Sugar Challenge and some (healthy) sugar substitutes!

Spring Cleaning--Sugar Challenge!

Starting today, I am beginning a sugar challenge. My buddy, Erin from Well in LA has started the process and I am piggy backing on this escapade! As most of you know, I am 5 months pregnant. It's really easy to fall into the trap of eating poorly when pregnant because, "I'm getting fat anyway, why not indulge?" I truly do think it's fine once in a while, everything in moderation (including moderation!).  BUT, when growing a HUMAN LIFE--now is not the time to eat low-nutrient foods just for kicks. I've been hearing and reading about the way Jessica Simpson was eating during her pregnancy and it makes me want to throw up. Jessica shared, "Kraft mac and cheese with Lawry's seasoning salt is the breakfast for pregnant champions!!!" I couldn't eat that way if I tried! My body would dispute!! It IS difficult when you have certain cravings that are indeed intensifies when pregnant, but I'm here to support you! I'll post tricks, recipes and tips here.

Extreme doesn't work for me!

Many people have the wrong idea that people who consume a diet of exclusively raw foods or vegan are extremists who deprive themselves of all things delicious and decadent, namely sweets and desserts. It can’t be too much fun having a bowl of chopped broccoli for dessert, can it? Some assume that those who insisted that they did not eat sugar were lying, weird, or had no fun eating. After being raw for several months at a time and vegan for years, I now understand completely why people would give up processed sugars and I also understand how we can give it up without sacrificing the fun! Read on to learn about a healthy substitute for sugar, no matter what your needs are-from baking to a sweetening a smoothie.

Sugar-what's the big deal?

sugar

Over the last few years, there has been a worldwide explosion in the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes – the third leading cause of death in the US. Type 2 diabetes occurs where there is sufficient insulin, but when insulin receptors become less sensitive.

This insulin resistance is the common factor in a cluster of cardiovascular disease risk factors known as metabolic syndrome. 20% of adult Americans have it, and it affects up to 40% of those over 60.

Eating sugar shoots our blood sugar levels up and triggers a spike in the hormone insulin, which is needed to prep our cells to absorb the sugar. If there are no other nutrients to sustain our blood sugar level, it crashes as quickly as it rises — and we crave another hit. This is how sugar addiction begins.

Moreover, sugar floods us with pleasure by stimulating the release of the neurotransmitter serotonin, and probably other mood-elevating substances. Scientists report that eating chocolate initiates a brain response similar to falling in love.

And so our brains have learned over time to equate the taste of “sweet” with a rapid infusion of energy and pleasure — a good thing when food was hard-won and life a battle to survive. Even now when we eat sweet foods, special taste buds trigger enzymes that prime our brain to anticipate this extra boost. With a balanced diet and a healthy metabolism, a calorie–control mechanism kicks in after a few minutes to regulate the desire for more food, including the satiety hormone leptin. But with too much sugar, we eat and eat and can’t get satisfied.

Another big difference between prehistoric times and now is that sugar back then came solely from complex natural sources that had other nutritional qualities, such as fruit, honey, bark, and leaves. And because naturally sweet food is seasonal, ripening with the sun in the summer or growing almost exclusively in warm climates, it was relatively rare in past times.

Sugar Alternatives

What is glycemic index? GI only measures glucose, so numbers don't tell us the whole story; it isn't measuring calories or other substances that impact blood sugar like sucrose or fructose.

agave 

Agave Nectar: this golden or dark brown liquid is derived from the blue agave plant. It's glycemic index (GI) is low-15. it contains slightly more calories than white sugar.  It's best in soft-textured foods such as smoothies, drinks, salad dressings, pies and cheesecake. Can also be used in breads, cakes and cookies. Substitute 2/3 cup agave nectar for 1 cup white sugar; in baking, reduce other liquid by about one-third.

Brown Rice Syrup: This dense liquid is made by fermenting brown rice with enzymes to convert starches to sugars. Thick, creamy texture, pale golden color and mild sweetness is reminiscent of butterscotch. It has a relatively low GI of 25. Same calories as sugar but only half as sweet, so you may need ot use more. This sweetener is best in soft textured dishes such as pie fillings, hot cereals, and sauces. Butter for crunchy items like granola or cookies versus baked goods because it makes them heavy and hard. Substitute 1 212 cups brown rice syrup for 1 cup sugar; reduce other liquid by 2 tablespoons.

Splenda: avoid this sweetener. Once it gets to the gut, sucralose goes largely unrecognized in the body as food — that’s why it has no calories. The majority of people don’t absorb a significant amount of Splenda in their small intestine — about 15% by some accounts. some side effects: Sucralose has been implicated as a possible migraine trigger.  Self-reported adverse reactions to Splenda or sucralose collected by the Sucralose Toxicity Information Center include skin rashes/flushing, panic-like agitation, dizziness and numbness, diarrhea, swelling, muscle aches, headaches, intestinal cramping, bladder issues, and stomach pain.

Organic granulated sugar: Unbleached, less processed granulated sugar cane. Not made from genetically modified sugar beets. Turbinado organic sugar ("raw sugar") is slightly browner, with larger crystals. Essentially the same calories and GI as white sugar, but retains some of the mineral-rich molasses. This is best in anything that uses regular sugar; similar texture and adds no color. Substitute 1:1 for regular sugar.

Stevia: Derived from a shrub; now available in leaf form (ground or whole leaf) and as a refined liquid or powder concentrate. Usually sold in the supplement section. The raw leaf is 60 times sweeter than sugar; in concentrated form, stevia is 150 to 300 times sweeter than sugar. In South America and Asia, people have used raw leaf stevia safely for centuries. with zero calories, it exerts no impact on insulin levels (some studies suggest stevia may help control insulin levels). Late last year the FDA granted "no objection" status to Cocoa-Cola and PepsiCo to use stevia based products in beverages. Ideal for sweetening tea, lemonade or other liquids. Lacks bulk so it's tricker for baking-works in cookies, granola and pies but not well in breads, cakes or anything where texture matters. In baking, replace 1 cup sugar with 1 teaspoon stevia powder (or liquid), plus 1/3 cup of a bulking agent such as egg whites, applesauce, mashed bananas, pumpkin puree, or yogurt; increase liquid by 2 tablespoon May add a bitter aftertaste so go easy!

Yacon Root Syrup: a specialty sweetener made from an Andean root which has many health-promoting qualities. It's rich in potassium, phosphorus, chromium, calcium, iron and other trace minerals. It contains a whole B complex profile and important antioxidants. The root can also be found in dried powder or snackable “chip” form. Has been shown to be helpful for diabetics with a neglible effect on insulin. It improves digestive health because of the Fructans (FOS) that allow the body to use yacon as a prebiotic "food" for the digestive tract. Similar in consistency to maple syrup.

Xylitol: white crystalline alcohol powder once commonly derived from birch bark, now mostly refined from corn, berries and plums. Similar in appearance and sweetness to white sugar. This sweetener doesn't metabolize as sugar, so has no effect on insulin levels. Contains 9 calories per teaspoon, about half that of sugar.  Shown to be effective in preventing tooth decay; may have positive effects on bone health. Note: EXTREMELY toxic to dogs. Xylitol dissolves easily in liquid; idea for beverages, smoothies, sauces and ice creams. Not suitable for yeast-based baked goods but works well in quick breads. A direct substitute for sugar. In recipes calling for high quantities, use equal parts xylitol and another natural sweetener to reduce xylitol's potential bloating or laxative effects.

Fresh Ripe Fruits from Your Kitchen: This is the simplest way to get some sweet flavor into your foods. Ripe bananas in particular are very sweet and are commonly used in smoothies and blended foods. You may also want to chop or rehydrate some fruits you may have dehydrated in your own kitchen, or purchased in bulk at the natural foods market. Feel free to experiment. I freeze bananas once they ripen and keep them in the freezer to pop into a smoothie when needed.

I challenge you to go even a week without processed sugars. You'll not only notice a difference in your energy levels, but you'll notice how addicted you actually are!! Explore these different options above and figure out what works for you and your body. 

Let me know how it goes, I am here to support you!

Comments (10):

Vegan eggnog | The Philosophie on

[…] add 2 tablespoons agave […]

candace b. on

This is a great article Sophie. Thanks!

Healthy Chocolate Milkshake Recipe and Video! | The Philosophie on

[…] scoop (2 Tablespoons) Protein Powder of your choice (Raw, Brown Rice or Whey) *2 drops of chocolate stevia concentrate *2 drops of vanilla creme stevia concentrate *handful or two of […]

A Mindful Approach to Wellness -  The Philosophie on

[…] cup agave […]

erin @WELL in L.A. on

LOVE this Sophie! Thank you for such a comprehensive guide!

Alkaline Foods | The Philosophie on

[…] Junk & Processed foods […]

Drinking Soda is Bad: Why Diet Soda is no Diet at All | The Philosophie on

[…] might signal insulin to release even though there are no actual calories or sugar. (another reason Splenda […]

Healthy Indulgence | The Philosophie on

[…] sweeteners-substitute for sugar […]

raw vegan dessert-cherry chocolate bombs! | The Philosophie on

[…] 2 tbsp dark agave […]

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[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Sophie, Adi Jaffe. Adi Jaffe said: RT @YogaSoph: http://www.thephilosophie.com/philosophie/sweeteners-substitute-for-sugar/ […]

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6 Wellness Essentials for Your Handbag

When you’re nesting at home, you have your comforting oasis of apothecary bottles, superfood treats, and swoon-worthy prints of uplifting mantras. But the moment you step out the door into the hustle and bustle of the outside world, it helps to have more than your keys, wallet, and smartphone–especially if you’re trying your best to maintain zen vibes throughout the whole day. To help you stay on top of your wellness game while you’re doing the 9-5, are at the gym, or on the subway, make sure you’ve got these 6 must-haves on standby in your favorite tote or handbag.

1) Organic Lip Balm

We’ve all been there. You’ve left the house and realize your lips are chapped and badly in need of some TLC–and the kicker is you won’t be home for hours. While ducking into the drugstore is always an option, it helps to have your favorite coconut or mango butter balm on hand to instantly smooth things over and have you ready for any kisses that might be coming your way.

2) Nourishing Snack

Nothing derails a clean eating plan like ravenous hunger. Always have a wholesome, protein-packed snack tucked into your bag (like an Elemental SeedBar, a DIY trail mix of goji berries and almonds, a few spoonfuls of coconut butter saved in a small container, or a baggie of spirulina kale chips) to hold you over until your next meal and save you from caving for a cheese-covered pretzel.

3) Bottle of Essential Oil

When your inbox is out of control, your desk a mess, and your stress levels on the rise, a quick reset is essential. Keep a mini bottle of a revitalizing scent that’ll whisk you away to a serene state of mind while you take a breather and find balance. A drop or two of lavender, peppermint, or rose essential oil can work wonders, especially if you pair it with a 5 or 10 minute meditation.

4) Lucky Crystal

Carry a crystal or gemstone with you throughout your day to serve as a lucky charm and also remove any old or negative energy you may be holding. If you’re placing it in your prized handbag (or one that is especially delicate), it’s best to use a tumbled crystal that’s smooth and shaped like a small skipping stone. Plus, they’re so lovely to hold!

5) Extra Hair Tie

Whether you’re prone to busting out handstands wherever you feel like it (the yoga studio, the park, or the steps of your bank–why not?), are one to do an impromptu workout, or just happen to be at a happy hour that turns into a dance party, a hair tie is a must for no-holds-barred flowing, spinning, lifting, moving, dancing, or sheer living.

6) Your Favorite Jam

Find the song that makes you feel like you can take on the world and make sure that it’s downloaded on your phone. Even if you find yourself in a spot with no service, you can still summon the power of music to put you into a carpe diem, “life is beautiful” mood.

Sophie’s 6 Tips on Starting Up Your Own Company

More than anything, I LOVE supporting people in making their mark on the world. And I know that we’re best at sharing our incredible gifts + talents when we’re full of energy, which is why I created Philosophie. Today, I’m sharing six tips I’ve learned while building my company that I hope will help all of you incredible entrepreneurs in our Philosophie Tribe!

1 When inspiration strikes or you have that “a-ha!” moment, take it and RUN WITH IT.

Philosophie began with me simply wishing that I could have an amazing blend of superfoods and proteins together in one, convenient jar. I didn’t want to run out of camu camu or another individual ingredient and then feel like my smoothie wasn’t complete, so I went all over LA searching for high quality, fair-trade, organic superfoods and began packing them into mason jars and little bags. Hoping to share the magic of superfoods with others, I then started giving the blends to friends and family and making everyone workout and nutrition guides.

One day, I was in the sea in Tel Aviv with my husband, Adi, and he turned to me and said, “You should really grow what you’re doing and share it with more people, make it a company.” And since that day, Philosophie has blossomed into something much bigger than I had ever imagined. Our products have helped everyone from George Clooney to my own dad and are continuing to help so many more people discover wellness and feel as vibrant + alive as they can.

2) There’s no need to get overwhelmed at the thought of creating your own business–break everything down into BABY STEPS.

Once I got home from Israel, I started simple. What did I want to call my company? After I created the name “The Philosophie,” I got the domain for my website. Then I ordered business cards. From there, I created free events on Meetup.com so I could make treats in my kitchen and introduce superfoods to new people.

While some days, it may seem like you have 500 things you need to do all at once, simply take a deep breath, find a notepad, and write down the top 3 things you want to tackle that day or week. Baby steps every day lead to miles over time.

3) Stay authentic to your vision and mission.

Build a dream team and support system that lights you up with energy. Work with brands and people that align with your overall vision. Co-create magic with others who have the same values and principles as you. Don't say yes to everything. The moment you don’t love something, stop to think about how you can either pivot or let go.

5) Slow and steady wins the race.

I never brought in an investor, which made it really hard to build quickly, so I often feel like the tortoise of the tortoise and the hare. However, moving slower helps me also do things with greater intention, so that everything I do is right for Philosophie and right for me. It’s definitely been a blessing in disguise! 

3) Create a gratitude journal to track your wins, whether it’s talking to a new person about your company or making your first sale!

Having your own business can definitely feel frustrating or like a constant uphill battle, but when you carve out 5 minutes to reflect on what’s going right and what you HAVE accomplished, you’ll see how far you’ve come and also how limitless your potential truly is!

6) Balance your personal life and your business.

This is SO important. To avoid burn-out, you must find and draw boundaries. You have to actively plan out personal time. Take out your calendar and choose time that is for self-care and time for friends and family. Weekends are sacred, and I usually don't work on them at all if i can avoid it. I work when my kids are at school and then be really present in the afternoon and evenings until they go to sleep–then I go back to work or spending time with my hubby! You’ll always be more productive and more successful when you feel well-rested, fully nourished, and full of love.

 

Are you thinking of starting your own company? Or are you an entrepreneur with amazing tips for others? Comment on our Facebook page and tell me what you’re working on!

Berry Melon Collagen Smoothie Recipe

If you like beautifying smoothies, you’ll love this berry melon drink featuring collagen. By adding it to my morning smoothies on a daily basis, it gives my skin a glow, combats inflammation, and is also a natural anti-ager. As a busy mama, I will take all the help I can get when trying to look and feel my best!

I’ve been a fan of Vital Proteins for quite some time and was seeing their new Beauty Water add-ins all over Insta! While I was playing around in the kitchen with a tropical Berry Bliss flavor profile, I decided to add in the Melon Mint packet, which has marine collagen, hyaluronic acid, AND probiotics. It’s essentially an elixir for gorgeous skin–and it works!

For this smoothie, I also wanted to include healthy fats by blending in our Coconut Bliss Coco Butter and this yummy Berry Almond Butter from Jem Organics. To top it all off, I added in tocos! This magical ingredient not only gives smoothies their creamy texture, but is also exceptional for your skin and connective tissue!

 

Gather This:

 

Do This:

Blitz all ingredients in a high-speed blender, pour into a beautiful glass, and top with your favorite superfoods!


Let me know what benefits you experienced by adding this anti-aging smoothie into your routine! Share your story on Facebook with #MyPhilosphie!

Berry Bliss Vegan Cheesecake Recipe

As the weather starts to warm as we move closer to summer, I start to crave super light, cool treats to top off a nourishing dinner. These raw, vegan Berry Bliss Cheesecakes made with wholesome ingredients hit the spot EVERY time.  

I love the crispy crust on pies and cakes, so I created a guilt-free version by combining raw nuts, dates, and coconut. Not only is this crust absolutely delicious, it's also full of fiber and essential minerals!

To make a vegan "cheese" filling, cashews are my go-to! Once they've been soaked for 1 hour, they can be blended into a beautiful cream that tastes delicious once whipped up with lemon juice, Cacao Bee Honey, coconut oil, vanilla, Berry Bliss, and a dash of sea salt. 

Finally, frozen berries and dates make for a divine sauce to spread on top of your cheesecake, before pilling on fresh berries + bee pollen! 

Makes: 24 slivers of a large pie (or 4 smaller pies with 6 slices)

Gather This: 

 For the Crust:

  • 2 cups raw macadamia nuts OR a blend of almonds, walnuts, and pecans
  • 1/2 cup dates, pitted
  • 1/4 cup dried coconut

 

For the Filling:

  • 3 cups chopped cashews, soaked for at least 1 hour
  • 3/4 cup lemon juice (or lime juice –I used limequats for this!)
  • 3/4 cup Cacao Bee Honey
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon Berry Bliss Superfood + Protein Blend
  • 1/2 teaspoon celtic sea salt (optional)

 

For the Berry Sauce:

  • 1 bag frozen raspberries (or blackberries/strawberries)
  • 1/2 cup dates

 

For the Toppings:

  • fresh berries of your choice
  • bee pollen

 

Do This:

1) To make the crust, process the nuts and dates in the food processor. Sprinkle dried coconut onto the bottom of an 8 or 9-inch springform pan. Press crust onto the coconut (this will prevent it from sticking).

2) To make the filling, blend the cashews, lemon, honey, gently warmed coconut oil (don't microwave it!), vanilla, sea salt, and 1/2 cup of water. Blend until smooth and adjust to taste.

3) Pour the mixture onto the crust. Remove air bubbles by tapping the pan on a table. Place in the freezer until firm. Remove the whole cake from the pan while frozen and place on a serving platter. Defrost in the refrigerator. The more defrosted it is, the better the taste will be!

4) To make the raspberry sauce, process raspberries and dates in a food processor until well blended. Don't use a blender for this or the raspberry seeds will become like sand ;) Spread the sauce on top of the cakes, sprinkle with more fresh berries, and enjoy!

 

We'd love to see your gorgeous superfood treats! Share them with us on Instagram with #MyPhilosophie + #PhilosophieSuperfoods!

A Day in My Shoes!

I never know what magic my day will hold. Given my ever-changing schedule, I may be sharing the power of superfoods with new friends, teaching a vinyasa yoga class, or cooking up a storm with my two boys and hubby. 

MORNING

The first 30 minutes are when I meditate + stretch to start my day off on the right foot. I then step into the kitchen to whip up a nourishing smoothie filled with our Philosophie Superfood + Protein Blends, nut mylk, leafy greens, and a whole lotta fruit!

I then get ready – LOVE a cute pair of overalls and YOU by Skechers shoes. They’re so versatile, comfy, and cute that I can go from home to a photo shoot to a superfood demo to a beach walk with friends!

Once I drop the kids off at school, I’ll head to the gym for a HIIT workout or go for a sprint through the park, followed by a short + sweet yoga flow. From there, I’m back home to freshen up, knock out some emails, and write up a new recipe or wellness article for my blog.

AFTERNOON

For lunch, I like to really fill up with tons of nutrients so I can power through the afternoon. If I’m at home, I’ll toss up a huge salad the size of my head, with tons of fresh greens and sprouted nuts and seeds. If I am getting something on the go, I love Fala Bar in L.A. for their yummy veggie burgers. 

Afternoon’s are for creative brainstorms when I meet up my team or collaborate with wildly gifted photographers or friends, who have their own amazing companies. A lot of the times, I’m on my feet – especially if I’m doing a Facebook Live to share a new recipe, demoing how to use our superfoods, or teaching a yoga or HIIT class! Afterwards, I’ll pick up the kiddos, help them with their homework, make a wholesome snack, or do some yoga on the lawn together – they love poses like Warrior 1 and “Airplane”!


EVENING

For dinner, I’ll make our family grilled salmon or a filling soup, and lots of greens and roasted veggies. Since I have such a sweet tooth, we’ll also have a heavenly dessert like vegan ice cream or chia pudding.

If there’s still a bit of light outside, we’ll go for an evening walk. Beyond fresh air and light exercise, these walks provide a space for togetherness and reflection that allow us to truly reconnect. I definitely think my family feels that freedom—we talk about moments in the day we’re grateful for and what our hopes are for the next!

What's a day like in YOUR shoes? Let me know on Instagram with #MyPhilosophie!

Heart of the Week: Frank Body

On Sunday evenings before bed, I love having at-home "spa time" where I turn on relaxing music, light up a few candles, brew a cup of tea, and spend time pampering my skin. 

I just found out about this Peppermint Coffee Scrub from Frank Body, and I am IN LOVE. It smells so yummy that I want to eat it (if you add mint to this Coffee & Cacao Magic Smoothie, you'll have a delish smoothie that smells just like it!).

This scrub does a fab job at exfoliating, leaving you with oh-so-soft skin. Created with coffee beans, peppermint oil, olive oil, and aloe vera, this vegan scrub is also free of any icky parabens or PEGS. Just like going organic is important with your food, avoiding dirty ingredients is a MUST for your skincare products!

After I've exfoliated, I apply their Body Balm, a super silky balm made of coconut oil, grapeseed + almond oils, coffee arabica seed oil, and beeswax. The coffee in this balm is a super smart add. The high caffeine content gets your blood pumping, which helps tone and firm your skin. Plus, the vitamin E makes your skin feel super soft!

Once my skin is nourished + happy, I make my way to bed for some calming, restorative yoga poses that helps me drift off to dreamland. 

What are your fave skincare products for supercharging your skin? Tell me on Twitter with #MyPhilosophie!
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