Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Truth About Sugar

What makes you happy? The smell of freshly baked cinnamon buns? Warm chocolate fondue?  A large bowl of Phish Food™ice cream?

Well, there is a reason for that. All of these desserts have one thing in common: sugar.

(Image courtesy of Google)

That’s right, sugar is what makes us happy. But do you know why…?

Sugar has the same affect on our brains as everything else that makes us happy. Playing our favorite sport, learning, praise, spending time with friends, having dinner with family, observing art, receiving emails, you name it. Whatever it is that gives us joy in life does so because of one chemical, the pleasure molecule, a.k.a. dopamine.

This chemical is responsible not only for pleasure, but also has many other roles in our bodies. It makes contributions to our consciousness, mood, motivation, attention, movement, blood pressure, coordination, and unfortunately, addiction.

When a behavior or substance makes us feel good, it triggers the release of dopamine. And because it makes us happy we want it again and again, hence, we form an addiction

This same science applies to sugar, or more specifically, refined sugar. 

It tastes good, and makes us feel good; therefore, we continue to crave it.

 If you don’t believe you are addicted to sugar, think again. (Unless, of course, you are one of the lucky few strong enough to abstain from it completely, then I congratulate--and also envy--you). 

You may think that you could stay away from sweets if you tried, but it isn’t just desserts and baked goods you need to steer clear from. No, refined sugar is in EVERYTHING. And it disguises itself in many ways.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Cinnamon Apple Cake for Fall

If you've never tried grain-free baking, good luck. It is a real challenge!

Lately at work (I work in a bakery at a farm store called Moulton Farm, best place, I love it!) and we have started the process of transitioning into fall. Between fall decorations and fall items, like pumpkin muffins and cider, the Autumn mood really sets in. I love fall and I couldn't wait for it to come. All this excitement over the new season, therefore, inspired me to bake something fall-y. :)

Thinking about fall, made me think of apple picking.

I love apples and apple picking. It is one of my favorite pastimes.

I had been wanting to attempt a cake recipe, so I thought, why not use apples? That's what I was in the mood for.

But it had to be healthy, vegan, and gluten free.

My mum recently went gluten free to see whether or not it would help her allergies and skin, and I hated that I kept baking things she couldn't try.

We do not have many gluten free flours in our house at the moment, but I did have some coconut flour, which I had read that it could be used on its own without any added starches or xanthan gum.

I also had a bunch of dates leftover from my experimentations with black bean brownies.

So I decided to use those.

It would be a gluten/grain-free, naturally sweetened, vegan apple cake.