Sorry I’ve been a bit delayed at getting posts up this week and last. I am fighting a cold and am trying my best to rest so I can recover.
There are a lot of folks online advocating that we give up all sugar. I ask you, is this necessary? Even cavemen ate honey. Natural sweeteners have been a part of every day life around the world for millenia.
Of course we want to limit sugar intake. When you do eat sugar, try to choose unrefined, natural sweeteners, and try to limit refined sugar.
I believe in enjoying my food. If variety is the spice of life, sweets are what make it worth living. And if I can’t eat sugar, how will I eat chocolate chip cookies?
Just like, “What is the sound of one hand clapping?”, this is a question that you should never try to answer, as it is designed to make your brain implode.
Bottom line: chocolate chip cookies are good and they should be eaten. Preferably with a tall glass of (raw) milk.
Check out some of the natural sweeteners and sweets I found at Natural Products ExpoWest this year…
I first heard about “Rapadura,” an unrefined sweetener, when I read Sally Fallon Morell’s book, Nourishing Traditions. I found it at my local Whole Foods and then went on to try it out in recipes.
What I found is that Rapadura works very well in almost all recipes — from the aforementioned chocolate chip cookies to just about anything you can imagine.
What I did not know until I went to ExpoWest my first time a few years ago is that “Rapadura” is the brand name of a product made by Rapunzel. Rapunzel is the German company that makes Rapadura.
We got to meet the founder of Rapunzel at ExpoWest this year. I asked about why they changed the name from Rapadura to whole cane sugar. They told us that a lot of their customers were asking the same question, and they are thinking about going back to the old name, Rapadura. I hope they do — because I think it will make it easier for people to find it in stores.
That said, if you’re looking for a real unrefined sweetener, look for the brand name, Rapunzel. They even have chocolate bars, which we got some samples of and my word, were they ever good.
So why pay more for rapadura? Why not just buy white sugar? As I said, it’s an unrefined sweetener. You know how molasses has tons of minerals in it? Well, so does this. If you’re going to use sugar in your coffee or make a dessert, why wouldn’t you use a sweetener that is loaded with nutrients?
Where to Find Rapunzel Brand Sweeteners
I have always found Rapunzel products at Whole Foods and other natural food stores. If they don’t carry it at your store, ask them to start!
Another brand name you should look for when buying sugar is Wholesome Sweeteners. Based in Sugarland, Texas (isn’t that awesome?), they trademarked the name Sucanat.
You’ll see Sucanat on a lot of my recipes. It’s very similar to Rapadura. Sucanat is a truly unrefined, nutrient-rich sweetener. According to the Wholesome Sweeteners website, “Sucanat is a whole cane sugar made from cane juice. It contains 100% of the cane’s natural molasses in every porous granule.” Yes! The nutrition of molasses in a table sugar.
Wholesome Sweeteners also sells coconut sugar, which is another one of my favorite sweeteners that I use in almost all of my recipes.
They also sell raw honey, stevia and molasses. And if you’re not using molasses in your baked beans, you are missing out!
Where to Find Wholesome Sweeteners
Madhava Organic Coconut Sugar
Madhava Organic Coconut Sugar is another unrefined sweetener that I use in my recipes.
If you’ve heard the rumor that coconut sugar is not sustainable, that’s simply untrue. According to the Madhava website:
“The coconut palm is ideal for sugar production, as the trees are sustainably grown and harvested without causing deforestation. Coconut palm trees produce 50-75% more sugar per acre than sugar cane, and use 20% of the resources.”
Where to Find Madhava Organic Coconut Sugar
We very much enjoyed visiting with the folks at Theo Chocolate. Oh, how difficult it was to have to sample all those delectable flavors of chocolate. What torture!
Poor Kelly the Kitchen Kop. She gave up sweets for Lent. I know, right!?!?! WHAT was she thinking?!
But that did not stop me from sampling them all.
And Kelly said she took the chocolate bar they gave her and hid it away from her kids. She’s going to eat it on Easter Sunday. I can’t think of a better way to praise the Lord.
Theo Chocolate is the first organic, fair trade, bean-To-bar chocolate factory in the United States. (If you’re near Seattle, you can visit the factory for a tour. Sounds like a great homeschooling outing to me!)
Wow, don’t you want to support something like that? I do! These folks are doing it RIGHT! Not only are they organic and fair trade, they are also DELICIOUS.
Where to Find Theo Chocolate
You can find Theo Chocolate nationwide in Whole Foods, or use the store locator to find them in other stores. You can also buy Theo Chocolate online.
Maggie’s Naturals is a food coloring made from all natural and organic plant, fruit and vegetable extracts. Yep, no gross additives or artificial colors!
And the colors are really beautiful!
Here is a list of ingredients:
BLUE: blue gardenia extract, organic vegetable glycerin, citric acid
BROWN: caramelized sugar, organic vegetable glycerin, citric acid
GREEN: green gardenia extract, spinach, parsley, organic vegetable glycerin, citric acid
PINK: beets, sweet potato, organic vegetable glycerin, citric acid
ORANGE: annatto seed, organic vegetable glycerin, citric acid
YELLOW: curcumin, organic vegetable glycerin, citric acid
Where to Find Maggie’s Naturals
You can’t find them in stores but if you visit their website, you can order online: Maggie’s Naturals
Are you grain-free? Dairy-free? On the GAPS diet? You can eat these cookies!
Caveman Cookies are made with nuts, honey and berries — and that’s it!
Where to Find Caveman Cookies
Vin’Tucci Wine Infused Cookies
OK, so you’re not a caveman. You like cookies, especially cookies made with real flour.
I’ll tell you how to kick it up a notch. Drench those cookies in booze. Enter Vin’Tucci Cookies.
Yes, wine infused cookies. There is such a thing.
Oh yes, my friends, God is good because He gave us wine infused cookies.
If a day without wine is like a day without sunshine, a day without wine infused cookies is hell.
Haha, I”m just kidding. But don’t you want to try some? They were SO GOOD! In anise, spice and honey flavors.
Where to Find Vin’Tucci Wine Infused Cookies
Vin’Tucci Wine Infused Cookies is a relatively new company, born in the Paso Robles, California wine country. So you probably won’t find them in stores yet. But you can order them online.
Walkers Scottish Shortbread Cookies
Ahh… Walkers Scottish Shortbread Cookies. These are the cookies I buy when I want a cookie but don’t feel like baking. Or when Kate wants a treat and we are out and about.
Yes, they are made with white flour and refined sugar. But can you say GRASS-FED BUTTER? Yes, my friends, these cookies are rich in the fat soluble activators, vitamins A, D and K2.
And they remind me of Scotland, one of my very favorite places in the world. And as you know, “If it isn’t Scottish, it’s crap!”
Where to Find Walkers Scottish Shortbread Cookies
What About You?
Do you buy any of these products? What are some of your favorites? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
Check Back Next Week
I’ll be posting more of my favorite things from ExpoWest 2012 in part 7 of the series — check back!