Hello there! Is everyone ready for the weekend? I know I am. Now, as I mentioned in my first post, I have something of a sweet tooth. It has been a lifelong friend, but now it is something of a foe. One of the aspects of my clean eating plan is to cut out sugar, and I have been successful so far. But when I say cut out sugar, I don’t mean naturally occurring sugars like those found in fruits and vegetables. I mean added sugars, like those that come from sodas, baked goods, candy or simply adding sugar to your coffee or tea. Those are the things I am cutting out of my diet. No refined, ultra-processed white table sugar for me, or anything else with added sugars for that matter.
Honestly, I have wanted to cut out added sugar from my diet for a while. I have been reading too many articles on how bad it is for your health to want to continue using it. From what I have seen, you get no added health benefit from eating sugar—it is pure energy, can cause a whole host of health problems and diseases, and is highly addictive.
Having said that, most of you are probably wondering how in the world I am going to survive these 30 days without my sweet fixes. I was feeling the same way before this month began. But that was before I discovered some great alternatives to sugar and to the sweets I loved so much.
First of all, I can still add a little sweetness into my day without using refined white sugar. White sugar is basically pure sucrose and gets stripped of all of its good qualities, like vitamins and minerals, when it gets processed and refined. I found sugar alternatives to add to my food that are pure and unrefined, and therefore still have their good qualities intact. My favorite sugar alternative is honey. While it has near the same amount of calories that table sugar has, it is much sweeter. A little goes a long way. I use natural and organic honey, which is also said to have antibacterial properties.
While honey is the only added sugar alternative I have used so far, there are a few others that work for a clean eating diet as well. Agave nectar is a sweetener from Mexico that comes from the agave cactus. It is much sweeter than table sugar and also has a few less calories, if you are worried about that kind of thing.
Other popular sugar alternatives for clean eaters are date sugar, coconut sugar and Stevia. I am planning to try some of these throughout the month, and I will keep you posted on how that goes.
This first week, I have tried out a few great recipes to curb my hungry sweet tooth, and they have done the job perfectly! Most of them revolved around fresh fruit, which makes them nice and sweet while still being clean. In my previous post about eating clean on a budget, I talked about cooking big batches of baked applesauce.
This recipe was so delicious and tasted just like apple pie. It has been the perfect light dessert to get my sweet fix after dinner. I plan on making a big batch of this again this weekend to enjoy all next week. I also found a great recipe for almond butter cookies that I am going to try out this weekend. And for the ultimate easy sweet snack . . . honeyed oranges! You just throw some oranges and honey into a bowl and let it sit for a bit. So simple and so delicious.
So that’s my two cents on sugar and sugar alternatives! Here are a few more recipes that I have tried since the last time I posted.
Quinoa Jambalaya from He and She Eat Clean - This recipe makes so much. I have been eating this for lunch for the past two days. I am all about embracing leftovers. I also used fresh diced tomatoes instead of canned tomatoes and chicken breast instead of turkey sausage.
Zucchini Pasta with Spinach Pesto – I am trying to stay away from too much cheese this month, but I used some fresh grated Parmesan for this yummy recipe.
Honeyed Oranges - As I said before, this is as easy as it gets and very delicious.
Check back in this weekend for a progress report from my first week of clean eating and to see my meal plan for next week! And as always, feel free to send any questions, advice or clean recipes to me at email@example.com! I would love to hear from you. Have a wonderful day!
- Lizzy Stroud