour your food instead of salt and sugar.
- Satisfy your sweet tooth without sugar, your taste buds will adapt
Looking for some recipes and preparation fun?
Join me LIVE for Healthy Holiday Sweets and Treats
Thursday, December 2, at 7:00 pm EST
Make your favourite treats gluten- and dairy-free, some sugar-free and others with all natural sweeteners! So you can let go of the CRAP (processed Carbs, Refined sugars, Artificial sweeteners, Processed foods) and other ultra-processed food products.
What you'll get:
- LIVE culinary nutrition class, demonstrating some of the recipes, shopping lists included.
- Discussion of healthier options to “sweeten” your baking. And why you might want to choose them!
- A “Holiday Sweets and Treats” 20+ Recipe e-book.
Reply back and let me know what your favourite holiday treat is!
Holford, Patrick, et al. How to Quit without Feeling S**T: the Fast, Effective Way to Stop Cravings without Drugs. Piatkus, 2010.
Hyman, Mark. The Blood Sugar Solution: the Bestselling Program for Preventing Diabetes, Losing Weight, and Feeling Great. Yellow Kite, 2016.
Sanfilippo, Diane. The 21-Day Sugar Detox: Bust Sugar & Carb Cravings Naturally. Tuttle Pub, 2013.
Telpner, Meghan. UnDiet: Eat Your Way to Vibrant Health. McClelland & Stewart, 2013.
O'Bryan, Tom. The Autoimmune Fix: How to Stop the Hidden Autoimmune Damage That Keeps You Sick, Fat, and Tired before It Turns into Disease. Rodale, 2016.
Wahls, Terry L., and Eve Adamson. The Wahls Protocol: a Radical New Way to Treat All Chronic Autoimmune Conditions Using Paleo Principles. Avery, 2015.
Wentz, Izabella. Hashimoto's Protocol: a 90-Day Plan for Reversing Thyroid Symptoms and Getting Your Life Back. HarperOne, an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2017.
“GMO Corn, Soybeans Dominate US Market.” Phys.org - News and Articles on Science and Technology, phys.org/news/2013-06-gmo-corn-soybeans-dominate.html, accessed October 17, 2017
Kaplita, Paul. Neurotoxic Food Additives
Purohit, Vikas and Mishra, Sundeep. The truth about artificial sweeteners – Are they good for diabetics?
Lustig, Dr. Robert H. The Skinny on Obesity (Ep. 4): Sugar - A Sweet Addiction, LINK: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xn1cI8FNU6M
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