Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Naturally and Nutritionally Sweet!

We all naturally crave sweets - it's in us! I know a lot of people nowadays try to avoid sweets completely, thinking they can get away with it! But I will tell you what, this doesn't work because at some point your body will cave and you will be likely to binge (usually on the bad stuff like refined sugars and carbohydrates) and this creates a worse situation in your body than if you were to moderately consume some good quality sugars.

Sugars from fruits and starchy vegetables is the most natural way to consume sugar. If eaten in moderation and in season there are amazing benefits from a piece of fresh fruit or root veggies such as fiber, vitamins, minerals and energy. If you love fruit and tend to gravitate towards a piece more than 2 or 3 times a day, stick with the low sugar/non starchy fruits such as apples, berries, peaches, oranges, pears and kiwi's.

At this time of year the fruits and vegetables to get your sweet fix from are yams, sweet potatoes, squash, beets, apples, oranges, pomegranates, persimmons and grapefruit!

Then of course there are your deliciously available dried fruits (unsulphured of course- meaning not bright orange) apricots, figs, dates, goji berries, pears, apples etc...

Other sources of sugar come from grains starches. The stuff we want to stay away from includes the white and refined stuff. This includes white rice, white flour (bread, pasta, donuts, cakes, twinkies, cookies.) These foods quickly turn into simple sugars in your body and shoot your blood sugar up. Instead you want to select natural whole grains sources and complex carbohydrates. These come from grains like spelt, kamut, oats, barley, rye and the gluten free ones: quinoa, millet, teff, amaranth, buckwheat and brown rice. Other sources of complex carbohydrates that give you long sustained energy are sweet potatoes, yams, squashes and any of the above mentioned root veggies.

So my advice to you is to become and informed shopper. Make sure to select products that are steer clear of white sugar, icing sugar, brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose and chemical sweetners containing aspartame. Instead look for items sweetened with maple syrup, honey, brown rice syrup, agave nectar, applesauce, dates or stevia.

It is not difficult to find things that are sweetened naturally with nutritional benefits, you just have to be conscious and aware and consume these items in moderation!
Here is a delicious recipes to satisfy those sweet cravings and make you feel good all over!
Date Almond Pudding
2 avocados
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp maple syrup
4 Medjool dates (soaked overnight or boiling water for 20-30 minutes)
2 tbsp of pure unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp almond butter or 1/2 cup raw almonds (soaked in water overnight for 8 hrs.)
1 tsp cinnamon

Combine the ingredients in a blender and whirl on high until well blended into a thick creamy pudding.
Divide the pudding into 2 servings

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