Sugar has hit the airwaves. Its ravaging effects on health have been featured in local newspaper articles, on television talk shows, and throughout cyberspace. At last its relationship with a host of chronic diseases is entering the public consciousness.
Dr. Robert Lustig, Professor of Pediatrics at UC San Francisco, has an insightful lecture on You Tube titled, "Sugar: The Bitter Truth". Throughout his 80 minute video, his passion for exposing the damaging effects of sugar on health rings loud and clear. Dr. Lustig also directs a clinic for treating childhood obesity.
Sadly, our children are now experiencing diseases that were once the domain of adults. Experts predict that this generation of young people will be the first not to have the longevity of their parents.
What to do? Take the sugar, beware of it, ease up on its use, change, learn, and create different concoctions. We don't need all that sugar. Check your recipes. Many cakes call for 1- 1 1/2 cups of sugar. Eeeek. Way too much. Reduce the amount to less than half and learn to use other sweeteners - dates, prunes, frozen apple juice, apple butter.
In searching for a resource on cooking with dates - dates are one of only two sweeteners that have nutritional value, the other being molasses - I found a cookbook on Amazon by Susan Lowenberg titled, "Bake With Dates: Natural, Healthy, Vegan Recipes Made Without Sugar". Walla - I found gold.
Even though dates have a high sugar content - 70-80% in the form of glucose, fructose and sucrose - they have a low glycemic index, and will not result in rapid blood sugar level fluctuations. Again, baked goods are a once in a while treat!!
I prepared some of the recipes for folks coming to a showing of 'Forks Over Knives'. The breads, cookies, and cakes taste delicious, healthy and wholesome. Once you 'taste' the difference, you'll have a hard time eating all those heavily sugar sweetened confections again.
I'm taking the liberty of sharing one of Susan's recipes. I attempted to contact her for permission to post a recipe, but was unable to connect. Try the recipe, and let me know how you enjoyed it. Check out Susan's book; it's filled with sugar free recipes for cakes, frostings, cookies, crisps, cobblers, pies, puddings, breads, muffins and salad dressings, etc. Everything I've tried has been wonderful.
Orange Date Coffee Cake
12 medjool dates, pitted and chopped, divided
1/2 cp sour almond milk (make sour milk by adding 1/2 T apple cider vinegar to 1/2 cp almond milk)
1/2 cp applesauce (use organic and unsweetened)
1/2 cp orange juice
1 tsp vanilla
1 cp whole wheat flour
1/2 cp almond meal
1 T baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 T finely shredded orange peel (zest it!)
1/2 cp chopped walnuts
1/2 cp almond meal
1/2 cp date syrup (recipe follows for syrup)
1 tsp cinnamon
Using a blender, puree 6 chopped dates, sour almond milk, applesauce, orange juice and vanilla.
Combine flour, 1/2 cp almond meal, baking powder, salt and orange peel.
Drop 6 chopped dates into flour mixture one at a time, stirring to coat each piece with flour so the date pieces won't clump together.
Add blended date mixture to the flour mixture and stir until well combined.
To make the topping, combine walnuts, 1/2 cp almond meal, date syrup and cinnamon in a small bowl and mix well.
Spray 8" square pan with cooking spray. Spread batter into pan. Drop nut topping evenly over the batter. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.
24 medjool dates, pitted and chopped
2 cps water
2 tsps vanilla
Combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Cool.
Place mixture in blender or Vita mixer and puree until smooth and completely blended.
Store in refrigerator in an air-tight container. Stir syrup before using.
This recipe makes 3 cups. You can halve it to make less.
MY NOTE: Medjool dates are expensive. I've also used the less expensive deglet dates in recipes. I found a huge bucket of deglet dates sold in Costco. Though dates are high in sugar, as stated above, they are an excellent source of Vitamin C, fiber and potassium.