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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Superfood Donut Recipe

Today we were inspired to make healthy donuts that can double as a nutritious snack! Last night, Leo saw a donut shop and got very emotional because "You never let us get donuts.” So my amazing assistant Taylor and I created these grain-free, paleo, superfood-dense, homemade beauties! 

To make them super light + fluffy, we used egg whites, which along with the Green Dream, Berry Bliss, and almond flour, create a breakfast or snack that's PACKED with protein. 

If you don't have almond flour on hand, you could definitely sub it out for a gluten-free, all-purpose flour. We also doubled this recipe so that we would have plenty for breakfast this weekend. (Pro-tip: Pair them with this Vegan Bulletproof Coffee for an uh-mazing brekie in bed).

And instead of regular ol’ frosting, glaze these yummy donuts with Philosophie Coconut Butter to help balance blood sugar levels and keep everyone full and happy LONG AFTER after their superfood pastries are all gone!


 

Gather This:

 

Do This:
Add dry ingredients into one bowl and mix together. Mix wet ingredients in another bowl, and then add the wet combo to the dry combo. Mix the egg whites in, pour into donut molds (greased with coconut oil!), and then bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Feel free to use any toppings you want (we used bee pollen, goji berries, and coconut shreds).



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you recreate these beautiful babies, please follow + tag us on Instagram so we can see! #PhilosophieLove gang, we adore you.

Toast Tuesday: Hummus + Avocado Chia Toast Recipe

Take your avocado toast to the next level with a layer of homemade Green Dream Hummus!

I ❤️  making my own fresh hummus – it’s so easy and so much better for you (+ better tasting!) than store-bought spreads. This wholesome recipe features garbanzo beans (a.k.a. chickpeas), which are not only a fabulous plant-based source of protein, but also help control blood sugar and insulin secretion. The best part is that it only takes 1/3 of a cup of beans per day to reap all of the benefits!

Tahini (a sesame paste + one of my pantry staples) is next on the list. A star player in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking, tahini is a must in hummus. To make your spread super detoxifying + alkalizing, squeeze in fresh lemon juice, and then add a few cloves of garlic to give it BIG flavor and anti-inflammatory powers. As a finishing touch, add a spoonful of our Green Dream Superfood + Protein Blend. The gorgeous emerald hue in Green Dream comes from spirulina, an antioxidant-rich, blue-green algae that is packed with nutrients including iron, magnesium, manganese, zinc, copper, selenium, chromium, vitamin B-12, and protein.

Once you’ve whipped up and spread on your supercharged hummus, add the avocado slices to give your skin a beautiful glow – and make your toast ultra delicious. To top it all off, add a sprinkling of chia seeds. In addition to providing a nutritious crunch, they prevent premature aging of the skin, support digestive health, AND boost your energy and metabolism! How’s that for a superfood breakfast?

 

Gather This:

For the Green Dream Hummus:

 

For the Toast:

 

Do This:

Pop the bread in the toaster. Combine all ingredients for the hummus in the food processor and pulse until creamy. Salt+pepper the hummus to desired taste. Spread the hummus on the toast, and then top with avocado and chia seeds!

Want to be looped in for when we post our next Toast Tuesday recipe? Be sure to follow us on Facebook! In the meantime, try making this Strawberry + Berry Bee Honey Toast OR this Sauteed Banana + Almond Butter Toast

When Women Support Each Other, Incredible Things Happen

For me, Monday vibes are all about radiating #MondayInspiration! Start the week off strong with these EMPOWERING words of wisdom about female relationships from my friend Marissa Cohen, a member of our beautiful Philosophie Tribe! 

Female relationships have always been important to me. I am one of three sisters, eight of my first cousins are girls, and I have incredible female role models in my life (I’m looking at you, Soph!). International Women’s Day seemed like a second Christmas this year. I could feel the hands of my sisters reaching out across nations to join together as one. But what if I told you that despite my passion for women’s empowerment and regardless of all the incredible relationships that I have with women, women scare me.

Through our lifetimes, we all experience some level of “cattiness” with other women. Perhaps the prettiest girls in elementary school left you out on the playground, or maybe within your circle of friends in high school you felt a sense of competition. While I am not a mother myself, I know that many working mothers and stay home mothers victimize the other group for their choices in raising their children. Today, we don’t only look to the women in our immediate life, but we are vulnerable to the depths of the internet. Social media can be a source of inspiration, but it is also a pit for comparison. She looks like that? Those are her friends? Her boyfriend took her where and bought her what? She works that job and manages to be the life of the party? “She” has it all. Her life is perfect. Sometimes I find myself in a trap of feeling bad about myself and not being able to feel happy for “her.” And that – choosing to compare instead of connect, and criticizing instead of celebrating – is what I think may be the one factor holding us women back from reaching our full potential.

There is nothing more draining than a group of women putting one another down. Despite the ratings that The Real Housewives episodes receive, in real life no one wants to be a part of a circle of gossip. But, miraculously, there is nothing more igniting than a team of women all loving one another, challenging each other to be the best versions of themselves while honoring their present state, and releasing the façade of their insecurities to allow their authentic self to shine. Now, more than ever, we need a space for women to unite and experience the wonders of sisterhood. We need each other.

I am so excited be be joining Sophie and Rachelle Tratt for their IGNTD Women Nourish Your Soul 2-week online program.  Starting April 1, these two soul-charging babes will be leading six Facebook live streams to cultivate an online community for support and accountability. There will be daily intentions, challenges, yoga, HIIT, and meditation classes, and so much more. Later that month, they will also be hosting their Nourish Your Soul Weekend Retreat from April 29-30 in Venice, CA. So whether you’re an LA local or there is a coast or an ocean between Sophie, Rachelle, and yourself, there is a space for you to cultivate your tribe. You are worthy of giving yourself this experience. The world needs you, my sister, to be your best self. Let’s carry each other to the top instead of pushing each other down. 

Inspired to join our Nourish Your Soul online program or retreat? Tweet at me with any questions with #MyPhilosophie! 

Heart of the Week: Waldorf Schools

I love Kai’s Waldorf School so much! We actually moved to our new beautiful home in Culver City last fall from the Valley just so that he could attend. Since Kai was in utero, I've been slightly stalking Waldorf schools. I would go online, research, and dream. The cost for Waldorf schools is typically between $20-30k per year, which is not a real option for our family. I filled out financial aid forms and never turned them in, dreaming on my own, slowly planting the seeds.

When Kai was 5, I went to the local kindergarten near our school in the Valley for a tour and went through all the motions of meeting the teachers, touring the classrooms, etc. I was crying the entire time. The school didn't feel right. Everything inside of me felt like screaming. I knew Kai would be amazing anywhere and survive, but I know he's meant to thrive. I then found out via a close friend about a Waldorf school on the Westside, that is *FREE*. It's a LAUSD public charter school, specializing in WALDORF! I couldn't believe my ears. Adi and I immediately went for a tour and applied, putting our names down for a lottery. That was last February. In June, they called to let us know they were opening a new kinder class and asked if we wanted Kai to be included. I snatched up the spot immediately and cried tears of gratitude.

The school was over an hour and 15 minutes each direction so we moved in the fall. My heart is so complete. With their vibrant gardens and outdoor play area, baskets of wooden toys, and rows of books, they’re incredible at promoting creativity and encouraging active, hands-on learning.

At Waldorf, the kids sing songs, tell stories, do dramatic performances, and memorize fun rhymes and verses! I like that the teachers also pair language arts and music with specific movements, games, and patterns to boost coordination, concentration, and support different types of learners.

They weave math organically throughout the day with fun activities so that the kids learn to love it at an early age and really see its value! Kai and his class play with shells, stones, and beans to learn patterns of organization and also get to design necklaces, finger knit, sew, and count with circle games.

And of course, art is huge at Waldorf. Kai absolutely loves drawing and watercolor painting time! They also offer modeling with BEESWAX. (What other school does that?!)

As I mentioned earlier, gardening and the outdoors is integral to the Waldorf curriculum and serves as a beautiful intro into the science world. As a zero waste school (where EVERYTHING is reusable!), they cultivate an early appreciation for nature and teach the kids that the world is innately good and needs us all to work together to protect and support it. This has helped ME be less wasteful and more mindful of every single thing we use and don't use in our home.

Leo will go there as well in the fall as a T-K student, and the school goes until 8th grade. I feel so content and at peace. When I pick Kai up in the afternoon, he’s always bursting with excitement to tell me what he did that day – I couldn’t ask for more in a school.

If you have any interest in learning more, I encourage you to look into Waldorf-inspired preschools/schools in your area. You'd be surprised how many schools there are (or even after school activities with a similar theme). Please feel free to ask any and all questions – I hope this helps!

I'd love to hear what you do as mamas + papas to give your kiddies the best education possible! Please share with me on Facebook with #MyPhilosophie! 

Green Dream Cauliflower Smoothie Bowl Recipe

I loved how dreamy + nutritious last month's Cacao Magic Cauliflower Smoothie Bowl was, so this week I decided to whip up a Green Dream rendition. I also decided that I wanted this one to be super coconutty, so I added a cup of coconut milk, shredded coconut, AND Coconut Dream–one of our luscious coco butters supercharged with the detoxifying powers of Green Dream

And it did not disappoint! I recommend creating this oh-so-yummy bowl when you're looking for an ultra nutritious breakfast or when you know that you'll be eating out later in the day and want to ensure your bod is super happy + nourished. 

 Gather This:

Do This:

Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender. Top with cacao nibs, hemp seeds, bee pollen, shredded coconut, and sliced berries and bananas! 

What veggies do you like to sneak into your smoothies or smoothie bowls? Let me know on Twitter with #MyPhilosophie!

3 Dreamy Philosophie x Cafe Gratitude Brunch Recipes

Last month, we teamed up with Cafe Gratitude and had the most magical brunch that I’m still in awe over. I’m pretty positive the Acai Berry Bliss Parfaits were made of unicorn poo (aka: Berry Bliss, wild berries, frozen acai, gluten-free granola, and pure love!).

I’ve been going to Cafe Gratitude for 9 years, when the only location was in San Francisco. I would visit my older sister when she lived there and take a public transportation adventure through the city to get there.

When they came to LA, I burst with excitement. I’ve probably been to the Larchmont location 500 times. It’s been a huge part of my world for a decade, and now I’m collaborating with them in the most dreamy of ways!

And now I’d love for you, my ever expanding Philosophie family + community, to try this trio of beautiful brunch superfood recipes created by Cafe Gratitude’s Chef Dreux Eliis.

Acai Berry Bliss Parfait

For the Berry Bliss Coconut Yogurt:

Gather This:

Do This:

Mix together in a bowl.

For the Parfait:

Gather This:

  • 1 teaspoon Berry Bliss Superfood + Protein Blend and 3 goji berries (topping)
  • 2 tablespoons granola
  • 1 RS mixed berries
  • 1 GS acai
  • 1 RS mixed berries
  • 1 GS Berry Bliss Coconut Yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons granola
  • 2 tablespoons Berry Bliss Coconut Yogurt

Do This:

Layer it up, starting from the bottom of the ingredient list and working your way up. Garnish with the Berry Bliss and 3 goji berries.

Green Dream Chopped Salad

Gather This:

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic, chopped
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup blanched broccolini
  • 2 pieces blackened tempeh, rough chopped
  • 1 RS sun-dried tomato and olive tapenade
  • 1 cup chopped romaine
  • 1 cup chopped massaged kale mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked salt
  • 2 ounces ramekin escabeche, chopped
  • 1 ounce ramekin toasted pistachios, chopped
  • 1/2 ounce Lucky Vinaigrette, mixed with 1 teaspoon Green Dream Superfood + Protein Blend
  • 1 PS cashew mozzarella
  • 1 teaspoon gremolata
  • 1/2 teaspoon Green Dream Superfood + Protein Blend

Do This:

Saute the olive oil, garlic, salt, and broccolini. After heating well, add the tempeh and tapenade. Transfer to a bowl and toss together with the romaine, kale mix, smoked salt, escabeche, pistachios, and vinaigrette. Garnish with the mozzarella and gremolata and dust the plate with the Green Dream.

Cacao Magic Buckwheat Pancakes

Gather This:

  • 4 ounces Cacao Magic Buckwheat Pancake Batter
  • 1 ounce maple syrup, swirled
  • 1/2 ounce maple syrup, on pancake
  • 1 teaspoon bee pollen
  • 1 half banana, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon shredded coconut
  • 1 ounce chocolate sauce

Do This:

Grill the batter on a flat top. Transfer the pancake t’o a plate, add ½ ounce of maple syrup, and then swirl 1 ounce of maple syrup on top. Garnish with the bee pollen, banana, almond butter, coconut, and chocolate sauce in stripes.

I can’t wait to see your gorgeous brunch pics! Please share them with me on Instagram with #MyPhilosophie + #PhilosophieSuperfoods!