A little over one year ago I wrote about Sugar Cravings. That post still has a lot of great suggestions, but I have learned a lot in the past year and want to share some more thoughts.
I am noticing a cycle to my behavior around sugar, most noticeably cane sugar. I want to be clear that this is any cane sugar. Organic evaporated cane juice which seems to be showing up in everything is still refined sugar. It still counts. It just has a fancier name.
So, the cycle is that I will dive into cane sugar, swim around a while, drag myself out, stay on dry land for a period of time and then dive back in. I don’t feel good when I’m eating this kind of sugar. I don’t think as clearly and I don’t have as much energy. Plus, a lot of my time is spent thinking about and procuring my next fix.
The reality is that we do need sweet foods in our life. We are biologically wired with a predisposition to the sweet taste. So, how do we honor this without going off the deep end and sabotaging our health?
At this time last year, I really thought that a bowl of creamy, sweet puréed soup was going to cut it. I have since learned that I need more than that to keep myself on dry land.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, here are some suggestions. Incorporate good quality sweet things into your routine every day. This can include dishes like nishime and carrot jam, but many of us need something a little stronger on a regular basis and that’s where this list comes in.
1. Carrot juice: Have you ever tried warm carrot juice? Wow! It really brings out the sweetness. Try 1/2 to 1 cup. Just don’t let it boil.
2. Amasake: Same as the carrot juice. Try it warm. Add a bit of ginger juice if you want. Here is a recipe.
3. Fresh Vegetable Juice: Try green apple, beet and carrot.
5. Sweet Potato Pie: Substitute brown rice syrup for the maple syrup for an even more balanced dessert.
6. Fruit Kanten: This past weekend, Warren Kramer made us an apple juice kanten with tangerine slices embedded in it. The tangerines were amazingly sweet. It was so delicious!
7. Sweet Kuzu Drink: I hadn’t completely experienced the magic of this drink until a few weeks ago when I wasn’t feeling too great. It was the first day of my period and I was a little headachy. Sweet kuzu drink can be made with brown rice syrup, barley malt or apple juice. I chose the barley malt because barley has a relationship with the liver and liver stagnation or imbalances can lead to discomfort during a woman’s cycle. I felt better almost immediately after drinking it. The right foods or remedy can make a huge difference in how we feel. Recipe is below.
This probably won’t be the last time I write about this topic. I know I am not the only one who dances in and out of life with cane sugar. I hope these suggestions are helpful. There is so much research out there now about the negative health effects of cane sugar and other highly refined sweeteners. It makes sense to get the support and tools we need to eliminate it from our diet. Let me know if you have any questions or would like support.
Sweet Kuzu Drink
1. In a small saucepan, dissolve the kuzu in cold water. Heat the liquid slowly until it starts to boil. Whisk every once in a while to prevent the kuzu from clumping.
2. When the mixture comes to a boil, add the sweetener. Stir and remove from heat. Pour into a mug, sit down and drink slowly while still hot. This is great mid-afternoon or in the evening after dinner.
Note: If making this with apple juice, dilute the apple juice with water to make 1 cup and proceed with recipe. Leave out the other sweeteners.