That title got your attention huh? Well I will admit that I’m one of many who have a problem with one of the strongest drugs in the world – SUGAR. Oh yes, just the thought of sitting in bed with Netflix and a chocolate cake puts a smile on my face. 🙂 But as I also know, after I’m done indulging in that chocolate cake I feel guilty or sick or just plain terrible. Okay, okay – 1 piece won’t do that, but for those of us who have or had sugar problems, we don’t stop at 1!!
A friend recently sent me this article on sugar, which I think you should definitely check out – whether you’re a fan of sweets or not. What we don’t realize is that SO much of the food we eat – the processed stuff – contains a bunch of sugar that we don’t need. I mean, this article is on Oprah’s website, so it HAS to be good, right?? Check it out – The One Thing We All Agree On.
Here are a couple of pointers for cutting back sugar or trying to curb your sugar binges…
1. Find Substitutes. If you’ve ever read my blog before – you know I’m a fan of Quest bars. Like biggest fan ever. They should probably sponsor me. 🙂 Seriously Quest bars changed my life. They have 20 grams of protein in each bar, 1 gram of sugar, around 190 calories per bar, and are gluten free. I eat a couple a day, so I’m praying they don’t find some strange chemical in these bars that I’m eventually going to die from, because trust me – I’ll be the first to go!! But there are always sweet treats out there that are better for you than the processed candy bars and sheet cakes at Kroger. You can have fun finding something that works for you that fills the need.
2. Cut back on fruit. Don’t eliminate!! But cut back if you intake a lot. Natural sugar is better than processed, but fruit is still a sugar, so cut it back if you’re trying to curb your intake. If you’re a sugar fiend, and you eat a lot of fruits, cutting back might help binging and triggers as well. Stick to veggies and low glycemic fruits like berries and cherries.
3. Read labels. Know what is IN the foods that you’re buying. Look at the “total sugars” on a label and divide that number by 4. That’s how many teaspoons of sugar you’re ingesting. Scary, huh?
4. Go natural. The more natural your food is, the better. If you google some articles about sugar in foods or watch some of the documentaries out there, you might be shopping at Whole Foods and Trader Joes more and more. Organic veggies, bright colors, local and home grown are the best ways to go. Stay home and make dinner instead of going out. That way you know exactly what’s going in. Remember the saying that is so true – you are what you eat!
5. Try a 30 day challenge. Back before the holidays my boyfriend and I made a deal that I wouldn’t eat sweets – meaning candy, cake, cookies, ice cream, muffins and so forth, and he wouldn’t eat pizza. This forced me to find substitutes that would satisfy my sweet tooth, and it made me crave sugar a lot less. Again, I don’t believe in cutting things completely out unless you have an allergy – otherwise if you get back on sugar at some point, it could get ugly. Do this with a friend if you want to try this one and have someone to be accountable to!
6. Everything in moderation!! If doing a challenge isn’t for you – know that you CAN have sugar you just have to have it in moderation. There’s no reason you can’t enjoy what you love, it’s all about balance. For a lot of us sugar can be a trigger to consume more sugar, so you just have to be aware, have faith that you can say no to more than you really want. Have a bite of the cake – ask yourself if you REALLY want more. If you do, then have another. Be aware of how much you’re intaking. You’ll feel better if you can enjoy a few bites and then put it down rather than eating it all or 1 more piece or 10. 🙂
7. Play with your food! Look – just because sugar is basically legal crack and tastes oh so good, it doesn’t mean that we have to completely cut it out or wean ourselves off of the sweet TASTE. It’s more about eating the right kinds of sugar and finding substitutes for your cravings as I mentioned above. For me, what has been really fun since changing my diet a bit has been finding ways to make unhealthy things healthy – especially sweet treats. Which leads me to my next topic…
Scroll back up to the top of this blog and look at those lovely cupcakes… would you believe that they are vegan, gluten free and naturally sweet? (Meaning no processed sugar – only honey or agave is used.) Well, they are. Now…. don’t get too excited – these aren’t my famous avocado cupcakes – you’ll have to torture me for that recipe, but this one is a fun one to try as well… (I do have to confess – these are RICH and the avocado frosting makes it even richer. I put a dab of regular frosting on the top and liked it a bit better,) Here’s the recipe that I got from Love and Lemons – enjoy!!
Chocolate Cupcakes with Avocado Frosting
- 1 1/4 cups spelt flour – I used a blend of almond meal and gluten free flour, but I think spelt would work better
- 3/4 cup agave syrup – I used honey
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup almond milk – I used skim
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 very ripe avocados
- 1/4 cup chopped baking chocolate (around 65% cacao)
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup agave – I used honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 cup almond milk – I used skim
- pinch of salt
- Make the cupcakes: Mix the wet ingredients, mix the dry ingredients, mix together and bake for 15-18 minutes at 325 degrees. These are best if you under bake them slightly (since there’s not very much oil in the recipe).
- Make the frosting: Melt the baking chocolate in the microwave (careful not to burn it). Let it cool slightly. In a food processor mix all ingredients together. Taste and adjust. Let chill in the fridge for at least 15 or so minutes.