Yay or Nej for Agave?

An ingredient which I have used from time to time as an alternative to honey or white sugar is agave. The main reason I would do this, is that I’ve been led to believe that it’s healthier and better for me than white sugar and is vegan with respects to honey.

However, just a day or 2 ago, someone asked me why it was healthier than sugar, and I was at a loss for words. Totally befuddled, as it was just a notion I had fixated in my head but with no real reason behind it.

My first thought was ‘it’s natural’, but in essence so is white sugar. White sugar comes from the sugar cane, what makes the stuff bad for us is that it’s highly concentrated leading us to excessive portions in relation to what we would if we ate the plant and it’s also highly treated. The same would go for agave syrup. There are no laws or regulations at present which monitor what can be labelled as ‘raw’, it is a relatively new lifestyle as far as the market is concerned. So even a lot of agave syrups or nectres that are labelled as raw, may in fact not be raw. They can get away with labelling raw if the product at some stage of it’s processing, extracting etc was raw.

I then looked at the nutritional content of white sugar, vs agave syrup. Both are entirely made of carbohydrates, and both are predominantly sugary carbohydrates. THESE (i believe) are what causes weight gain. I do believe that saturated fats are also bad for health and attribute to weight gain, but I firmly believe that sugar is the main culprit.

So what are the differences? Well agave has a much lower GI level, keeping blood sugar levels lower and can be a good solution for some diabetics to get their sugar fix. Agave is also sweeter and therefore less is needed. (eatingwell.com)

From my own experience as well, i have found that agave is less addictive. Many of us have heard or read the research papers arguing that sugar is as addictive as heroin, and i support this belief. A while ago, I decided to give up refined sugar to prove to myself I wasn’t addicted, but in fact proved to myself that I had been, and have not touched the stuff since. I had huge headaches and moodswings to begin with, as well as cravings for things I haven’t had in years (i went through a week where I just wanted to binge on mcdonalds). After a week or 2 I felt the difference in myself and my body and I now don’t crave it, but instead crave things like fruits and vegetables to nourish myself with. I can honestly say I don’t often get hungry since not having refined sugar, which is also why I believe it’s one of the main culprits to weight gain (false hunger).

As for agave, I don’t crave agave, or chocolate sweetened with agave. I will eat it and then not have a craving to eat it again, which I think is the yay towards agave.

The ‘nej’, is that it is still very similar to the white stuff, nutritionally speaking. Aside from sugary carbohydrates it has no nutritional value whatsoever. For this reason, I tend to home make date syrup (just blending dates with water), if I want to sweeten something as although high in sugar they also provide me with A LOT of potassium, calcium, iron and protein. They have also not been tampered with (refined or processed) like agave and the white sugar, and are still the way nature intended them to be. This being said, I know in some countries dates can be quite costly, and agave i think is still ok to have in moderation, and it’s a lot easier to moderate when it’s not addictive!

As a disclaimer, I should add I’m not a nutritionist, doctor, dietician etc. I have based all of this information on research and my own experiences and opinions.

Advertisements

RAW Chocolate fudge cake

Raw Chocolate fudge cake

11696566_10153543570616414_1401687895_n Raw Chocolate fudge cake

My latest obsession has been avocados, and since I have the continuing obsession with chocolate, I thought it was time to give it (another) try from my previous raw avacado cake (mint choc chip). I have learned a lot since then, with the mint choc chip cake, i can taste the healthiness in it, which I like, and you can taste the avocado. This cake could easily be confused with something that has 10 times the sugar or it’s unhealthy counterpart.

I won’t lie to you, this cake is pretty high in fat (33g actually)….BUT of those fats, 26g are monounsaturated (the ones that help lower bad cholestreol). If you’re thinking ‘that’s still 7g of saturated fats’, then i’m afraid you’re wrong. There are just 2g of saturated fats, 0g of trans fats and the rest are polyunsaturated fats (also helping to lower bad cholestreol levels and good for maintaining and looking after your body’s cells). Not that this cake needs to help you lower cholestreol, since it has none. In fact, most vegans have low cholestreol since animal products are one of the highest sources. In addition one serving of this cake provides you with half of your daily calcium intake, 10% of your potassium, 20% of your daily protein, 20% of your daily iron, 13% of your daily vitamin C and is also rich in Vitamin A and Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.

THIS is a cake to give to your non vegan loved ones, to convince them….or to a friend who doesn’t get enough fruits and vegetables in their diets. Even to your kids (or of course yourself) as an alternative to a sugary, bad fatty dessert.

I am VERY tempted to share the recipe since I’m posting such a convincing argument as to why you should eat it, but not providing you with the how. I have my reasons, which I will reveal at a later date (maybe one of the images is a bit of a clue), I will however give you the list of ingredients, and maybe then you can see this as an opportunity to expand your creativity. All my recipes are created from something I’ve tasted then tried to replicate, sometimes it comes out how I planned, sometimes not. In this case, I had tried to make a raw chocolate cheesecake, however in the end it did not taste like traditional cheesecake (the only way I have really been able to really simulate the TASTE of cheesecake has been with tofu)…but I discovered something new.

So for this cake you will need:

Avocado

Lemon

Cacao (or cocoa if on a budget)

Macadamia nuts

Sunflower seeds

Himalayan salt

Agave

Dates

Dessicated coconut (i just used it for garnish)

I wish you good luck, and if you do have a go at making it, please don’t forget to take a picture and send it to me!

RAW CARDOMOM CACAO MINI DOUGHNUTS, WITH COCONUT FROSTING

donuts

It’s certainly been a while, ‘where have you been?’ you may ask…well the question really should be ‘where haven’t you been?’….Poland, Sweden, Finland, Prague, England with a return trip to Prague, Norway and Switzerland on the horizon.

Amongst my travels, I have finally set aside some time to make a recipe and post it for you guys. A blog or a website like this is just a matter of habit.

It is worth noting, that although these are delicious, they aren’t textureally the same as normal donuts, but I have never come across some that are.

Without further ado, here’s the recipe for the raw mini donuts:

For the donut (makes 8):

1 tbsp ground linseed

1/2 cup soaked almonds (or almond flour)

1tbsp water

2 tbsp chia seeds

1 tbsp raw cacao

6 dried dates

1 tsp cardamom

2 tbsp fresh coconut (not young)

For the frosting:

1 cup fresh coconut

1 tbsp agave syrpup

1 tbsp raw coconut oil or butter

2 tbsp water

Cacao nibs (for decoration)

Method:

1. Mix the linseed with the water and refridgerate for about 10 minutes.

2, When it is a thick liquid, put in the food processor alongside the rest of the donut base ingredients and process until it becomes a mouldable dough.

3. Divide into small balls, and then flatten slightly (don’t make the hole yet!).

4. Blend the frosting ingredients together, then frost the donuts. Use a chopstick to make the holes in the doughnuts,  and decorate with the nibs.

5. Refridgerate for a couple of hours for the frosting to set and enjoy!

Choc

Triple Layer Chocolate Caramel Slice (Gluten, Dairy & Refined Sugar Free and Paleo)

Triple Layer Chocolate Caramel Slice (Gluten, Dairy & Refined Sugar Free and Paleo).

via Triple Layer Chocolate Caramel Slice (Gluten, Dairy & Refined Sugar Free and Paleo).

 

looks delicious, definitely one for the to do list!