The sweet news about sweeteners is that if you eat the right kind of fat, namely, cod liver oil, butter, and coconut oil, you won’t crave sweets as much. Yes, it’s possible to find cod liver oil that you don’t have to gag down, check out Green Pastures brand that is flavored with licorice, chocolate, and cinnamon, with a hint of stevia, see http://greenpasture.org/public/Products/CodLiverOil/index.cfm. And if you eat your treats made out of the right kind of fat, namely butter and coconut oil, you won’t overdose on the sweets. So, yes that means, time to learn how to make homemade desserts and avoid store-bought ones. The good fats slow down on the absorption of the sugar and help moderate the blood sugar spikes. White sugar causes huge spikes then crashes. That creates a craving for more and more, which can lead to getting fat and sick. If you want more about the evils of white sugar, read Sugar Blues by William Duffy.
Sugar Blues has tons of totally fascinating information on why white sugar is so bad. You will never look at sugar the same after reading it. Nourishing Wisdom by Marc David also has some juicy facts about why sugar is bad. Marc David explains how sugar can be a substitute for love, and how to learn to fill that inborn desire for sweetness and love without getting addicted to sugar.
Both of these books are quoted in the chapter that has recipes for sweet snacks and desserts in the Nourishing Traditions (NT) cookbook by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig. NT has sidebars on every page that are so much fun to read, full of nuggets of wisdom and exposes of what is wrong with the modern food industry, like the facts that most commercial ice cream has preservatives used as lice killer, paint solvent, and antifreeze. There’s a blogger out there whose goal is to cook every recipe in the NT cookbook and blog about them. Here’s the link to her section on the cookie recipes in NT, http://thenourishingcook.com/category/recipes/snacks-finger-foods/cookies-snacks-finger-foods-recipes/
Here’s a video that shows what sweeteners are best, i.e., wholesome, meaning, healthy to use, because they are not just empty calories:
Here is a mini-class on sweeteners from my friend and Nourishing Traditions mentor Caralee Ayre, in response to enthusiasm some of her friends were showing over stevia:
“I feel so bad to bring this up, but I feel a responsibility, with all the enthusiasm about stevia, I feel the need to throw in a cautionary word about stevia- that it is wise to be careful with it just like any other sweetener. The unrefined dried green leaves and green powder are perfectly safe in small amounts, but the white stevia powder and liquids are refined and use nutrients to be digested. Just as we are wanting to avoid refined white sugar, salt and flour, this variety of stevia also falls into this category. The liquids and white powders are not healthful and are best avoided. I know no one asked, but here is an unsolicited quick lesson on sweets- please forgive me- (this comes out of Eat Fat, Lose Fat by Sally Fallon):
“Surprisingly, most traditional diets included some sweet foods. Many traditional people ate honey. Native Americans ate maple syrup and maple sugar. Residents of the tropics dehydrated cane sugar jucie in the sun to make a mineral-rich sweetener. Naturally sweet sap from coconut flower buds can also be turned into a sugar.
“These sweet foods were quite different from the refined sugars we eat today, for two reasons:
• They were unrefined and concentrated, hence loaded with nutrients, especially minerals, while white sugar, fructose, and other refined sweeteners are completely devoid of nutrients.
• They were expensive or rare, so people did not consume them in large amounts as we do today.
“Our natural taste for sweets can be satisfied with sweet foods that also provide nutrients. If we restrict sweets entirely, cravings develop.
“So although we urge caution, we don’t forbid sweeteners in our food plans, unless you’re trying to lose weight. (On a regular diet, not weight loss) you can enjoy small amounts of natural sweeteners such as Rapadura or Sucanat (dehydrated cane sugar juice), raw honey, maple sugar, or maple syrup, coconut sugar, and molasses (the mineral-rich residue of white sugar manufacturer). And one of the wonderful things about coconut is that it can be made into such delicious desserts!
“Important note: Even worse than refined sweeteners (which actually use up the nutrients we take in from other foods) are the artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame (sold as Equal or Nutrasweet), used in so many “diet” sodas. Like MSG, aspartame is toxic to the nervous system and can cause weight gain. Sucralose (Splenda), xylitol, and other newfangled sweeteners have caused digestive problems and immune system dysfunction in laboratory animals. Avoid them all by preparing your own desserts as occasional treats.”
Here are the best sweeteners to use, according to the Weston A. Price Foundation 2010 Shopping Guide:
Best: Organic natural sweeteners such as maple syrup, maple sugar, molasses, green stevia leaves and green stevia powder, dehydrated cane sugar juice, malt syrups, coconut or palm sugar, date sugar, sorghum syrup and raw honey.
Good: Non-organic maple syrup, molasses and unfiltered honey; organic jams; organic brown rice syrup.
Avoid: White sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, fructose, agave, imitation syrups, heated and filtered honey, concentrated fruit juices and stevia extracts (liquid and powder), artificial sweeteners such as sucralose (Splenda) and aspartame (Nutra-sweet and Equal).
A couple of other quick things- first of all, a disclaimer on my cookie recipes: They are sweet. They do not need to be so sweet. For those of you who are looking for something less sweet, the recipes can be easily adapted by cutting down the sugar by half or three-quarters and you can still have a yummy treat without so much sugar. I gave you a recipe that works well for people that have children that they are trying to wean off of sugar that turn their noses up at most healthy desserts, or when you need something for a special occasion, and you really don’t want to buy or make junk food. That is such a real issue that so many of us face, and that’s the major reason I created that recipe. But I don’t recommend whipping them all the time- use them for special occasions, and try some less-sweet (or fruit and nuts and cream-based) treats in between. Also, I was just so excited to be able to make a cookie/brownie without wheat (unsoaked whole
wheat or white) that somewhat resembled a cookie! I am very sensitive to unsoaked whole wheat, and it was so nice to feel like I could make a treat for my family without ingesting a bunch of phytic acid!
One other thing- for those of you who are not familiar with the Weston A. Price Foundation and wonder why I keep referring to it, that’s another topic for another time. But I have been studying and applying and experimenting with health and nutrition for nineteen years (yes, I started when I was fifteen), and I have found that they have the most truth about nutrition that I have seen in one place and I have had the most dramatic, consistent results by applying the traditional principles that they teach (nothing really new, just rediscovering what our ancestors already knew and practiced), so I often tend to turn to them for information. Of course, studying it out yourself and praying for confirmation as you are seeking truth is most important. This is good stuff, and I love it! I feel that it is very important right now that we become as spiritually, mentally, emotionally, educationally, financially, physically, etc., self-reliant as possible.”
Here are some recipes from Caralee:
Caralee’s Arrowroot Chocolate Chip Cookies
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Beat together until fluffy:
1 stick butter (optional- 1/2 butter, 1/2 coconut oil)
1 cup sucanat
1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix in gently:
1 1/2 to 2 cups arrowroot (the dough should not be sticky nor too dry, start
with 1 1/2 cups, and add more if needed)
1/2 cup chocolate chips (from Good Earth or Rapunzel or Sunspire brand- or
make them yourself!)
1/2 cup chopped crispy nuts (my favorite is pecans or almonds- soaked and
dehydrated) and/or shredded coconut
1 teaspoon baking soda
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or just until done in the center. Take out and
cool for a few minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. Enjoy with cold
raw milk. Yummy!
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Do the same thing as above, except do not put in the coconut oil- put in 1/3
cup organic peanut butter instead. Also, do not include nuts or coconut.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Beat until fluffy:
1 cup sucanat
1 stick butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
Add and mix well:
3/4 to 1 cup arrowroot
1/2 cup cocoa powder
Spread in 8×8″ baking dish. Bake 20 min. or until done in center. May
sprinkle chopped crispy nuts and chocolate chips on top, or drizzle with
peanut butter. Mmm!