We all crave something sweet and when we are on a diet or have to restrict our sugar intake due to medical concerns we try to look for other sugar alternatives to refined white sugar. There are many artificial sweeteners out there in the market today however, the side effects simply aren’t worth it. These fake sweeteners cause symptoms that range from headaches and migraines to weight gain and even more serious conditions like cardiovascular disease.
Here are some natural sweeteners that I recommend to my patients.
1) COCONUT SUGAR– This contains Calcium, Iron, Phosphorous, Potassium, Zinc, Antioxidants and other Phytonutrients. It does not raise blood sugar levels as high as table sugar.
2) DATES – This contains Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Potassium, and Vitamin B6. May reduce LDL( bad) cholesterol.
I love blending dates with rice milk and frozen banana and adding a little peanut butter and cocoa powder to it to make a delicious smoothie.
3) HONEY(RAW)– Contains B vitamins, Vitamin C, Folate,Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Potassium, Enzymes and Antioxidants. The darker the honey the richer the health benefits. Local honey is most beneficial .
4) MAPLE SYRUP(100%)– Contains Calcium, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese,Potassium, Zinc. Darker, Grade B syrups have no added corn syrup or colorings.
5) BLACKSTRAP MOLASSES – Contains Calcium, Choline, Magnesium, Phopsphorous, Potassium, Selenium, Sodium, and Omega-6 Fatty acids.
6) STEVIA (pure, organic) – supports healthy blood sugar levels.
CHOOSE BRANDS WITH NO ADDITIVES
USE IN MODERATION.
Do not use these sweeteners as your source of vitamins and minerals as you would have to consume large amounts. You should eat whole foods to get the majority of your nutrients.
Stevia- 0 Calories
Coconut Sugar- 1 Tbsp= 45 calories
Blackstrap molasses- 1 Tbsp= 47 calories
Raw honey- 1 Tbsp= 64 calories
Dates- 1 mendel date= 66 calories
Maple Syrup- 1 Tbsp= 52 calories
Since apples are in season here is a recipe I found(@ pureella.com) that I would like to share for you to try. Enjoy your Sunday.
GLUTEN FREE DATE SQUARES:
1 cup gluten-free oat flour OR gluten-free all-purpose flour
1/2 cup certified gluten-free rolled oats or quick oats (not instant)
3/4 cup organic coconut palm sugar
3/4 cup vegan organic margarine OR coconut oil, cold & hardened, cubed
2 cups pitted medjool dates
Line a 8 x 8″ pan with parchment paper and preheat oven to 350F.
Pit the dates and soak them in a bowl with hot water for about 5 minutes. Then strain well and add to a food processor and mix to form a paste. Set aside.
To make the crumble, first make sure the margarine or coconut oil is very cold. I like to place mine in the freezer for about 20 minutes so it hardens up more. Then cut into cubes.
In a food processor, pulse the flour, oats, sugar and margarine or oil until crumbs form. Do not overmix. Transfer half into the baking dish and press into the pan with your fingers. If the dough is too crumbly, wet the tips of your fingers with water and press down. If the mixture is too wet, simply dust the top with a little extra all-purpose flour and continue pressing to cover the bottom of the pan evenly.
Spread out date paste evenly on top.
Sprinkle the remaining crumble that’s on top of the pie evenly.
Place in the preheated oven and bake for about 30-40 minutes. Top should be nice and golden.
Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 20 minutes before serving.
These Crumb Squares are lovely still warm from the oven, just as they’re great the next day straight from the fridge – you decide!
Cutting them however when they are still warm will make them fall apart slightly.
Keep for up to 7 days in the refrigerator. Freezer friendly for up to 3 months in an airtight container with parchment paper in between squares.