Some Sweet Advice

I know. This isn’t really a food blog. But I’m so frustrated with some of the misinformation out in web-land, I’m going to rant about food today. Specifically, I’m targeting sugar.

Friends recently posted a couple of recipes on Facebook, claiming they were very healthy:

Banana Bread with honey and applesauce instead of sugar & oil….Delicious & Healthy….

When you have a sweet tooth and want to stay on track, here’s a nice treat. Sugar is NOT an added ingredient. (The recipe for oatmeal cookies includes three ripe mashed bananas and ½ cup raisins.)

Wondering if either recipe fits my low-glycemic (that means food that won’t spike my blood sugar levels) diet, I did some calculations. Are they really healthy? Is either recipe actually low in sugar?

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It’s Still Junk Food

I was looking through an old cookbook, circa 1955, snickering at all the recipes for Jello “salads” and casseroles laced with cream of mushroom soup (with crushed saltines on top). It was a cuisine based on white bread, white potatoes, and white rice. I grew up on this sort of diet. My mom was the consummate consumer, enthusiastically trying every new mix that Betty Crocker could come up with.

Of course, these days we are much more nutritionally savvy. We eat whole wheat bread, sweet potatoes, and brown rice. Our fruits and veggies are organic. We shun junk food. Our consciences are clear. Right? Then explain this:

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Four Facts I Learned Lately

Today I’m taking a break to share some things I’ve learned lately. I thought they were interesting. Perhaps you will too.

The World’s Population
We’ve all heard the statement, “Of all the people who ever lived, most are alive today.” It has just enough authority to it, just enough sense of “Huh, that’s interesting” that we all take it at face value. Well, I learned from a short article in the June 2011 issue of National Geographic Magazine that this is not true. As of this year, approximately 103 billion people have ever lived. And only 6.4% of them are alive today. Doesn’t that make more sense?

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It’s Christmas. And I’m on a diet.

Due to a genetic tendency toward insulin resistance, I’m not supposed to eat certain foods… white flour, white rice, white potatoes, white bread, regular pasta, corn, and yes, sugar in any form. That includes brown sugar, molasses, honey, and agave nectar.

Most of the year, I’m pretty good at this. After all, my health is at stake. Eating these things leads to wild fluctuations in my blood sugar levels, headaches, mental fog, and ultimately diabetes. I really don’t want to go there!

However, as the fall approaches, it gets much more difficult to avoid temptation. Starting in mid-September, our family celebrates birthday after birthday, culminating on December 23 with our son-in-law Jeremy. All those birthdays include some sort of special dessert.

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The Unhealthiest Hour?


I call it “Carb Café.” Of course, that isn’t the official name, but it’s the most descriptive. Like many larger churches, our church has an area where you can buy boutique coffee, breakfast, lunch, and snacks. Breakfast options include cinnamon buns topped with gooey white frosting, huge cake-like muffins in several flavors (including chocolate), and biscuits (white flour and shortening leavened with baking powder) topped with high-fat white gravy. There are over-sized cookies, sausage breakfast burritos (high in fats and cholesterol), and, for a time, Belgian waffles. A bit more healthy are the recently-added bagels with (full fat) cream cheese, sweetened yogurt, and “breakfast sandwiches.” To be fair, they also have apples, oranges, or bananas for a dollar each.

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