Tag Archives: coconut palm sugar

Bakers Gonna Bake: 5 Tips for Healthier Holiday Sweets

8 Dec
My own stash of liquid gold for special occasions aka blueberry muffins.

My own stash of liquid gold for special occasions aka blueberry muffins.

…as if you aren’t already sweet enough.

Cookies will be baked and brittle will be broken this holiday season. So, why not make your holiday treats as amazing as possible with a lot of love and a little less blood sugar imbalance.

1. Liquid Gold. Practice swapping processed refined sugar for the real deal. Try using local honey, pure maple syrup or low glycemic coconut nectar and coconut palm sugar. Conversion: 1 cup refined sugar = 3/4 cup liquid sweetener. If you are using the coconut palm sugar, which is a fab replacement for brown sugar, the conversion is 1:1.

2. Go Herbal. You can really lower calories and the glycemic load by replacing your processed refined sugar with stevia. This natural herb is low glycemic and just 1 tsp of powered or liquid stevia equals 1 cup of sugar (1 Tbsp of sugar = 1/4 tsp powered stevia or 6-9 drops liquid). The Sweet Leaf Stevia brand is a great choice. NOTE: using too much will leave a bit of a bitter aftertaste.

3. Go Nutty. Since most recipes call for processed refined flours which jack-up your blood sugar levels, try using lower glycemic almond or coconut flour. For incredibly yummy recipes utilizing these flours, please visit Danielle Walker’s and Elena Amsterdam’s websites.

4. Cut the Crust. Channel your inner 4-year-old and skip the crust. Bake individual ramekins filled with your favorite custard or pie. Not only does it control portion size, but it adds a sense of fancy-pantsness to your meal. Yes, that is a real word… to me.

5. Chocolate Black Out. Melting dark chocolate (70% cacao or more) and dipping fruit, almonds, cashews or hazelnuts in it is the Bee’s Knees! Not only is it lower in sugar, but it is super easy too.

Wishing you and your family a tasty and healthy holiday season! Steph

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Thanksgiving: Enhanced

11 Nov
(photo courtesy of www.health.com)

(photo courtesy of http://www.health.com)

All good things in life need a little tune-up from time to time. Whether it is your car, upgrading software or buying new underwear, tune-ups  help things run more smoothly, look nice (who doesn’t like a new pair of tighty whities?) and save you time and money in the long run. The same is true for your body. When you make subtle little tweaks such as choosing nutrient-dense foods, your body will feel energetic, function efficiently and look foxy. So why not start adding simple twists to traditional Thanksgiving recipes that deliver taste and energy? Let’s just say Thanksgiving got a whole lot coco-nuttier.

 

Stuffing

Everyone uses different herbs in their stuffing, so stick to your base recipe and make these healthy swaps.

  1. Sauté veggies (plenty of celery, carrots and onions) in coconut oil or ghee. Olive oil can’t take the high heat and margarine and vegetable oils contain trans fat.
  2. Use Julian’s Bakery coconut bread for the bread cubes. This keeps stuffing low glycemic and high fiber.
  3. Use organic low sodium free range chicken broth to keep salt intake down.

 

Gravy

  1. Keep it low glycemic by swapping out all-purpose flour with coconut flour.
  2. If you want to up the flavor, use chopped onions a la Elana’s Pantry to thicken the gravy without flour.

 

Mashed Potatoes

I love making mashed fauxtatoes with cauliflower—and so does my body. It is a great way to up your vegetable game while keeping your blood sugar levels (aka good energy) balanced.

  1. Replace all (or half if you are afraid the texture won’t be the same) of the potatoes with steamed cauliflower, parsnips and/or turnips. (Note: 1 head of cauliflower makes about 4 cups of mashed fauxtatoes).
  2. Use ghee, unsweetened almond milk, sea salt and roasted garlic for a flavor kick.

 

Candied Yams/ Sweet Potato Latkes

I’ll be honest; I am not a fan of candied yams, but if Thanksgiving isn’t the same without them, then here are my thoughts below. However, I also wanted to add an alternative recipe that is yummy and fits anyone who is celebrating Thanksgiving and Hanukkah since they share the same wonderful day this year. Hence the Sweet Potato Latkes recipe below.

For the Candied Yams

  1. Use real sweet potatoes or yams or unsweetened canned version.
  2. Replace brown sugar with a lower glycemic coconut palm sugar.
  3. Skip the marshmallows and top with toasted hazelnuts and/or pecans.

For the Sweet Potato Latkes

    1. Mix 2 large grated sweet potatoes, 2 eggs, 1 small minced onion,  sea salt and pepper to taste and any other spice you like (cinnamon, garlic, cumin, etc.) in a large mixing bowl.
    2. Melt coconut oil on skillet or griddle, form “cakes” with latke mix and cook for 5 minutes on each side. Makes 10-12 latkes.

 

Pumpkin Pie

Ahhh—one of my favorite pies! The ultimate upgrade is to forget the pie crust (we all know the filling is the best part!) and serve in individual ramekins. Not only is it delicious and looks fancy, but it is also instant portion control on deserts.

  1. Replace sugar with coconut palm sugar for a lower glycemic option.
  2. Use real roasted pumpkin or unsweetened canned pumpkin.
  3. Unsweetened almond milk is also a great switch if your recipe calls for milk.
  4. Top it with toasted pecans.

 

Round out your meal with turkey (the “not deep fried” variety of course), roasted Brussels sprouts and sautéed green beans with shallots.

 

It can be scary to stray from tradition, but it can also be a healthy and rewarding act of gratitude for your family to start a new tradition. Nothing says good lovin’ like caring about what you feed your family and friends. Plus, they won’t even notice the difference. Yeah, I’m sneaky like that…

 

Happy Thanksgiving! I am so grateful to be surrounded by amazing and inspiring individuals (that’s you!) and a career that I love. Thank you for your support!

 

GratitudiFULL: How To Dish A Big Ole’ Plate of Gratefulness this Thanksgiving

4 Nov
A perfect, healthful Thanksgiving dessert

A perfect, healthful Thanksgiving dessert (photo courtesy of Cooking Light)

Elastic-band wearers unite! It’s time to trade in the drawstrings for some fancy pants on this day of thanks. There are plenty of ways you can enjoy all of your favorites at Thanksgiving and still show your body (and everyone you love) gratitude.

1. Show Your Gratitude. Shout it out loud or jot it in a journal–just state all of the amazing things and people in your life that make you grateful each and every day. You might even get your whole family or your friends involved and state what you are thankful for at dinner every night. Respecting your body through exercise and healthy whole food is one of the best ways to show yourself AND your loved ones gratitude.

2. Save Yourself (not your calories)! The typical Thanksgiving meal is 2,000 calories—an entire day’s worth of calories! Most people decide they will starve themselves and “save” their calories for that one meal. The minute we start fasting, our metabolism slows down because it thinks a famine has hit. You are much better off eating breakfast, snacking every 3-4 hours and being mindful at the actual Thanksgiving meal. Start the day with an egg and veggie scramble and snack on fresh vegetables and almonds.

3. Dish Up Mindfulness. When stacking your plate with all that goodness, ask yourself, “Would I be hungry enough to eat this again in 3 hours?” If the answer is no, put some food back. If the answer is yes–hooray! You could also grab a normal-sized dinner plate and fill it like so…

  • Turkey: 1/3 of plate. Go easy on the gravy train.
  • Vegetables: 1/3-1/2 of your plate. Opt for veggies not covered in cheese or sauces.
  • Favorites: 1/4 to 1/3 of your plate can be reserved for stuffing, mashed potatoes, yams, etc.

Want seconds? Remember dessert is still on the horizon… and Thanksgiving leftovers are oh-so-tasty!

4. Divide and Conquer. Our bodies can only utilize so many calories at once, which means the rest go to fat storage. Spread out all of this good lovin’ by taking a walk or playing yard games between your meal and dessert, waiting at least another hour before eating again. If weather doesn’t permit, engage the whole family in some Wii fitness, Twister, a dance contest or help scrub the dishes.

5. Double Trouble. If you have two (or more) Thanksgiving dinners to attend, alternate your favorites. (This is especially true if you are celebrating Hanukkah which lands on the same day as Thanksgiving this year.) In other words, enjoy Grandma Sally’s stuffing since she makes the best, but skip it at Aunt Edna’s where the pumpkin pie is divine.

6. Re-Invent the Menu. Replace sugar with stevia, coconut palm sugar or honey. Make crustless pumpkin pie in individual ramekins. Add in steamed cauliflower into the mashed potatoes. Keep vegetables sauce and cheese-free. Be creative and have fun!

7. Hydrate. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially if you are partaking in adult beverages or eating salty foods. Water also stimulates digestion and the release of toxins, so set a goal to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water each day—not just on holidays.

8. Get Physical (Olivia Newton-John style). Exercise helps reduce stress and increase energy. Squeeze activity into your day (and every day) as often as possible—rise early to lift weights, clean dishes between meals and suggest a family walk or activity before and after the feast (see #4).

Wishing you a lovely Thanksgiving that warms your tummy and soul!

~Steph