Cleaning out your pantry for Sugar-Free September…& becoming a more conscious cook!

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There are some simple and easy steps that you can take to bring more awareness to what you are putting into your pantry..and therefore into your body (and that of your family).

I have selected some popular “food products” that unfortunately may still be found in the common pantry. Below, I share with you WHAT to replace it with, WHY you would want to replace it and HOW to become more educated on reading ingredient lists and food nutrition labels.

Bringing Mindfulness to Reading the Ingredient List 

“Ingredients” that you want to be on the look out for when trying to purify your body, mind and spirit include sugar, high fructose corn syrup, partially/hydrogenated oils – especially soy, corn & canola (most likely GMO),  maltodextrin, BHAT & BHT, the many names for MSG, and food colourings. For more types of added sugars of which to be mindful, see Sugar Explained by the Canadian Cancer Society. Although the packaged and processed foods you are eating at home may not be extremely high in sugar (i.e.: crackers, soups, frozen meals), they are filled with many other non-nutrient dense “foods”… or let’s say additives, fillers or preservatives.

Making the Lifestyle Change … Beyond Sugar-Free 

You may want to start by first focussing on reducing sugar intake, or maybe you are ready to clean up shop a little bit more. Remember to make it work for you and your lifestyle and that small changes are more likely to last long term.

Pantry Makeover … Making Healthier Choices!

  1. Peanut Butter (Kraft, Jif, Skippy) ….TRY 100% natural peanut butter or any nut/seed butter without any added ingredients.

“Oh great! Only 1 gram of sugar in my favourite Kraft Peanut Butter”…. Not such great news, unfortunately. Although it may seem like a low amount of sugar, this product is not filled with only roasted peanuts… it contains all the the additives from the list above and is sweetened with refined and processed sugars.

I invite you to make the transition to all natural peanut butter or nut butters than can now be found at most local grocery stores. Look for brands that contain only nuts.. no added oils or sugar necessary. Want to take it to the next step?  It’s so easy (and cost efficient) to make your own nut butter at home with a food processor. Add your own natural sweeteners like maple syrup and a pinch of Himalayan sea salt to preserve it and feel good knowing that you are conscious of what you are eating or feeding your family.

2. White Refined Sugar (baking, morning coffee)…TRY a natural sweetener such as Canadian pure maple syrup, honey or Medjool dates.

Numerous amounts of research shows that white, refined sugar is a very addictive substance and even more addictive than drugs like cocaine!!! Utilise this 30 day challenge and fundraiser as an opportunity to break free from any addictive relationships with sugar and start to feel the Health Benefits of going sugar free. Stay tuned for my series Sugar Free Essentials which includes a delicious and satisfying way to enjoy your morning cafe latte free of refined sugar! As for baking, replace sugar with dried fruit like dates or even mashed bananas. Get the recipe for a sugar free Zucchini Cranberry Loaf sweetened with ripe bananas.

3. Sugary Breakfast Cereals… TRY homemade granola or chia pudding.

Today, I am using the example of Frosted Mini Wheats, a store bough cereal promoted as  a “nutritious and delicious bite size snack, whole grain, and a high source of  dietary fiber.” This product contains 11 grams of refined sugar per serving, as do many cereals. The ingredients consist of: Whole grain wheat, icing sugar, glycerin, gelatin, bht. Vitamins and Minerals: iron, thiamine hydrochloride, d-calcium pantothenate, zinc oxide, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid. 

I strongly believe that there are alternate breakfast options to offer our body a daily source of fiber, vitamins and minerals without the icing sugar, gelatin (sorry vegetarians!) and BHT.

It’s definitely worth it to take time, once a week (or less), to prepare a breakfast cereal that includes ingredients that you can pronounce! Try my Baked Maple Pecan Granola as featured on the Traditional Cooking School’s The Great Granola Round Up . Other breakfast options include my Easy Overnight Chai Oats or you can google the infinite world of chia pudding.
Trusting that these examples inspire you to become a more conscious cook!

Stay Tuned for more sugar free recipes including homemade Sweet and Spicy Rosemary Nuts… a delicious alternative to buying candied nuts or pre packaged trail mix.

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