As it happens, I’ve become rather an expert in thisdelectable field. I’ve spent years researching (read: indulging in) the endless possibilities that come with healthier sweeteners.
And would you like to know the sweet, juicy truth?Healthy desserts taste FAR better than their evil health-destroying
I’m speaking from experience here. I witness theunmistakable evid
We’ll get into the how-to in a minute, but first let’stouch on the dangers of refined sugar consumption. If you haven’t seen it already, please print the following article and paste it on your fridge as the ultimateNoSugarVember
So kick refined sugar to the curb. It simply doesn’tmeasure up. Instead, try:
Coconut Sugar Coconut Nectar (the raw, liquid precursor to coconut sugar.. coming soon to the Australian market) Panela Sugar (or rapadura) Blackstrap Molasses Date Paste Maple Syrup /Crystals Xylitol Stevia
(For the record, I’m not a huge fan of Agave anymore due to its super high fructose. Fructose doesn’t need to be demonised if it’s in the right context, ie fruit, but as a concentrate – it’s not so good).
So let’s discuss MY pick of the bunch: Stevia. If you’re yet to try this sweetener, don’t hold back – it could be your new best friend.
Stevia is a leafy herb, which has been used medicinally for thousands of years and is now readily available in Australia. It can be purchased in its dried green formbut is more commonly sold as a white powder or clear liquid. As an extract, its glycosides have up to 300 times the sweetness of sugar with virtually no effect on blood sugar and no calories.
The brand I prefer is ‘Sweetleaf’. I use their stevia drops in many of my desserts, and because some people find it has a slightly bitter aftertaste, I’ll often round out the flavour with an additional sweetener like coconut or panela sugar. By adding stevia to mostdessert recipes, you can reduce the amount of sugar thatthey call for.
You can use Stevia to sweeten plain yoghurt, home-made salad dressings and smoothies instead of opting for store bought products that are full of refined sugar.The Sweetleaf brand also makes a travel size that is perfect to carry in your bag for tea or coffee when you’re out and about.
Once you’re down with all the sexy alternatives to the refined stuff, it’s pretty easy to gradually reduce cravings as well as the overall sugar content in your diet by following a few simple tips. Here are a few of my faves:
Be prepared for cravings and have a well-stocked fridge (/ handbag)
Make a healthy stash of goodies at home and cart them around with you if necessary to prevent any impulse purchases of the sweet variety. It’s DEAD easy to make healthy desserts that rival your old-time favourites – master this skill and it’s impossible to fail.
Identify your worst time of the day for cravings – for most people it’s mid-afternoon. Have a pre-planned healthy indu
Make sure you’re eating enough naturally sweet foods
Eating sweet vegies (eg sweet potato, carrots, red pepper) as well as nutrient and fibre-rich fruits likeapples and berries will satisfy your natural desire for sweets and reduce cravings.
Increase your intake of ‘cultured’ foods
This is one of the easiest ways to eradicate sugar cravings for good. It works on several levels and has so many other profound health benefits – especially in terms of weight loss, energy levels, immune function and skin health. You’re truly missing out if you’re yet to try this!
Start by adding raw, (unpasteurised) olives and miso to your diet, use raw apple cider vinegar in your salad dressings and cultured vegies with your meals – tryKitsa’s Kitchen (the Sour Cherry flavour is delish!)
My favourite thing to teach people is how to makecoconut water kefir. It’s the tangy, highly-chargedsparkling sister of electrolyte-laden coconut water –offering far less sugar and literally brimming with healthy bacteria. It’s the ultimate post-workout elixir.
Utilise foods that counter balance the effect of sugar on the bloodstream
Namely, herbs and spices – particularly cinnamon,cloves
The phenol content of these foods helps to block the formation of compounds related to blood glucose control and aging. Sugar addiction has a very cyclical nature – the more stable your blood glucose, the less likely you are to crave sugar. So make cinnamon your new BFF.
My hot tip: grind your own organic chai blend fresh every few weeks and drink it daily with some stevia to sweeten. It’s an anti-aging, energy-boosting therapy that will help you kick your cravings whilst balancing your blood sugar - and your blood lipid profile.
Finish with something sweet
If your weak moment occurs immediately after you’ve polished off lunch or dinner, aim to finish with something sweet. This is where stevia works wonders.Swishing a small drop around your mouth after eating, or savouring a few sips of very sweet herbal tea willimmediately disarm your cravings and leave you feeling completely satisfied.
It’s somewhat of a daggy practice, but taking a thermos of either hot or icy cold herbal tea sweetened with stevia to work and sipping it throughout the day is the suggestion I get the most positive feedback about.
Adopt the mantra “something better”
If you’re finding yourself falling off the wagon on a regular basis, you might need to integrate your dietary adjustments more gradually.
Each time you find yourself reaching for something unhealthy, consciously pause and opt for something (anything!) that’s marginally healthier. Even if it means ditching the Snickers for a high-quality dark chocolate bar, you’re on the right track.
As you improve your habits, the cravings willeventually melt a
..And now, for the fun part!
Here’s one of my favourite and most successful dessert recipes. According to my clients, this is the ultimate ‘transition’ treat. I’ve had some seriously dysfunctional chocoholics recover from full-blown addiction usingthis, something we now lovingly refer to as Raw Truffle Therapy™.
The recipe utilises one of my favo
Raw Truffle Therapy
1 cup raw organic cashews (soaked 2+hrs) (If your blender isn’t too crash hot, you can substitute cashew butter) ½ cup of organic maple syrup** (or date paste) 50g raw cacao butter (gently melted in a bain marie) ¼ cup organic extra virgin coconut oil (melted) ½ cup raw cacao powder Large pinch celtic or Himalayan sea salt 1/8 tsp organic cinnamon
Truffle filling: This is where the medicine flower essences can work some serious magic! Experiment with mint, hazelnut, coconut, orange, raspberry, rum, blueberry, cherry.. or mix in some lemon or citrus zest. Coating: My favourites are crushed hazelnuts or ground cacao nibs mixed with coconut sugar. My latest obsession is crushed freeze-dried strawberries - heaven!
METHOD Blend all ingredients except coconut oil until very smooth. Add the coconut oil and process well until combined. Place the mixture into a bowl and stir in flavouring essences or fruitof your choice, then transfer to the freezer to set (about 40 mins) Prepare a small bowl filled with a coating of your choice. Once the mixture has solidified, roll the truffles, dropping them one by one into the coating material and rolling them around gently so that they are completely covered. They can store up to a few weeks in the freezer.. if they last that long! They make for a fabulous emergency treat and are impossible to binge on, being so rich. Enjoy! xx
Georgia is a wholefood chef and health coach who teaches fun-filled, inspiring food workshops and unique health programs in Neutral Bay. All her recipes are sugar, dairy, gluten and soy free.
SPECIAL TREAT: Her final dessert class for the year is on December 9th,and she’s offering 10% off the ticket price to all participants in NoSugarVember.Visit her website or keep in touch via facebook