Carob: A great sugar alternative! (when life isn’t sweet enough)

One of the many challenges of staving off Candida is finding healthy alternatives to sugar, including, chocolate. Sugar in general is bad for your health. It contributes to:

According to Rheumatic.org , here are the top 10 reasons why you should be avoiding sugar, mainly, refined sugar:

  1. Sugar can suppress the immune system.
  2. Sugar upsets the mineral relationships in the body.
  3. Sugar can cause hyperactivity, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and crankiness in children.
  4. Sugar can produce a significant rise in triglycerides.
  5. Sugar contributes to the reduction in defense against bacterial infection (infectious diseases).
  6. Sugar causes a loss of tissue elasticity and function, the more sugar you eat the more elasticity and function you lose.
  7. Sugar reduces high density lipoproteins.
  8. Sugar leads to chromium deficiency.
  9. Sugar leads to cancer of the ovaries.
  10. Sugar can increase fasting levels of glucose.

 

Pretty scary stuff.

 

Regarding Candida, sugar causes yeast in your intestine and gut to grow and multiply. So I avoid that sucker at all costs.

I’ve discover healthy alternatives to sugar and to add a little treat to my diet such as organic honey, agave, unsweetened shredded coconut, dates, raisins, and recently, carob and carob powder.

I found some really good info on the Bulk Barn website:

  • Unlike chocolate, it’s not full of fat, butter and sugar.
  • Naturally caffeine free
  • A natural source of sugar: can serve as a replacement for baking (such as bread, waffles, cakes, pies, muffins, etc)
  • Can be enjoyed by those who are allergic to or have chocolate sensitivities
  • Naturally sweet, high in carbs and very low in fat content

One easy way to incorporate carob into your diet is by adding a teaspoon or two into your smoothies.

Here’s an easy smoothie recipe that I like to make, nearly every day:

  • Frozen or fresh strawberries
  • Frozen mangoes
  • Coconut water
  • No sugar added soy milk
  • 2 teaspoons of carob powder
  • 1 tablespoon of protein powder* (optional)

*Because of wheat and sugar sensitivities, I opt for a whey protein isolate, called Inbalance (http://www.inbalancenutrition.ca/ ).

Question:

  • Do you face any dietary challenges?
  • How do you overcome them?

Challenge:

  • Is there an ingredient in your diet that you could substitute for a more healthy alternative?
  • If so, what is it?
  • Try it for a week and see if you notice a difference!

Enjoy!

Best First Date, Ever!

A couple of months ago, I was getting dinner at Kale and I noticed that they had desserts in their display. They had these coconut balls that instantly appealed to me, even before the lady behind the counter advised me that they were vegan, organic AND contained no added sugar. No added sugar? Were they bland? How were they sweet, then? Dates. I think dates are serious contenders for nature’s candy. Raisins, you better watch out! You’ve been warned!

Being an adventurous Aries, I decided that one day and one day soon, to make these myself. I scowered the interwebs in search of a recipe that omitted any kinds of sugar and had the simplest recipe with the simplest ingredients. I settled on the following, and ladies and gents, it turned out to be glorious! My parents and friends tried them and they asked me to make them again, which I totally will – when life settles down a bit (famous last words, I know).

Here’s the recipe!

For me, I don’t own a food processor and I naively thought that a blender would be the next best thing. Normally, it really is but when it comes to mashing mass quantities of sticky dates and coconut pieces, it was very laborious and time consuming – BUT well worth it!

If you’re using a blender, like me, I would blend the coconut first, then slowly add the dates in batches. I added everything at once and it was the worst. Nothing blended. Everything stuck to the blade. I had to pour in some water to get things to move and was constantly using a spoon to de-clog the dates from the blade so that the coconut pieces would blend. Excellent times.  But, like I said, well worth it!

See how nicely they turned out?

The best part? GUILT FREE! Just like Margarita says! This works with nearly every diet (unless you are avoiding coconut, but why? WHYYYY?)

Enjoy!

That’s a Tough Nut to Crack!

On my quest to make Coconut Date Balls, I bought my first ever coconut! I brought it home and then realized that I have never cracked a coconut before but thought, how hard could it be? It turns out, it’s pretty hard – literally. I found this great demo on youtube showing how to effectively crack this nut.  After following the instructions, it ended up not being as difficult as I thought.

Tools Needed:

  • Diamond head shaped screw driver
  • Flat head screw driver
  • Hammer
  • Towel or oven mitts
  • Cup or container
  • Veggie peeler

Here’s what I did:

As per the video, I pierced one of the three holes on the top. One of the three is soft – who knew? Why aren’t they all soft? Then I let the coconut water drain into a container which can be used later for drinking or added to a smoothy, which I will get to later.

Once all the juice is drained, I put the coconut in the oven at 375F for about 30 minutes – the video said 15 minutes but I guess it depends on how hot your oven is. Apparently, when it’s ready to be broken, it splits. Mine didn’t. Maybe I just got impatient and didn’t leave it in long enough? But I thought that 30 minutes in the oven was pretty generous.

Then, it’s time to crack the nut. That’s when the hammer comes in handy. This was my favourite part! Take some oven mitts or a towel and remove the coconut from the oven. Place on the counter or another hard surface and hammer the shell. Luckily, I have a concrete balcony, so I brought my coconut out there wrapped in my oven mitts and beat the hell out of it without scaring my neighbours TOO much. I don’t think anyone noticed me hammering, though. At least I don’t think so.

A Tough Nut To Crack!

Anyways, eventually, it will crack.  This is when you bust out the flat head screw driver.

As he shows in the video, the flat head screwdriver pries the coconut meat away from the shell. This wasn’t so bad. The worst part, for me anyways, was peeling the skin from the meat. I had a bit of an accident when the peeler slipped and nearly took off my thumb nail. I’m okay! But my nail is chipped and nearly torn off. All worth it though.

Once the skin is peeled off, I rinsed the coconut in cold water to get all the debris off. I stored it in tupperware container and put it in my fridge for when I’m able to make the coconut date balls. But the meat can be chopped into flakes or used for a variety of other recipes. It’s pretty fantastic!