We know you have questions circulating in your head about a sugar-free diet. Why are we passionate about eating naturally sweet and what gets us so interested in healthy recipes and natural sweeteners? The world of natural sweeteners definitely gets us excited but for the newcomer, this world can be overwhelming!
So this is a guide to healthy sugar-free baking for the beginner!
Here on this blog, we take terms like “healthy” and “natural” seriously. You will never find artificial or chemical sweeteners like aspartame. We try to avoid products that have a long names in their ingredient list. We strive for whole food recipes. There are many wonderful sweeteners out there that help us accomplish this.
We first started this natural route due to the candida diet. Immediately, we started researching what we could eat on this diet and more importantly what we’d do about dessert! At the time, we were still addicted to the white sugar we’d so lovingly consumed for so many years. Because of this, the dessert aspect of this diet was a big priority! We found three sweeteners that were acceptable for the candida diet. Stevia and Xylitol and Erythritol . These sweeteners helped us a ton and really sparked our interest for natural sweeteners. Since that diet, we now have a whole list of sweeteners we love that replace sugar in a healthier way!
Whatever your reasons for reducing sugar in your life, you’ll find that a natural diet can be easy to adapt to and fun to keep up!
Where to start?
First, decide what a naturally sweet diet means to you and how you want to implement it. Are you going to limit processed sugar and high fructose corn syrup only? Do you want to only make natural sweets at home, but eat sugar when you are out and about? Do you want to cut out sweets completely except for very special occasions? Do you have an allergy and need to keep a strict sugar-free diet? Our decisions and goals have changed over the years and not even the three of us restrict sugar 100%. We do our best, but we also have busy lives and families and we want to be flexible. Having goals and remembering how good we feel when we limit sugar helps us make healthy choices.
The second thing is to be excited and positive about these changes. Focus on adding in these natural sweeteners, not taking away anything away. When we began this blog, we didn’t want to focus on being sugar-free. We wanted to think about being naturally sweet! Think of eating sugar-free, as a naturally sweet diet with so many sweeteners available to you. There are SO many options! This attitude will help influence your friends and family for the better as well. Avoiding labels on ourselves can help make the transition much easier!
When to start?
You can start whenever you’re ready and there’s no better time than that. It’s most important to realize that we are making a lifestyle change. Start out as slow as you’d like! Start by not buying certain products and replacing them with natural options. Stock up on more naturally sweet foods like fruit. Choose one day a week where you will eat whole sweeteners over white sugar. Even deciding to use organic sugar is a step in the right direction!
Once you’ve made the decision, surround yourself with products, recipes, resources (and people!) that will help support you in this choice. There are so many great resources! We have been so grateful to the many books and blogs out there on this very subject. A few of our favorites:
Sugar-Free & Natural Blogs:
Books & Cookbooks:
Sugar Blues (this is a must-read for those who are serious or want to be serious about reducing sugar out of their diet.)
Our Naturally Sugar-Free cookbook is a great resource as it shares sugar-free recipes for all kinds of meals and dishes.
Once you find blogs, cookbooks and recipes that support natural diets, the hard part is over! The next step is to stock your pantry with products that will give you more options when in the kitchen.
Top 5 Sweetener Must-Haves:
- Dried Fruit (especially dates & raisins)
- Fresh Fruits
- Unsweetened Baking Chocolate and/or Good quality Sugar-Free Chocolates
- Pure Maple Syrup
Just having these items on hand gives you a plethora of delicious options. These products are very accessible at most grocery stores. Once you get started using these products and others, you’ll see how easy it is to reach for the honey over the sugar.
Throughout this sugar-free journey, we’ve tried to adopt a more natural lifestyle overall. We avoid white flour and cows milk on a regular basis. We try to incorporate good quality dairy-free and gluten-free products. Those changes didn’t happen overnight and you can still make many of our recipes if you don’t buy almond milk or spelt flour. However, we would say our health has steadily improved when we omitted certain products and tried to eat more natural and healthy.
Now let’s get into the kitchen!
What to make first?
Here are some of our favorite and easy recipes using the most common sweeteners. All of these recipes were sweetened with just one or more of the above 5 must-have items.
Skinny Mini Lemony Poppy Seed Muffins
Chocolate Covered Raisins Fudge
Super Easy Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
4-ingredient Banana Bites
Peanut Butter Milkshakes
Oatmeal Cinnamon Cookie Dough Truffles
Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Old Fashion Lemon Scones
Honey Sweetened Chocolate Glaze Cookies
Gluten-Free Almond Pancakes
Raw Dark Chocolate Coconut Truffles
As you learn how different sweeteners work, it’s exciting to see what’s possible without white sugar. As a note, some sweeteners can be interchanged in a recipe unless stated otherwise. This gives us even more options! It’s amazing what these natural sweeteners can create!
We have more to share, so please check back next week to see Part 2 of this sugar-free guide! We’ll share more healthy eating tip ideas, tips for sticking to this diet and benefits and blessings that can take place once you begin eating healthier. See you again soon!