November 2020

Minimize Sugar Impact for the Holidays

Have Healthy, Low Glycemic Treat Ingredients On Hand

by gretchen heimsoth

The Holidays are just around the corner. This year being the challenge presenter it has been, has many of us out of routine, having to think outside the box to recreate workout structure lost by the restriction on gyms during the pandemic. As the holidays approach, it is worth giving them some consideration and having some tools and strategies to keep our sugar consumption to reasonable levels. As delicious and satisfying as sweets are, the effects of sugar on our bodies, brains, and even moods do not go unnoticed.

Familiarizing yourself with some of the newer, healthier low glycemic sweetener options and gluten-free and lower-carb ingredients can help you have the best of both worlds. A little Holiday indulgence and minimal blood sugar shock! Collectively, most of us are aware that sugar raises glucose levels. But refined sugar also starts a cascade in the body, leading to increased cortisol levels and raised estrogen levels. Over time this can lead to broader issues. Luckily, these days it’s not all or nothing. We are not stuck with the likes of aspartame and sucralose anymore.


Stevia has become well known. You can find it in powdered form, liquid concentrate, even flavored like hazelnut for a winter mocha. I favor pure stevia extract over isolated rebiana.
Monk Fruit. Monk Fruit extract is the isolated antioxidant this plant makes. It has no glycemic impact but hits our glucose receptors on our taste buds! It comes powdered and in liquid form. As well as crystallized, one to one sugar replacement formulas. Monk Fruit tastes remarkably close to sugar if you ask me.
Sugar alcohols. This is where a product like Swerve comes in.
Erythritol. It sounds chemical and unnatural, but it is made through fermentation and enzymatic breakdown process of certain root vegetables. Swerve is convenient because it is a one to one replacement for any recipe and has brown sugar formulations.

It can be fun to experiment with the different flavors and textures of the various gluten-free and paleo flour options. From rice flour to one to one gluten-free baking mixes. Almond flour, cassava(tapioca), and coconut flour. Bobs Red Mill makes a reliable one to one gluten-free baking mix. Almond flour lends itself well to many cookie recipes. Coconut flour is good for crusts and even tortillas. But all of these take some experimentation, and you will play around with different binding agents. Especially for bread. Eggs if you are open to eating them. Or things like flax, guar gum, and agar-agar.

Also, think of desserts like poached pears and baked apples. But with one of the mentioned zero glycemic sweetener options. If you cannot see yourself going for those, consider basting with honey, maple syrup, or sprinkling with roasty, malty coconut sugar. The three of these are natural, lower glycemic options. And they are all genuinely delicious!! A baked compote with a seed topping instead of the sugar, gluten, and butter-laden crumble topping. Hats off to crumble!! These options pack more fiber and are no less delicious!!

I wanted to include a simple, indulgent, low glycemic pumpkin mousse to get your repertoire for the season kicked off!! Happy, healthy Holiday eating!

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