By Patricia Jean-Vézina on March 3 / 2015
So often you hear “stay away from sugar”! And it’s true – to a certain extent and unavoidable at times. I think blanket statements are tough. So let’s take a closer look.
If you’re going to try and avoid it – you should first start by knowing its various names. This is not a complete list, but it covers the vast majority. You’ll also see a few commonalities which can make it easier to spot: “Syrup,” “malt,” and anything ending in “-ose.
- Brown Rice
- Fruit Juice Concentrate
- Fruit Juice
- Invert Sugar
- Cane Sugar
- Cane Juice
- Evaporated Cane Juice
- Raw Cane Sugar
- Brown Sugar
- Beet Sugar
- Palm Sugar
- Date Sugar
- Coconut Sugar (I predict you’re going to be seeing this one a lot more often very soon)
- Barley Malt
- Malt Syrup
- Rice Bran Syrup
- Corn Syrup
- Corn Syrup Solids
- High Fructose Corn Syrup
- Glucose Solids
- Maple Syrup
- Sorghum Syrup
- Diastatic Malt
- Golden Syrup
- Turbinado Sugar
- Demerara Sugar
That’s a lot of aliases! How do you avoid 40 (+) kinds of sugar? Well, rule #1 – stay away from packaged foods. Eat natural food. Eat whole food. That’s the easiest way. Rule #2 – buy unsweetened and sweeten it yourself. Yup… I said it. If you must have sweetness – YOU be the boss. Buy natural nut butter and add your own raw honey (which is super healthy when it’s unpasteurized). Or, add bananas to your baking instead of refined sugar.
When my clients say “but Patricia… if we WERE to have sugar… which one would you recommend?”
I list them in this order:
- Raw Honey
- Maple Syrup
- Whole Fruit
These 4 sugars are as close to the real, whole, natural thing as possible. Unrefined. Unprocessed and totally recognizable by the body.
Speaking of Maple Syrup (capitalized for effect) it’s soon sugar bush time. Here’s why I love this sweet Canadian syrup:
Adapted from http://www.whitemeadowsfarms.com/syrup-facts/how-its-made/
Maple syrup is a simple process, but one that involves a lot of work! There is only one ingredient in maple syrup – and that is maple sap from the maple tree. Maple sap contains sugar, but not very much; there is only 2-4% sugar in the sap. Maple syrup is 67% sugar. To get from 2% to 67%, all that you need to do is remove water.
The sap is basically the blood of the tree – it contains sugar and nutrients for the tree to grow (that’s already a great sign!) Maple syrup is high in minerals – specifically manganese, zinc, calcium and iron.
Once the sap is collected from the maple trees, it needs to be processed into maple syrup quickly, since raw sap can spoil due to the high level of bacteria it contains. To remove the water from the sap, the sap is boiled in an evaporator.
After the boiling process is complete, the maple syrup needs to be filtered.
At the end of the process, the maple syrup is ready to use as a topping or in baking. And it all started with the maple tree.
That’s it… Just tap the sap and boil to evaporate. Natural sweet goodness. And adding to recipes gives them a unique flavor that regular sugar can’t compare.
Try these delish Power Morning Muffins.
I also love this recipe for morning muffins. So easy and quick (I even make them in the morning before work):
¾ cup gluten free oat flour (basically just take whole rolled oats and put them in the blender until they make a flour)
½ cup chia seeds
1 ½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup non-dairy milk (or regular milk)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 300F. Line 6 muffin cups with parchment paper or silicone inserts.
- In a large bowl combine oat flour, chia seeds, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
- Add maple syrup, milk, vanilla and stir until combined. The batter will be runny but this is normal.
- Spoon the batter into muffin pan filling to the top of the cavity.
- Bake for 22 to 26 minutes, until firm to the touch. A toothpick should come out clean.
- Cool the muffins in the pan for about 10 minutes, and then invert onto a cooling rack (I don’t actually do this and it’s fine. Just let them cool enough for them to pop out.)
- Enjoy with Magical Chia Jam or a nut butter or your preference.
For more tips and tricks about making healthy choices, be sure to check out our upcoming Nutrition programs! This March, I’m offering a ‘Spring Cleaning’ Lunch & Learn – and I’d love for you to join me in Audrey’s Kitchen at the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation to learn about some easy ways to support your detoxifying organs. We’ll also create yummy, allergy-free and anti-inflammatory recipes to give your body what it needs to get cleaning!
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