The holidays have come and gone, but did you know the average American gains 7-12 pounds over the Holidays! Although this is incredibly disappointing, the culprit is easily identified. No, it’s not the turkey or the ham that is packing on the pounds. This weight crashing devil is the deliciously sweet vice of millions: SUGAR!!
I remember having the most terrible sweet tooth! Growing up addicted to sugar, both my teeth and my health suffered. I later realized after studying natural health, that I had systemic candida.
Once I used natural methods to get the candida under control, I no longer craved sweets. It isn’t that I don’t enjoy the taste of sugar anymore; I just don’t like how it makes me feel tired, sluggish and nauseated.
My dislike of sugar has created a bit of a problem in my home. This is because my family LOVES sweets. From baked goods to chocolate, they love it all! I have stood my ground and refused to compromise and make sugar-filled treats because I want my children to grow up free from sugar addiction. They are allowed small sugar treats occasionally, but not often enough to create an addiction.
Instead, I have experimented with many recipes, looking for the most deliciously sweet treats that are also low in sugar. Many people create “sugar-free” desserts and still use ingredients I don’t personally approve of.
Some of those include:
- Artificial Sweeteners (aspartame, sucrose, etc). These are linked to intestinal imbalances, neurological disorders and even cancer!
- Honey: Although healthier than white sugar, honey is fructose which is broken down into glucose in the body. Its effects on blood sugar levels and candida are nearly the same as white sugar.
- Turbinado Sugar: Otherwise known as raw sugar, it is cane sugar that isn’t as highly processed as white sugar. It is technically healthier than white sugar because it still retains some nutrients that white sugar lacks. However, the body treats it the same as it does plain white sugar.
The sweetener that I believe to be the safest and healthiest on the market today is stevia. You may have tried stevia powder already and disliked it’s aftertaste. I too have had that experience. However, now there are companies producing stevia that tastes amazing! My current favorite is Nu Naturals. Nu Naturals also makes a stevia baking blend that can be substituted 1:1 in any of your baked goods that contain sugar in the recipe!
Another sweetener that is quite safe is xylitol. It does not affect glucose levels in the body, but has the consistency and same measurement as white sugar. It is a sugar alcohol that has also been found to benefit the teeth by inhibiting the growth of cavity causing bacteria.
Often times, I use a mixture of a more natural sugar like honey, maple syrup, or sucanat (even less refined than turbinado) with stevia powder. This is because stevia powder alone doesn’t always taste well in baked good. (Especially if you aren’t accustomed to it.) If I want it to be completely sugar free, I mix xylitol and stevia.
The first recipe I am going to share with you is completely sugar-free. It is a decadent chocolate dessert that is both gooey and moist. It is also gluten-free, which is another bonus! Being sugar-free makes them extremely low in carbohydrates, just 4.5 carbs per cake! This would make a fantastic dessert for diabetics!
Sugar-Free, Gluten-Free Chocolate Lava Cake
1 cup of organic butter
8 ounces of 85% dark chocolate, broken up
1 cup of xylitol
½ tsp of Nu Naturals stevia powder
4 tsp of your favorite gluten-free(GF) flour
Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Set out eggs to bring to room temperature. Section out 3 chocolate bars into seven pieces each, so you can measure out the ounces (each piece is .5 ounces). Chop up chocolate. Melt butter and chocolate together over medium heat, stirring constantly. Whisk together eggs. Add beaten eggs, erythritol, and stevia to chocolate mixture. Stir in GF flour.
Pour into 12 silicone muffin cups and bake for about 14 minutes (check at 12), or until puffed up and still a bit moist looking on the tops. Do NOT over-bake. Let cakes sit in muffin pans for one minute, and then invert cakes onto individual serving dishes. Top with fresh whipped cream (made with stevia powder) and berries, if desired. Consume immediately while warm and gooey!
High Protein Low Sugar Peanut Butter Cookies
These cookies are a great way to enjoy getting more protein in your diet. They are very low in sugar and contain 3.5 grams of protein per cookie!!
6 tablespoons organic butter, softened*
11 packets Nu Naturals stevia
1/2 cup (4 oz) sucanat
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 yolk from a large egg
1 cup all-natural, no sugar added peanut butter
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons oat flour
2 tablespoons (.5 oz) whey protein powder OR 2 tablespoons coconut flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix peanut butter, softened butter, stevia powder, sugar, sea salt, vanilla, and egg yolk, and mix with a mixer for 30 seconds, or until creamy. Add oat flour, whey protein, and baking soda and mix for a minute or so until mixed thoroughly with no streaks of flour present.
Remove dough ball and refrigerate for later use, or bake immediately. Form 20 dough balls, setting them on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Press balls a bit flat with your hand. Make crisscrossed marks on top of each cookie with the tines of a fork. Bake 12-14 minutes, or until cookies are slightly browned at edges. Let cookies cool on baking sheet a couple minutes before removing to a wire rack. Cookies will firm as they cool, which takes 10-20 minutes.
*You can use 5.5 tablespoons of coconut oil as a substitute for butter in order to make these cookies dairy-free.
*Recipes adapted from Health Indulgences
Holiday Joy Without the Guilt
These recipes can hopefully satisfy your holiday sweet tooth and get you through without those extra pounds. Remember, sugar is the biggest contributor to holiday weight gain. If you typically bake during this time of year, try experimenting with using stevia or xylitol. You never know, you could come up with your own spectacular low-sugar dessert!
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