Monday, January 7, 2013
My Sugar Addiction and Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Seed Crackers
I'm on day 6 of my "no sugar detox diet" and am feeling really good. Have you ever gone without sugar for any period of time? It can be challenging but fortuantely it's been effortless for me this time. Maybe because it's the new year, or maybe because I've done a few already and know how good I feel when I eat like this.
Whenever I go without sugar, I get a good perspective about my regular eating habits. I'm a healthy eater, however my tendency is to eat too many sweets, even if they are natural. I'm sure this comes as no surprise considering my life revolves around making healthy desserts.
This morning on a cold winter walk I was thinking about how I've always loved sugar. My fondest childhood food memories include my mom's homemade chocolate chip cookies (and I especially loved the cookie dough), hot chocolate on cold winter days, ice cream in the summer, and my mom's blueberry pancakes drenched in maple syrup. My favorite sandwich was peanut butter and banana. Oh, and when I was quite young I tricked my mom into buying fruit loops by telling her that I wanted to make fruit loop necklaces just like we did in daycare. So I got to enjoy the occasional box of those for breaky. Otherwise it was cheerios, special K, or rice krispies, and in the winter it was often oatmeal. Whole wheat toast with natural peanut butter was another breakfast item around our table. I loved going to my best friend, Lauren's house after school because there was an actual "snack drawer" full of wonderous goodies to choose from. You get the idea...
I've always loved sweet things. I may have grown up but I haven't grown out of my love for sugar. I've eaten natural sugars for years but dates, maple syrup, bananas, etc are still sugar and have those effects on the body and mind. The more of it I eat, the more I want. Does that happen to you? I can't eat just one bite of dessert or chocolate. No way. Often not even one piece will do. The word addiction is strong, but it's fair to say that I'm addicted to sugar. I've done many sessions with my spiritual therapist, Ria, on my sugar addiction and the root cause. What I've learned is that since sugar represents the sweetness of life, I've been searching for my "sweetness in life" in the wrong place! In "the candy bin", so to speak. Sugar is also used as a substitute for love (many people do this and food is another substitute). When we feel in need of love, reaching for sugar or food can be the easy thing to do. Over the years I've gotten a whole lot better at recognizing when I'm using sugar for these reasons, and I've gotten better at staying present in that moment and saying "No" to myself - to my inner child who is throwing a tantrum and just wants her sugar fix. I'm still working on it though. It's a constant work in progress.
Physiologically, too much sugar puts me in a state of wanting/craving more. The more I eat the more I'm affected psychologically, meaning I experience depression, irritability, and even anxiety. So it's something that seems to affect me on all levels. I've heard from so many people who experience the same thing and yet some people don't appear affected at all. I know that I'm a highly sensitive person in all areas of life so perhaps this makes it worse for me.
Funny enough, once I get onto a sugar free diet, I don't have cravings for it like I do when I'm eating sweet things. That's why this works so well for me. I feel much more calm and balanced. The protein and getting enough fat helps a lot.
So onto a tasty savory recipe I made this week. I'll post more of the foods/meals I've been eating, soon. I've never been into cauliflower but as I'm working to get creative and incorporate more veggies into my life as part of my sugar free cleanse, I decided to turn it into a soup. This is definitely one of my favorite soups now. I felt like having some crackers on the side and didn't have the time for dehydrated crackers so I made these baked seed crackers by Fox in the Kitchen to go with it. I made them for our plane ride to Cuba too. Gluten free, vegan, grain free, and nut free. These are amazing!!! She also has two other cracker recipes you should check out. I brough them with veggies and avocado edamame dip to a dinner party on the weekend and they were a hit.
Creamy Cauliflower Soup
This delicious creamy soup is actually dairy free. It's so smooth and rich that you'd never guess it's actually healthy and its beyond easy to make. I made it using my homemade chicken stock but you can easily use a veggie stock if you prefer a vegan option.
1 medium cauliflower (florets only) roughly chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic
Chicken or veggie stock
1/2 can coconut milk
Salt and pepper, to taste
Add the cauliflower, onion, and garlic to a big pot.
Pour enough stock over to cover with a bit extra liquid.
Bring to a boil and simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until the veggies are cooked through.
Carefully transfer (because it will be so hot) to a blender and puree until completely smooth.
Stir or blend in the coconut milk. Season with salt and pepper. Add more stalk to thin to desired thickness.
Don't let the long instructions for the crackers share you. It's really just a case of grinding everything together in a food processor and then rolling it out really thin on parchment before baking.
Sunflower Sesame Seed Crackers
3/4 Cup raw sunflower seeds
3 Tbsp psyllium husks, or flax meal
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 Cup raw white sesame seeds
2 Tbsp virgin coconut oil, melted
2-3 Tbsp of water (just enough to have the dough stick together enough to roll into a ball)
Preheat oven to 325°F. Cut a piece of parchment paper large enough to line a cookie sheet.
In a food processor, process sunflower seeds until finely ground. Be careful not to grind too long, or you could end up with butter. Tip: Keep raw nuts and seeds in the freezer. Grinding them while frozen will help to prevent the oils from being released, which could turn them into butter.
Add psyllium, salt, baking soda and garlic powder, pulse until well blended.
Add sesame seeds, and coconut oil. Pulse a couple of times until just blended.
Add water one tablespoon at a time, pulsing between additions, just until the mixture starts to clump together.
Lay out the cut piece of parchment paper on your counter, or on a large cutting board. Plop the dough on top and use your hands to press down into a relatively square, or rectangular shape, depending on the size and shape of your pan. Aawww, there is something therapeutic about working dough with your bare hands.
Cover pressed out dough with a large piece of waxed paper, plastic wrap or a second piece of parchment paper. Use a rolling-pin to roll out to about 1/8 of an inch thickness. The key here is to roll the dough out as evenly as possible, so it will bake evenly. Also, for a crisper cracker, roll the dough as thinly as you can. While you are rolling, the edges will tend to split apart. Lift the paper to repair the edges by pressing together with your fingers.
Remove the top piece of paper and use a knife or a pizza cutter to score the dough into the desired size. Don’t worry about separating each cracker yet, as long as you’ve scored the top, the crackers will be easy to separate after baking.
Slide the entire piece of parchment paper with the dough on to a cookie sheet.
Bake for about 19 – 21 minutes, or until lightly browned all over. Spin the pan at about the halfway mark and watch closely for the last few minutes, as the crackers could turn from nicely browned, to burnt quite quickly. Allow crackers to cool on the pan.
Once cool, carefully snap the crackers apart along the score lines.
Store at room temperature in a container with a tight-fitting lid. Best if used within a day it two.
When the dough is all rolled out, there is enough dough to fill an 11 x 13 inch cookie sheet. I cut my crackers into about 1 1/4 inch x 1 1/4 inch squares.
Makes 2-3 dozen (depending on the size of each cracker).
Shared at Allergy Free Wednesdays, Wellness Weekend