I've been telling you for years to lay off the sugar and I will say it again. LAY OFF THE SUGAR! "But Jamie, it tastes SOOOO good," you cry. Not to worry. Just because you forget the white stuff doesn't mean we have to give up sweetness altogether.
But first, why must we stay away from white sugar? Besides the fact that sugar is stripped of all vitamins and minerals by using bleaches and toxic chemical solvents, it also spikes blood glucose levels which can insight weight gain, diabetes, high triglyceride and cholesterol levels, poor eye sight, depression and a host
of other ailments. Exciting, huh? Americans eat over 150 pounds of sugar per person per year and yet from a biological standpoint, we do not need white sugar at all. Our bodies function perfectly without it: our taste buds, however, tend to differ.
So if we can't have white sugar, what can we have? Here are just a few of my favorite non-white-sugar sweeteners. They undergo minimal processing, contain trace vitamins and minerals, and don't spike blood sugar levels as drastically as white sugar. Granted it's important to remember that sugar is sugar is sugar. That is, we don't need a lot of it and even though there are "healthy" alternatives, these sweeteners should not be used in excess. Sweet treats should always be just that, a treat. An occasional indulgence that, because of it's infrequency, is very special.
JAMIE|LIVING's Favorite Alternative Sweeteners
Sweetener Amount = 1 cup white sugar
Barley Malt 1 1/3 cup
Brown Rice Syrup 1 1/3 cup
Organic Maple Syrup 3/4 cup
Rapadura/Sucanat (unrefined, unbleached cane sugar) 3/4 cup
Raw Organic Honey 2/3 cup
Brown Rice syrup was the first alternative sweetener I ever tried and it is still an all-time fave. Rich and smooth, this sweetener has an amazing depth of flavor that reminds me of butterscotch. Can't go wrong with that! Here is a delicious recipe that is a perfect introduction to using alternative sweeteners. I have made these for dedicated rice crispy fans who adored them and didn't even miss the marshmallow. You won't either. Promise!
Chocolate Brown Rice Crispy Treats
1/2 cup organic peanut butter (don't buy a "no stir" kind. It's got added sugar!)
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
1 tsp. organic vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups gluten free brown rice cereal (I use Erewhon brand)
1/4 cup 70% cacao chocolate chips
In a small sauce pan, heat peanut butter and brown rice syrup until they are melted together and creamy. Add in the vanilla and the brown rice cereal. Let the mix cool for a few minutes to make sure the chocolate chips don't melt when you add them in. Throw in the chocolate chips and mix thoroughly.
Pour mixture into an 8x8 Pyrex baking dish, place into the refrigerator and let cool for an hour or two. Cut into squares and enjoy!