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!

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Celebrating the New Moon

I always find the New Moon to be such a magical time for setting intentions, listening to your intuition, and allowing yourself to cleanse + reset. Tomorrow night I'll be doing a  Full Moon Celebration + New Moon Temple with Free People in Santa Monica. I would absolutely love to see you beauties there, especially if you're new to celebrating the beautiful changes that come with the moon!
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Read on to catch my interview with Free People, where I share everything from my favorite crystal to how the new moon affects us!  
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Your astrological sign:
Taurus Moon, Taurus Sun, Virgo Rising (earth mama!!!)
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Your spirit animal is:
 My son, Leo the Lion
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You are a yogi, raw food chef, healer, health coach, mother. What can you NOT do? 
We can all do anything we want. Truly. We are all standing in our own way because we think we have to do it perfectly or "right". There is no right. There is just showing up and doing.
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Best piece of advice you ever got:
Learning the word "no". That saying "no" to others is actually oftentimes saying "yes" to yourself. 
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Worst piece of advice you ever got:
I get all sorts of unsolicited advice from other mothers. They loveeeee to share their two cents even when it isn't asked ;) 
Go-to superfood:
My Berry Bliss Superfood + Protein Blend. It's packed with Vitamin C so it works on supporting and strengthening our immune system while helping our skin glow from the inside out. I add it to smoothies, juice, oats, yogurt, and just about anything else! 
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Your upcoming workshop in Santa Monica is about the new moon. How does it affect us?
As women, we are all affected by the moon and her shifts. The new moon is a time to start fresh, set new intentions for the month ahead, connect inward, and check in with our shadowy side. This is a time to journal, take long baths, meditate, rest, and cleanse. Solo time is necessary. 
What should we be learning from this experience?
That it's completely normal to feel more emotional around the new moon, that it's vital to connect with other women to be truly "seen" and felt, and that we are always supported and held by our sisters, even if we don't always see it or feel it. 
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Your favorite crystal and why: 
Citrine is so beautiful. It also manifests abundance + brings energies of generosity so that the prosperity + success is shared. Citrine is a solar plexus chakra stone used metaphysically to increase, magnify, and clarify personal power + energy.
What does free mean to you?
Free means expressing + living without restrictions – mentally or physically – so that I can feel open, vulnerable, and fully connected. Free is a state of mind, and I can get there as long as I'm focused on the moment + not future tripping or living in the past. 
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How do you celebrate + embrace the New Moon? Tell us on Twitter with #MyPhilosophie!

Heart of the Week: Fall Equinox Cleanse + HUM Nutrition

Now that fall is upon us, we’re beginning our gentle cleanses to welcome the new energy of the season. The best part about nourishing food-based cleanses is that they naturally detoxify the body without making you feel hungry all of the time, which is super common during juice-only cleanses. Instead, you restore your body with vibrant, healing foods and supplements like Hum Nutrition that further amplify the benefits of your cleanse!

The Philosophie Cleanses provide LOTS of fiber, so while you're cleansing, I recommend taking Hum Nutrition’s Flatter Me, which helps your body digest what you eat, as well as reap all of the nutritional rewards of these foods. If you aren't digesting your food properly, you’re not getting all that you can out of these high vibrational fruits, veggies, and superfoods!

While cleansing, I also love taking Hum Nutrition’s Beauty ZzZ, which ensures that I get a night of quality sleep. A full 7-9 hours of sleeps is SO essential to our day-to-day routines, let alone when we’re doing a cleanse.

If you're looking to feel lighter or gain more internal clarity, definitely check out our line of cleanses + email me at sophie@thephilosophie.com if you need help choosing the right cleanse for you!

Do you have any questions about your Fall Equinox Cleanse? Share them with us on Twitter with #MyPhilosophie! 

5 Tips for Cultivating a Walking Meditation

The simple act of walking can be one of the most blissful and serene moments in your day. It’s an opportunity to clear your head and be mindful of your surroundings – to celebrate and savor the small, beautiful things in your community. The vibrant marigolds, the toddler and her mother playing in the sprinklers, the mailbox with the flamingo whirligig bobbing up and down in the wind. The sweet things that are not to be missed and won’t be missed when you fully embrace the practice of walking.

To cultivate a walk that is both meditative and rejuvenating (and in every sense, a chance to stop and smell the roses), follow these 5 tips before you step out the door.

  • Hydrate with a nourishing superfood smoothie. It’s important to keep your body properly hydrated, especially if you’re taking a walk in the heat of summer–nor do you want to be hungry! Blend up coconut water, leafy greens, a frozen banana, mango, and pineapple, along with some chia and flax seeds, for a nutrient-rich, tropical drink that will help you focus on your walk.

 

  • Wear cute, comfortable clothes and shoes. Slip into a workout top and tights that will let you move freely (and not overheat), along with a pair of kicks with good support.

  • Keep your phone at home (or in your pocket). When you begin you walk and step outside, think of it as entering your yoga studio. Let your phone rest. Leave your list of to-dos, your dinner plans, that spreadsheet you’ve been working on all morning behind. Limit distractions that would bring you back into the daily grind of your life and – instead open yourself up to the “distractions” of the outside world – the fireflies, the oak trees, an old jazz tune floating out of a neighbor’s cracked window.

 

  • Set an intention for your walk. Again, think of this as a yoga practice, where you set an intention, a guiding light that helps you stay on the path you’d like to walk. It could be an intention to find gratitude, to be open and receptive to your surroundings, or to find calmness and serenity during your steps.

  • Walk with a friend or your four-legged pal. Ask a friend to join your walking meditation. Instead of swapping work stories or recapping the latest episode of your favorite show though, take the time to explore your environment together. Dogs also make wonderful buddies for walking meditations since they’re fully tuned into the moment (squirrel!) and can help you connect to it as well. If your dog is being extra good on your walk, be sure to reward him or her with these Superfood Doggy Biscuits!

Do you ever go for oh-so-calming, meditative walks? Tell us on Twitter with #MyPhilosophie! 

Green Dream + Berry Bliss Layered Pudding Recipe

This spectacularly layered yogurt pudding recipe brings together the detoxifying, beautifying powers of Green Dream + Berry Bliss! Make this dreamy creation on a weekend morning when you have plenty of time to savor the gorgeous green and magenta hued pudding OR as a midday treat when you need to boost your energy levels, fight any hunger pangs, and allow your mind to meditate on the relaxing task of preparing a high vibrational food.

So what goes into making this beauty? It's actually quite simple! Each layer only features 4 ingredients – a superfood blend, a superfood-infused honey, yogurt, and leafy greens or juicy fruits. Just blend up each protein-packed layer and pour into a tall glass, along with any granola or fave toppings! 

Gather This:

 

Do This:

In the blender, combine one cup of yogurt with spinach, Green Dream, and Green Bee Honey. Set aside. Blend a separate cup of yogurt with the berries/pitaya, Berry Bliss, Berry Honey, and set aside. Layer a jar with the two yogurt blends + sprinkle with granola or more fruit! 

It always makes my day to see your beyond beautiful superfood creations – especially when they feature lovely layers! Share yours with us on Insta with #PhilosophieSuperfoods! 

Philosophie Babe Recipe: Hazelnut Cacao Cookies

We have another ridiculously delicious Cacao Magic cookie recipe this week from talented Philosophie Babe, Caroline of Caroline's Kitchen! Not only do her chewy chocolatey cookies pack in the protein, they're also filled with crunchy bits of hazelnuts and cacao nibs. DREAMY. 

These Hazelnut Cacao Cookies are slightly cakey, rich in flavor, and have the perfect amount of sweetness. The base of these cookies is a mix of almond flour and coconut flour. The combination of these two flours keeps them from being dry or dense like many “healthy” cookies, and they’re also grain free!

I added Cacao Magic, a mix of cacao, superfoods, and hemp protein with no added sugars, to add more protein and nutrients to each cookie. Unlike most protein powders, the Cacao Magic is completely unsweetened and contains no additives, fillers, or emulsifiers, just 100% pure goodness!

The flavor of these cookies is seriously amazing! The cacao powder gives them an amazing rich chocolate flavor, while the coconut sugar, one of my favorite low glycemic sweeteners, adds just the right amount of sweetness. Each bite contains bits of chopped hazelnuts and cacao nibs that add the best texture and crunch. Hazelnuts and chocolate is always a winning combination. Nutella fans, this is for you. 

Gather This:

  • ¾ cup almond flour
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • 3 tablespoons cacao powder
  • 2 tablespoons Cacao Magic Superfood + Protein Blend
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted and cooled
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • ¼ cup almond butter
  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons cacao nibs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped hazelnuts

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Do This:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Mix the almond flour, coconut flour, cacao powder, and Cacao Magic in a large mixing bowl.

3. Add the coconut oil, egg, almond butter, coconut sugar, and vanilla to a medium mixing bowl, and whisk to combine. Make sure the coconut oil is cooled and the egg is at room temperature, otherwise the coconut oil will harden!

4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and fold with a spatula to combine until a dough forms. Add the cacao nibs and hazelnuts and fold again.

5. Scoop the cookie into 11 or 12 balls, depending on how big you want them, and place on the lined baking sheet. Flatten the balls slightly with your hands. The cookies will spread a little, but not a lot due to the coconut flour.

6. Bake the cookies for 15 minutes, then place them on a cooling rack to cool. Enjoy!

Do you have a Philosophie Babe recipe that you'd love to share with our tribe? Share it with us on Insta with #PhilosophieSuperfoods + send it to sophie@thephilosophie.com! 

End of Summer 4x4 HIIT Workout

During these last summer days when the weather is still gorgeously beautiful + balmy, get outside for a 20 minute 4x4 workout! Do these 4 toning + strengthening exercises for 1 minute each for a total of 4 rounds, capping off your HIIT sesh with a bonus round of push-ups. Remember to cool down with some yummy yoga stretches! 
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1) Jumping Jack Squats
Do as many as you can for 1 minute.
2) Side Plank
Hold on each side for 10 seconds, then switch back and forth for a full minute. 
3) Front Leg Lift Into Warrior 3
Extend your leg behind you, flexing the foot as if it's against an imaginary back wall. Repeat on both sides for 1 minute. 
4) Side Lunges
Alternate your feet for these lunges.  
Bonus 
Pushups – do as many as you can do for 1 minute. 
Cool down + stretch. 
Starting in Child's Pose, flow through these yoga asanas to stretch out your joints and muscles. 
 
What's your favorite HIIT move? Share it with us on Facebook with #MyPhilosophie!