There are several health experts that I like to follow and one of them mentioned in an earlier blog, is Dr. Alan Christianson, a Naturopathic Medical Doctor (NMD) who specializes in natural endocrinology with a focus on thyroid disorders from his office in Phoenix, Arizona. Perhaps the reason I resonate with his messages are based on his personal experience of transformation of his physical health and well-being. If you are interested to read more of his remarkable story, you can visit his website here.
One of the things that Dr. Christianson shares is the fact that as a teen, he stopped eating sugar. To me that is remarkable. This substance has become such a mainstay in our diet and when I think back to my teen years, it would have been the last thing I would have considered to give up! My how times have changed (and how many years have passed since then)!
I read once that sugar is more addictive than heroin - wow! No wonder my body still craves it from time to time. Now if you have ever looked through my recipes on the website, you will see that I love baking - and sugar is usually synonymous with that practice. For myself - and who else can I speak for, really - it's all about balance. I make it a practice on a daily basis to keep my intake to a minimum, but there are times when I am going to splurge and enjoy a dessert or whatever. I find this approach works for me. Plus, I use organic cane sugar, honey or maple syrup in my baking. Heck I even use organic sugar in my hummingbird feeders! This is a personal choice and for each individual, you have to find out what works best for you, depending on what is going on in your life, your state of health, etc.
There is a reason for this caution - sugar in large amounts is just not good for any of us! We all know that too much sugar consumption can lead to serious health problems - like obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer to name a few. But before it gets to a full-blown state of dis-ease, it is a matter of tending to our bodies and ensuring that we feel the best we can in our lives - at the physical, emotional and mental levels. Too much sugar intake can lead to a depletion and destruction of all that could be wonderful and good. And, if you are currently faced with a serious ailment, I would recommend eliminating sugar entirely from your diet.
Having said that, I am all about encouraging the sweetness of life - and as I mentioned before, sometimes there is nothing as tasty and rewarding as a yummy dessert or baked good - but let it be a random occurrence not a regular one. One thing Dr. Christianson recommends in his blog "3 Tips to Stabilizing Your Blood Sugar" is to avoid or at the very least limit your intake of processed foods that have fructose added to them. Stick with simpler goodies - ones that you make for yourself or from someone you know and trust. Better yet get your natural fructose from low-sugar fruits (raspberries, blackberries, cranberries, rhubarb, avocado) and/or dried fruits like organic dates, figs or raisins (in smaller quantities). The recommended limit for sugar is about 5 grams of sugar or less per meal. To give you an example, there are 7 g. of sugar in one cup of blackberries and they are classified as a low-sugar fruit. Dried fruits - even if they are organic - are classified as a high-sugar source so you want to limit how much you eat. Don't forget, depending on the diet that you ingest, you may be unknowingly picking up extra sugar from processed foods. It's very important to check the labels!
Here's a recipe I have made for breakfast and snacks a few times. You will see that it is gluten-free and also has a low amount of honey (or could be maple syrup) in it. The dried dates are optional.
Set oven to 350 degrees. Grease your muffin tin with coconut oil (or butter). Makes
approximately 7-8 largish muffins or 9-10 smaller ones.
Paleo Pumpkin Muffins
*Adapted from Gluten-Free Homemaker
Add the wet ingredients to the dry as well as chopped nuts. Mix just until combined.
Place in muffin tins and bake in oven until a toothpick comes out clean - between 25 and 30 minutes. These are very moist and tasty.