Twenty-six years ago (yes, 26, I can’t believe it has been that long) I was a stay at home Mom with four children, two of which were under 5. I had no energy, felt drained all the time and all I wanted to eat was sweets. I thought that this was normal- what Mom with two kids under 5 doesn’t feel tired and drained? Yet, when I started falling asleep holding my baby and not waking up for two hours, (luckily she was asleep too) I decided something was wrong. And there was! I was hypoglycemic. When I ate sugar my blood glucose went up for maybe a minute, but then it dropped like a rock and often I passed out or fell asleep. Thus started my journey with eating sugar-free.
Sugar-Free Before it was Hip
Twenty-six years ago most people weren’t as sugar conscious as they are today. It was difficult to find any sugar-free or no sugar added recipes. So I started experimenting and substituting sweet recipes for no sugar added recipes that tasted good. Some were a bust, like my no sugar added pecan pie. Bleck! Yet, I kept trying and now have many sugar-free recipes that taste so good most people can’t tell the difference. I can now say that I haven’t eaten refined sugar (other than the small amount in catsup and mayonnaise) in more than twenty years.
Eating sugar-free does not mean boring food. It wasn’t easy at first, but within a year I had learned how to satisfy my sweet tooth without sugar. Many times the sugar-free recipes had more flavor than those with added refined sugar. The best thing about following a sugar-free diet is that it makes you feel so incredibly great. It’s not until you take the plunge and do it that you realize how crappy you really felt while you were eating refined sugar. Once you rid your diet of refined sugar, you often have increased energy, better sleep and better brain functioning. Many people lose weight and overall just feel so much better!
My Favorite Recipes
After seeing that I didn’t have to feel drained and lethargic all the time I no longer wanted to eat sugar, but I still wanted to satisfy my sweet tooth so I created lots of my favorite recipes.I have found and developed many sweet recipes that have no refined sugar added, using fruit juices, agave nectar, stevia and coconut nectar.
Sugar-Free Chocolate Candy
¼ cup coconut oil
¼ cup cocoa powder
2 tbsp. agave.
nuts or raisins (optional)
The recipe and step by step instructions can be found here, at sweetsmarts.com, one of my favorite sugar-free recipe sites.
Kim’s Sugar-Free Apple Pie
1 frozen pastry for a 9 inch double crust deep dish pie
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
9 apples – peeled, cored and sliced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons real butter
1/2 can frozen apple juice concentrate thawed
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
In a large bowl mix together flour, salt, and cinnamon. Sprinkle lemon juice over apples and lightly toss. Add apples and lemon juice mixture to the flour mixture and toss until apples are thoroughly coated. Pour apples into pastry-lined pie plate. Put thin slices of butter on top of the apples. Pour apple juice concentrate over apples and Cover with top pastry. Seal edges and cut steam vents in top pastry.
Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 60 minutes, until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly.
This is a favorite that my whole family loves. Often I find that everyone is eating my sugar-free pie at family gatherings instead of all the other pies, because it’s just that good. Few people can tell it has no added refined sugar and I’m often told it tastes better than refined sugar apple pie. If it’s not sweet enough for you, drizzle 1/4 cup of agave nectar over the apples before adding the top crust.
Give these recipes a try and let us know what you think. Most of all, remember that avoiding refined sugar does not mean that you don’t get to have sweets. It just provides an opportunity to be creative and find healthier versions of your favorites. Good Luck! Enjoy!