I get it, refined sugars and processed foods – bad news. Even in healthy people, sugar is presented as the root of all evil – from tooth decay and weight gain, to diabetes and a plethora of diseases. Of course, our bodies can tolerate almost anything in small amounts – moderation is the mantra of the century. But it’s not so easy to say goodbye to the foods we love.
No, not everyone has the patience, time or interest in spending hours kneading their own whole wheat bread, reading paleo books or researching how little of everything is too much. Fortunately, it seems that the key to eating healthier is generally about common sense and the culmination of wise, everyday choices (however small).
As with most dangers, the (refined) sugar story is worse for pregnant women. You have to beware of gestational diabetes, excessive weight gain, macrosomia, dental health and a whole list of problems and probable consequences.
So what to do about those evil sweet cravings?
For starters, get familiar with your food. Read labels. Know what you’re putting into your body. Go for fresh over packaged. Seek out flavour substitutes like honey, molasses and coconut products. Do what you can – small changes make a big difference. And have a conversation about foods, refined sugars and cravings with your health care provider.
If you’re a baker, get online! Even if you’re not – don’t be afraid! There are some really easy recipes out there for some of your favourite treats. You might even have some fun – and if not, you will have tried it and have something yummy to show off. Give to receive – share your tips, especially if you land on a solid recipe, friends and family will think of you when they discover new shortcuts or great products.
Here’s a great place to start. This chocolate chip recipe is not only free of refined sugar and butter – it’s made with almond flour, coconut oil and organic honey (that’s right, it’s kind of good for you). It’s super easy and pretty perfect for that midnight cookie craving, your partner’s incessant sweet tooth or as a treat for the kids. Let me know what you think!
2 cups ground almonds (very fine – or almond flour)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
2 tbsp organic honey
roughly 3/4 cup (adapt to your preference) chopped dark chocolate (and I mean DARK, like 70%+ dark)
(Easy) Steps to Indulgence
Mix your dry ingredients in a bowl. Add in the wet ingredients. Finally, fold in the chocolate bits, chunks or chips.
The dough will seem very oily / wet. Pop it in the fridge for half an hour.
The dough is now easier to work with. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
Scoop the cookies out and make into balls. Press down into a cookie shape – they won’t really expand, so pat those babies down into cookie form.
Bake on a cookie sheet for about 7 minutes – until golden brown.
It’s very important to let the cookies set for a good 15 minutes, before going near them with that spatula. Let them cool (maybe on a rack if you have one) before eating (unless you prefer a glooby, chocolaty mess – which is ok too).
Enjoy (in moderation)!