Prep Time: 60 minutes (Set in Refrigerator)
Cook Time: 10 minutes
With the fall and winter months upon us, I usually find that my body craves sweet desserts. I usually try my best to avoid giving in to my sweet tooth but sometimes I just need to have something that will satisfy my ever nagging sweet tooth.
I think it is fair to say we all know the awful feeling after eating something unhealthy and we ask ourselves if it was really worth the calories. At the time, those cookies or piece of cake was something that we just had to have. But afterwards, many of us wished we hadn't indulged.
This mass increase of sugar consumption has become evident in the rising rates of diabetes in the US. For example, in 1890, only 3 people out of 10, 000 had diabetes. In 2012 almost 8,000 out of every 10,000 people have been diagnosed with diabetes.
Many times I have tried to have a healthy diet and cut sugar out. But it has been difficult to stop eating it for more than 6 months. Just when I get a handle on only eating minimal amounts when necessary (i.e. a teaspoon in my latte), a holiday such as Thanksgiving, has the power to turn my controlled self into becoming pumpkin pie connoisseur. That is because sugar is highly addictive.
A study was done by Dr. Serge Ahmed of Bordeaux France. He tested rats by giving them a choice between small amounts of cocaine and sugar. He revealed that rats regularly chose the sweet taste of sugar over the high of cocaine. Because sugar produces dopamine in the brain (a chemical that makes us happy) many people become addicted to eating sugar and when people stop eating sugar we go through a withdrawal period which feeds the addiction. What many people do not know, is that if they can refrain from eating sugar for a few days, the brain will produce dopamine on its own eliminating the constant cravings that many of us feel. But the discomfort of the withdrawal period keeps many 'sugar addicts' unable to refrain from sugary snacks and drinks.
Research has shown that not all sugars are created equal in their effect on your health.
Sugars that are highly processed and should be avoided are white sugar, brown sugar, agave, and all artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose and saccharin. If you would like to have something sweet, it is best to choose 100 percent pure stevia, xylitol, raw honey, pure maple syrup and coconut sugar.
In my effort to once again reclaim my health by eliminating highly processed sugars from my diet like the ones listed above, I thought I would start out by making an easy, tasty, egg free and healthy dessert recipes to share with you using the sugars that are not so refined. This dessert can be kept in the fridge for when you just have to have something sweet but aren't willing to sacrifice your health.
Hope you enjoy them.
Cinnamon Almond Coconut Balls Recipe
These tasty little treats are a healthy vegan and gluten free dessert snack perfect for any occasion. The warming flavor of cinnamon spice mixed with almonds, coconut and sweetened with natural maple syrup are a heavenly combination. So easy to make, lovely and decorative - they can easily be given as a housewarming gift or transported on a picnic.
Time to make: 10 minutes and 1 hour to set in refrigerator.
- 2 cups almonds
- ½ cup + 4 Tbsp finely shredded unsweetened coconut
- 3 tsp coconut oil
- 2/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 5 tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp salt
- Place almonds and 1/2 cup coconut in food processor and process until very fine. Scrape out with spatula into a medium sized bowl.
- Add coconut oil, maple syrup, cinnamon and salt to almond mixture. Thoroughly combine.
- Put remaining 4 Tbsp shredded coconut on a plate.
- Wash your hands and roll a large tablespoon sized ball of the almond mixture into your hand. Squeeze ball with fingers as your rotate it in your hand in order to make it very compact. Finally, Roll ball on the plated coconut to coat, and place on plate. Repeat until bowl is empty.
- When finished, let set in the fridge for an hour allowing them to harden and set.
Makes approximately 15 balls
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/jocelyne_gagne
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