Welcome to My Year Without

On January 1, 2008, I made a New Year's resolution to cut out refined sugar for one year. I cut out white refined sugar and corn syrups. My quest to be sugar-free evolved into political interest, public health, and letter writing to food manufacturers. Join me in sugar sleuthing, and learn more about the psychological aspects of sugar addiction, and those who push sugar on us.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Easy & Delicious Yogurt Cake

When a recipe turns out so well, sometimes I eat and blog at the same time. Right now I have a little plate with a piece of yogurt cake and chopped, fresh strawberries. It is so good I never want it to end. I was having a little sweet tooth fit, with nothing in my kitchen to nibble on. This is a good thing. If I had junk food I would eat it. Days like this force me to get creative in the kitchen.

I searched other blogs for recipe ideas, craving something chewy and sweet like cake. I found a Honey Yogurt cake that I used as a loose guide for my experimenting.

I have a bad habit of not keeping careful track of the amounts of ingredients...and it happened again today. In my excitement (I'm also currently experimenting with making granola bars) I neglected to take pictures and the cake is lying upside down on tin foil. Not so picturesque, but so delicious.

Here is a sort-of recipe, with all ingredients but mostly guesses at how much I used of each.

Easy & Delicious Yogurt Cake

1 C white whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 C vegetable oil (if I had coconut oil I would have used it)
1/4 C honey
1/2 C vanilla yogurt (I use Nancy's organic, nonfat plain yogurt)
1/2 tsp vanilla

350 degrees for about 25 minutes. The cake is fluffy, moist, sweet and heavenly. Especially with fresh strawberries added to each bite.

Next time I make it, I'll take pictures. I may make cupcakes next time, and after they bake add a few slices of strawberry to each top.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Absolutely Delicious, Chewy Vegan Gingersnaps

O. My. Gosh.

I've perfected the gingersnap.

This cookie has been my favorite since I was a little girl tugging at mom's apron, begging to lick the beaters. I used her recipe for years, even sold the cookies at a lovely little coffee house in Seattle called the Library Cafe. During my vegan years I messed with the recipe and toyed with other people's vegan gingersnap recipes. The real challenge came when I cut out refined sugar, and ate mostly vegan. I've posted those gingersnap recipes, using ground date sugar, and they are fabulous.

But the following recipe is perfect. The sweeteners are blackstrap molasses and a very small amount of coconut palm sugar. I knew immediately when I nibbled on the cookie dough that I hit the jackpot.

Best Vegan, Molasses-Sweetened Gingersnaps

2 and 1/2 C white whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/8 C coconut palm sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 C molasses
1/2 C oil
2 tablespoons water

Mix dry, then add wet and mix just until moistened. Roll into balls and place on parchment paper on cooking sheet (so much easier to clean up!) and then smash down a little with spatula.

375 degrees F for approximately 8 minutes

*Next is to experiment further to make these gluten-free. Brown rice flour? Coconut flour? Suggestions?

Friday, April 6, 2012

60 MINUTES: Brand New Research Shows Sugar is Toxic

I don't know what I am more excited about: the 60 Minutes interviews, the doctors doing research on sugar & the body, or the funny response to the interviews on the Sugar Association website.

Watch this segment of 60 Minutes where doctors reveal new studies that show sugar can wreak havoc on your health. Heart disease, cancer, obesity and Type II diabetes are some of the health issues discussed.

"Dr. Robert Lustig is a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California, San Francisco and a pioneer in what is becoming a war against sugar. Motivated by his own patients -- too many sick and obese children - Dr. Lustig has concluded that sugar, more than any other substance, is to blame."

60 Minutes host, Dr. Gupta, interviewed someone from the Sugar Association, as well: 
"Dr. Sanjay Gupta: You know, a lot of people, Jim, are saying that sugar is different. That it is bad for your heart and is causing a lot of the problems we're talking about. It is addictive and in some cases might even fuel cancers. What would you - I mean you've looked at this. You must have looked at some of these studies. What do you say about that?
Jim Simon: The science is not completely clear here."

For a most fun read on the Sugar Association website, read the article: Sugar Association Responds to 60 Minutes: Unfounded Accusations Mislead Consumers where they state, "Every major review of the full body of scientific evidence has concluded that sugar intake is not linked to any lifestyle disease." 

Wow! I am so excited that the Sugar Association, with no interest in sugar whatsoever, made this statement. Yay. Now I can eat sugar because they say it is not linked to any lifestyle disease! Gimme a break.

Need I go over the last 4+ years of my life where I account for my own personal dis-ease caused by sugar? I want to be livid at the Sugar Association's response, but what can we expect them to say? They have to say something. Sugar=money. 

Let's end on the positive note that sugar studies are being done. That finally medical professionals are saying what I've been feeling all along, Sugar is Bad!


Monday, April 2, 2012

Sugar-Free Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits

My dogs love these.

The best part is that my older mutt (in the background) has a very sensitive tummy but she can eat these with no problems. Most other treats we try with her and we're running for the bottle of Pepto.

Sugar-Free Peanut Butter Dog Treats

1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup white whole wheat flour

Preheat oven to 375. Mix together dry ingredients and then add wet and stir together until dough forms. Roll out on floured surface (and/or parchment paper) and then use cookie cutter. I cut a grid, which yielded over 175 inch-sized squares.

I am going to look for goat's milk at the farmer's market this weekend. Goat's milk is supposed to be very nourishing to dogs. I'm not yet done playing around with this recipe, but as is it's simple and the biscuits drive my dogs wild.