We have been hit by a sugar epidemic as a country which we were not prepared for at all. I watched as shoppers went into a frenzy scrutinizing every bag of sugar before purchasing. Whether the claims are true or not, it is important to cut on sugar intake for the sake of our long-term health as taking too much sugar is not good for you. Health & Lifestyle: The Bitter Truths About Sugar
These are some of the options for all sweet tooth cravings.
This is a natural sweetener that dates back to our ancestors. Beekeeping and honey harvesting were traditional practices that were most common in the Eastern region of Kenya. It was used to lower blood pressure and improve eye health. These traditions are still alive and practised to date. However, honey is not very pocket-friendly at the supermarket. It is also not guaranteed to be 100% natural. The better would be to buy from the source if you have the time to travel. It is also possible to develop an allergic reaction to honey so consult your doctor if you suspect or notice any reaction.
- Sweet Spices
There is a wide range of spices for different uses. I cannot forget the time a friend offered to cook for me beef stew and spaghetti then put nutmeg in the meat. It was disgusting, to say the least. You should know that there are spices meant to add flavour to food and spices meant to sweeten food.
The sweetening spices are mainly used in breakfast dishes such as pancakes, croissants and mandazis. They include cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg. Cinnamon can also be used to sweeten tea. Such spices create a sweet taste in food that acts as a good alternative to sugar.
If you are craving a midnight snack but worried that it might affect your diet, a fruit may suppress the craving. Fruits such as bananas, dates or pineapples are good for people with a sweet tooth like me to munch on instead of going for that enticing slice of cake.
Fruits are rich in vitamins which fight off infections and are a healthy dose of sugar which is necessary for a boost of energy.
- Maple Syrup
I only knew of maple syrup from movies until I went grocery shopping at Chandarana in Parklands and saw Maple Syrup on the shelves. I did not buy it since I thought it was just another syrup that goes on my pancakes but I was wrong.
Maple syrup is probably the healthiest syrup in the market. It contains a variety of anti-oxidants which fight off cancerous cells. It also helps with digestion and can be used as a facial mask to reduce inflammation and redness.
Personally, I try going without sugar for a day once in a while and maybe one day I will be able to give up sugar completely. As of now, I recommend the options above as a substitute. The benefits are worth it and all the products are locally available.
This is a thick, brown substance obtained from sugar during the refining process. It contains minerals such as calcium and magnesium as well as vitamins. Molasses has been known to relive menstruation-related problems, obesity, diabetes, stress, cancer, enlarged prostate, acne, and other skin disorders. It is mostly used in baking as it gives baked food a rich brown colour.
6. Balsamic vinegar
This is a great alternative to processed sugar while glazing meat. It is rich in anti-oxidants and has a great taste.
7. Coconut sugar
Coconut is popular for its nutritious contents such as coconut oil and coconut water. However, the lesser known coconut sugar is emerging as a healthier alternative to processed sugar. It is packed with iron, zinc, potassium and anti-oxidants for a nutritional boost. Coconut sugar can also be used just like regular sugar.
There are also other options like dates. Check out Dr. Axe’s article about the 5 Best Sugar Substitutes.
As they say, your health is your wealth.
Here are some Alternatives For A Sugar/Milk Free Breakfast