Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Faking it...

Spring is making an appearance in Feb!
I have a vice I need to put an end to if I am going to really embrace this healthy lifestyle.  It's the automatic decision to go with a sugar-free product regardless of the type of 'sweetener' that is involved.  Whether it's a sugar-free vanilla soy latte from Peet's Coffee, Diet Pepsi (on the rare occasion I drink a soda), diet maple-flavored syrup for my oatmeal, or the 3 different flavors of fat-free, sugar-free Jello puddings I have in the cupboard (for mixing in my plain, non-fat Greek yogurts) I can't get over this mental hurdle that it's better to have the extra calories then it is to eat things that have been proven to cause cancer (or head aches or gastric issues, etc.).

A lot of this stems from the whole diet craze, Atkins, low-glycemic diets, low-carb diets, Sugar Blues, and the like...I have become fearful of sugar.  But not just processed white sugar, which I think is wise to avoid, but other natural sweeteners like agave, molasses, fruit juice, raw cane sugar, brown sugar, and honey (which I am avoiding now due to my desire to be vegan).  However, I truly desire to live a cleaner and healthier life, eating whole foods and a plant based diet so it's time to say goodbye to these poisons.  Besides, having worked for a candy store (right out of high school) I learned that sugar-free foods and sodas were designed for diabetics...NOT people wanting to lose weight

One of the first things I am going to do is revamp my Morning After Oatmeal, which I have always used sugar-free maple syrup.  I'm going to try Black strap Molasses instead.  you see, not only is molasses sweeter then sugar, it also has (in one tablespoon):

  • 175 mg of calcium,
  • 3.6 mg of iron,
  • 45 mg of magnesium,
  • 510 mg potassium

I also enjoy the taste of molasses, having had several types of foods prepared by my grandmother, who was a depression era cook (we always had shoofly pie).

I think sometimes, as a chronic dieter and recovered anorexic, that I get in the habit of trying to get MORE for my calories...but instead of more nutrition, I am settling for more food.  So, by eating non-nutritional foods, I can eat vast quantities, never feeling deprived, but sacrificing nutrition and totally sabotaging the idea (and lessons) of portion control.  I think that is a dangerous thing...at least for me.

Do you eat/drink sugar-free products?  Are there any that you feel are "safe" and healthy substitutes?

I'll be working on a tasty Black Strap Molasses Baked Oatmeal recipe.  But in the meantime I am busy working on meatless (and mostly vegan) meals that even my BF will eat.  

Meatless Enchiladas (Inspired by The Engine 2 Diet)

10 corn tortillas
1 small can and 1 large can enchilada sauce
1 large zucchini, diced
2 cups baby portebellos, diced
4 cups fresh spinach
1/2 large sweet onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBS cumin
1/2 TBS chili powder
1/2 tsp salt, optional
1 can back beans, rinsed
1 small can diced chillies
20 oz bag of frozen hash browns (no fat added)
12 oz shredded cheese (veggie, or not)

1-Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Saute onion and garlic for about 5 minutes, add mushrooms, zucchini and spinach, cook until spinach is wilted.

2-Cook hash browns according to package.  Add to veggie mixture along with spices, one small can of enchilada sauce, chillies and beans and mix thoroughly. 

3-In a sprayed baking dish (13 X 9) pour 1/2 large can enchilada sauce on bottom of dish.
4-Using kitchen shears, cut the tortillas in half and layer on bottom of dish.
5-Carefully pour and spread veggie mixture over tortillas.
6-Add second layer of tortillas, top with remaining enchilada sauce and grated cheese.
7-Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes.


  1. Well I just lost my comment lets see if I can remember what I said. :)

    I think its great that your taking the next step as long as its not too hard and you don't fall back into the old ways.

    For me I don't mind eating Splenda or sugars because its hard enough controlling how much I eat let alone "what" I am eating.

    I need to keep it simple for it to work, but more power to you Lynn you can do it!

  2. woah those enchiladas look SOOOOO good!!!!!

  3. How I'm hungry, looks good

  4. I have been thinking about this a lot lately - I ingest a lot of sf sweeteners. The one I add when I am in control is splenda but now I wonder about cutting back. Do you know anything about stevia? Someone mentioned it to me.

  5. I have some Stevia but I haven't used it much, it is bitter (probably because I used too much). But I just ran across this in an email a couple of days ago http://cafegratitude.com/our-blog/how-sweet-is-that-an-overview-of-sweeteners-and-bonus-recipe.html which now gives me more to think about as I decide which type(s) of sweetener to use. Aside from the health concerns of artificial sweeteners I am also concerned that I am "tricking" myself into eating larger portions because of the empty calories. I just think it is a bad habit for me...because it is teaching me to be okay with eating more and making my belly used to feeling full.

  6. I can certainly relate to this post. When I was in the process of losing all my weight, my food choices were a no-brainer: sugar-free everything. Not one drop of oil (even healthy ones) went into my mouth. Now, at my ideal weight, I still feel incredibly guilty eating natural nut butters, using olive oil and/or eating anything with butter. I automatically go for the lower calorie alternative. It's like a switch I can't turn off. I think anyone with an eating disorder can understand these habits. Now, how to break them? Let me know if you find out.

  7. Lynn, I have been working on a post that is similar to this one. I think the timing is perfect for me to run it tomorrow and I plan on linking to this post. We both approach this subject so like-minded but with completely opposite backgrounds...yours is very insightful and I'm so glad you shared it.

  8. I totally agree with you! I try to be SO conscious about what I put in my body - and my logic tells me that whole foods much be better for me!

  9. I posted on this subject...not quite as in depth as you, but about the "fake" foods.

    Glad I found your blog!


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