The Surprising Amount of Sugar in Summer Drinks

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It’s been hot and steamy all week long. While you may go for a cold glass of water to cool you down, most head in to their favourite coffee shop and choose a frozen version of the usual cuppa joe.

It’s a minefield out there when it comes to drinks. Most think smoothies are healthy, and some are (mostly those made at home in your own blender with you adding the ingredients). If you head to your local mall and order something like a Booster Juice, Orange Julius or similar, you’ll rack up your sugar in take in just the first few sips.

Health Canada suggests that women consume no more than 6 teaspoons or 25g of sugar in one day (total!), men about 10 tsp or 37.5g and children around 3-4 tsp or 20 grams. No more. That doesn’t include natural sugars from fruit, so you’re good there. With what we uncovered below, you can see just how easy it is to consume up to triple that with one order of your favourite icy drink.

Check out the numbers below so next time you have a hankering for something cold, you’ll make an informed decision. All drinks are large size or comparable millilitres to each other.

The Surprising Amount of Sugar in Summer Drinks

Tim Hortons

Iced Capp – 62 g of sugar or 15 1/2 teaspoons of sugar.

If you think you’ll opt for the large strawberry banana fruit smoothie with greek yogurt – you’ll consume a mere 13 teaspoons of sugar or 52g of sugar.

Starbucks

Frappuccino – 69 g of sugar or just over 17 teaspoons.
Caramel Frapp (without whipped cream) – 77g of sugar or just over 19 teaspoons.
Ice Brewed Coffee – 36g of sugar or 9 teaspoons.
Vanilla Bean Iced Creme (without whipped cream) – 71g of sugar or almost 18 teaspoons.

And again, if you think the strawberry banana smoothie will save the day, it has your days worth of sugar with 40g or 10 teaspoons of sugar.

Second Cup

Frozen White Hot Chocolate – 97g of sugar or just over 24 teaspoons.
Iced Moccaccino – 50g of sugar or 12 1/2 teaspoons.
Iced White Mocha – 49g or sugar or 12 teaspoons.

Well, choosing the Mango REAL fruit smoothie will have your poor pancreas in hyperdrive for hours. A whopping 136g of sugar or 34 teaspoons. Although second cup doesn’t have the ingredients online for me to comment, there is added Astro yogurt. And if you thought that was high, the Strawberry Real Fruit Smoothie has 154g or 38 1/2 teaspoons.

So now you know. How about some ideas of how to make homemade cool treats instead.

1. Always have ice cubes on hand. Fill up your trays, pop out ice cubes and store in a bag and keep refilling and storing.
2. Have frozen fruit in the freezer for quick smoothies with water or milk of choice and frozen fruit.
3. Find popsicle moulds and make up a bunch of different popsicles or check out the Zoku popsicles. Ideas and recipes here
4. Make homemade ice cream, frozen yogurt or just blend (or put in food processor) about four frozen bananas and a bit of milk for an instantly incredible frozen treat.
5. Make sun ice tea with your favourite fruity or chai tea bags. Fill a pitcher with water and add two to four teabags and let sit out in the sun for a few hours. Add ice cubes, honey or maple syrup to taste and enjoy.

What’s going to keep you cool?

How to Cope with the Rising Cost of Fresh Produce

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More than just the heat is on the rise for families in Canada and it may be affecting the way your family is eating. Have you noticed that your grocery bill is going up? And is it changing what you buy?

A study from the University of Guelph recently found that fresh produce prices went up almost 12% since last year. Weather in key growing communities is to blame. And unfortunately many families are coping with rising costs by buying less produce. This means fewer Canadians are getting 10 servings of fruit and vegetable a day as recommended by the Canadian Food Guide.

Other than reducing your intake of produce overall, like 26% of Canadians are, there are other strategies for increasing your consumption of fruits and vegetables, but not breaking the bank with the high cost of groceries.

How to Cope with the Rising Cost of Produce

How to Cope with the Rising Cost of Produce

Buy frozen instead – You may have heard conflicting information about the nutritional value of frozen fruits and vegetables. It is in fact a great choice for getting the nutrients you need at a more affordable price. Frozen fruit and vegetable is picked close to ripeness and flash frozen. This process means the nutrients are preserved. To thaw, leave fruits and vegetables out on the counter or cook them from frozen. Avoid canned fruits and vegetables as cans can contain BPA.

Buy direct – Go straight to the source and find fresh in-season produce at your local farmer’s market, or through a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program. Buying from the farmer means you cut out the middleman. This can reduce yoru cost, and give you access to fresher produce. You are also supporting work in your community, and by getting to know your local farmers you understand where your food comes from.

Buy bulk when fruits and vegetables are in-season – When a particular fruit or vegetable is in season it is often out in abundance and cheapest. Buy in bulk during this time and freeze, or preserve your excess. This will help you always have access to fruit and vegetables throughout the year. You can also visit a local farm for a u-pick program. By picking your own berries, for example, you can get large quantities of the fruit while saving due to your own labour.

Keep these tips in mind when you head to the grocery store. You’ll need them: prices are expected to go up by 4% this year. You can also shred excess costs by re-considering the treats you really don’t need – like juices, pops and potato chips. Just sayin’.

With information from this news segment.

 

Healthy Or Is It? – When “Healthy” Food Causes Weight Gain

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We all remember snack suggestions for low-fat foods that supposedly support weight loss – like rice cakes. There are even more foods that sound healthy, and that we might mistake for a good choice – think granola, trail mix, fruit juice and even brown bread. Even low-calorie foods are not necessarily the healthiest choice.

Weight loss experts have highlighted a few foods that seem to confuse those trying to lose weight and eat well. Did you know that brown bread isn’t healthier than white bread? Try whole grain bread instead.

Granola contains a lot of fat. Trail Mix can give you too much sugar (from dried fruit) and calories when consumed in large quantities, and fruit juice including orange juice offers too much sugar without the beneficial fibre. Really you are best to restrict your consumption of fruit juice (water it down if you do want to have some). Try mixed nuts and seeds rather than trail mix, and limit your intake to a small palmful.

So what foods can you eat in abundance? And how are you best to eat for weight loss?

Healthy, or is it? Sprout Right looks at healthy foods that might be causing weight gain

– Think about filling your plate with vegetables – raw or steamed. Try to reach for 10 servings of fruit and vegetables each day. Not sure how? Try our 10 A Day Healthy Eating Challenge.

– As a general rule, steer clear of processed food. Canned foods can expose you to BPA and often contain too much salt. Cookies, crackers and pre-mixed meals and side dishes contain too much sugar, salt and preservatives (and more). Foods in their healthiest state are those “closest to the earth.”

– Reach for whole grain and wheat-alternatives when choosing bread, pasta or side dishes. There are some delicious alternative grains: buckwheat (not actually wheat!), quinoa, and amaranth to name a few. Try bread made with spelt flour, or a mix of whole grains.

– Don’t shy away from fat. It helps transport nutrients to your bloodstream and cells, keeps you full for longer and provides vital energy. Coconut oil is especially effective for energy.

– Try to eat protein at each meal and snack. Protein will fill you up so you are less likely to reach for food soon after eating. It’s great fuel, and necessary for your body’s functioning, including muscle repair after a hard workout.

– Drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated is a great way to not only ensure continued health, but avoid thirst that may be mistaken for cravings.

– Avoid the temptations that come when you don’t know what to eat! Always plan your meals (and even snacks) ahead of time and bring healthy foods to snack on when you hit the road. Preparation is the key. Try one of our meal plans for inspiration. Our Family Meals ebook is a top-seller, and contains suppers you can make in 30 minutes or less.

Be wary of “diet” foods and product lines that promise you results. Try our strategies for eating well instead, and making lasting lifestyle changes that don’t rely on fads or gimmicks.

Are Granola Bars Healthy?

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They may be a lunchbox staple in some kid’s lunches, but are packaged granola bars really good fuel for your kids? Just like our look into the sugar in popular restaurant smoothies, we’re taking a closer look at the amount of sugar in popular granola bars.  We’ll let you decide but remember: kids should have no more than 3-4 tsps of sugar in one day.

 

Are Granola Bars Healthy? This article looks at the sugar content in granola bars - SproutRight.com

 

Kashi Cherry Dark Chocolate

Sugar per bar: 8grams, 2 tsp

Main ingredient: rolled whole grain blend.

Nature Valley Oats & Honey

Sugar per bar: 11grams, 2 3/4 tsp

Main ingredient: whole grain oats

Clif Bar, Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Crunch

Sugar per bar: 21 grams, 5 1/4 tsp

Main ingredient: brown rice syrup

Kellogg Nutri-Grain Strawberry

Sugar per bar: 11 grams, 2 3/4 tsp

Main ingredient: whole grain oats

Special K Peanut Butter Chocolate Granola Bar

Sugar per bar: 7grams, 1 3/4 tsp

Main ingredient: corn syrup

Nature’s Path Pumpkin-N-Spice™ Flax Plus®

Sugar per bar: 10 grams, 2.5 tsp

Main ingredient: granola

Fibre 1 Oats & Chocolate Chewy Bars

Sugar per bar: 10 grams, 2.5 tsp

Main ingredient: chicory root extract

A granola bar treat might suit your child’s eating just fine, provided you control sugar in the rest of their day. But hopefully our closer look at the sugar in these lunchbox staples shows you that “treat” is an important word, rather than “snack.” You can also control the amount of sugar in a granola bar by making your own. Here’s our favourite recipe, which has about a 1 1/2 tsp of sugar (brown rice syrup) per bar.

Do You Know How Much Sugar Is in That Smoothie?

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You may think you are making a perfectly reasonable choice; at your favourite coffee shop you order the fruit smoothie for a quick snack. Wait. Do you know how much sugar is in that seemingly innocent fruit smoothie? A lot more than you would think! We don’t mean to burst any bubbles but …. you may want to re-think your choice. Unless, of course, you are going for sugar overload.

We’ve talked a bit – ok a lot – about why sugar is harmful to the body. We are particularly concerned with sugar in children’s diets, as research emerges that it may affect more than just their mood immediately after eating it. Did you miss this post about girls who drink soda and the link between sugar overload and menstruation? Scary stuff.

Even though we are becoming more aware of the link between sugar, health and even the way sugar creates those irresistible cravings we all really don’t need (sugar is the new crack is such a provocative headline, and we’ve seen it), we are still reaching for foods that have a lot of sugar in them. The problem? Misconception. A fruit smoothie does sound like a healthy choice, and at home where you control the ingredients it might well be! Outside of the home at your favourite restaurants, you need to be careful.

Here are the surprising facts: sugar content in your favourite take-out smoothie. Keep in mind: women should get a maximum of 25 grams of sugar in one day (total!), men about 37.5grams and children around 3-4 tsp or 20 grams.

The Surprising Truth About Sugar in Smoothies - Article by Sprout Right Nutrition

Tim Horton’s Pineapple Orange Fruit Smoothie with Greek Yogurt 

Size Large: 53 grams, 13 1/4 tsp

Size Small: 28 grams, 7 tsp

Tim Horton’s Strawberry Banana Fruit Smoothie with Greek Yogurt

Size Large: 52 grams, 13 tsp

Size Medium: 40 grams, 10 tsp

Size Small: 27 grams 6 3/4 tsp

Orange Julius Premium Fruit Smoothie – Orange

Size Large: 102 grams, 25 1/2 tsp

Size Medium: 79 grams, 19 3/4 tsp

Size Small: 57 grams, 14 1/4 tsp

Orange Julius Premium Fruit Smoothie – Strawberry

Size Large: 73 grams, 18 1/4 tsp

Size Medium: 59 grams, 14 3/4 tsp

Size Small: 73 grams, 18 1/4 tsp

Starbucks Banana Chocolate Smoothie

Size Grande (2% milk): 34 grams, 8 1/2 tsp

Starbucks Orange Mango Smoothie

Size Grande (2% milk): 37 grams, 9 1/4 tsp

Starbucks Strawberry Banana

Size Grande (2% milk): 41 grams, 10 1/4 tsp

McDonald’s McCafé® Strawberry Banana Smoothie 

Size Small: 44 grams, 11 tsp

Booster Juice Very Berry Smoothie

710ml: 56 grams, 14 tsp

Booster Juice The Original Smoothie

710ml: 76 grams, 19 tsp

Booster Juice Tropical Tornado Smoothie

710ml: 75 grams, 18 3/4 tsp

Source: Orange Julius, Tim Hortons, Starbucks, McDonald’s, Booster Juice

For a healthy smoothie at home, add spinach or kale for a low-sugar and fibre-rich drink. Blend with water or unsweetened dairy-free milk and add your favourite low-sugar protein powder. Try our recipe. Here’s help kicking the sugar habit.

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4 Ways to Get Your Kids to Eat More Fruit

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Fruit is a very satisfying treat; not only does it provide nutrients but that dose of fructose calms a sweet tooth. But do you still struggle to get your kids to enjoy fruit? Getting them to fall in love with nature’s candy is a battle worth your effort: a new study found that fresh fruit-eating adults had a lower risk of heart attack and stroke than those who rarely ate fresh fruit. You can learn more about this study, which followed a cohort of 500,000 adults over 7 years. The study was conducted in China, where the consumption of fresh fruit on a daily basis is more uncommon. Investigators wonder if encouraging more people to eat fresh fruit every day would have an impact.

Fresh fruit offers many beneficial nutrients; it is a source of antioxidants, beneficial fibre and potassium along with various vitamins. Making it a part of your diet, and a mainstay in your kid’s daily consumption, helps stabilize blood sugars and keep cravings for processed sugar at bay. It can also fill up hungry tummies and paired with protein, it makes for a very well-rounded snack.

What fruits do your kids love? Some are an easier sell than others. I like encouraging my girls to choose new fruits to try, and make this same effort myself. When was the last time you ate a kumquat? Today’s the day!

We know that getting your kids to eat the fresh stuff that’s good for them is sometimes a challenge. So we have rounded up 4 creative ways to get more fruits into your kids. Try some of these ideas, and share some of your own!

4 Ways to Get Your Kids to Eat More Fruit on Sprout Right

Fruit Kebabs

Fresh fruit on a stick is so much more exciting than fresh fruit in a bowl or still attached to the core! Slice a variety of fruits – pineapple, apple, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, watermelon, pear, grapes – and place on a skewer, one piece at a time. Create a beautiful array of colours by mixing up the chunks. A colourful fruit kebab is not only delicious, but fun and visually appealing.

Of course, kebabs are best for older children who know how to handle a potentially sharp object. Younger kids can still enjoy the playfulness of a kebab when mom or dad arranges the fruit pieces into fun little shapes and cut-outs.

Fruit with Yummy Yogurt Dip

Up the fun factor and include a healthy and delicious yogurt dip with an array of cut fruit. Try your own take on this basic recipe: mix plain full fat greek yogurt with fruit puree and enough honey to provide a little bit of sweet. Kids will love the opportunity to dip their fruit, and you are providing them with healthy calcium and fats.

A Fruit Surprise

One of my favourite tricks for getting my daughters to try new food was to hide it under a bowl, and play with the surprise of discovery to encourage them to try new things. You can do the same – place something yummy on top of the bowl and ask them to finish that and then turn over the bowl for their surprise. Or try a variation: at the grocery store ask your child to pick a new fruit they haven’t yet tried. You can give them a specific colour to find, or just leave it open. They may not love what they chose, but they will be encouraged to try it because they played a part in bringing it to the table.

Fruit Roll-Ups

Dried fruit is another way to get the nutrients into bellies. Our family loves this recipe for fruit roll-ups or fruit leather. Unlike the stuff you buy in the grocery store, which is processed and laden with sugar, these fruit roll-ups are 100% fruit (and nothing else) and 100% delicious.

Home Made Fruit Leather

Ingredients:

1 – 2 lbs dried fruit; mango, pineapple, raisins, dates, apricots, blueberry and cherry

Directions:

1. Pulse and process in a food processor until it’s a smooth(ish) puree or collects together in a ball.

2. Place onto parchment paper and put another piece on top. With a rolling pin, start to flatten it and roll it out until it’s about 3-4 mm thick. Use a metal spreading knife if needed to get it going.

3. Bake in the oven at 150 C (my oven only goes down to 170 C) for four to five hours or until it has dried out but is still bendy.

4. Cool and use cookie cutters to cut out shapes or squares and store in an air tight container.

Remember to get that toothbrush out after chowing down on these tasty treats!

Encourage your kids to try new fruits but also to re-visit ones that they may have previously turned down. Their taste buds and interests are constantly changing. And if they want to stick with a few solid favourites, that’s ok too. Aim for balance in their diet when you can but know that when you are offering healthy options, you are doing a very good job.

Enjoy!

 

Can Probiotics Help You Lose Weight?

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The human body is a complex machine, isn’t it? I find the more I learn about it, as science advances, the more and more the picture of it’s functioning (and dysfunction) seems complex. For example, we are told that weight management is an equation: eat an equal number of calories to those your burn to stay around the same weight. But this is only true if all the parts that help to convert your food into fuel that burns are working correctly.

Can Probiotics Help You Lose Weight? on Sprout Right

In looking at research that supports probiotic use, in particular for pregnant and postpartum women, I have found a lot of interesting links between obesity and gut flora. Because weight gain during pregnancy, and loss postpartum, is a big concern for women, this is one more very important reason for probiotic use before and after baby arrives. As one study pointed out, it is also of importance for the health of the baby – probiotics pass through the placenta and breast milk (and good bacteria transfers in the birth canal). A child who receives probiotics via mama shows a pattern of restrained excessive weight gain during the first years of life. Source.

It is also great evidence that a good quality probiotic belongs in any weight loss plan. One weight loss study compared the loss results of a group of women receiving a probiotic vs a placebo during a 12-week program to lose weight. The women who received the probiotic lost, on average, 9.7lbs in 12 weeks, and during a 12-week maintenance program went on to lose an average of 1.8lbs more. Women who received the placebo lost an average of 5.7lbs in the same loss period, and maintained but did not lose weight in the maintenance program. Interestingly, there was not a significant result for men; that is, men who took or did not take the probiotic showed similar weight loss. Source.

Studies have shown that probiotic use beginning in pregnancy and continuing postpartum, along with exclusive breastfeeding, supports women in losing weight postpartum. Source.

Why might gut flora have an impact on weight gain, loss and maintenance? One study reported that microbial populations in the gut are different between obese and lean people. When obese people lost weight, their microflora became similar to that observed in lean people. Researchers have also suggested that probiotics make your intestinal walls less permeable, preventing molecules that have been linked to obesity from entering the bloodstream (this study only saw a difference for women). Source.

Whatever the whole picture is — we simply don’t know yet — enough research supports my belief all along: probiotics are important for a healthy life. They are, in particular, important in supporting the health of both mother and baby in the prenatal and postpartum period. A good probiotic is part of the advice I offer in my book (and all the time on the blog!). We offer many in the Sprout Right online shop (only the best). If you aren’t sure which one is right for you, please don’t hesitate to ask!

 

Eat This, Not That Simple Swaps Plus Zucchini Noodles Two Ways

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Sometimes it’s hard to give up the foods we love; can I live a life without dark chocolate? I don’t want to!

But living a healthier life, by choosing healthier foods, rarely requires a complete transformation. Many of the families I work with are already making smart choices. What they need are a few tweaks (and strategies for staying committed even when time in the kitchen is scarce).

This post is all about those few tweaks! We’ve created an easy swap this for that reference guide. Start implementing some of these painless “upgrades” in your diet and see your health, and the health of your children, improve. And yes, you can have a piece of dark chocolate too.

Instead of ….

White, whole wheat or gluten free flour

Try ….

Exciting alternatives like baking with almond flour, oat flour or coconut flour

Instead of ….

Store-bought condiments 

Try ….

Spice blends that allow the flavour of the meat or tofu to shine (watch the sodium on store bought varieties and make your own instead)

Instead of ….

Potato french fries 

Try ….

Parsnip or carrot french fries

Instead of ….

Vegetable oil

Try ….

Coconut oil, avocado oil or Camelina oil

Instead of ….

Butter

Try ….

Coconut butter or Nut butter spreads

Instead of ….

Cow’s milk

Try ….

Goat’s milk, Hemp milk or Almond milk

Instead of ….

White, whole wheat or gluten free pasta noodles

Try ….

Zucchini noodles

Zucchini Noodles Two Ways

Move over wheat pasta, zucchini noodles are hot right now. And I couldn’t be happier to see this wonderful vegetable enjoy a little bit of the spotlight. Zucchini, or courgette, is a summer squash that grows as either the green or yellow variety. Both types of zucchini are low in calories and rich in anti-oxidants, as well as vitamin C and vitamin A.

Compared with wheat pasta, you are going to get more nutritional value and less calories from a hearty bowl of “zoodles.” There is no need to cook zucchini noodles, making it fast and light for spring or summer meals.

It’s easy to create these delicious noodles, but you will need to buy yourself a spiralizer. The good news, they are becoming easier to find and are very economical (you can find some for under $20). Try your local kitchen store, grocery store (Canadian readers – your local Real Canadian Superstore does carry them) or find one online.

Create your noodles and then top with your favourite vegetables. Try one of these two sauces, or create your own (such as a thai-inspired one).

Zucchini Noodles Two Ways

Meat Sauce (from Flawless Family Meals)

2-3 tbsp olive oil

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

1 carrot peeled and chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 1/2 lb. ground chicken or turkey

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup white wine

1 jar (793 ml) tomato sauce

Heat oil in large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and saute until soft and translucent, but not browned, about 4-5 minutes. Add in carrots, celery and garlic and cook for 3 minutes more. Add the ground turkey, chicken or beef and season with salt and pepper. Break up meat stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until meat is just cooked and still a little pink, about 5 minutes more. To keep meat tender, dont fry or brown.

Stir in wine and cook until it evaporates completely, about 3 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and a little water swooshed in the jar so sauce isnt too thick while cooking (it will thicken). Bring to the boil and reduce heat, gently simmering for about an hour.

Pesto (from Sprout Right Nutrition from Tummy to Toddler book)

2 cups Packed fresh basil leaves

½ cup Packed fresh cilantro leaves

2 tbsp Sunflower seeds

2 tsp Capers

4 Kalamata olives, pitted

4 Sundried tomatoes

2 Garlic cloves

⅓ cup Extra-virgin olive oil

Pinch Sea Salt

In a food processor, combine basil, cilantro, sunflower seeds, capers, olives, sundried tomatoes, and garlic.

Pulse a few times. Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is running. Stop to scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula. Add a pinch of salt to taste.

Enjoy your bowl of fun zoodles!

What are your favourite healthy swaps? Tell us on our Facebook page!

Photo Copyright: alein / 123RF Stock Photo

A Better Breakfast Cereal

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The truth is out: breakfast cereal from a box isn’t the healthiest way to start your day. But this article says you might have already moved on from this one-time staple for families (Canadians spent 22% less on boxed cereal in 2014 than 2010). And if that’s the case, I agree with you: “good riddance.” But what should you eat instead? Can’t skip breakfast.  You’ve heard it all your life and I concur, breakfast is the most important meal of the day!

A Better Breakfast Cereal - Recipe from Sprout Right

These are my favourite breakfast options, with recipes.

 

And now for a new recipe: what if you could have the convenience of a boxed cereal, but a much healthier option you make yourself? We’re remaking the breakfast cereal with three delicious recipes! You can make these the night before, or on the weekend; they will keep well (if you can stop yourself from snacking on them!).

Granola

Note: this recipe keeps well, so save time and make a double batch.  Be sure to spread the granola out well on your baking tray and move around half way through its cooking time if you cook longer than 10 minutes.   

2 cups rolled oats (whole oat flakes)

1 tsp cinnamon

2 tbsp coconut or sunflower oil

¼ cup maple syrup (or agave)

¼ cup sunflower seeds, chopped

¼ cup walnuts (or other favourite nuts), chopped

¼ cup chopped dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, apples, apricots, dates)

1 tbsp sesame seeds

Soak dried fruit in hot water for 10 minutes, drain.  Combine all ingredients together and spread over one or two baking trays.  Bake at 350 F for 10 minutes. If you prefer crunchier, cook for longer.  Cool on the tray before storing in an airtight container. 

Top with homemade yogurt (recipe below) and/or some homemade almond milk (recipe below).

Homemade Yogurt

Take 2 tbsp of another brand of plain yogurt, like Astro

Add it to 1L or 4 cups of baby bottle temperature milk

Place in the oven for 12 – 24 hours with the light on

Store in the fridge in a glass jar or strain through a fine mesh drip bag and hang it for easy greek yogurt.

Homemade Almond Milk

Almond Milk

1 cup raw almonds, preferably organic
4 cups filtered water
¼ cup sesame seeds (optional)
¼ cup full-fat coconut milk (shake the cane before opening)
2 tsp agave syrup

Soak almonds in a bowl of water overnight, or for at least 4 hours. Drain and rinse several times (skip soaking if you’re in a rush).

In a blender, combine almonds, water, sesame seeds (if using, coconut milk and agave syrup. Blend for 4 to 5 minutes. Strain with a fine-mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth, a bag for making jelly or a cloth milk bag (used for nut milks).

Keep refrigerated in a sealed glass container for up to 2 or 3 days. It can also be frozen.

Makes approximately 4 cups.

Enjoy!

 

Photo Copyright: ingridhs / 123RF Stock Photo

Sugar is the New Drug: Why and How to Go Sugar-Free

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I was on NEWSTALK 1010 talking with Jerry Agar about the sugar in some of your favourite hot drinks.  You may think you are just grabbing a hot coffee on your way to the office; you might be surprised to learn you are topping out your daily sugar allowance. For example, a Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha with whipped cream has 18 teaspoons of sugar. (Find out more about sugar and your favourite drinks).

Our affinity for the sweet stuff is biological, to some degree. Sweet foods weren’t rotten foods, giving us the signal that it was okay to eat. But in our day of processed foods, sugar is sneaking its way into everything, and food providers capitalize on our love of all things sweet. But, it may be affecting your health.

How to go sugar free - with lots of info on why you should. Love this article from Sprout Right

Sugar and the Body

Too much sugar in your diet can cause your liver to store fat more efficiently, including around the liver itself. This can make you susceptible to fatty liver disease.

When you consume too much sugar, you cause excess insulin in your bloodstream. As it impacts the cells of your body, too much insulin can lead to health problems, including heart disease and stroke. Years of overproducing insulin can lead to diabetes. Consuming just one can of pop a day can increase your risk for type 2 diabetes by 22%. Source.

Consuming too much sugar also leads to weight gain: fructose turns off your body’s appetite-control centre. Fructose consumption means insulin is not triggered, which leads to a cascade effect on other hormones that tell your body you are full, and not to eat more. This is why consuming sugar actually leads to more sugar cravings. Other studies have noted that consuming sugar-filled high-fat food causes a surge of dopamine in the brain (a feel-good hormone, causing us to want to repeat the experience). The way in which sugar effects the brain, and causes the effect of craving more and more sugar, has led some to draw the parallel between sugar and cocaine: sugar, according to a study in Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, can cause behavioral and neurochemical changes similar to the effects of a “substance of abuse.”

And now imagine all of these effects on little bodies! Limiting sugar should be a family affair, to protect your health and theirs.

So what can you do to make sure you don’t consume too much sugar?

How to Kick the Sugar Habit

I outline my step-by-step guide for how to kick the sugar habit in this post. The key is to stabilize your blood sugar by eating healthy, whole foods regularly so you don’t crash into sugar cravings (and of course removing all temptations helps). Meal planning is a huge component of this strategy. Plan your own eating, or grab one of our meal plans for ideas (the 21 Days to Balance is perfect for quitting sugar). Be careful to read food labels for anything you do buy processed, sugar hides in a lot of food. According to the American Heart Association, men should limit sugar intake to 37.5 grams a day, women 25 grams and children 12 grams.

Once you go sugar-free, your interest and craving for sugar will drop. You crave what you eat; start craving whole, fresh foods not refined sugar.

Read: The Dangers of Artificial Sweeteners