With each new year comes the sense of a new beginning for most people. This year is no different for me. After a long and enjoyable holiday season, I am starting my year off with a renewed commitment to healthy living. I believe that part of living a healthy life is knowing when to treat yourself. It is also equally as important to know when to set limits. In the coming weeks I am going to cover some options that have helped me make better decisions on my journey to my healthiest self. I will start with my go to substitutions when I want to cut back on refined sugar.
In recent years there has been a lot of talk about the overuse of sugar in our daily diets. This overuse has impeded the ability of our bodies to signal appropriate cravings. Additionally, this imbalance wreaks havoc on our health and can cause acne and excess weight gain. This series will provide you with alternatives to cane sugar that will help you lead a healthier and much sweeter life.
Maple syrup is much more than an accompanying condiment to pancakes at a Saturday afternoon brunch. It can be used interchangeably for sugar in most recipes and offers a multitude of health benefits. When purchasing syrup, it is important to look for pure maple syrup as oppose to commercial grades. When compared to commercial grades that have been stripped of their nutritional content during the refinement process, Grade B contains multiple minerals and vitamins.
Grade B maple syrup offers numerous health benefits that make it a more than ideal substitution for sugar. The list of minerals and vitamins includes, but is not limited to manganese, zinc, potassium and Riboflavin (Vitamin B2). Manganese is on the top of the list of nutrients present in maple syrup, providing between 95-100% of your daily value per serving. Manganese assists in the development of healthy bones, the proper functioning of the thyroid gland, the regulation of blood sugar and much more. Studies performed at the University of Tokyo's Graduate School of Agriculture and Life Sciences, showed that replacing some carbohydrates with pure maple syrup increased liver function in lab rats. These are only a few of the health benefits that maple syrup has to offer. For additional information on its nutritional content visit: http://www.purecanadamaple.com/.
Why Choose Organic?
When making decisions about food purchases it is crucial that we do our homework. While buying organic is the ideal, it is not always feasible. In the case of maple syrup; however, I would urge you to consider organic for a couple of reasons. Collecting maple sap is a time consuming process that yields more some days than others. For every quart of maple syrup produced it requires ten gallons of maple sap. So, in an effort to streamline the process some collectors use paraformaldehyde pellets in the tap holes to prevent clotting and clogging. This process can leave behind toxic residue and shorten the lifespan of the tree. Another issue with non-organic syrup is the method of storage. The pans that are used to store the sap may have seams soldered with lead, which can cause contamination. These chemicals have numerous health risks and are not something anyone should want in their diet.
These are a few reasons that maple syrup has become one of my go to replacements for sugar in recent months. I use it in desserts, oatmeal, smoothies and of course on pancakes. Please let me know if you would like to see recipes in the future.