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Macadamia Nut Cherry Truffles

(recipe at the end of this post)
I used to have the worst sweet-tooth of anyone imaginable. No, really. No, you don't understand. I'm TELLING YOU, you don't get it!!!

Well, actually, you probably do.

Why? Because almost everyone has a sweet-tooth!

Yes, I know that a lot of men tend to lean towards salty or savory more than sweet. And even some women (really?) don't have a taste for the sugary stuff.

But still, it's pretty darn common.

However, it's really not good for our health. At some point, hopefully sooner than later, we have to accept that eating processed sugar is one of the worst things we can do to our bodies ... other than smoking.

I finally realized this (much later than I would have wished) and subsequently put myself through what I like to call:
"Sugar Rehab".




Sugar Rehab

  • STEP 1:  learn what processed sugar does to our bodies/health & why it's so damaging
  • STEP 2:  learn which foods contain processed sugar
    • Processed sugar is found hidden in almost everything we eat, from crackers to ketchup.
    • Here's the simplest trick:  if it's not on the perimeter of the grocery store (produce, meat, dairy) -- then it probably contains processed sugar.  Even in the dairy section, you'll notice that the *majority* of the yogurts contain high levels of added sugars -- avoid them at all costs.
  • STEP 3:  get all of the processed sugar out of your house
    • Now that you know why it's so bad for us, and you know which foods contain it ... now it's time to get rid of it all and never buy any more again.
    • Collect everything which can be donated and take it to a local food pantry. The rest can be given to friends/family, or you can toss it and chalk it up to a lesson learned.
  • STEP 4:  re-stock your shelves with healthy alternatives
    • The BEST alternative to processed sugar is whole fruit. Period. Hands down. You can eat fruit whole as a snack or dessert. You can freeze bananas and mangos and use them to sweeten Green Smoothies. You can blend them with coconut milk and make delicious frozen popsicles. You can shred or mash them and use them in tons of recipes instead of processed sugar.
    • Another item to have on hand is Raw Organic Honey. It must be raw -- otherwise, you again are getting something which has been processed and stripped of all its vital nutrition.
    • If you are vegan (and even if you're not), you can use Grade B Maple Syrup as a sweetener. Grade B has more nutrients than Grade A -- look for organic whenever possible.
    • Medjool Dates are also a great thing to have on hand. They last for at least 6 months in the fridge, so no need to worry about them going bad before you can use them up.
    • Some people stock their pantry with coconut sugar, but I'm not into that -- I feel like having something around the house which looks like sugar makes it too easy to use it in a recipe wherein you could use fruit or honey instead (more nutrients). However, look into it if you'd like.
  • STEP 5:  incorporate these new foods into your everyday life
    • Start getting into the habit of reaching for fresh whole fruit whenever a sweet-tooth craving hits. The truly amazing thing is that, after only a week or two of Sugar Rehab, your sweet-tooth cravings will GREATLY & RAPIDLY DIMINISH! It's so freeing. Like taking off a ball & chain that's been there for decades.
    • Start learning how to substitute these alternative sweeteners in your favorite recipes. Or perhaps more importantly, start searching for and collecting recipes which don't require any kind of sweetener at all.
  • STEP 6:  repeat Steps 1-5 as often as is necessary until a life-long change takes hold
    • Just like in Alcoholics Anonymous, these steps are merely a starting point. I used to be so confused by people who had been through the 12-step A.A. program because they forever call themselves "alcoholics". In my mind, once you complete the program, you're no longer an alcoholic. But that's not the case ... and I understand now.
    • The A.A. program isn't a *cure* -- it is a toolbox and a support system. The steps I've outlined above are the same -- they are nothing more than a set of tools for you to use. We will always be "sugar addicts". But if we use these tools consistently and with purpose, we CAN stay on the wagon! Finding a support system of people who encourage you, and better yet, collaborate with you (your family, friends, co-workers) is also a huge help.

Truffles



Now, you may be wondering why I posted a picture of something so decadently sweet-looking on a page where I just went on a long rant about processed sugar?

First, these truffles are not made with processed sugar.
Second, one of my strongest-held beliefs is that BALANCE is key to a happy and healthy life. Treats are part of living a balanced life ... some occasions just call for them. But if you're going to indulge, at least do it smartly and healthfully.

To that extent, this recipe contains only healthy fats (nuts) and natural sugars (dates and cherries). If you don't already have some, look for raw organic cacao powder at your local health food store. Also, you can use fresh organic pitted cherries instead of dried ones, if and when available. Also, feel free to make this recipe your own:  add in some coffee or cinnamon or orange zest ... the sky's the limit!



This recipe makes a lot of truffles [roughly 50], so put at least half of them in a small box or jar (you could even decorate it) and give it away as a lovely and thoughtful gift. Put the rest of the truffles in the freezer and only take them out one at a time (trust me, you're only going to need one - they are very filling and satisfying).

Enjoy ... without the guilt =)

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