Given my digestion issues with processed sugar and still wanting to be able to have something sweet, I have found some go to items without added sugar. So I thought I would share them with you this week. It was not easy getting use to going to these options, but I am glad to have options!
- Fruit! A food that is naturally sweet. I usually enjoy a piece of fruit everyday in its whole, ripe or unsweetened, dried state. Lately, I have be eating golden delicious apples, navel oranges, blood oranges, grapefruit, pineapple, coconut, prunes, dates and raisins. You can also do amazingly delicious things with fruit, like apple nachos or almond butter stuffed dates!
- Herbal tea. Celestial Seasonings offers many AMAZINGLY sweet and delicious teas without a single sweetener! During the holidays, I stock up on Gingerbread Spice, Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride and Cranberry Vanilla Wonderland. The rest of the year you can enjoy flavors like Caramel Apple Dream, Sangria Zinger, Coconut Thai Chai and many more! I have been drinking their tea my whole life and still find new flavors to try all the time. If you are ever in Boulder, CO I recommend taking a tour at their factory!
- Cacao shell tea with dried fruit. During a trip to Guatemala, my partner and I took a bean to bar class at the ChocoMuseo, where we were introduced to an amazing herbal tea made from cacao shells and cardamon. While they did sweeten most of the things they gave to us with processed sugar, I have chosen add hardened dried fruit in the hot tea to provide sweetness. It makes for a lovely, sweet treat at the end of my day.
- Homemade chocolates. All chocolate sold at the store has added sugar, with the exception of the rare unsweetened bars and baking chocolate. However, I feel chocolate is necessary for life and therefore can not live without it. Thanks again to the bean to bar class, I understand very well how chocolate is made and have been able to make simple chocolates at home using raw cacao powder, coconut oil and dried fruit. Yes, I do use a lot of cacao powder and coconut oil. This is why I buy it in bulk. If cacao butter was cheaper I would buy that for a more authentic chocolate experience, but coconut oil works quite well as a replacement and is very affordable at Costco in an unrefined, organic 84 oz jar for under $20. I usually use homemade date paste to sweeten my chocolates. Then use spices and extracts to flavor, but when you make your own chocolates you can really do whatever flavoring your heart desires! I actually do enjoy unsweetened chocolate as well, the more bitter the better.
- Homemade ice cream and sorbets. I am allergic to bananas so I am not talking about banana ice cream here folks! I make ice cream with coconut cream and prunes/dates/raisins blended with a little water into a paste. Then I add vanilla extract or peppermint oil or cacao powder to flavor the ice cream. Its lovely! So easy to make and cheaper than the pint at the grocery store. I also have made ice cream from sweet potatoes and cashews, but without coconut cream I find the texture does not quite replicate the ice cream I grew up consuming. Sorbets are so simple! Just freeze some sweet fruit and blend until smooth in your food processor. Fruit is pretty sweet to me so no need for date paste or anything else to add sweetness in my sorbet.