Malibu Beach Recovery Diet - Sugar the Silent Killer
“Sugar is the new cocaine and it’s free. It is time that we, our elected officials, our health practitioners, our school boards, took a stand to protect and inform the general population on how to stand up to a greedy and ever changing enemy: Out from our schools, our restaurants, our prepared products… Out from the drinks we trustingly give our children… Those products have to come with a warning label similar to cigarettes: Beware, this product can and will kill you. It destroys our health, our genes, our immune system and the life expectancy of our children.”
- Chef Jamie Olivier, The New Food Revolution
Teaching cooking every Sunday at Malibu Beach Recovery Center, we had to learn how to do without sugar. Being French and a baker by passion, it was probably the hardest conversion I could imagine. However, the rewards were immense. When you remove sugar from your kitchen staples, food becomes more intense, the taste of each ingredient shines, spices are present to enhance the natural beauty of the finished product. You gain in range what was previously hidden: taste, flavors, hot, intense, smooth, mellow, rich, sharp, tangy, and the list goes on and on. Foods were at last given a chance to stand up for what they truly were; this was the most revealing factor to me.
Within this experience, we discovered how to cook with the natural juices of the fruits (when fruits were not at their peak, a quick stir-fry or a 10 second trip into the microwave brought them back to life and enchanted us with strong head notes and lasting aftertastes). We learned about the intense flavors of dark chocolates. We found that whipping cream had the tang and slight acidity of raw milk. The more we enjoyed these foods, the less we missed sugar and its overpowering presence.
The trend has hit restaurants across the world. The highlight becomes the ingredient, and more recently even in its molecular form. The priority is given to the freshness of ingredients, the balance of natural flavors, and the restraint in preparation methods.
Lately filmmakers and reporters have begun to focus on the ugly truth about Sugar. Each new documentary, new article or television report makes me more appalled at how this global enemy has made its way into our lives and is there to stay, present in all types and varieties of ingredients, foods, dishes and drinks. If you read closely the ingredient list when you purchase a product at your favorite store, you will be amazed at the pervasive way it has made its way into most of the foods we consume. If sugar were tobacco or heroin, you would see it being banished at all cost in a matter of minutes.
The relationship of the Sugar industry and the power that it holds on the Food industry makes it an uphill battle to gauge, much less win. It is their interest to use sugar (or it’s cheaper substitute, high-fructose corn syrup) in all of our foods to make food taste more palatable, allow cheaper cuts, less costly ingredients, and increase profit margin. It is in sugar industry’s interest to make you an sugar-addict, whether it is with or without your knowledge.
A great documentary by Brian McKenna, called Big Sugar first allerted me to these facts.
Another movie, Hungry for Change, just came out in limited release and explains the many disorders that sugar induces in our bodies.
Here are some numbers that demonstrate the staggering truth about sugar-related illnesses:
- The average American consumes an astounding 2-3 pounds of sugar each week, which is not surprising considering that highly refined sugars in the forms of sucrose (table sugar), dextrose (corn sugar), and high-fructose corn syrup are being processed into foods such as bread, breakfast cereal, mayonnaise, peanut butter, ketchup, spaghetti sauce, and a plethora of microwave meals.
- In the last 20 years, we have increased sugar consumption in the U.S. from 26 pounds to 135 lbs. of sugar per person per year! Prior to the turn of this century (1887-1890), the average consumption was only 5 lbs. per person per year! Cardiovascular disease and cancer was virtually unknown in the early 1900's.
For additional facts about sugar click here.
We can make a conscious choice to eliminate harmful sugars from our bodies and from the food that feeds them. It has become a fun challenge to discover the many ways to we can make great tasting sugar-free foods such the following brownie recipe that has become one of our favorites. The secret ingredient will surprise you.
For the brownie receipe click below on "Continue Reading."
Sweet Potato Brownies
- 1 stick of butter
- 8 oz dark chocolate, divided (6 oz for melting + 2 oz finely chopped)
- 1 lb sweet potatoes (to yield 1 cup mashed)
- 1/4 cup agave syrup
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- (pinch of salt)
Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Bake the sweet potatoes in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on size. Pierce through to check for doneness. The knife should encounter no resistance. Remove the potatoes to cool. Pell the potatoes, discard skin and save the flesh, making sure there is no remaining skin or eyes. Maintain the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
Line an 8 inch square metal baking dish with nonstick paper or foil.
Using a water-bath, place the butter and the chocolate and wait until melted, then remove the top bowl from the water bath and stir vigourously until completely smooth.
In the bowl of a food processor, beat the sweet potato flesh with the agave syrup until completely smooth, then transfer to a mixing bowl.
Mix in the butter and chocolate. Add the eggs and vanilla, beat until thick, then stir in the flour and baking powder until evenly combined.
Fold in the pecans and remaining chopped chocolate, then spoon into the baking dish, smooth the top and bake for about 20-25 minutes, until barely cooked but still a bit soft under the crust.
Leave to cool completely in the baking dish before slicing.