As I write in all of my cookbooks, sugar consumption has gotten alarmingly out of hand in our country. So much so that even food writers are taking notice – not just the medical industry.
I’m not trying to take away all of your fun, but it’s time to start looking at what’s thrust onto the supermarket shelves and restaurant menus with a more discerning eye. Sure it tastes good, but what about what happens during and after digestion? Even moderate amounts of sugary drinks are enough to start the production of fat-depositing enzymes into the liver, according to a study published this year by the American Liver Foundation.
And if this news weren’t sobering enough, there’s research linking sugar to Alzheimer’s disease. New York Times writer Mark Bittman did a brilliant and descriptive essay on the subject in 2012 titled “Is Alzheimer’s Type 3 Diabetes?” Google it only if you’re ready to wake from the culture-induced trance that sugar is just harmless fun. And if you didn’t know that back in 2005 doctors and scientists began categorizing Alzheimer’s as the Type 3 Diabetes, well, wake up and smell the unsweetened iced coffee!
I’m not even suggesting that you ditch the candy corn completely. Just eat a little less of it this season, and try a healthier sweet instead. So what better way to welcome autumn than a fragrant loaf of pumpkin bread? This is moist and delicious and full of beta carotene and fiber, thanks to a can of pumpkin puree. Please note: this is a gluten-free pumpkin bread, which means a different texture and therefore a different baking process. Gluten-free breads and the like tend to be gummier than their wheat-based counterparts. Add a can of pumpkin into the mix (literally) and you’ve got some serious goo to contend with. This bread requires extra baking time because of it.
Those who’ve read my dessert cookbook, “Clean Comfort,” know that smoothies are often my evening dessert, which serve the dual purpose of chasing the nocturnal hunger pangs away while giving me a jolt of much-needed protein as my body prepares to rest for the night. Chocolate smoothies are a staple in my repertoire, as are any that are berry-based. Even vanilla and cinnamon have their place in the craving chain. But I must admit, I’m not a fan of pumpkin. I’ve always found it to be a very polarizing flavor, which most people either adore or detest. So for those whose hearts beat a little faster for America’s favorite orange-colored fall-harvest fruit, this one’s for you. Thanks to the addition of canned pumpkin (unsweetened, of course) this is smoothie is loaded with Vitamin A!
About ¾ cup of canned pumpkin (or half a 15-ounce can)
1 ½ cups of unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 scoop of vanilla vegan protein powder of your choice
1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
Place all ingredients in a Vitamix or blender and blend for 30 to 60 seconds until smooth. Pour and serve immediately.
Stacey Morris is a Loudonville based wellness blogger, cookbook author and health coach. Her website is www.staceymorris.com.