I used to have the biggest sweet tooth! All my friends remember I had an obsession with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Let’s be real, I still love my sweets. I just have found a different way to curb that sweet tooth in a more natural, real way.
If you’ve seen my recipes, you know I love to substitute refined sugars for natural alternatives like real maple syrup, organic cane sugar and raw honey. They still curb that sweet tooth without compromising the flavor, really bringing recipes to the next level in a real way!
Have you ever thought, sugar is sugar no matter what form and all sugar is natural? I used to think this was true. But I didn’t know some were complete junk (HFCS) so let’s talk quick about the difference in sugars.
What are refined sugars?
Granulated white sugar and brown sugar, agave, high fructose corn syrup, malto syrup, rice syrup and the list goes on.
Here is where the confusion can happen. These seem like real sugars but they are actually highly processed and stripped of their good nutrients. Some are even genetically modified. In my opinion they should be avoided whenever possible.
What are natural nutrient dense sugars?
Organic unrefined cane sugar, raw honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, molasses, stevia, maple sugar, dates, date sugar, rapadura, fruit, root veggies and more.
These are sweeteners in their raw form and the nutrients have not been removed. Maple syrup and molasses are boiled down and more concentrated in sweetness.
You will notice in my recipes that I replace refined sugars with natural sugars. I find they sweeten recipes just the same and prefer not to feed my family the heavily processed sugars.
Our Bodies Run on Glucose–say what?
There is all kinds of mixed and misleading information when it comes to sugar. I myself do not have a full understanding of it. But here is a general explanation of what I have grasped.
I’ve recently had my mind blown with something called metabolic eating. This way of eating supports the metabolism and overall health. Our metabolism takes what we feed it and turns proteins, minerals, fats and glucose into energy.
I highly recommend the book “How to Heal Your Metabolism” by Kate Deering. I am going to quote her words below because they are so well written.
Sugar gets a bad rep. It’s been demonized for so many things like sickness and disease. While I believe heavily processed sugars could be blamed for some of those things, I do believe there are God made sugars (and carbs) that can be so good for us and actually help our bodies thrive.
Here is what will blow your mind. Our bodies are fueled by glucose. In the words of Kate Deering,
“Think of glucose as gasoline for the body. The optimal energy for cars to fuel their engine is gasoline, just like the optimal energy for the cells of the human body is glucose. Cars need gasoline to be delivered to the engine, where it is converted to energy for power. The same principle is true of our metabolism. We convert glucose in our cells to produce energy. The only difference is as humans we can use other sources like proteins and fats for energy. However, glucose will always be the most preferred source of energy for our cells.”
She goes on to talk about how carbohydrates are the most efficient form of energy. They feed our brains, give our muscles energy, help detox the liver and provide proper thyroid function.
I believe that we need to listen closely to our bodies. Understand what we may be craving is what our body may lack nutritionally.
I highly recommend reading more from Kate herself in her book. I have so many pages highlighted and it’s chock full of invaluable information.
Food Fear < Food Freedom
As always, if this is completely new information to you, I encourage you to do some of your own research. But if you’re like me, I think you’ll find that the Standard American Diet (SAD) is not the best way to nourish your body. There are traditional ways that have worked for thousands of years and there is so much to learn from our history.
I realize sugar can be a sensitive topic. As much as I would love to keep my kids from eating processed foods and highly refined sugars, I know this is not reality. Our kids go to school and are exposed to processed sugars at birthday parties, snack time and friend’s houses. And I am ok with that. Because I know that when they come home they will still have a consistent diet of nutrient dense foods for their developing bodies. So I keep an open mind. I occasionally eat out of character in social settings too. That’s the balance of life.
My goal is to educate my children on the foods that they eat so that someday they can make their own healthy eating decisions. My hope is that when they grow up they will not only have the knowledge about nourishing foods, but even better, have the skills to cook them too. What a gift that would be to pass down to my children someday!