Today while shopping at Whole Foods Market, in the bulk section (using my reusable cotton bulk food bags) I happened across Diane Sanfilippo’s book: 21-Day Sugar Detox. I don’t really think of myself as someone who needs a detox because I practice eating very naturally. But as I started flipping through her book I found it incredibly informative and came across concepts that I had not included in my understanding of nutrition. I decided that I would introduce this 21-Day Sugar Detox philosophy to my family. Even though I rarely, if ever eat sugar anymore, my kids still do, mind you in lesser quantities, since I have been learning more on the subject.
Over the last year and a half, my kids and I have been following an elimination diet based on the results from our individual ALCAT blood tests, from which, my son was advised to avoid ALL sugars and gluten for an entire year – a tall order for anyone, but imagine how that would feel for an eleven year old. He surprised us all by accepting the challenge. When his friends were “enjoying” treats, he declined. When teachers handed out candies as rewards, he declined. When school-mates’ parents brought birthday cupcakes and donuts to school, he declined. He stuck to the plan and his health changed dramatically. He also learned a lot about himself in the process. He learned to practice self-discipline, something not many people practice. However, once the 12 months of being strict came to an end, he anxiously started to add in those toxic treats from time to time. What we noticed? His behaviour changed, and he admitted to feeling lousy each and every time he indulged. He learned a lot about himself going through that yearlong experiment and especially what happens to himself when he reintroduces those unhealthy ingredients. He is learning to control what he chooses to eat, backed up with knowledge.
The way I see it, our entire life is an experiment and my job as a parent is to help my children (and myself along the way) to continue to become educated on how to truly nourish ourselves as opposed to just fuelling up and dashing off to the next activity.
My kids often have sugar and grain cravings, and there are times when I do too. There is a reason why most us do experience cravings, it is partly due to to the fact that none of us really understands how to feed ourselves.
Because I had some ripe banana’s on the counter, making a batch of muffins was on todays’ agenda. However, what I learned from my quick glance through Diane’s book is that eating the overly ripe banana’s isn’t the best choice! In any case, I had already committed to using them. But because of what I learned from Diane’s book, I made some changes to the recipe I usually use. (Note: I only made muffins a few times this past year – they are not a staple). Next time I will make more changes based on Diane’s advice for eliminating more grains.
The way we feed ourselves is a vicious nonsensical cycle! We think we are making the right food choices but are actually contributing to these biological hunger games.
“If what you are doing isn’t working, doing more of it won’t work any better.”
– Alan Cohen
Nowadays, I generally add very little or no sweeteners to foods that I prepare, and it has been a long road of trying to reprogram my brain to accept that all refined sugars affect the body in very similar ways. Be it cane sugar to agave syrup, from HFCS to honey. The truth is we really don’t need any of these sweeteners.
“Removing added sugars and very sweet foods retrains your taste buds to perceive sweetness, and you’ll find that foods you once thought weren’t sweet at all become quite sweet as the days pass [when following the 21 Day Sugar Detox].”
– Diane Sanfilippo
This is true for me. I enjoy all vegetables (which are carbohydrates) with such pleasure because I can detect the pure subtle sweetness. We have cut back considerably on the amount of grains we consume in our household, and I can see from picking up Diane’s book today that I will be cutting back on them even more. The key is to understand why we eat the foods we do and to learn how to prepare meals that are nourishing.
We do allow for some organic grains in our diet but as we become more comfortable with these changes, we are more accepting of continuing to learn what else we can eliminate to thrive better.
I designed this muffin recipe specifically for my daughter after receiving the results from our ALCAT test, but now I realize that going forward, it is going to get a whole new makeover, in fact this may be the last time I ever make it.
This is today’s version…
- 2 Cups Fine Organic Spelt Flour (Anita’s from bulk)
- ½ Cup Organic Oat Flour (gluten-free)
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 TBSP organic ground cinnamon
- 3 Large Eggs, beaten
- 2 Cups mashed very ripe bananas
- 1/2 Cup (-less 1 TBSP) melted Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
- 1 TBSP melted Organic unsalted Butter
- 1 tsp organic vanilla
- 1/4 Cup finely mashed organic walnuts into paste, used mortar & pestle
- 1 TBSP unsweetened cocao nibs, ground into walnut paste with mortar & pestle
- 3/4 Cup finely grated organic carrot
- Pre-heat oven to 350ºF.
- Prepare muffin tins (lightly greased with butter).
- Melt coconut oil and butter. Remove from heat.
- “Bloom” cinnamon by adding cinnamon to melted oil/butter. Stir well and set aside to cool.
- Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
- Mash ripe bananas in a small bowl.
- In a separate medium bowl, whisk eggs, then add mashed banana and remaining wet ingredients. Whisk together.
- Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and incorporate. Not too much – stir approximately 10 times. Don’t over mix.
- Fold in additions if using. Careful not to stir the mixture too much.
- Fill muffin tins 3/4 full or to your liking.
- Bake for 20 minutes depending on your oven. Check for doneness using method of choice.
- Remove from oven and let stand for a few minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool.
Yield: 12 mini muffins +1 mini loaf (I have a mini loaf pan & mini bundt pan that I use when I have some leftover batter).
Note: Spelt Flour is NOT gluten-free.
Diane Sanfilippo has great recipes in her 21 Day Sugar Detox book which is an accompaniment to her cookbook. This Fall, my kids and I will be learning and experimenting from this approach.
Let's live without single-use plastic! Better for our health and that of our planet. Stop the Recycle cycle. In this order: AVOID - REDUCE - REUSE - RECYCLE