Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Sugar Is Toxic - So Fill Your Easter Basket With SUGAR FREE Treats!

Were you among the millions who watched the 60 Minutes segment on sugar last Friday evening?  Did it leave you wondering what to do next . . .

If you did watch, then you heard the reasons both Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Dr. Robert Lustig agree with me that sugar creates inflammation in the tissues of your body and that inflammation begins a downward health spiral!

Sugars of all types create inflammation, however some sweet sources contain enough enzymes, vitamins, minerals and fiber to drastically reduce the rate of inflammation.  So the more whole, organic and raw the source, the lower the rate of inflammation and the more processed the source the greater the rate of inflammation.

This inflammation is the source of many "lifestyle" diseases, like diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, fatty liver disease, many sources of chronic pain as well as cancer and autoimmune diseases.  And making significant changes in your intake of toxins and allergens, including sugar, can actually reverse these diseases and even be an important part in restoring health.

With Easter right around the corner, you may be weighing this information against fun family traditions.  How can you guard the health of your loved ones and still provide chocolaty sweet treats for all the kids in your life?  

I have great news . . . recipes for both sugar-less and sugar-free options that will leave everyone with a smile on their face and a healthier body!  Below you will find the best gluten free, dairy free and sugar-less or completely sugar-free options that will have you enjoying a very chocolaty Easter!

Whether your choice is a pretty egg made from Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge sweetened with bananas and whole leaf stevia powder . . .

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie

A molded treat made from cocoa powder, coconut oil and stevia . . .

Chocolate Bunnies from Chocolate Covered Katie

Or dark chocolate truffles sweetened with yams and dates . . .

My OMG! You Must Be Kidding!  Dark Chocolate Truffles

Your decadently healthy chocolate dreams are only moments away with these amazing sugar-free recipes!

Incredible Sugar-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

I adapted this recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie and it’s one of my favorite decadently healthy chocolate desserts and it is completely sugar-free! This chocolate treat is everything you love about fudge . . . it’s rich, slightly chewy, sweet, chocolaty, with yummy peanut butter flavor! All of that goodness and absolutely NO sugar . . . the secret sweeteners are bananas and stevia and you will LOVE it!
Yield – 18 - 2 inch squares

3 rounded tablespoons cacao powder
130 grams ripe banana (about 2 medium bananas)
1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract
1/3 cup extra dry peanut butter
3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon extra dry coconut butter
1/8 teaspoon whole leaf stevia powder

To create “extra dry peanut butter” use a new jar of organic peanut butter, pour the peanut oil floating on the top of the jar into a small container and set aside to mix back in later. 

To create “extra dry coconut butter” remove any coconut oil that has collected at the top of your storage jar and set aside to stir back in later.

Place all ingredients (except 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter) into the bowl of your food processor and blend until very smooth. Taste and adjust sweetener to your personal taste.

Scrape on to a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and roll or flatten until it is ¼ inch thick. Smooth top and refrigerate at least 4 hours. Using an egg shaped cookie cutter cut as many as you can, wiggle the cutter to create a little extra space to make moving the egg as easy as possible.

Transfer the eggs to a pretty serving plate. Feel free to re-roll scraps, refrigerate and then cut out more eggs or other shapes.

To decorate your egg fill a pastry bag, fitted with a small star tip, with creamy peanut butter. Tip the bag and pipe peanut butter in 2 lacy rows, then fill in with tiny stars in any pattern you desire. 
Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour and then serve!

Homemade Chocolate Bunnies (healthy!)by CHOCOLATE-COVERED KATIE on APRIL 2, 2012

Hot Chocolate Bars from Chocolate Covered Katie

Or you can make chocolate chips! 

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
4 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil (melted)
1/4 cup agave or use NuNatural vanilla stevia drops (I use 10 drops. Triple or quadruple that amount if you don’t like extra-bitter chocolate.)
optional: extracts, cocoa nibs, or other add-ins

Combine coconut oil with agave or stevia drops. Stir, then add cocoa powder (and add 3-4 T water or nondairy milk if using stevia.). Stir stir stir! Stir until it gets thick. Pour into any flat container (or candy molds or smush between layers of wax paper or in ziploc bags). Fridge or freeze until solid.

OMG! You Must Be Kidding! Dark Chocolate Truffles
You may be wondering about this name . . . as these delicious, smooth, creamy dark chocolate truffles melt in your mouth you will utter OMG! But when you read the ingredients you will say YOU MUST BE KIDDING! These chocolaty treats are potentially the most nutrient dense dessert you could ever imagine . . . they are truly sugar free and filled with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber and yet they taste like a decadent dark chocolate truffle! Who could ask for more? 
Yield – 2 dozen truffles

3/4 cup garnet or jewel sweet potato puree
2 rounded tablespoons cacao powder + extra for coating
3 dates (or 1 tablespoon raw honey)
1/8 teaspoon whole leaf stevia powder
1 tablespoon palm kernel shortening
1/2 teaspoon high quality vanilla

Bake sweet potatoes in a covered baking dish at 350 degrees until very soft. Cool slightly and remove skins. Place in food processor or VitaMix.

Remove papery covering and pits from dates. Chop and then work with the back of a spoon into a paste. Add to sweet potatoes and process until very smooth.

Force sweet potato/date mixture through a fine wire mesh sieve to remove any fibers.

Combine all ingredients and mix until very smooth. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or until quite firm. Scoop out 1 teaspoon truffle mixture, form into a ball, roll in cocoa powder or finely chopped nuts. Place into individual candy papers and refrigerate in an airtight container.

For many more delicious wheat, gluten, dairy and sugar free recipes, click on the link to purchase a copy of my cookbook and you can even get 30% off by using the code BLOG30 at checkout through Sunday!

If you missed Dr. Lustig's segment on the toxicity of sugar, click on the link below to view the entire interview.

Or if you would like to listen to Dr. Gupta's insightful interview on this important topic, click on the link below.

Here's to a wonderful, decadently healthy, chocolaty, Easter . . .

Dr. P

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