It is worth bringing up sweets again. After all, we are now less than two weeks away from Halloween and it also is part of the Jewish tradition at this time of year to consume apples and honey, a gastronomic wish for a sweet new year.
The 21st century world must reassess their relationship with sugar and refined carbohydrates. Sugars in whole foods are properly balanced with minerals. In contrast, consumption of processed sugar lead to formation of acids that leach calcium and other mineral from the body, leaving the tissues depleted of these nutrients. Under these conditions, food cannot be digested or assimilated properly.
“Yeah, but I can’t resist, ” my patients tell me, “I know it’s not good for me, but eating sugar is how I respond to stress…”
Stress is a big issue that should not be overlooked. But there are some simple tricks you can use to address the addictive attribute of sugar. One easy, inexpensive method you can use to dull the sweet tooth is to buy a tincture of Gymnema sylvestre. This ayurvedic herb been used for centuries to treat disorders of blood sugar metabolism. More to the point here, taking ten drops of the tincture in the mouth will completely destroy the sweet taste for up to an hour, making even the sweet taste of chocolates bland as cotton. Elimination of that gratifying, euphoric flavor will help you to resist the blandishments your sweet tooth.
You can also consider that certain foods, while not sugary themselves, increase the desire for junky carbohydrates. According to eastern teachings, foods such as sea salt, pickles, miso, animal products and soy sauce direct energy lower in the body and thereby create a create a craving for sweets, which have an ascending nature. Those conditions that are indicative of a sugar imbalance such as diabetes may want to consider limiting or eliminating these foods from your menu. Instead, incorporate sweet vegetables such as beets, jerusalem artichokes, carrots, winter squash, sweet potatoes and parsnips. They will provide you with carbohydrates, but also with a great deal of fiber and micronutrients that are absent from refined sugary foods. Reduce the intake of sugar slowly to minimize withdrawal symptoms of fatigue, anxiety and depression. Cutting of sugar suddenly results in the desire to binge.
Any suggestions for sweet snacks or desserts that are easy to make and will satisfy what I will call the late night “chocolate undertow”? Absolutely!
Cacao date balls. They take about thirty minutes to make, but I like it because with the same time commitment I can triple the recipe and have enough for 3-6 months (frozen). It is difficult to overestimate the health benefits of dates. They are useful for constipation, anemia and allergies. They have a high mineral content, which is important for kids’ growing bones. They are high in fiber and are said to boost the sexual energy (I will let you assess your own need for dates here). Raw cacao nibs contain a very high percentage of antioxidants and are a superb natural blood pressure lowering food.
Ingredients include ¾ cup tree nuts (I used raw organic pecans), ¾ cup dried pitted organic dates, 2 tablespoons almond butter, 3 tablespoons 100% raw cacao unsweetened nibs, 3 Tablespoons hemp seeds, a handful of pumpkin or sunflower seeds and 1/2 – 2 tsp coconut oil as needed for appropriate consistency. If desired you may consider including a chunk of banana, cinnamon or nutmeg. Combine the ingredients in a food processor (you may need to soak the dates first for an hour), add the seeds and roll into balls.
It is coming up on a time for reflection and resolution. Make a commit-“mint” to change your addiction to sweets!
Dr. Daniel Smith practices at Bear Creek Naturopathic Clinic. His office is on 2612 Barnett Ave. He specializes in naturopathic oncology, but still maintains a strong family practice, treating all manner of conditions. He can be reached at 541-770-5563 or at email@example.com If you would like to schedule an appointment, please ask specifically for Dr. Dan.