A friend of mine let me know at the beginning of the year about a new health blog called Word of Wisdom Living. I have since added it to my list of "additional resources" (down in the right hand column) because the author has such good things to say and says them so well. And they're right down my alley.
Lately he has been discussing refined sugar and all the negative consequences its over-consumption creates, including diabetes (Type II of which can completely be prevented). How much over-consumption? Well, did you know that the average American diet includes 30 tsp of sugar a day??? To me that just sounds disgusting. And as the blog author points out, this isn't due to adding any sugar to food, but is contained in the food and drinks themselves (factory-made, mind you). If you've been following my blog for very long at all you know I try to avoid cooking with refined sugar, and I've talked about the diabetes epidemic as well. So I appreciate learning more about this topic.
Over Christmas another friend of mine was talking with me about my blog and mentioned how badly sugar affects her system, and how she was determined to get rid of it in her home starting with the new year. But she made the comment that it is very difficult to avoid it completely during the holidays, since so much of our holiday traditions (as families and as a country) are tied to sugary treats. I've thought about that a lot and totally understand the sentiment. But, there's a way around it for those who are committed enough to their health and to feeling well: Substitutions. (You know I'm all about modifying recipes. :))
I have a sweet tooth as much as anyone out there, but my philosophy is, if you can enjoy your sweets without suffering the consequences of refined sugar consumption (such as that short-lived sugar high, headache, or simply feeling yucky and/or lethargic), what's to lose?
It's so nice to be able to make cookies or cake or some other tasty sweet, substituting honey or fruit juice or raw sugar for the refined sugar, and not have to worry about how much of it my children or I consume. And being able to even eat it as a snack--without guilt--is also delightful. Then substitute the refined white flour for whole wheat flour (preferably home-ground) and you have a truly healthy item that is also more filling, so people need less of it but are still satisfied.
As the author of Word of Wisdom Living points out (and which is the whole point of my blog as well), this isn't about temporary diet changes, but about a lifestyle change!
For ideas on sweet, sugarless recipes, see:
Desserts under "Topics" in the right-hand column (disregarding the lemon bars, which I haven't yet figured a way to healthily modify).
Homemade Granola Bars
Fresh Lemonade with Raw Sugar
Best Thanksgiving Yams
"Jello" (Fruit Gelatin)