Your mission, if you choose to accept, is to find at least one way to cut down on refined sugar this week.
My Story: White Sugar Free
Last year for Lent, I was just beginning my real food journey, and I decided to give up all white sugar and corn sugars for the whole 40 days. You can see that story here. I learned a lot, especially about all the many places refined sugars hide in our processed food world!
What is Refined Sugar?
There are many ways to sweeten food, but some are found naturally in the environment, like honey and maple syrup, and others are made in a factory or lab, like Splenda, dextrose, and high fructose corn syrup.
Although all sweeteners add calories to your meal and can feed nasty things like bacteria in your bodies, natural sweeteners have at least some redeeming value. Raw honey is antiviral, and maple syrup and molasses have some vitamins and minerals. Refined white sugar comes from sugar cane, and it is so processed that all the minerals are stripped right out (they end up in the molasses). Refined sugars are 100% empty calories that do nothing but harm your body (and taste good, unfortunately).
There are some less refined sweeteners as well, alternatives to white sugar like Rapadura, Sucanat, and evaporated cane juice. I’m not entirely convinced that these aren’t just expensive replacements for white sugar. Some day I’ll find the time to do the research into sweeteners! Any thoughts on that subject?
For now, I just know I need to cut down on the white sugar and anything that ends in –ose on an ingredients label. It’s not doing anything good for me!
UPDATE: Lisa Byrne, a biochemist who is also a certified holistic health counselor, offers a free 19-page eBook on Breaking the Sugar Habit here (link no longer available). It’s simple, to the point, and very well done.
Favorite Sugar-Less Recipes
Why not “sugar-free” recipes? I think that term has been taken over by products even more dangerous than sugar, the artificial sweeteners like Nutrasweet (aspartame), Splenda (sucralose) and other chemical sweeteners. Please, look out for artificial sweeteners on your labels and stay away from them like the plague!
I use honey most of the time as an alternative sweetener, and I also rely on natural fruits, nuts and coconut to add a little sweet to my treats:
- Granola bars (soaked version)
- Homemade granola
- Almond Power Bars
- One-Bowl Pumpkin Muffins or Bread (see how I took the sugar out and substituted honey)
- 100% Whole Grain Healthy Fruit Pizza (there’s a tiny bit of white sugar in this, but so much better than a conventional one!)
- Green Smoothies
- Did you know sugar is in almost all the purchased salad dressings? Find out how to make your own dressings to avoid the bad stuff!
- The rules for baking with honey
Get the Sugar Out!
Tomorrow Donielle from Naturally Knocked Up will tell you her incredible story about sugar and her fertility here at KS, and at her blog she’ll share some practical tips on reducing your sugar intake and have a linky for you to join in with related posts. Your posts might include:
- Any recipe with an alternative sweetener (see below for details)
- Your story about sugar
- Research on the harms of sugar
- Information about alternative sweeteners and how to use them
- What else?
I’m also going to tempt your taste buds with lots of photos and a recipe list from my upcoming Healthy Snacks To Go eBook, plus you can become one of the first to see it if you win the giveaway Donielle and I are co-hosting!
UPDATE: Here’s a post on agave and stevia: health benefits or hazards? after the comments at this post.
Need More Baby Steps?
Here at Kitchen Stewardship, we’ve always been all about the baby steps. But if you’re just starting your real food and natural living journey, sifting through all that we’ve shared here over the years can be totally overwhelming.
That’s why we took the best 10 rookie “Monday Missions” that used to post once a week and made a printable checklist so you can track your progress.
Sign up to get the checklist and weekly challenges and teaching on key topics like meal planning, homemade foods that save the budget (and don’t take too much time), what to cut out of your pantry, and more.