It’s the third week of New Year, New You, the month-long pure living event I’m co-hosting with Lexie’s Kitchen. This week, we’re celebrating with wholesome, refined sugar-free treats! Glad you stopped by, aren’t you?
So far in this event, we’ve shared our favorite ways to eat more produce and learned how to make smart snack choices. If you missed any of the posts from the last two weeks, here’s a recap:
Week One: Eat More Produce
- Tips for Eating More Produce from Celiacs in the House
- Kale with Caramelized Onions from The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen
- Fennel, Orange, & Sesame Salad from Gluten-Free Cat
- Kale Salad Wraps from Lexie’s Kitchen
- Chopped Chicken & Vegetable Salad from Daily Bites
Week Two: Snack Smart
- Gluten-Free Veggie Burgers from Silvana’s Kitchen
- Sweet Potato Pumpkin Pie Dip from Cook IT Allergy Free
- Cinnamon-Fig Cashew Spread from Go Dairy Free
- Sticky Toffee Power Balls from Lexie’s Kitchen
- Healthy Gluten-Free Snack Ideas from Daily Bites
Swap Your Sweeteners
This week is all about indulging sensibly in treats that are free of refined sugar. Sugar effects our bodies negatively in dozens of ways and contributes to diseases, weakened immune systems, and many chronic illnesses. Sugar can contribute to hyperactivity, elevated adrenaline, anxiety, crankiness, and difficulty concentrating. Because sugar decreases our bodies’ sensitivity to insulin, regular sugar consumption can lead to the onset of diabetes. It also has the ability to increase metabolic disorders in healthy people and promote a host of degenerative diseases, many of them life-threatening.
This article by Nancy Appleton, author of Lick the Sugar Habit, lists 76 ways that sugar can negatively influence our health. It’s highly convincing and I would encourage you to read it if you’re on the fence. Another wonderful resource for those looking to eliminate or greatly reduce sugar in their diets is Get the Sugar Out by Ann Louise Gittleman. The book contains over 500 reader-friendly tips that are easy to implement and remember. You might also want to pick up a copy of Amy Green’s book Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free, which contains 180 recipes that are entirely free of refined sugar. (You can read my review of Amy’s book here.)
Of course, just because you don’t eat sugar doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a sweet treat once in a while. In all of my cooking and baking, I use only natural sweeteners like fruits and fruit purees, honey, organic maple syrup and agave nectar, coconut sugar, and stevia. I also tend to use much less than typical recipes do because over time, my taste buds have adapted to a less sweet way of eating.
Let me tell you, I don’t miss the sugar one bit. Naturally sweetened treats taste just as good as those made with cane sugar without giving me headaches, puffy eyes, and energy crashes.
Soft Island Bliss Cookies
Take these cookies, for instance. Sweetened entirely with honey, they absolutely hit the spot if you’ve got a pesky sweet tooth. The trio of citrus zest along with the subtly sweet coconut unite to create a soft, chewy cookie that evokes the flavor of the tropics. Close your eyes, munch on a cookie, and you’ll quickly be whisked away to a land of salty breezes, swaying palms, and sun-washed beaches. Ah, bliss!
For more nutritious, refined sugar-free treats, you’ll want to check out this week’s New Year, New You contributors:
- She Let Them Eat Cake sharing a Cookie Dough Milkshake
- Diet, Dessert, and Dogs sharing Low-Fat Cinnamon Walnut Loaf and tips for swapping your sweeteners
- The Daily Dietribe sharing Banana Chocolate Chunk Cookies
- Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free sharing Top Tips for Swapping Your Sweeteners
Update 1/25/12 – This giveaway is now CLOSED.
Want to stock up on healthy alternative sweeteners for all of your winter baking projects? We’ve got you covered!
Today I’m giving away a gift package of organic sweeteners from Wholesome Sweeteners, a leader in the natural sweetener industry. The package includes:
- 1 (32 fl. ounce) bottle of Organic Unsulphured Molasses
- 1 (16 ounce) jar of Fair Trade Organic Raw Honey
- 1 (11.75 ounce) bottle of Organic Raw Blue Agave
- 1 (11.75 ounce) bottle of Organic Blue Agave
- 1 (11.75 ounce) bottle of Organic Cinnamon Flavored Agave Syrup
- 1 (75-count) box of Organic Stevia (powdered)
Here’s how to enter:
- Leave a comment on this post with your ideas or tips for reducing refined sugar in your cooking.
- Share about this giveaway on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest and leave a comment saying you did.
This giveaway is open until 12:00 pm CST on Wednesday, January 25, 2012. One (1) winner will be randomly selected and notified by email that they have won. They will also be announced in next Thursday’s New Year, New You post. Contest is open to residents of the United States and Canada only, age 18 or older.
Congratulations to Erin, the winner of last week’s healthy snack giveaway.
Full disclosure: I was provided with the products from Wholesome Sweeteners for this giveaway at no charge. Opinions expressed about these products and/or the company are strictly my own.
Soft Island Bliss Cookies
Makes about 18
Adapted from Healthful Pursuit
To finely grate the citrus zest, I find a Microplane grater to be the most effective tool. Since citrus is a heavily sprayed crop and you are literally using the peels of the fruits, choose organic citrus if possible here.
2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup blanched almond or hazelnut flour
Scant 1/2 cup honey
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix with a rubber spatula to thoroughly combine. Form small (1- to 1 1/2-inch) balls of the mixture into small cookie shapes with your hands. Place on the baking sheet.
Bake for about 15 minutes, rotating the pan once halfway through, or until golden brown and just firm to the touch. Cool completely before serving. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.