We had some very mixed feelings about carob yesterday. I had no idea that people could hate carob, but now I know!
As many of you mentioned, the best way to welcome change is to believe in yourself.
Believe that you can do it, that you will do it, and that whatever comes as a result will be fantastic!
One of the most common reader questions is: “How did you change your diet? What steps did you take?”
Seeing how tackling my sugar obsession was one of the hardest changes, I thought it’d be a good place to start.
When I set off on my sugar reduced journey I had no idea how fun it would be.
I’m not going to lie though, I thought it was going to be torture.
But I’ve learned a lot about how to sweeten naturally and have come to love the flavors that whole foods bring to the mix.
My favorite sugar free alternatives are medjool dates, bananas and apples.
My favorite alternative sweeteners have now become coconut sugar, ground stevia leaf, and raw honey.
I try to limit my alternative sweeteners to a couple of servings a week minus the 1 tablespoon of raw honey I use on a daily basis because of it’s health benefits.
Going sugar reduced [I don’t like to say I’m sugar free because I do treat myself once in awhile] didn’t happen overnight, in fact it was progression that’s lasted just about 3 1/2 years.
I remember the first time I replaced the white sugar in a recipe with whole cane sugar. The taste was good, I felt better knowing I’d made a healthier choice and I was proud of myself for beginning to healthful-ize my baking.
A couple of years later, I introduced agave nectar into the mix. This was a bit more challenging because it is a liquid and so many of my recipes had to be well planned to accommodate this change in liquid to solid ratio. But, after a couple of flops I got it right!
A few months after that I started experimenting with raw honey because of it’s amazing ability to boost immunity, provide pure energy, heal digestive issues, and fight bacteria.I found honey to be a lot sweeter than agave nectar, so less was needed in my recipes. BONUS!
Being the curious Nutritionist I am, I decided to play around with replacing alternative sweeteners with whole foods like raisins, dates, apples, banana, and natural fruit juices. This was by far the biggest leap for me. My recipes weren’t as sweet as I’d been accustomed to. Although things weren’t as sweet, the snacks I was making seemed fuller and more alive than before, and it wasn’t long until I began to find the foods just perfectly sweet [taste bud change? I have no idea]
I’ve since started playing around with ground stevia leaf, not the white stuff, but the green stuff. I find it’s a lot less metallic tasting than it’s white counterpart.
I’ve had my moments, but all in all I’ve enjoyed this shift from sugar full to sugar reduced. My complexion has improved, my blood sugar stays balanced, and I have level energy throughout my day.
Candy Apple Macaroons
Vegan, Gluten free, Dairy free, Sugar free, Yeast free
These sugar free apple and coconut morsels are light, refreshing, sweet and healthy. Kids [and adults] will go nuts over these green speckled apple macaroons!
Inspired by: my Banana Drunk Macaroons
- 2 1/2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
- 1 1/2 granny smith apples – 1 apple shredded and 1/2 of the other apple blended
- 1/3 cup almond butter
- 3 tablespoon almond flour
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon natural almond flavor
- pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 325F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat.
- In a medium sized bowl, combine all ingredients and mix until fully incorporated.
- Form mixture into golf-ball-sized balls, place on prepared cookie sheet and flatten just slightly.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes [mine were perfect at 14 minutes] or until golden.
- Allow to cool for 10 minutes before enjoying.
Makes 12 macaroons.
Nutrition stats [1 macaroon]: calories 129; fat 11g; carbohydrates 7.7g; dietary fiber 2.6g; sugars 3.4g; protein 2.2g
Nutrient profile: no cholesterol, very low in sodium, high in manganese.
If you’re interested in learning more about sweetening your recipe with whole foods, check out a couple of my favorite natural sweetener gals: Kris @ iheartwellness & Alex @ A Spoonful of Sugar Free & Kelly @ The Spunky Coconut. Each of them bring a different approach to health, all refreshing and inspiring.
Do you follow any blogs that use alternative or whole foods sweeteners? Please share!
Have you tried to use whole foods sweeteners in a recipe? How did you like it?