In defense of sugar

I kid you not, as I'm beginning to type out this blog, I'm eating a chocolate chip cookie...and it's delicious.

 
In defense of sugar
 

There is a lot of controversy in the health and fitness world over what diet is healthiest, what foods should be avoided, what should be consumed, the optimal ratios of foods, etc. But what most people can seem to agree on is their take on sugar. I mean, there seems to be an all-out war on it. I hear people talking about it ALL the time: "that has way too much sugar," "that yogurt is practically like eating ice cream," "sugar is the cause of all of our health problems, and we should cut it out", and on and on. 

And while I don't encourage people to eat donuts for breakfast, Little Debbies for lunch, skittles for a snack, and cake and a coke for dinner, I do think we need to give sugar a break. You guys, ANYTHING in excess is harmful. You can drown by drinking too much water. Vitamin A in high doses can cause tumors. Too much calcium causes painful bone deposits in the joints. So I would agree that too much sugar is not a good thing. But sugar in itself is not the problem--it's about the totality of the diet. 

It's interesting to me that major proponents of cutting out simple sugars or refined sugars often turn to alternative sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup, organic sugar, dates, etc. because they are "healthier" (don't get me started on people who say we should cut out fruit because of the sugar content...). But can we break those things down for a second? All carbohydrates--I'm talking ALL of them--regardless of whether they come from table sugar, maple syrup, white pasta, or beloved sweet potatoes (side note: did you guys know sweet potatoes are rated the #1 most nutritious vegetable?) are eventually broken down into the same three molecules--fructose, glucose, and galactose. The foods we eat are a complicated combination of those three molecules with varying linkages. Some have linkages that are easily digestible and some have linkages that our body can't actually digest (fiber). BUT, they are all going to be broken down into fructose, glucose, and galactose.

In defense  of sugar...carbohydrate breakdown

I get that this is an oversimplification and that a lot of other factors come into play. And I'm not saying that we should just forgo our veggies and whole grains and instead eat all refined carbs and simple sugars, but what I am saying is that we need to let go of the fear of refined sugar. It's broken down into useable energy, just as our sweet potato is. And energy isn't a bad thing. And if our sweet potato is broken down into glucose and fructose, then why do we fear table sugar that is broken down into glucose and fructose? The fear and morality we form around eating sugar is going to do far more harm that the sugar itself. Restricting sugar and then overeating/bingeing on it is far less healthy physically and emotionally than having moderate amounts on a regular basis. Fearing any food is going to wreak havoc physically on your body (um, hello cortisol!), your ability to foster relationships, and your ability to truly nourish yourself.

So I encourage you to challenge those beliefs you have around sugar. It's broken down into the exact same molecules as other types of carbs, and your body knows how to handle those other carbs. Again, I'm not promoting eating sugar all day everyday--your body is not going to feel good, and I promote eating in a way that makes you feel energized and good. But let's stop the fear-mongering that is going on around sugar and just eat our food, enjoy it, and move on. 

Homemade Strawberries and Coconut Cream Ice Cream

It's SUUUUMMER TIME!!!

I don't know about you, but it is getting HOT here. Like I'm starting to sweat. And it makes me irritable...But really, I'm just being a wimp. It's only in the 90s, and that is only the beginning of what's to come. 😩 Here in Oklahoma it easily gets up into the 100s during the summer. How in the world am I going to be able to handle it if I already think it's hot?! (side note: I wanted to be able to use a phrase to describe how hot I think it is, but I know my mom reads my blog and wouldn't approve, so I decided to sensor it out. This led me to googling phrases/idioms for it being hot outside. I didn't find any I liked or that would be appropriate, but there were some funny ones...while I was on this rabbit hole, I saw something that reminded me of the summer scene with Olaf on Frozen. I'm putting it at the end of this post...you're welcome.) 

In order to handle this hot weather, I have a very good solution--ice cream and iced lattes all day (and a swimming pool). And I've been doing a pretty good job of this so far. 💪🏻 I've tried out several new coffee shops in my area and Isaac and I have been eating ice cream at home fairly regularly.  

 
Strawberries and coconut cream homemade ice cream
 

Fun story, my grocery store had a freezer section clearance where everything was 99 cents. Ya'll I got Talenti gelato for LESS THAN A DOLLAR!! We're talking about the gelato that is at least $5.00 a pint. It was the best deal ever. And it is the most delicious ice cream I've ever had--peanut butter pretzel. I recreated it and will be sharing later....😉

 
Strawberries and coconut cream homemade ice cream
 

Anyways, when it's hot I want something refreshing. And strawberries, berries, and citrus fruits just scream "refreshing" to me. Cue this homemade strawberries and coconut cream ice cream. I've combined full fat coconut milk with Bolthouse farms strawberry and banana juice, honey/maple syrup, greek yogurt, and fresh strawberries. 

 
Strawberries and coconut cream homemade ice cream
 

This technically is vegan (if you use maple syrup instead of honey) and a good choice for people who don't handle dairy very well, but I really chose coconut milk because it's uber creamy and it seems easier to me than the traditional method of making homemade ice cream. I don't know why, but it just seems super intimidating to me so I've never even attempted it...

 
Strawberries and coconut cream homemade ice cream
 

I used my Cuisinart ice cream maker (which is the BEST) to make this, but I've heard that you can make ice cream by placing the ice cream mixture in a container in the freezer and stirring every 30 minutes to incorporate air into it.

I'd love to hear what you're doing to stay cool!!

Homemade Strawberries and coconut cream ice cream- vegan, dairy free

Protein Packed Kodiak Cakes Monkey Bread

Get a LOAD of this.... 

 
Monkey bread using protein packed Kodiak Cakes
 

Monkey bread. Please tell me you have eaten it before? Isn't it so delicious?? All ooey, gooey like? If you have not, I am very excited to introduce you to this dessert that disguises as breakfast 😉. I've recently started experimenting with Kodiak Cakes pancake mix and am loving how easy it is to use and how delicious the recipes are turning out. 

 
Monkey bread made with protein packed kodiak cakes
 

The thing I love about the Protein Packed Kodiak Cakes pancake/waffle mix is that it is made with whole wheat flour, oat flour, and is higher in protein than normal pancake mixes. Can you say staying power from increased fiber and protein?? I have issues with my blood sugar getting low, so protein in the morning is a MUST. I cannot do straight carbs. So the protein packed mix is a winner for me and my body. 

 
Monkey Bread made with protein packed kodiak cakes mix
 

I used the kodiak cakes mix as the base and then added additional flour, yeast, milk, butter, and sugar. I tried several batches to get the recipe just right for you all. The first batch I accidentally did half of the dry ingredients with the full milk amount. Gosh, it took me a while to figure out why the dough was so wet.🙈  The end result was delicious but had more of a coffee cake texture and I was going for a yeast bread texture. The next batch I used white whole wheat flour in addition to the pancake mix and it turned out more dense and dry. Next!! The third time was a charm. I used all purpose flour and the end product was light and fluffy and delicious!! 

 
Monkey bread made with protein packed kodiak cakes mix
 

I used coconut oil for the coating, but you can definitely substitute butter. I just happen to like the taste of coconut oil in my baked goodies, especially cookies 😍.  As for how to best eat these, I recommend topping it with some powdered sugar glaze or Wild Friend's gingerbread peanut butter (it is seriously SO good!) and eating it with some eggs for breakfast, as a snack, or for dessert after dinner. I did all of the above...

 
Protein packed monkey bread using kodiak cakes
Protein packed monkey bread using kodiak cakes