I've just finished leading our REINVENT Whole Food Autumn Cleanse where we cut out sugar and all sweeteners for two weeks. It completely resets the taste buds.
Today, I was ready for a sweet treat. Without refined sugar in your diet, other foods begin to taste sweeter and a little sweetness goes a long way.
I want to share with you one of my secrets to staying away from refined sugar, which -- let's be real -- is HARD these days. Sugar is everywhere, and it's crazy addictive.
My secret is to make sure I include some sweets in my diet that are made with more gentle, natural sweeteners. I make sure I get to satisfy my sweet tooth, but also avoid the energy crashes and everything else that comes with eating refined sugar regularly.
I'm happy to say that last year during the holidays, I didn't have any refined sugar at all. Nada.
I share this not to let you know how virtuous I am (I'm far from it), but so that you know it's possible.
I didn't feel deprived at all because I made homemade cookies and pies and lattes with natural sweeteners that I loved and got to serve to friends and family. Since I completely avoided gluten and sugar during the whole holiday season, I refrained from lots of extraneous sweets at parties that I really didn't need or want anyway. Everyone is different, and different strategies work for different people. This is the one that works for me can keeps me on the path.
It's one of the many strategies we use in my Healthy Holidays program to feel good through the holiday season.
I feel better having this kind of balance with sweets in my life. More even energy, better sleep. I have done food sensitivity testing which revealed that I have a sensitivity to cane sugar, and I know that it promotes inflammation. My body doesn't react well to it, and I'm just a much happier person without being held so tightly and unwittingly in its grip.
Over the last several years, I've played around with a lot of different natural sweeteners, both low-glycemic ones that do not spike your blood sugar, and high-glycemic sweeteners, to find what works. (It's a hard job, but someone's got to do it).
Today, coming off the cleanse with my group, I thought, "Chocolate Pudding! Let's make some chocolate pudding." I put some ingredients I had on hand in the blender, and low and behold, it turned into a super creamy and chocolately goodness that is filled with superfoods and healthy fats. It kept me going all afternoon with with steady energy.
Raw Cacao is a one of my favorite superfoods this time of year. It is a terrific source of antioxidants, magnesium, iron, manganese, and chromium. Raw cacao comes in many forms: whole cacao beans, cacao nibs, cacao powder, and cacao butter. Raw Chocolate improves cardiovascular health, builds strong bones, is a natural aphrodisiac, and elevates your mood and energy. I keep both cacao nibs and cacao powder stocked in my pantry so I'm ready when the craving hits.
The avocado and coconut butter are full of healthy fats, and the stevia is a low-glycemic sweetener that won't mess with your blood sugar levels. Have you tried coconut butter? It is pureed coconut -- and it's simply divine.
So here it is, my 5-minute chocolate pudding experiment.
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5-Minute Super Creamy Superfood Chocolate Pudding
-1 cup almond milk
-2 rounded tablespoons raw cacao powder
-1 tablespoon coconut butter (also called coconut manna)
-12 drops pure liquid stevia
-1 small avocado (minus a teaspoonfull)
Put all ingredients in a Vitamix or other high speed blender and blend until nice and creamy.
Serves 2, unless my husband is around :)