Why am I making those weird ugly “healthy” recipes?
I do indulge in a “real” treat from time to time, but I never bake full-fat sugary desserts because I know I don’t stick to tiny portion sizes. That’s why I like experimenting with low-sugar/high-protein desserts as “damage control”-treats.
All my recipes tend to have a moderate glycemic index and aren’t supercharged with saturated fats. They usually don’t contain ingredients like white sugar, white flour, butter, shortening, margarine, heavy cream, condensed milk etc.
Not because I think these ingredients are the ultimate diet devils and should always be avoided at any cost. Any sugar-loaded food can be eaten in moderation (i.e. super tiny amounts) or right after a hard workout to “replenish muscle glycogen stores” as trainers would say. The problem is, I’m not very good at “moderation”… And although I’m French, I don’t really believe in the “French women don’t get fat”-myth. (You can read my take on that here).
I try to use unprocessed ingredients whenever possible: fruits in place of sugar, beans or veggies instead of wheat flour, olive oil or avocado instead of butter. Here is a table for ingredient substitutions.
I like to incorporate protein powder in my recipes because it’s an interesting ingredient to give baked goods some texture while lowering their carb content. Protein powder is also a cheap & easy way to eat protein. If you don’t want to use protein powder in one of my recipe, you could replace it with organic powdered skim milk or 1-2 tablespoons of coconut flour.
Which sweetener is best?
I found the perfect answer in the book “The Sweetener book” by Dr. Eric Walters”: “The answer depends on several factors, which you have to prioritize for yourself. If taste quality is your top criterion, you should stick to sugars. If calories are your main concern, you may want a sugar alcohol (xylitol), high potency sweetener (sucralose) or one of the natural product sweeteners (stevia, luo han guo). However, each of these has its own drawback that must be considered. If safety is at the top of your list, you can use any sweetener, as long as you do so in moderation. If “natural” is your first consideration, you may wish to focus on the sugars and natural products. But remember that “natural” is not the same as “harmless“. ”
Here are some links that I’ve found useful in my quest for the perfect sweetener:
Different types of sugar: www.smallfootprintfamily.com/the-many-different-kinds-of-sugar
List of unrefined sugars: wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_unrefined_sweeteners
An interesting article about coconut sugar: authoritynutrition.com/coconut-sugar
Glycemic index for sweeteners: www.sugar-and-sweetener-guide.com/glycemic-index-for-sweeteners
“The Sweetener book” by Dr. Eric Walters provides a good overview of all the sweeteners available. The book answers basic questions for each sweetener (What is it? How does it taste? How well does it work? How many calories? Is it safe?). I definitely agree with the customers’ reviews on Amazon: this book provides solid information in a fair and even-handed manner.
How do I sweeten my recipes?
I like to use fresh and dried fruits in moderation. I use unrefined sugars in small quantities (never more than a couple of tablespoons): coconut palm sugar, jaggery, sucanat, honey or maple syrup (depending on the taste and aroma I want to obtain in a particular recipe).
I’m not a fan of artificial sweeteners in general but I do occasionally consume products containing xylitol or sucralose (chewing-gums and protein powders, but I try not to eat them on a daily basis though).
**Small warning**: Many recipes from this blog may not be sweet enough for people who are used to ‘regular’ desserts ; just add your favorite sweetener to your own taste.