Behave so the aroma of your actions may enhance the general sweetness of the atmosphere. -Henry David Thoreau
In Sweetness without Sugar, I focus on substituting healthy natural sweeteners for unhealthy sugar and artificial sweeteners. But there are other tasty, easy ways to eat better too. One of the best is to introduce so-called “superfoods” into your diet.
I offer a list of a couple dozen superfoods that you can find at stores near you in Chapter 11 of Sweetness without Sugar. Here, I’d like to share five foods from that list just to get you started.
- Acai (AAH SIGH EEE) is a berry that is high in antioxidants. It can be found in powdered or frozen forms. The frozen form is available in two varieties: with added sugar or raw without added sugar. Acai also provides some omega fats and tastes great when added to smoothies or eaten “as is” like a fruit popsicle. Look for the frozen packets without sweetener added. This gives a whole new meaning to those Technicolor(TM) fruit stick pops. (Keep in mind that the pulp often contains guarana, a form of caffeine.)
- Blue-green algae is also some times referred to as cyanobacteria. It is high in antioxidants and helps minimize free radicals in our bodies. It usually comes in a powdered form and can be used similarly to spirulina powder. Individuals with extreme food sensitivities or the genetic condition phenylketonuria (PKU) may have allergic reactions to algae that contains phenylalanine. For this reason, it is best to select brands of blue-green algae that are independently tested and/or that have assays proving their purity. See the Appendix and Resources section on page 312 for the algae sources I recommend.
- Cacao is also known as raw chocolate. It comes in many forms: powder, cacao butter (which is creamy), beans (the fruit) or in bits, like a chocolate chip. Raw cacao is high in magnesium and also contains iron. It is delicious blended in smoothies, added to baked goods, mixed with yacon syrup or eaten plain (start with a little as it can taste bitter). Studies have shown that people who eat 50 grams of chocolate (containing at least 70% cacao) per week have lower risks of developing a stroke and dying from a stroke. Because cacao contains caffeine, people who are sensitive should consume cacao in moderation. Recent research indicates concern with the introduction of more cacao into our food supply. Some people experience problems after consuming cacao: addictive and digestive issues, sleep disturbances, and mood swings. If you choose to consume chocolate, I advocate eating cacao in moderation. Important: Do not feed cacao to your pet. Even one to two ounces of dark chocolate or cacao can be toxic to their systems.
- Chia seeds are high in fiber,which helps slow the body’s process of converting carbohydrates into sugar. This translates into less blood sugar fluctuation and a reduction in sweet cravings. Chia seeds are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, calcium, boron and antioxidants. They are members of the mint family.
- Hemp is high in digestible protein, vitamin E, iron and omega 3 fatty acids. It can be added to smoothies, eaten plain, sprinkled on a salad, made into hemp milk and, added to muffins and baked goods. Store in a cool, dry place in a dark bottle with little or no exposure to light. Raw hempseeds are also rich, nutty and flavorful and can be eaten in a myriad of ways.
You can find many of these ingredients, along the others on the full list of superfoods in Sweetness without Sugar, in recipes in the book. To get even more benefit on your journey to cut down on sugar and other unhealthy sweeteners, why not try gradually adding in some superfoods?