Sugar may be one of the most difficult things to eliminate from your diet. The thought of leaving glossy breakfast pastries on the other side of the bakery window, or not licking melting ice cream streaks and stray rainbow sprinkles from between your fingers can seem downright dull and cruel. But while you may laugh at the idea of a villainous cupcake, the fact of the matter is new research has shown that sugar is both addictive and dangerous, and American consumption is on the rise. It’s true– diets are an extremely personal and sensitive subject, but perhaps it's time to consider that giving up sugar may not be as terrible as we all once thought and could even lead to a liberated wellness that we didn’t think was possible. This week’s Recipe Tuesday explores the bitter truth about sugar and shares one of our favorite natural desserts: Fruit and Sprouted Nuts Crumble.
A Not-So-Sweet TaleThe average American eats a shocking 130 lbs of refined sugar per year– that's about 1/3 lb per day! And suprisingly, this is not a coincidence. When fats were taken out of the diet during our years of an intensive “low-fat” frenzy, food tasted like (let’s face it) cardboard. Manufacturers thus started to add sugar to these processed foods to maintain a steady market. What was inevitably found, was that the more sugar added, the more “palatable” foods became, and their sales began to climb. Now that science has caught up with the industry, MRI imaging has shown discretely, that the physiological reason for this reaction to sugar is that it causes a neurological dopamine-signaling reaction in the brain similar to that illicited from cocaine. Sugar is highly addictive! And, similar to drugs and alcohol, the more sugar added to the diet, the higher the tolerance becomes and the more is needed to satisfy cravings. As one of our Radiant Lifers says, "we were all duped!" The extreme amount of sugar being consumed in the modern diet is just not natural. Our bodies were designed for occasional consumption of tart, seasonal fruit as a source of fructose, co-occuring with fiber to slow digestion. The human body simply doesn't adapt well to the stressful blood sugar fluctuations experienced upon refined sugar consumption. Physiologically, insulin was not even intended to be the hormone that is primarily dedicated to glucose level control. Instead, the major sugar-manipulating hormones by design are cortisol, epinephrine, norepinpherine and growth hormone- all of which raise/lower blood glucose to provide energy during a time of acute crisis, growth, or recovery. The extremely forced blood sugar patterns caused by a processed diet are dangerous, and at root, a major cause of obesity, diabetes, inflammation and cardiovascular disease.
Check back on Thursday for a post on: 5 Tips for Reducing Sugar Cravings
Be Good to Yourself: Fruit and Sprouted Nuts Crumble
This is a soothing twist on dessert that will heal your sweets craving, and leave you feeling blissfully satisfied without an over-indulgent sugar coma. With this tasty recipe, also enjoy the wide-ranging health benefits of sprouted nuts, which have a phenomenal bioavailability of essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Because raw nuts contain natural enzyme inhibitors called phytates that can lead to digestive inhibition and strain, it is important to sprout and oven-dry nuts before use. While this process can be done manually with careful selection and monitoring, we recommend Better Than Roasted Nuts which have been carefully prepared with premium, raw whole, and certified organic nuts that have been hand-sorted, soaked, rinsed and dried at a low temperature (not above 108 degrees) to preserve sensitive enzymes. This recipe was adapted from Mark Sisson, author of The Primal Blueprint.
Using a food processor or with a large knife, mince 1 cup Better Than Roasted Nuts* (mix your favorite varieties-almonds, pecans, macadamias, walnuts or brazil nuts) to about the size of baby peas. Mix sprouted nuts with 2 tbsp. melted butter slightly cooled coconut oil.
Slice and sauté favorite fruits (apples, pears, plums, peaches work well- try using seasonal fruits as often as possible) in extra virgin coconut oil until softened and/or warmed through. Add desired spices (cinnamon, ginger, allspice to taste) and stir for an additional minute over heat.
Pour fruit into dish and top with nut crumble. Enjoy!
**Variation: use organic, whole, raw nuts from the local grocery or health foods store, soak in water with sea salt overnight. Then spread on parchment lined baking pan and toast in the oven at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool.
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Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson
Sugar Blues by William Duffy
Primal Body, Primal Mind by Nora T. Gedgaudas
The Sweetener Trap and How to Avoid It Beatrice Trum Hunter
Sugar...Stop the Addiction by Kelly Genzlinger
Is Sugar Toxic? CBS 60 Minutes Report
Addiction: The Hidden Epidemic by Pam Kileen