Holidays are just ahead. Halloween, Thanksgiving and all the holidays of December and New Year’s. Holidays are exciting and full of family and friends. However, for those on diets, holidays can be stressful because holiday treats are often filled with sugar. Sugar, as we know, is not great for our health. It is inflammatory, addictive, and oh, so sweet! And if you’re someone trying to lose weight, sugar can derail a diet in a bite, if that bite turns into eating the whole cake!
There are a lot of great options to help kick sugar to the curb and some easy swaps that make all the baking and delights just as tasty without the brain inflammation.
Sugar, in addition to the aforementioned negatives, also kicks our insulin and glucose levels into high gear. When this happens, it can also stimulate cell growth, and not happy cell growth, but cellular growth of the mutated cells, the cells we want to get rid of, not multiply.
If you are a tea or coffee drinker, try swapping sugar for cinnamon. Cinnamon can cut the bitterness like sugar does. It can make your morning coffee taste like fall all year long and the smell of it with each sip makes for a happier morning! In testing, cinnamon has been shown to reduce blood sugar levels, lower triglycerides, and help those that suffer from diabetes bring down their blood glucose levels. It’s also a great addition to baked items or even morning oats. Adding it to fresh baked breads gives your baked goods a whole different taste and it’s a perfect pairing for fall and holiday baked items. Some tips suggest combining a shot glass of oil and a dash of cinnamon to thwart any blood sugar spikes after eating.
Commercial sweeteners – there are a plethora. Stick to the ones from nature!
Monk fruit is a fantastic option for a natural sweetener. I find that this one is easier to compare to sugar when it’s a 1:1 measurement for adding to any food or drink and it’s packed with healthy positives. Monk fruit is native to southern China. It’s in the perennial family of gourds and the sweet part is the fruit extract called mogrosides. Monk fruit doesn’t contain calories or carbohydrates like sugar cane. It has been used to cure ailments long before it became popular in the U.S. The mogrosides are a powerhouse of antioxidants, even immunity boosting Vitamin C. Its anti-inflammatory properties will help thwart arthritis, digestive issues and even cancer. Studies have shown that monk fruit can inhibit the growth of cancer cells by lowering the DNA damage from free radicals. It can be added to warm drinks to soothe a sore throat during cold, flu and allergy season. It’s even been shown to have a natural histamine effect, blocking allergens. It’s anti-fibrotic, meaning it can fight inflammation and scar tissue in the lungs. On top of those, it’s antimicrobial, meaning it can help create a healthy environment in the gut. Unlike artificial sweeteners that can wreak havoc on the gut as they can add to any pathogenic bacteria lurking in the gut. Monk fruit is a much better option than refined sugar. Sugar simply doesn’t pack all these amazing benefits!
Stevia is another great option. In liquid form you can cut out the other additives. The trick to Stevia is to use less than you think. It’s actually sweeter than sugar, sometimes fifty times the sweetness! Once you have too much, it can be bitter instead of the natural sweetness people have come to love it for. Liquid can be tricky for baking; you want a granular form. So just read those labels and make sure there aren’t sneaky chemicals.
When going to any gathering, consider bringing a dessert! Even if you must make an extra dish, it can reduce the sweet tooth guilt that comes after that slice of cake or pie, knowing it’s packed with sugar or even worse, high fructose corn syrup! This way, you can control exactly what’s in the dessert and you can feel confident when adding that treat to your plate and knowing that it is a better, healthier option and you can feel good about sharing it with family and friends.
A brand that’s super easy and makes a fantastic cake, cupcake, or dessert is Fit Bake. They have fun, fantastic recipes and batters that are super easy, sugar free and contain simple, natural ingredients. These are a staple for any birthday or holiday treat I want to make for a party. They are also gluten free, which makes them friendly for even more of the party!
When it comes to holidays, or every day, there is a better way to enjoy the sweetness of life!