Remove: White sugar, brown sugar, processed honey, jellies, fruit spreads.
Replace With: Certified organic raw honey, maple syrup, black strap molasses, coconut palm sugar, raw sugar.
Sugar, sugar, sugar – and more sugar, our sweet poison. Are you a sugar addict?
It’s no big surprise that refined sugars (sugars or fruit that have been exposed to high heat and the nutrients removed or greatly diminished, i.e. syrups, jellies, fruit roll-ups, canned fruit, juice), are not highly nutritious. There are so many food items that contain refined sugar, it really takes a conscious effort to avoid them. Well, it’s worth the effort.
If you really knew how damaging refined sugars can be in excess, you may think twice about over-eating them. To name just a few, sugar can increase total cholesterol, increase the risk of coronary heart disease, cause hypertension, increase the risk of blood clots, cause hypoglycemia and diabetes, lead to cancer of the breast, ovaries, prostate, and rectum. In excess, all sugars refined and unrefined can cause obesity. Big inhale… and exhale… there are about 100 more side effects not mentioned.
So best to avoid this sweet additive and look to what Nature has provided us with: Raw honey, Maple syrup, raw sugar, blackstrap molasses, coconut palm sugar. These natural sugars listed have their vitamins and nutrients in tack which is apparent by their dark rich color. Although they still should be used sparingly, they all offer nutritional benefits above and beyond their sweetness.
Raw Honey: Unlike conventional honey that appears smooth, creamy, and easy to use, Raw honey appears thicker with a crystallized texture on top. The thicker consistency does not allow the product to come in simple squeeze tube packaging, instead it is usually jarred in glass. It has not been strained, filtered, or heated above the natural hive temperatures. Most conventional honey is heated and filtered to make it appear smoother, cleaner, and more appealing to the consumer. Unfortunately the process destroys beneficial enzymes, nutrients, and antioxidants. There are not strict regulations when it comes to raw honey so always look for the words “unheated” and “unprocessed” to make sure you are getting 100% raw honey.
The benefits of raw honey start with its high antioxidant levels, as well as its high nutrient and mineral levels. Raw honey can be used as a substitute for most sweeteners in many recipes. It is a great addition to coffee, tea, or to top off a snack. Due to its dense nutrients and minerals there are many health benefits that may be associated with the consumption of Raw Honey. It is known to enhance digestion and help aid elimination, it is alkaline forming, great for skin and hair care, and used for weight loss and cleansing. Raw honey can also be used on burns, cuts and scrapes to heal and soothe the skin. Be aware however, if you are hypoglycemia or have diabetes, honey is not the best choice for a sweetener as the glycemic index of honey is quite high.
Maple Syrup: A syrup made from different kinds of maple trees. It was first collected and used by indigenous people of North America who recognized the sap as a source of energy and nutrition. Maple syrup is a rich source of zinc and manganese, as well as a relatively low level of potassium and calcium. It has also been found to contain beneficial antioxidant compounds. Maple syrup also contains trace amounts of amino acids, contributing to it’s rich flavor.
When looking for Maple Syrup you will typically find Grade A and Grade B. Grade A comes from early sap and has less mineral content than Grade B. The darker in color, the more rich in minerals. This holds true for any food. Hence sweet potato’s have more mineral content than white potatoes, fruit that is rich in color and ripeness is going to have more minerals than light colored, less ripe fruit, whole grain brown or wild rice is going to have more minerals than white rice. Choose rich dark colored foods, and you will naturally get more minerals in your diet.
Hence, you can tell Grade A maple syrup from Grade B maple syrup from the relative deepness of amber coloring. Minerals present in the Maple Syrup you choose will vary depending on where the syrup was harvested and the quality of the soil the trees were grown in. Average samples of pure maple syrup have been found to contain: “sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, iron, copper, phosphorus, sulfur, and silicon. Vitamin A, B1 B2, B6, C and Pantothenic Acid (B5). And the best news of all – because of the mineral content in Maple syrup, this becomes a fuel the body can actually use. In moderation, Grade B maple syrup will not trigger metabolic pathways to excess fat produced in the body.
Raw Sugar: If you find yourself needing to keep sugar in your pantry then unrefined raw sugar is your best choice. Raw sugar still contains the minerals and nutrients that have been stripped to make refined white and brown sugar. Refined sugar also includes harmful chemicals such as phosphoric acid, sulfur dioxide, and formic acid. Phosphoric acid, also known as phosphates can inhibit mineral absorption, and in excess can cause kidney damage and osteoporosis. http://www.naturalorganiclifestyle.com/unrefined-raw-sugar.html (13)
Black Strap Molasses: It is not often that a fateful tragedy occurs that centers around a food, but Unfortunately, in 1919, one such event did occur. The event is referred to as the Great Molasses Flood and occurred when a molasses storage tank holding over two million gallons of molasses broke, and its sticky content came pouring throughout the city streets of Boston, MA, traveling as fast as 35 miles per hour and creating a thirty foot tidal wave of sweetener. unfortunately, this was not a sweet matter as twenty-one people died and significant amounts of property was destroyed.
Most people would not consider this dark, thick, syrupy, sweetener to hold many health benefits, but you are about to be surprised. Blackstrap molasses is a healthful sweetener that contains significant amounts of a variety of minerals that promote your health. 2 tsp of blackstrap molasses alone contains a little over 13% of your daily iron needs, almost 12% of your daily calcium needs, and around 7% of your daily magnesium needs.
How and When to use molasses? Try adding molasses to your favorite bean or chili recipes to enhance the flavor. Molasses also works well to enhance the flavor of pumpkin or ginger, and can be used to baste chicken or turkey to create a broth rich in color and taste.
Recipe Tip: Molasses Smoothie – coconut or almond milk, 1 apple or banana, 1 tablespoon almond butter, 1 tablespoon raw wheat germ, ¼ avocado, cinnamon and nutmeg to taste, 1 tablespoon of organic molasses.
Coconut Palm Sugar: This is a product you may have never heard of, but after reading this you will start to see it everywhere. The coconut craze is in full effect, and mostly for good reason. Coconut palm sugar is quickly becoming a household favorite sugar replacement for multiple reasons – mostly because it is one of the only healthy sugar substitutes that actually tastes just like sugar.
Organic coconut palm sugar comes from the flowers growing high on the top of coconut palm trees. The flowers are open to collect their nectar, which is then air dried to form the naturally brown coconut sugar. Never being heated, refined, or bleached like many other sweeteners allows this product to be high in potassium, zinc, iron and vitamin B.
Organic coconut palm sugar is one of the lowest glycemic sweeteners out there,. When an item is low on the glycemic index it means that it takes longer for it to be absorbed into the blood stream. This will help reduce hunger cravings for weight loss and great for controlling blood glucose levels, making it an excellent product for those who suffer with diabetes. In addition, coconut palm sugar is a great product for kids because it will eliminate sugar highs and lows.
Like any sweeteners, moderation is the key to maintaining balance and health in your body. It’s best to train your body not to require so much sugar and sweet flavors. By providing yourself with the right combination of nutrients, and replacing concentrated sugars with whole foods, you’ll soon start to lose your cravings for the sweet stuff altogether.