How Sweet It Is

Who could resist a slice of your favorite dessert? Not I. I was currently in Winnipeg bearing the chilly weather and now I am feeling relaxed, recharged and reconnected. There is nothing like indulging in mom’s home cooking and being surrounded by good wine, good friends and good times. Every time I visit home I make an effort to indulge at my favorite dessert shop, Baked Expectations with a slice of their ‘real’ Tia Maria Torte. I use the term ‘real’ because my love for this dessert followed me to Vancouver where I made a somewhat ‘healthier’ version as my wedding cake using quinoa cookies and coconut cream.
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No matter who you are we must always be conscious of our sugar intake. Sugar occurs naturally in fruits, vegetables or may be added to foods such as cereal and soft drinks. Too much of this sweet substance can wreak havoc on our blood sugar levels, provide empty calories and increase weight gain. For this reason, many use artificial sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose, saccharin and acesulfame potassium however those trigger a rollercoaster cravings for more sugar and food. So what’s the alternative? Stay away from sweets entirely? Like they say, everything in moderation or take it from Julia Child, “It’s fun to get together and have something good to eat at least once a day. That’s what human life is all about – enjoying things.”

sugarThe brighter side is that some sugars are better than others. Next time your recipe calls for sugar try these natural sweeteners instead.

Coconut Palm Sugar
A natural sweetener that breaks down more slowly and releases glucose more gradually in the body making it low on the glycemic index. Cococnut palm sugar cooks, dissolves, and melts like regular sugar but has a rich flavour similar to brown sugar. It is a rich source of potassium, zinc, iron, Vitamin A and Vitamin B1.

Honey
A natural and highly versatile sweetener. Try choosing unpasteurized honey, it may be able to inhibit the effects of toxic substances in the body. Honey is commonly drizzled over fruit, yogurt or desserts and used in baking and cooking.

Stevia
Stevia is a powdered extract that comes from a shrub called Stevia rebaudiana. Unlike other natural sweeteners, it is very low in calories and you only need small amounts. It is ideal for diabetics however the after taste is something that cannot get over.

Maple Syrup
A sweet substance derived from the sap of maple trees; it has few calories and a lower glycemic load than honey and is a dietary source of manganese, calcium, potassium and zinc.

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