Sugar high- part 3

After reading Part 1 and 2 of this article, you have probably noticed that sugar is everywhere. And I mean everywhere. One of my clients who is drastically changing her diet and kicking some serious boo-tay at it, said to me " Sugar is in everything! I could not believe when I started to take it out of my diet how it was showing up everywhere." And this is so true. Once you make the commitment to leave sugar behind, you will see, like any good drug with a masterful dealer like the commercialized food industry, they will not let you go quietly into the night. It will whisper to you in the forms you would not suspect: rice, soup, pasta sauce, peanut butter. I mean does peanut butter really need to be sweeter than it already is?

Let's do a little experiment. Go to your pantry right now and grab three packaged items...I will wait. Ok, do you have them? Now turn them over and read the list of ingredients. My guess is at least 1 out of the 3 have some sort of sugar in it. And more likely it is 2 out of 3. Not sure of the other names sugar hides behind? Here is a list : Aspartame, corn starch, crystalline carbohydrate dextrin, dextrose, disaccharides, galactose, glucose, levulose, malts of any kind, maltitol, maltodextrin, maltose (malt sugar), manitol, mannitol, mono-saccharides, sucrose, Nutrasweet, polydextrose, polysaccharides, ribose, saccharin, sorghum, suamiel, succanant, xylitol.

So here are my top 5 steps to leaving sugar behind: 

1. Stop eating out of a box and/or a can

2. Stop eating out of a box and/ or a can

3. Stop eating out of a box and/ or a can

4. Stop eating out of a box and/or a can

5. ...( you get the picture) 

I know this seems redundant to say and probably most of you are like "duh" but it is a lot harder than it seems. Most people have very full lives and unfortunately meal planning and cooking from scratch does not a make the cut. But this has got to change. In order for us to live the lives we so desire, feeling the way we want to feel, we have got to take back control of the food that we eat. Period. And the best way to do that is at the grocery store and in the kitchen.

Here really are my steps to  leaving sugar behind: 

1. Stop eating out of a box and/or a can

2. Make a meal plan (check out my post here for a step by step guide to start this transformative practice)  so eating at home is a breeze

3. Eat by the 80/20 rule where 80 % of your food is whole foods free of all sugars (minus fruit)

4. Always eat vegetables with your starches

5. When you do choose sweet treats, make sure they are made with the best possible sugar choices (see below) 

Now that you have a good foundation on what sugar really is, how it effects your metabolism and how to reduce it, lets get you up to speed on the best sugars to consume when baking and cooking.

One of the easiest ways to release the sugar from your day or at least reduce it , is to choose sweet treats that contain only natural sugars like honey, maple, molasses, coconut sugar, dates, date sugar, fruit and stevia.  You may notice agave is not on my approved sugar list. Yes, I do not believe agave is a healthy sugar. After years of research around the production of agave, my opinion is it contains more fructose than even high fructose corn syrup. And fructose is not the kind of of sugar we want to ingest on the regular, remember why? But if you need more than my word for it, check out this article by Dr. Mercola.

Here is a great recipe for a seasonal pumpkin bread that is delicious and made without refined sugar, gluten and dairy! And you can feel good about eating it and giving it to your kids. 

Spiced pumpkin bread

Adapted from Mind Body Green 

2 1/2 cup Pamela's gluten free baking mix

2/3 cup date (or coconut) sugar

2 tablespoons tapioca flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon guar gum

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

15 ounces of organic pureed pumpkin

1 cup fresh ginger tea, warm not hot

*if you do not know how to make fresh ginger tea, peel fresh ginger and add about an inch to 1 cup of water. Let it come to a boil, turn off heat and cover for 10 minutes. Strain the ginger and use the tea for the recipe.

1/3 cup melted coconut or grapeseed oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Optional: 1/2 cup nuts or cacao nibs ( I like a combo of both!)


  • Preheat oven to 350º and grease a loaf pan with coconut or grapeseed oil . 
  • In a medium bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together and pass through a sieve. If you do not have a sieve , mix with a hand mixer or whisk.
  • In another small bowl, mix all wet ingredients together and add the dry ingredients in thirds to the wet, combining as you go. If you are adding the nuts or cacao, go ahead and add them.
  • Pour into your prepared loaf pan and set on the middle rack in your oven. Bake bread for about 50 minutes to an hour. cook until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Let rest in pan for 10-15 minutes then enjoy! 


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Spotlight On: Pamela's Gluten Free Baking & Pancake Mix

3 stars

Now I can be a purist (some might say masochist) when it comes to cooking and baking. I love cooking and baking from scratch. I love developing new recipes or adapting classics to fit the way I eat and live. When I create a new recipe that really sings, It lights me up! And I want to have everyone I know over for dinner to feed them so they can feel lit up too! I am a food geek. It is true.

When I became gluten free about 6 years ago (read my story here) I made everything from scratch. From cookies to bread to chicken parmigiana; you name it and I adapted my favorite non gluten free recipes to become gluten and refined sugar free. Now part of this was because I love to cook. I grew up cooking and it is one of my favorite things to do. But the flip side to this was at the time, there were practically no gluten free manufactures creating gluten free products that actually tasted good or were good for you. Most of what was out on the market at that point either tasted like cardboard or was filled with sugar. So the only option for me was to make it myself and that is exactly what I did.

My life revolved around cooking. I literally planned out my days and nights so I could cook and experiment with the dishes I loved and was missing. I spent a lot of time in the kitchen. Hours on end, every day. At the time I had a lifestyle that supported it. I was teaching yoga full time and my schedule was very flexible. I could come home in the middle of the day and prep for dinner. So basically my jobs were teaching yoga and cooking. It was amazing and I was so blessed to have that time.

These days my time is still created by me but I have much more happening in life. I am building a clinic practice, I am in a very in depth women's herbal program, I am finishing two other certifications, one in raw nutrition and the other in business. And that is just my work related commitments. Probably most of you can relate! We all have full lives (hopefully) filled with the things we love to do; be it work, raising children, or going to school.  Life is full and time is speeding up. 

Even though I still do a lot of scratch cooking, I am so elated when I find a product that saves me time without sacrificing my tenets of healthy eating. Enter: Pamela's Baking & Pancake mix.  Now again, I am a purist so when I first bought this product, I had guilt. I seriously felt bad about not making up my own batch of a flour blend. Especially since I have a recipe for everything from bisquits to waffles that are tried and true. But on this particular Sunday morning I really wanted blueberry pancakes but was feeling lazy and did not want to mix up my pancake blend. So I sent my husband to the store for this mix. And I was not disappointed. Pamela's mix is a blend of: brown rice flour, white rice flour, almond meal, cultured buttermilk, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt and xanthan gum (not from corn).

What I love about the mix is the light and flavorful texture it adds to baked goods. The almond meal gives it a great flavor and protein content. The mix of brown and white rice flour is a refreshing twist rather than just plain rice flour (which you see a lot in gluten free mixes), and they use sea salt rather than a table salt. What I wish it had to make it a 4 star experience? Organic ingredients and a different stabilizer like guar gum rather than the xanthan gum. But with the progress that has happened in the last 5 years, I know it is coming!

I will leave you with one of my first gluten free recipes.  ( it has been updated over the years) But it is gluten free and refined sugar free with a raw icing! Enjoy!

Chocolate Cupcakes with raspberries


8 tablespoons organic grass fed butter (like Kerrygold)

3/4 cup organic coconut sugar

1/8 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon of sea salt

1 large organic farm raised egg ( or 2 small)

*1/2 cup sorghum flour

*1/2 cup tapioca flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cacao or dutch cocoa powder

3/4 cup organic raw buttermilk

1/2 teaspoon organic vanilla

*Substitute Pamela's baking mix here if you like! 

Preheat the oven to 350º F and line a muffin tin with silicone baking cups or paper cups.  

Mix together the *sorghum, *tapioca flour and cacao or dutch cocoa and set aside.

Cream together with a hand or stand mixer the butter and sugar until mixed well. Add in the baking soda, baking powder and salt. The mixture should become lighter in color. 

Add in the egg and vanilla until the batter becomes very light and fluffy. Add in slowly the buttermilk.

Next add in the Pamela's baking mix or the sorghum/tapioca mix until silky, about 3 to 5 minutes. (Really depends on the use of a hand or stand mixer)

Scoop out batter into cupcake cups about 2/3 full. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the cupcakes are buoyant but firm. 

Allow cupcakes to cool before icing.


1/3 cup semi-soft pitted Medjool dates
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup ripe avocado flesh (from about 1
medium avocado)
1/3 cup cacao powder or cocoa or carob

Blend together in a food processor until smooth.  

Top with fresh raspberries. And Enjoy!


Fresh out of the oven! 

Fresh out of the oven!