Column: Healthy ways to get a sugar fix

FOR the past three and half years I've been teaching Raw and Healthy Chocolate and Desserts Workshops.

They evolved out of my own desire to eat without guilt, upsetting my digestive process or overdosing my hormones on sugar.

They've been tremendously popular over the years and I've had a fantastic time teaching people how to make and eat more real food.

I believe that everyone deserves to enjoy their food in the healthiest way for their own unique bodies.

Whether you avoid gluten, wheat, dairy and sugar out of necessity or choice, these workshops were designed so that no one has to feel like they're missing out simply because they eat a certain way.

Sugar, hormones and weight are topics I spend a lot of time educating about in my workshops.

I find so many people just don't know how the foods they're eating are affecting their mind and bodies in unhealthy ways.

You don't need the white, bleached and highly processed sugar to sweeten your coffee or bake in your cakes when there are so many natural versions to substitute.

Here are my favourite natural sweeteners that are full of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and amino acids.

You'll get a dose of nutrition without compromising on taste or adding empty calories to your waistline - the perfect replacements for all your baking and creating needs!

1. Coconut sugar

Made from boiling the sap of cut flower buds off the coconut palm, coconut sugar can come in granular form (a hint of caramel), or liquid (more of a fruity flavour).

2. Rapadura

Also known as panela and jaggery, rapadura has a unique caramel flavour and golden colour. It's only slightly sweeter than coconut sugar, so you can use both interchangeably.

3. Raw honey

Raw honey is not heated above 45 degrees and therefore contains organic acids, all nine essential amino acids (and non-essentials except for glutamine and asparagine), 31 minerals, vitamins, and numerous polyphenols and flavonoids. Because it's real, nutrient dense and natural, a little goes a long way!

4. Medjool dates

Medjool dates contain a long list of vitamins and a bountiful amount of minerals: calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper and manganese. They are sweet, sticky and the perfect substitute for sugar in raw protein balls, brownies, cheesecake bases and smoothies. Delicious when sliced open and filled with nut butter or warm raw chocolate!

5. Pure Maple syrup

B-grade pure maple syrup is a good source of zinc and manganese, and although a far better option than white sugar or refined honey, is best combined with other natural sweeteners to enhance the flavour without using plenty.

6. Fruit

It might sound boring and perhaps even obvious, but fruit is unprocessed, natural and full of fibre. What's not to love?

Now you have six healthy, delicious and more nutritious forms of natural 'sweetness'; the perfect replacements to refined, processed, addictive and "poisonous" sugars.

Learn more about how to use them in creating healthier versions of your favourite desserts.

I'm hosting my Winter Warmers Chocolate Workshop on Sunday, August 2 where I'll be teaching my French-inspired hazelnut molten cakes and other decadent, guilt-free desserts.

Book via www.mindbodyfood.net or call 0410 608 022. 


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