Sweet Satisfaction

I have had a terrible sweet tooth since childhood. I like to blame this weakness on the fact that I was raised on a healthy diet that did not include sugary foods, soda or candy. My Father however, suffers from the same affliction and so I suppose it could also be hereditary. My Mom typically could care less about sweets, so the ‘sugar gene’ surely comes from Dad. I have very vivid memories of staying with my grandparents for overnights (my mom’s parents that is……so here’s when the ‘sugar gene’ theory fails to explain….) and Grampi (yes, Grampi and Grammi) would let me sneak fluffernutter sandwiches by the pool. On a hot day I would raid the fridge for the individually wrapped American cheese slices (which we also never had at my house) and nibble at them like a rabid mouse. There was always a candy drawer at my grandparents house, filled with mini snickers bars….(I would sneak them and eat them under the dining room table) and peanut butter cups (I have a raw, vegan recipe for these below!) . It was a virtual Charlie and the Chocolate Factory experience when I stayed with my grandparents and I ate as much junk as I could before I went back to my house where ‘golden grahams' (I’m dating myself here, because not everyone will know this cereal…) were considered too sugary to have for breakfast, so they were a once in great while treat.

My secret sugar addiction did not let up in high school or college for that matter, I would look for the seasonal candies that were my favorite throughout the year, Red hots around Valentines Day, Candy Corn at Halloween and so on. The problem became my lack of consciousness while indulging and I could easily eat an entire bag of candy corn (yes there are some vegan versions!) I gave up store bought sugar and began to bake my own muffins, cakes, pies and other desserts figuring there were fewer chemicals; less sugar and they had to be healthier. As it turns out, it doesn’t matter if I buy it or make it myself, I still have a hard time not over-indulging. Moderation is the key to everything I think. I’ve experienced 20 and even 30 pounds of weight gain at times in my adult life and conventional dieting methods were never the answer for me. I would rather turn to the concept of calorie intake vs. caloric output and eating a variety of plant based foods, whole grains and keeping the sugar to a bare minimum has been a key component for maintaining my weight loss.

I’m much more likely to eat frivolously or when I’m not hungry at high stress times, or when I’ve not prepared my meals ahead. The past two weeks of working very long days teaching pottery and yoga to kids and adults has been a catalyst for a few backslides when I’ve not thought ahead enough for my own food intake. A lot of people ask me what a typical day’s food intake looks like for me and it varies seasonally but, on a good day,currently looks like this:

Morning: Fruit and protein powder smoothie

Snack: Apple with peanut butter or homemade granola bar

Lunch: Big salad (like one of the ones in earlier blog posts)

Dinner: Brown Rice and veggies, grilled, roasted or pan-fried

Snack: Popcorn with nutri-yeast and garlic salt or a homemade sweet treat

peanut butter cup I could easily eat all day long, I’m a grazer and I love snacks. I do supplement my B12 intake and I do try to drink lots of water (although I’m never thirsty so I find that the hardest thing to do!) Even still, the battle over my sugar addiction continues. Since the detox in the spring (see post 1) I’ve eliminated refined sugars and when I do need a sweetener I stick to coconut sugar, maple syrup or brown rice syrup. So in support of my own habit I often concoct raw, vegan versions of my favorites. If you have a sugar addiction, try weaning off of harsh white refined sugar in favor of lesser evils as I mentioned above. Sometimes a craving can be as simple to conquer as just changing your perspective (get up if you’re sitting down etc.), or distract yourself by diving into an activity that requires your hands! (when my hands are covered in clay I can’t snack on crap!) Whatever your thoughts are on sugar, moderation is still the key, so don’t go making this recipe and eating the whole batch!

peanutbutter

Raw Vegan Peanut Butter Cups



1 1/4 organic creamy peanut butter (I prefer to grind my own whenever possible at our local co-op)

2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut

1 tsp. vanilla extract

cacao butter 1 cup raw cacao butter (I ordered mine from Amazon Prime)

½ cup raw cacao powder (Navitas is my favorite)

6-8 Tbl coconut sugar (this is to taste if you like your chocolate bitter or sweet)

Line a muffin tray with liners. Mix up the coconut, vanilla and peanut butter and press a few tablespoons into each muffin cup, place the tray in the freezer while you deal with the chocolate.

melted cacao butter Grate or finely shave the cacao butter into a glass bowl or glass measuring cup and place into a pan with water, melt on low until completely liquid, then add your coconut sugar until it melts, take off the heat and add in cacao powder. Pour over frozen peanut butter cups and place back into the freezer to harden.

I prefer to keep these in the freezer in the summertime, as they are then a refreshing AND sweet treat!

Enjoy!