Last week, I made Encinitas Patch readers come along as I delved into the . Still off the white stuff, I wanted to share a few recipes with those I’ve heard from who are trying to wean down as well. Because, in the end, what is life without sweets?
It’s been interesting to hear local responses to my sugar/devil connection. Many of us have assumed that because of our active, healthy lifestyle we don’t have to worry about sugar too much. Myself included, we think, take care of your teeth, make sure you don’t have so much you become diabetic, but really, aren't we immune to the sugar furor of late? Our kids may get a soda as a treat, but not on a regular basis. They're mostly thin and strong and surfing before they can spell. We don’t have to worry about obesity 'round here.
But recent efforts to educate the public about the havoc potentially caused by eating sugars such as sweeteners, juices, table sugar, and sodas has me rethinking my false sense of security. Even if my family isn’t likely to suffer from obesity, I know for sure they’re not immune to issues like hypertension, heart trouble, high cholesterol, kidney problems, eye problems and cancer. Too, if sugar can feed a virus and suppress the immune system, there’s just no way I want those I care for to have any of it when sick.
So, in this spirit, I’ll present the recipes below. Some call for Stevia or Xylitol, which can be purchased at Henry’s and Jimbo's. Both of these are healthy alternatives to sugar that actually have positive health effects.
Two warnings: For many like me, Stevia, an herb, tastes “funny” unless you find just the right foods to combine them with. Also, in larger quantities, the alcohol derivative Xylitol can cause stomach distress such as diarrhea. If you’re nursing, it can affect your baby in the same way. The upside is that Xylitol’s benefits to teeth alone are so amazing, even the California Dental Association sings its praises (Spry brand gums and toothpastes are made with Xylitol and I highly recommend them).
In sweet health, then, here are the recipes:
Dark Chocolate Almond Heaven Balls
Chocolate is good for your mind, body and spirit, so don’t miss your fix!
4 Tbsp. melted butter
8 oz. unsweetened baker's chocolate or cocoa powder
1 scoop Jay Robb Protein Powder (vanilla)*
1 1/2 Tbsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. finely shredded coconut (optional)
1/3 cup almond butter or cashew pieces
1 Tbsp. Xylitol
*An excellent protein source and sweetened with Stevia, this product can be found at Henry’s and Jimbo’s.
Mix all except Xylitol and add a small amount of water as needed for consistency to roll mixture into spoon-sized balls. Spread Xylitol onto plate and roll balls to coat. Lay on wax paper and freeze.
Berries with Warm Coconut Cream Sauce
Combine a bowl of berries with coconut cream (warm jar in hot water first) and enjoy bliss!
Manna brand coconut cream is sold at Henry’s and Jimbo's—and is terrific.
Coconut Madeira Cake***
½ cup self-rising flour
8 Tbsp. butter
½ cup Xylitol
1 small lemon
1 oz. fine cornmeal or polenta
1 oz. unsweetened desiccated coconut
Cream the butter and Xylitol together until light and fluffy. Add the zest of one small, unwaxed lemon and squeeze in approximately 1-2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice. Add eggs, flour and coconut. Mix very well. Pour cake batter into a small greased and floured tin. Place into a hot oven at 350 degrees cook for 35-40 minutes or until golden and spongy to the touch. Do not open the oven door for at least 25-30 minutes or else the cake will sink. Leave the cake in the cake tin for 5-10 minutes before removing it and leaving the cake to cool. Your cake will have cracks on the top—this is how it is supposed to be.
Slice and enjoy. Top with lemon juice, fresh berries and warm coconut cream, or whipped coconut milk for an extra treat.
*For those trying to balance blood sugar levels, remember to pair flour-based recipes without protein powder with a nice protein-rich meal or snack.