Healthy lifestyle, Uncategorized

Sugar, Sugar……

Oh My! What do I know about sugar……a lot! It’s a big topic. I will share with you as much as I know to help you make better choices.

The little wonderful sweet white granules we know as sugar is in many processed foods we consume every day. Salad dressings, tomato sauce, cereals, muffins, breads, and mayonnaise to list a few items. I have learned to read not only the nutrition facts, but the ingredients as well.

Sugar is also disguised under many different names and forms. I don’t know all of them, but here’s a few: dextrose, fructose, lactose, glucose, cane sugar, brown sugar, coconut sugar, honey, corn syrup, turbinado, agave, brown rice syrup, maple syrup, molasses……….and many many more! Plus there are the replacement natural and artificial sweeteners (like stevia, splenda, etc.)

Most of these have an effect of spiking the blood sugar in our body and then crashing. If the sugar energy is not used up right away, it gets stored as fat on the body. Some of the sugars are better like coconut sugar. It does not spike that sugar level as much. The artificial sweeteners come with some side effects for me like headaches or I just don’t like them.

That’s the stuff I have read and been told. Now, let me tell you about my relationship with sugar.

Sugar and I have had a love, hate relationship. It comforts me when I am stressed; keeps me company when I am bored; and help me brighten my day when I’m sad or angry. Yes, that through all of the cookies, muffins, cupcakes, puddings, etc. that I consumed during these emotional times. It also continued to give me more and more cravings for it( like a drug ), that I needed a “sugar fix”. I remember a time that I was trying very hard to eliminate the sugar from my diet and it was a stressful time in my life, I was feeling shaky (like a withdrawal). As soon as I gave in and ate a cookie, my shaking subsided and I was much more calm. Weird, I know!!!! This leads me to believe some of the talk about sugar being addictive.

I want to mention that I have an A1C of 6.1, which is close to being a type 2 diabetic. That disease runs very strong in my family and comes with many other serious complications. I won’t get into talking about diabetes, because I’m not a medical person. I worked at American Diabetes association for 3 years and have witnessed my family members with diabetes and know a lot about it to be able to tell you that it is one nasty disease that you cannot see.

Many years ago, I gave up all of the artificial sweeteners. More recently, I limited my sweeteners to coconut sugar and stevia. These I’ve been told will keep my blood sugar steady. Keeping my blood sugar steady will also keep my energy steady without causing tiredness.

I did that for about 8 weeks and I have narrowed down that my stomach pain/reflux is still being effected by the coconut sugar. So, most of my “sugar” sources have been eliminated at least for now. If I want to bake and cook, and that is the only way that I can control what I’m consuming……what kind of sugar/sweetener can I add to my foods?

With all of the “out of the normal” cooking I have done in the past decades, I have discovered that my sweeteners come from bananas, prunes, dates, raisins. Here’s the basic way I use them:

  • Bananas – Mash or put them in a blender to mash them and make them smooth. When substituting them for a gradual sugar, remember that this is a “liquid” form now and the other liquid has to be reduced.
  • Dates, Raisins, Prunes -They are dried and most of the moisture is gone from them. I would put a bunch in hot water to steep for a bit (like I would tea) until they are plump and soft. Then blend them til smooth by using a blender.

I am not sure of the specifics yet. I am still in the playing with recipes stage to see what works and what doesn’t.

I want to share with you a breakfast recipe that I have been using and love:

Baked or Slow Cooker Oatmeal

  • 2 cups steel cut oats
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 cups Almond Milk (unsweetened)
  • 1-2 T. Cinnamon
  • 1 T. Vanilla
  • 2 T. Butter (I like Earth Balance)
  • 1/4 cup Coconut Sugar (next time I’m gonna try 2 Bananas or 1/4 cup of date puree)
  • 3-4 cups Fruit diced (apples, peaches, berries)

Put all of the ingredients into a large corning ware dish or the slow cooker and give it a stir to mix together.

To bake: Place corning ware dish in oven at 350 degrees for 1 to 1-1/2 hours. I make this early in the morning when I wake and it’s ready when everyone is ready for breakfast.

For the Slow Cooker: Set slow cooker on low for about 6-8 hours. This is great to make before I go to bed and I wake up to the house smelling wonderful and have a nice hot breakfast all ready for me! It’s like having elves in my kitchen!!

This is uncooked. It’s a highly requested breakfast in my house!

Tell me how you like this recipe! Have a wonderful day!

Featured, Uncategorized

Gluten Free

I have learned that Gluten, Sugar, and Dairy are in many of the processed foods we eat. I have to be a detective because these foods come in all types of forms!

When I was growing up, my mother taught me how to make bread. One of the tasks is to “knead” the dough. This process encourages the gluten to develop and make it stretch. Gluten I found out later is a protein in wheat flour (all purpose flour as well) that I cannot tolerate. Gluten can be found in Rye, Barley, Wheat.

Wheat is in a lot of processed foods and can be hidden with the term “Modified Starch” for one example.

Which leads me to another topic: Modified Starch can be many things like wheat, corn, tapioca, etc. My definition of starch is that all the nutrients have been stripped away and only the part that turns into sugar in my body remains. I have learned that sugar/carbs will give me a short burst of energy and then I crash and feel tired. If I don’t use those sugar/carbs, they will be stored as fat on my body. I need that like I need a hole in my head! So, any of those “Gluten Free” processed foods are mainly made of starch and not good for my body.

I eliminated all starches and glutens, and feeling a little better. Next step…..