Applesauce and a sugarfree life

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I already told you some months ago that my own childhood was on the whole sugarfree. The funny thing is, whenever I tell anyone, people ask me whether I now eat more sugar to recompense. Well, I don’t.

My childhood didn’t feel restricted. And I guess that is what made it feel so good and easy not to eat sugar. Our mother didn’t forbid us to eat sugar, but explained quite a deal about how sugar works in the body and how natural sweeteners are so much better for you. Also my mother and brother almost always reacted to refined sugar with severe stomach ache, that didn’t appear with honey. Our mother always trusted our understanding, no matter what age we were and that gave us a lot of self reliance. She would say I’d rather you don’t eat that for its not good for you, but it’s your own choice. Or: I will buy you one ice-cream these vacations and you can decide when you want it. You have to buy the others yourself. We also baked a lot at home and very early. I watched mum and my brother bake buns when he was 1,5 years old. So we had a deep connection to food and its value.

I thought it would be so hard to establish these routines with J in our new family.  I thought the world is filled with sugar so how could I ever protect him from it? Of course I didn’t have to. You shouldn’t protect your child from sugar. You just have to model a healthy relationship to sugar. Show him alternatives and get him used to natural sweeteners. This way he will have an early knowledge about food and health.

I talked to a friend about that topic and she was surprised to hear about agave syrup being so unhealthy. She asked me why honey was any better than sugar when it also contains these high fructose parts. And why we don’t become sick of eating too many fruits? And why this is suddenly a problem when 50 years ago everyone ate sugar and no one became sick?

I will try to answer these questions shortly and please feel free to tell your experiences and knowledge in the comment section  😊

1. Why is honey better than white sugar?

White crystallised sugar is a refined, isolated and highly unnatural product. Honey on the other side is complex and whole as mother nature produced it. This makes a tremendous digestive difference. To digest your body needs enzymes that break down the parts of food. Since sugar is isolated and incomplete, it extracts these enzymes and also many minerals from the cells of your body (blood, bones, skin). So this process weakens you and over the years it can lead to massive disorders. 

Honey on the other side brings all the products that are needed for digestion with it in its complex form. It already contains the digestive enzymes and additionally numerous valuable minerals and vitamins to support you. 

An important remark should be made here: honey is sometimes produced with the help of sugar. Beekeepers tend to feed it to their bees in the winter months. It normally doesn’t reach the honey we consume later,  but scientists have found that it weakens the bee’s immune system and makes them more vulnerable to be harmed from pesticides. 

2. Why don’t we become sick of eating too many fruits?

Digesting fruits works similar as with honey. They are complete  and natural and contain high amounts of vitamins. We still shouldn’t eat fruits all day since their high fructose part can be straining for the liver. A rule of thumb is that you should drink one smoothie per day to have the necessary and maximum amount of fruits. By the way fruits are not the first choice if you want to boost up your vitamin stores. While we often think we have to consume lemons and oranges for vitamin C or carrots for vitamin A, there is a much easier alternative. Wild herbs contain much higher doses of vitamins than fruits. You would have to eat kilos of lemons to have the vitamin C amount in stingy nettle or ashweed. Just pick wildherbs that are local and fresh and consume them  right away.  

Dried fruits are a little different than fresh fruits. They are dehydrated, which means they need more water to be digested. Ultimately they soak the cell water out of your skin and bones, but as long as you don’t consume them all day you should be perfectly fine.  And it is always recommendable to soak them before consuming. But hey, our little one eats raisins a lot and they are complex vitamin rich sweets. There is nothing wrong about that.

A short remark: please never brush your teeth directly after consuming fruits as your tooth enamel is very vulnerable then to be hurt and opened.

3. Why is this suddenly a problem when 50 years ago everyone ate sugar and no one became sick? 

Yes your grandma probably doesn’t understand all the fuss you are making to live that sugar reduced life. How could she? Nowadays everything contains sugar (fruit sugar,  fructose, syrups etc). From ketchup, crisps,  cream cheese, sausages over nut milk. We consume the 10- 50 fold amount of fructose that our grandma generation did. When your grandma ate her morning bread with jam and that piece of custard pie at the afternoon tea, it were probably the only times she consumed sugar over the day. Today we consume sugar if we want it or not. Mostly we don’t even know it. That is why we should open our eyes for hidden sugars and to what sugar we want to consume. 

And now let’s talk applesauce.

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Sugarfree Apple Compote

You will need:

3 kg ripe apples (A mix of sweet and sour works best)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
200 ml filtered water
1 handful raisins
2 mason jars (400 ml)

Wash the apples, cut them into quarters and remove 
the core. Don't remove the skin as it will be 
much tastier and healthier if you let it on. 
Put them in a pot together with the cinnamon 
and water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a low 
simmering and let sit for about 10 minutes. 
Maybe you will have to add more water in the mean time. Add the 
raisins and let sit for another 5 minutes or until the apples 
are soft and done. Blend it roughly or to your liking.
Immediately fill into the prepared washed out mason jars and 
turn them around to produce a vacuum.

Enjoy :)

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In the end sugar will never be a health pastille. But health always embodies our physical and our psychological wellbeing. Eating sweets enables our sense of happiness and raises the mood. It thus supports our psychological health. We just have to see that we minimise it’s harm on the physical health and everything will be in balance.

Banana Bread and my sugar free childhood

Today it is kind of trendy if your baby doesn’t get any refined sugar under the age of one. There are lots of alternatives at whole food stores like fruit sweetened cookies, sugar free drinks or coconut water. But that wasn’t always the case. When my mother started living on a sugar free diet in 1995 I was just 6 years old and it didn’t really bother me. I got to eat sweets (I didn’t know they didn’t contain sugar) and I had the great opportunity to exchange my chocolate and gummy bears for stickers. Do you remember that time when everybody had a sticker album and stickers were exchanged? I was always happy to give my mom some of grandma’s Christmas chocolate and to receive a new glittering sticker to glue into my album in exchange. I was always keen to be at my friend’s house where I got to eat Nutella or eat sugary pancakes. But I didn’t miss them at home. I even disliked a lot of sweets and I didn’t like drinks like coke, lemonade or sweetened juices. I guess I had quite complex taste buds that always knew whenever something was not natural. My friends were always curious about the things that were growing inside my mother’s kitchen: sprouts, soaked buckwheat or just salt sole.

My own path convinced me and my husband to do it similar with J. We don’t give him sugar. He doesn’t need to get used to its oversweet taste. Everything made with sugar tastes the same: sweet and sugary. It puts you to a level from which it is very difficult to step down again. Until he was 18 months old we only gave him natural sweeteners: banana, date and applesauce. Now we start him very easily on honey and rice syrup. I am very careful with agave syrup and other sweeteners. They are produced concentrates that are not occurring in nature and I would always prefer honey from agave syrup.

One other reason why I don’t follow the agave syrup hype is that it isn’t much different than refined sugar with a very high fructose share. Normal white sugar exists of 50:50 fructose and glucose. Glucose is quite innocent, but it’s the fructose that is the highly toxic part for our teeth, stomach mucosa and of course for our brain, as it may lead to addiction symptoms. Now when talking of agave syrup we again talk about a blend of fructose and glucose. But this time we have a relation of 7-8 parts fructose to 1 part glucose. There are several papers and reviews that deal with the association of fructose and different diseases such as inflammation, insulin resistance, digestive disorders, fat liver or cancer (See the sources attached in the footnotes).

Our banana bread is free of any refined sugar as it only contains bananas and raisins. We will try out other versions soon, but this version is perfect. We first gave it to J when he was 1 year old, but I guess you could start at 10 months. We started to introduce eggs at 10 months (1 per week at most) and we introduced spelt with 8 months. Supported by immune components from my milk he was perfectly protected to get introduced with these foods. We still eat a lot of gluten-free alternatives, but only a lot, not always as with everything. We don’t like to be too restrictive with that.

Banana-Blueberry Bread

You will need:

125g whole grain spelt flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
75g raisins
50g melted butter
2teaspoons vanilla
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk
3 ripe bananas, mashed
2 handfull blueberries/blackberries/raspberries

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a caster shaped baking tin with 
baking sheet. Mix Flower, baking powder, cinnamon, raisins. Mix 
butter, vanilla, egg, milk, babana in another bowl. Mix the two 
blends with each other. Fill half of the quantity into the baking 
tin and cover with the other half. Bake for about 30 minutes.

Enjoy Folks! 🙂

Susann

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References:

Basciano, H., Federico, L., & Adeli, K. (2005). Fructose, insulin resistance, and metabolic dyslipidemia. Nutr Metab (Lond). 21;2(1):5.

Charrez, B., Qiao, L., & Hebbard, L. (2015). The role of fructose in metabolism and cancer. Horm Mol Biol Clin Investig, 22(2), 79-89.

Dornas, W.C., de Lima, W.G., Pedrosa, M.L., & Silva, M.E. (2015). Health implications of high-fructose intake and current research. Adv Nutr. 6(6), 729-37.

Herman, M.A., & Samuel, V.T. (in press). The Sweet Path to Metabolic Demise: Fructose and Lipid Synthesis. Trends Endocrinol Metab.

Tappy, L.,&  Le, K.A. (2010). Metabolic effects of fructose and the worldwide increase in obesity. Physiol Rev. 90 (1), 23-46.

Tappy, L., Le, K.A., Tran, C., & Paquot, N. (2010). Fructose and metabolic diseases: new findings, new questions. Nutrition, 26 (11-12), 1044-9.

Tappy, L., Le, & K.A. (2012). Does fructose consumption contribute to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease? Clin Res Hepatol Gastroenterol, 36(6), 554-560.