Your afternoon pick-me-up treat could be killing you slowly. Ok, so that sounds a bit dramatic, but let me explain.
The average candy bar has 20+ grams of sugar – or 5 teaspoons. Sugar, as in, refined, white sugar. The stuff you buy at the grocery store in an unassuming paper sack.
Pretty harmless seeming stuff, huh? I mean, it isn’t the best for your health, but a little treat each day couldn’t hurt, right? Unfortunately, that’s pretty far from the truth.
Heart disease, diabetes, weight gain, cancer, organ disease, hormone imbalances and irritable bowl syndrome are just a few diseases caused by sugar consumption. Sugar also lowers immunities, making you more susceptible to getting sick.
First of all, let me explain that there are two types of sugar we are dealing with. Refined and natural.
Refined sugar comes from sugar beets or sugar cane that has been highly processed. It is heated, bleached, and processed until it hardly resembles the plant it came from – both in nutrition and appearance. It has none of the enzymes, minerals, and nutrients that your body needs to digest it or use it as nourishment. It is considered ‘empty calories’. Calories without any nutritional value. Not to mention the chemicals used in processing it are toxic to your body.
Natural sugar is found in fruits, honey, and even raw sugar (beware your sourcing and do your research to be sure that it is indeed ‘raw’). The key to knowing the difference is that natural sugars are closer to, or even in, their natural state. An apple has natural sugar in it, but it is still an apple. Honey is mostly made up of natural sugars, but when eaten raw, is how it is found in nature. On the other hand, refined white sugar has been processed beyond recognition and isn’t even similar to the beets or cane it comes from.
So clearly the best bet is to seriously cut back on-or eliminate altogether-sugar from your diet. Easier said than done! Anyone’s who’s ever tried cutting sugar out knows it is ridiculously difficult and often ends with a guilt laden, sugar coma inducing, ice cream binge. This is because sugar has a drug-like effect on the body and can cause withdrawals for a period of time. When people joke about having a sugar addiction, they really are closer to the truth than they realize. Sugar cravings are real and they are strong.
The good news is that these physical cravings usually pass within 3 to 4 weeks of cutting out sugar. The bad news is that you have to survive until then. I could give you lots of great ideas about coping emotionally, such as removing all sugary temptations from your home and distracting yourself from the cravings.
But on a purely practical (and yummy) note, I’d like to offer some tasty help. A healthy substitute for your cravings! Obviously, this substitute still needs to be consumed in moderation… but it is completely healthy and totally delicious. This is a staple in our houses and we rarely let our fridge be barren of it! It’s great for a quick treat or snack!
Here we go!
(Makes an 8×8 pan)
1 cup coconut oil (I use extra virgin or centrifuge from Wilderness Family Natural, but expeller pressed works as well)
1 cup or less (to taste) raw honey
1 cup cacao powder (from Wilderness Family Natural. Could use cocoa powder, but not as healthy)
1 cup nut butter (I make my own. Here is the recipe)
1 tsp real sea salt
1 cup coconut flakes (optional)
1 scoop grass fed gelatin (optional. This would need to be added to warmed or fresh-made nut butter first) This is the best brand we’ve found.
Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor, or use a stick blender and mix
Immediately pour in the pan and put in the freezer until set.
We then cut them and store lidded in the fridge. They keep for a couple weeks at least (if you can keep from eating them all before then!).
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