In my on-going quest to remove artificial sweeteners from my life, I've recently been experimenting with date sugar. Now, I love dates. I can't buy the little powdered ones, you know, the ones that look like rabbit turds? Not because they look like rabbit turds (which, really, they do), but because I will just eat and eat and eat them. And you can't just go to town on a bag of dates, because a) you'll be pooping for something like two weeks straight, and b) they are full of natural sugars, so they're not a calorie-free food or anything.
But let's bring it back to date sugar. Why date sugar? Well, for one, date sugar is literally dehydrated dates ground up finely. So there's nothing strange in it. It's not overly sweet (which is funny, because dates themselves are quite sweet in my opinion). I've found it works well in oatmeal (I'll post a recipe below), and tried it out in some muffins (they weren't very sweet, but tasted very gingerbread-like, which I enjoyed). Aside from the peace of mind of knowing that I am using a natural, non-chemical sweetener, it's only 20 calories and 4 grams of sugar in two tablespoons. Plus, because it's derived entirely from dates, you get some of the fiber, vitamins and minerals that you would get from eating dates. A sweetener that contributes to the society of your health? I think I kind of like that idea.
Here's a quick article about agave, honey, and date sugar that I liked for its conciseness. When going for a "natural sweetener", it's easy to think that by pouring agave all over your oatmeal you're doing yourself a favor. (Or even date sugar, for that matter.) Two of the biggest things I took from the article were: cut back on the amounts of sweeteners you use in general, because "there's nothing wrong with getting used to having less of a sweet tooth", and "enjoy fruits to satisfy your sweet cravings"! I admit that I eat a ton of fruit... I often use mashed bananas or even baby food to sweeten things! Just look for fruits that are in season, as they will be cheaper, or buy them frozen. Otherwise, you are compromising on nutrients buying strawberries in February; they had to travel a loooooong way to get to Michigan, and lost vitamins every step of the journey, I promise you that.
Here's the article:
And here's my oatmeal today!
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/2 apple, diced
about 1/2 Tbs cinnamon (I just use it to taste?)
2 Tbs date sugar
1 Tbs peanut butter
* Make the oatmeal according to directions. (I like the Meijer Organics rolled quick oats... they aren't mushy like some quick oats, but I do not have time for a 40 minute steel cut oatmeal. I just don't.)
* While water is boiling or oatmeal is cooking, chop up the apple and microwave it with some cinnamon. I find 30 seconds, a stir, and another 30 seconds is good.
*When the oatmeal appears to be about done, add the peanut butter, apples, date sugar, and some more cinnamon. Stir until everything looks smooth!
~ Wayne Dyer