How to Detox from Sugar

April 8th, 2015 - Food News, Inspiration

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When someone has decided to start living a healthy lifestyle, I always suggest making small changes over time in order to develop new healthy habits that will stick. One of the first places I suggest when it comes to cleaning out the pantry and fridge is to get rid of everything that has white sugar and white flour in it. There are so many reasons that white flour and sugar are bad for your health, and I highly suggest you do some research for yourself if you don’t already know why that is. Personally, I have found that my weight, my energy, my health, and my overall well being has been dramatically improved since I removed all products with sugar and flour in them years ago.

The purpose of this post  however is not necessarily to discuss why sugar and white flour are bad for our health, (although I have done so in various places on Dashing Dish), but rather it is to help you learn some easy ways to detox from sugar, and still enjoy sweets!

Where Do I Start? 

One of the first places that I would suggest detoxing from sugar is to toss your processed and sugar packed foods and start filling your fridge and pantry with natures sweets! I personally love fruit, because it is naturally sweet, and it is packed with nutrition! I know that it can be tough to think about ‘getting rid’ of some of your (or your families) favorite treats, but once it is out of sight, it will eventually become out of mind! It is so much better to not even have the temptation for sugar in your house!

But what about those days that you are craving chocolate, cookies, cake, etc!?! Well, let me be the first to say that I am a ‘sweets’ girl, so I totally get that! So, instead of cutting out your favorite sweet treats all together, I suggest you replace them with a healthier option…Which is what I provide here at Dashing Dish!

What are Some Swap Outs for Sugar?

We all know sugar is not the best thing for our bodies, but all those artificial sweeteners aren’t good for our health either. So what is a good option that won’t spike your blood sugar, or add unnecessary chemicals to your diet?

After much experimentation in a quest to find a natural no-calories sweetener, I found a couple of great options. And the great news is, many grocery stores are starting to carry these products! So here are some different options to swap out with sugar, with a little review about each one! (Note: There are more options than the ones listed below, but these are the ones that I have personally tried.)

Stevia: This is by far the best natural sweetener I have found.  It is derived from a stevia leaf and has been used for years in other countries.  It is starting to be used more and more in things like diet soda and drinks.  In my opinion, the best brand by far is NuStevia (found at many health food stores, and on Amazon). You can find stevia in the form of powder, a baking blend, packets, or liquid stevia.  They even have made flavored liquid stevia, which is great for coffee!

  • The Pros: The brand NuStevia has no bitter after-taste and proportionally it is as close to sugar as you can get.   (It is still sweeter than sugar… as are most substitutes, so you generally need less than the amount of sugar you would use.)
  • The Cons: Well, I haven’t found any yet, except some brands do have a bitter taste, which is why I prefer Nu Naturals brand, as it is not bitter at all.

Truvia: Truvia is made from the stevia plant and is mixed with another natural sweetener, erythritol.  Erythritol is the naturally fermented sugar alcohol found in fruits such as pears and grapes.

  • The Pros:  Truvia can be found in most supermarkets. It has the texture of natural sugar, which makes it great to sprinkle on fruit.
  • The Cons:  This brand is not as sweet as stevia and it does cause GI discomfort, if used in excess.

Xylitol: This is a natural sweetener found in the fibers of many fruits and vegetables.  You’ll find that most of your sugar-free gum has xylitol in it.

  • The Pros: Research has found that chewing gum with xylitol in it can actually reduce the risk of cavities.
  • The Cons: This sugar alternative unfortunately isn’t calorie free.  It has 2.4 calories per gram… but hey, its better than sugar!  It also does cause a bit of gastrointestinal discomfort if you use it in excess.

Honey and Agave Nectar: These are both natural sweeteners made in nature. Agave is a natural sweetener made from the plant from which tequila is made. It has a similar texture and consistency to honey.  So for those that love honey in their coffee or recipes, this is great for you.

  • The Pros: Besides the mentioned comparison to honey, some studies state that it is low on the glycemic index, which makes it a better option for diabetics and for weight management.
  • The Cons: The only downfall I have found with this is that it does add calories (about 60 calories in 1 Tbs), and it can’t be added as easily to baking recipes, because it is a liquid.

Sugar in the Raw and Coconut Sugar: Sugar in the Raw is sugar made exclusively from sugarcane.The juice is extracted from the sugarcane and then crystallized through evaporation to maintain its natural molasses, golden color and distinctive flavor. Coconut sugar is a sugar produced from the sap of cut flower buds of the coconut palm. Coconut sugar has been used as a traditional sweetener for thousands of years in the South and South-East Asian regions where the coconut palm is in abundant supply.

  • The Pros: Depending on the brand you purchase, they could potentially be less processed than white sugar. They also can be swapped out for sugar exactly in baking recipes.
  • The Cons: Both of these sugars have the same number of calories and carbohydrates as regular white sugar. They can also negatively affect your blood glucose levels, especially if you are diabetic. Overall, there is not proof that either of these sugars are any better for you than white sugar.

 How to Swap Out Sugar for Stevia in Recipes:

When it comes to sweeteners, I personally like to use baking stevia and stevia packets like I mentioned above. However, all of these recipes call for a sweetener that measures like sugar, which includes any sweetener that can be measured the same as sugar, or you could use sugar if you prefer.

If you prefer to use stevia or another sweetener, you will have to alter the amount based on the conversion table below, or according to your desired taste. This can take some experimenting, but once you get a feel for baking with different sweeteners, it is very simple to know how much to use. To get you started, I have provided a simple conversion table that works with stevia.

Please also note, that the amounts listed below may vary based on the brand of stevia you are using. The following chart pertains to NuNaturals stevia, which is the brand I personally recommend. If you are using baking stevia, simply use 1/2 of the sugar the recipe calls for. I also provide a ‘sweetener of choice that measures like sugar’ in all of my recipes, and if you do choose to use sugar in the raw, coconut sugar, or regular sugar, you can use this for determining the amount to use in the recipe. 

I hope that this information helps you on your journey to health! To find sugar and flour free recipes that still allow you to enjoy your favorite sweets, be sure to check out the Dessert section on Dashing Dish, and my new Cookbook 100 Simple Recipes for Clean Eating, which is packed with sugar and flour free sweet snacks and treats!

 

 

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Top 30 Clean Eating Spring Recipes

March 25th, 2015 - Announcements, Food News, Inspiration

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Shamefully Healthy by Sarah Shaffer

March 11th, 2015 - Dashing Devotionals, Food News, Inspiration, True Beauty

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The topic for today’s devotion has been something that has been on my heart for quite some time. I’ve been asking the Lord to put just the right words to this topic so that I approach it with care and sensitivity. My prayer in sharing this is that the Lord will use it to convict us all to seek peace and pursue it, and offer kindness and understanding toward one another every chance we get!

I have become acutely aware of a theme lately, particularly among my women and mom friends. I’ve really begun to recognize that a heaping-helping of shame and judgment have attached themselves to the concept of health. 

The term “healthy” is really very relative, but it has become overused and misguided. The word healthy used to simply imply not being sick, but somewhere along the line it has lost meaning and gained judgment, especially as it relates to food.  Depending on who you ask “healthy” means Paleo or vegan, gluten-free or whole-grain, low-fat or high-fat. We hear that healthy means egg-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, or only organic and non-GMO. It’s daunting isn’t it? As always, I would never claim that any of these ideas are wrong (my own family follows several of these). But, for the purpose of this devotion, what I’d like to focus on is living shame-free. 

The depth of this awareness really hit home for me one day recently while at the grocery store and after having family in town. Both times, I interacted with moms of small children who emphatically apologized and reasoned with me about why their food choices weren’t as healthy as mine, or made declarations about their need to “do better” about how they fed their families. It broke my heart. And, it caused me to pause and ask myself if I am unintentionally making others feel “less-than” by how I communicate about my family’s particular healthy lifestyle choices?

While I obviously believe that living our best life is God’s heart for all of His children, I am also more and more reminded that above all else, His desire is that we love and support one another. The truth is that my healthy lifestyle can be different from yours and still be equally effective!  Do you want to know a secret? I’m allergic to kale! Yep, kale! You know, the so-called healthiest food on the planet? Well, not for this girl (I love kale by way, if you can eat it, do!!). What’s healthy for me, may not fit into your heathy lifestyle and the whole point of this devotional is to understand that that is ok!! I pray that right now, in this moment we all release ourselves and others of judgment or shame for having different models of a healthy life!

While the word “healthy” is relative and can have many different meanings, the Word of God is not and is clear about this subject. God’s word says, “If I partake of my food with thankfulness, why am I accused and spoken evil of because of that for which I give thanks? So then, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you may do, do all for the honor and glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:30-31. And, we also know from Romans 8:1, that there is no condemnation (shame or judgment) for those who belong to Christ Jesus. 

Friends, I pray today that if you are feeling “less-than” or are being pulled into the temptation to compare your healthy choices to someone else’s,  that is not the voice of the Lord. Above all else today, ask God to help you focus on what TRULY matters and that is the health of your spirit. There is no shortage of judgment, shame, or opinion in the world, especially around the topic of health. But, be encouraged today! That heap of shame is not yours to bear! May God release us of that today and remind us to look for ways to love one another! Walk in peace and freedom today knowing that not a single person who puts their hope in the promises of God will be left empty or put to shame! God loves you EXACTLY where you are today! 

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Healthy Shamrock Shake!

March 9th, 2015 - Announcements, Food News

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St. Patty’s Day is approaching, which means the popular Shamrock Shake will be returning! Before you indulge in a ‘treat’ that has more than 400 calories and 60 grams of sugar….

Try this Healthy Protein Packed Shamrock Shake instead for just 160 calories and 5 g of sugar!

To get the recipe, click on the picture below!

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The Benefits of Protein in Weight Loss & Maintenance

March 6th, 2015 - Articles, Food News

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If you haven’t noticed, the term ‘high in protein’ has become a common buzzword with all of the diets that are becoming popular these days. If you have been following Dashing Dish for a while, you probably know that I don’t support diets, but I do recommend incorporating protein rich foods into your daily meals and snacks!

You may notice that most of my recipes are high in protein, and often times I even supplement my recipes with protein powder. My recipes are also naturally lower in simple carbohydrates, due to the fact that my recipes don’t contain flour, sugar, or processed ingredients. I personally have found that eating this way (a balance of protein, and healthy fats/carbohydrates) makes my body function and feel it’s best, all while helping maintain a healthy weight.

Now, you may be wondering, when it comes to health, and weight loss/maintenance, what are the actual benefits of protein? Well, i’m glad you asked!

Here are five benefits to adding protein rich foods to your diet:

1. Foods high in protein help you feel full, and more satisfied for longer periods of time. In general, protein rich foods take your body a long time to break down and digest, which means it keeps you feeling fuller longer. 

2. Protein helps balance out blood sugar swings. Pairing protein with carbohydrates in a meal or snack slows down the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream, which helps balance your blood sugar, preventing insulin spikes that can lead to fat storage and cravings.

3. Protein helps preserve muscle tissue during weight loss. A part of the weight loss process includes losing not only fat tissue, but muscle tissue as well. The reason for this is because during weight loss, your body looks to burn not only fat, but protein for energy (in order to synthesize glucose, which is used for energy). When you make sure that your protein intake is sufficient through your diet, your body will be less likely to break down your muscle tissue as a source of protein used for energy.

4. Protein aids in muscle recovery. The problem with losing muscle is that it is increases your basal metabolic rate (BMR), which accounts for over two-thirds of calories burned at rest. Protein is comprised of amino acids, which helps spare lean muscle during weight loss, so the body can burn more fat (instead of muscle) for energy.

5. Protein can help you maintain your weight long term.  It requires more energy to digest protein, which means that our bodies burn calories just breaking it down! This is called the thermic effect of food (TEF), or the energy we use to digest food into small, absorbable components. In addition, as I mentioned above, protein aids in preserving lean muscle also helps with long term weight maintenance!

A few important things I want to mention is that consuming more protein alone won’t make you lose or maintain weight. Any macronutrient (fat, protein, carbs) still has calories, and at the end of the day, if you are consuming more calories than your body requires, you will have a hard time losing or maintaining weight…(And eating too few calories also has an negative effect on your weight- so remember, slow and steady wins the race!) The key is truly a balance of protein, healthy fats, whole grains, and proper exercise that leads to a healthy body.

That being said, how do you know how much protein you should have in a day? A general rule of thumb is 1 gram of protein per 1 lb of body weight. However, that may vary based on your exercise, age, gender, etc. but using this basic formula is generally enough for the average person.

If you are looking for ways to implement more protein into your diet, Dashing Dish is a great place to start, where all of my recipes are high in protein, with the proper balance of healthy fats, and whole grains! Also, be sure to check out my new cookbook, Dashing Dish: 100 Simple Recipes for Clean Eating, which is packed with 100 delicious and simple protein packed recipes!

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20 Clean Eating Lunches in 20 Minutes

March 4th, 2015 - Food News, Inspiration

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Top 10 Skinny Chocolate Lovers Recipes

February 11th, 2015 - Food News, Inspiration

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Skinny Super Bowl Recipe Round Up

January 29th, 2015 - Food News, Inspiration

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25 Healthy Christmas Treats

December 11th, 2014 - Announcements, Food News

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Whether you are looking for a healthier holiday treat to bring to a party, or you want something delicious and healthy to enjoy with your family, here are 25 of my favorite Christmas treats that are just as good for you as they taste!

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Clean Eating Thanksgiving Leftover Ideas!

November 28th, 2014 - Food News

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Add Leftover Turkey and Veggies to any of these Dishes. Simply Swap Out Shredded Chicken for Turkey!

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