SUGAR, YES PLEASE?
March is National Nutrition Month, and each week we’ll give you some food for thought about an element of our diets that’s worth examination. First up at bat? Sugar! Agave nectar, beet sugar, corn syrup solids, date sugar, glucose, high fructose corn syrup, honey, maple syrup and Turbinado sugar. Sugar comes in many forms, but regardless of the name, it’s all sugar. There are many misconceptions about the stuff, so if you want the lowdown on how all sugar effects your body, Dr. Robert Lustig’s video The Bitter Truth will give you the sugary scoop.
Then why are foods with natural sugars better than those with added sugars? Usually the foods with natural sugars have inherent nutritional value, and also have fiber and fats to regulate sugar absorption into your blood stream, such as fruit and milk. Which is also the reason why eating a piece of fruit is better than drinking its juice—when you remove the fiber by juicing the fruit, it’s like a sugar bomb exploding in your system.
But we’re not perfect, and for many, sugar plays a role in our diet. The bottom line? Go natural, moderate, and pair sugar with protein and fiber when you can. And enjoy! Otherwise it’s totally not worth it.
EAT & DRINK
ALMOND CACAO PROTEIN SMOOTHIE by foodbymars
2 tbsp raw almond butter
1 frozen ripe banana
1/2 cup coconut (or almond) milk
1 tsp flax seed
1 tsp raw honey (or maple syrup)
2 tsp cacao nibs
Blend all ingredients together until smooth. Serve and optionally add slivered almonds and cacao nibs on top!
RAW HEMP CHOCOLATES by unconventionalbaker
¾ cup hemp hearts
5 soft medjool dates, pitted (the fresher the better)
2 tbsp coconut oil
½ tsp raw ground vanilla bean (or 1 tsp pure vanilla extract, though the fresh vanilla is much better)
⅛ tsp salt
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 cup chocolate chips or chopped chocolate of your choice
2 tbsp coconut oil
1/16 tsp salt
Optional decorative toppings:
chocolate shavings, cacao nibs, hemp hearts
Process all filling ingredients, except maple syrup, in a food processor into a uniform mixture. Add maple syrup and process once again to combine. Line a medium/small tupperware container with some parchment paper (I used a 7″ x 5″ x 2″). Transfer the mixture into the container and flatten, pressing it down evenly into a “block”. Freeze for 1 hour or until firm to the touch.
Melt the chocolate, coconut oil, and salt together (double boiler method or microwave). Set aside. Have your toppings handy and a small tray lined with parchment paper to set the final product on.
Remove the filling from the freezer. Transfer the set filling block onto a cutting board. Trim off any uneven edges and cut into 8 rectangles. Dunk each rectangle in the melted chocolate to coat, wipe off any excess chocolate by running the fork tines over the rim of the melted chocolate dish. Set on the tray to set. Repeat with remaining pieces.
Sprinkle with any toppings if using. Drizzle with a bit of the remaining chocolate if you like. Place in the fridge or freezer for 20 mins more to set. Enjoy! Keep leftovers refrigerated.
Makes 8 chocolates.