My partner's nickname for me is 'Sugarbug' and, what can I say, it's true. I have a total sweet tooth! Even though I love sugar, sugar definitely doesn't love me back. Did you know that Sugar can be linked to low-grade inflammation, insulin resistance, diabetes and obesity? Not to mention, eating sugar creates cravings for more sugar! It's an endless cycle!
When I realized I was doing so much damage to my body by eating this stuff, I started looking around for other ways to sate my sugarbug cravings. It felt like it would never happen but honestly, I have found so many AMAZING and HEALTHY sweeteners!
If you've ever tried to cut out sugar, you may understand how hard it is to find alternatives right off the bat, much less, ones that are actually good for you!
What do I look for in a sweetener?
Personally, I look for something that is minimally processed, TASTES GOOD, and has added nutritional benefits! Low GI Index is an bonus!
After trying so many, here are my personal top three!
1. Black-strap Molasses
I am currently fan-girling over black strap molasses! Though, it isn't traditionally sweet (do not try this straight from the bottle, trust me on this one), it has a warm, almost chocolatey malted flavor when mixed into things. Black Strap Molasses is rich in iron, potassium and calcium. It is also low-glycemic which makes it an excellent choice for people with hormonal or blood sugar imbalances.
You can replace sugar with black strap molasses with a 1 to 1 ratio in almost anything! BBQ sauce, baked goods, beverages and marinades to name a few. I add black strap molasses to my chai tea lattes or coffee drinks in the morning to add a little more iron to my day.
2. Maple Syrup
Lets be clear here: Maple Syrup is pretty great. It's minimally processed and comes straight from trees! Real Maple Syrup has a complex maple flavor with hints of caramel, vanilla, and prune and it's absolutely packed with numerous minerals and antioxidants. It’s also lower calorie than most sweeteners.
Maple Syrup can be used for so many things; oatmeal, pancakes, waffles, acai bowls (my favorite), smoothies, bliss balls, and even in salad dressing. This stuff is crazy versatile! Please note though, it is important when buying maple syrup to get real maple syrup and not a sugared variety. Definitely make sure that you check the ingredients label.
3. Raw Local Honey
Honey is one of my favorite sweeteners and has been for a very long time! It's something I always have on hand because I can use it so many ways! Honey is full of antioxidants and can help aid in allergy prevention, digestive issues and soothe sore throats. Honey is also a great carrier for herbs and can help alleviate a whole host of skin issues due to it's antiseptic and antibacterial properties. I use honey all the time as a face mask as my skin is prone to redness and irritation.
Honey is an easy swap for sugar in most things. Try it in baked goods, warm tea and coffee, marinades, wellness tonics, on top of toast or pancakes, or pair it with goat cheese.
*As with all sweeteners! Moderation is key! Use your Intuitive Eating Skill with sweeteners and you will always be in alignment.