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Friday #2, September 17 – Take your favorite recipe and substitute fruit

September 09, 2021
Fruit Substitute

This week we acknowledge that sometimes you just have to satisfy that craving.  Research indicates that elimination diets – where you starve yourself of certain foods – do not work well. For example, people find it difficult to stick to very-low-carbohydrate diets in the long term, in part because carbs are a major source of energy for many people.

So, Day 2 of the challenge is about learning to build some better habits. The challenge today is to take your favorite “classic” recipe – muffins, pancakes, cookies will all work well – and substitute in fruit for sugar.

Here are some suggested ratio tweaks for your recipes:

For 1 cup sugar, substitute:

  • 1 cup applesauce or banana purée
  • ¾ cup date paste (a 1:1 mixture of dried dates and water)
  • Fig puree (8 ounces fresh figs + 1/3-1/4 cup water, blended, OR soak dried figs in water before blending)
  • Sweet potato or squash purée (these are not as sweet, so you may need to keep some sugar)

Here’s a link to a simple breakfast bar recipe that has minimal added sugar and is both easy to make, and easy to grab & go.

Blueberry Oatmeal Bake

Blueberry Bake

Another great recipe as you transition to fruit-sweetened treats: banana nut muffins, sweetened with a combination of banana and maple syrup. (If you prefer your treats less sweet, or if your bananas are very ripe, you could reduce the amount of maple syrup.) Although mashed banana and maple syrup have a glycemic index that is only slightly lower than sugar, the banana supplies additional nutrients including some fiber.

Fruit substituting is a good skill to learn, and a great way to reduce the sweet tooth. Inevitably, these desserts will be less sweet than their fully-sugared counterparts, and yet will give you a little sweet fix. Eventually, you may find that “regular” desserts are too sweet!

Now, some of you might know and be worried about the other refined items in baked goods, such as white flour. And, again, you wouldn’t be wrong. White flour has a glycemic index of about 72, and doesn’t act that different than sugar in your body. That’s why we suggest you experiment with stone-ground whole grains, and even the whole grains themselves (like in the oatmeal bars).

Even if a recipe has some refined ingredients, two things you can do to modify the glycemic index of the finished product are: 1) add fiber, 2) add (healthy!) fat, both of which slow digestion. Of course, we suggest EVOO….

What’s your favorite recipe? Experiment with a substitution and post the results to the Facebook group.

Blood Glucose and Diabetes

The typical person has about 4 grams of glucose in their blood at any given time. This level is carefully regulated by your body. When we eat food, our blood glucose levels immediately increase, causing insulin to be released from the pancreas. This helps our cells to absorb glucose and to store it as either fat or glycogen, allowing our blood glucose to return to a healthy level. If we start exercising, our muscles need more glucose to burn up to generate energy and glucose is released back into the blood.

Having too much glucose in the blood can be devastating for our health—a condition known as diabetes—and is linked to many cancers (prostate cancer being one notable exception). Type 1 diabetes is usually due to an autoimmune reaction whereby the pancreas cannot make insulin. In Type 2 diabetes, the cells of the body cannot respond as readily to insulin and so glucose remains in the bloodstream, resulting in hyperglycemia (high blood glucose levels).

Blood Glucose and Diabetes
The typical person has about 4 grams of glucose in their blood at any given time. This level is carefully regulated by your body. When we eat food, our blood glucose levels immediately increase, causing insulin to be released from the pancreas. This helps our cells to absorb glucose and to store it as either fat or glycogen, allowing our blood glucose to return to a healthy level. If we start exercising, our muscles need more glucose to burn up to generate energy and glucose is released back into the blood.
Having too much glucose in the blood can be devastating for our health—a condition known as diabetes—and is linked to many cancers (prostate cancer being one notable exception). Type 1 diabetes is usually due to an autoimmune reaction whereby the pancreas cannot make insulin. In Type 2 diabetes, the cells of the body cannot respond as readily to insulin and so glucose remains in the bloodstream, resulting in hyperglycemia (high blood glucose levels).