Since cutting out all the junk, I have thoroughly enjoyed experimenting with natural options to see what I create; enter my Chocolate Date Cups!
I have seen the idea knocking about on Instagram for a while and they have always inspired to me to come up with a recipe of my own. After pondering ideas, I finally gave it a go and O to the M to the G…I AM IN LOVE!!!
Upon thinking of a nommy, crunchy base with a kick, it only seemed right that Breakfast by Bella granola become key ingredient; Peanut Butter Me Up would be the obvious choice as this peanut blend with dates would be perfect for a snickers style theme. This particular blend contains only 4 ingredients and all are organic and gluten free; gluten free oats, rapeseed oil, agave syrup and peanuts.
As far as the caramel is concerned, well it had to be dates. They have a natural caramel flavour and texture. There are also endless benefits to them and they are a very tasty alternative to nasty processed sugar. With a raw chocolate top, these treats really are a taste sensation!
Making these Sunday treats inspired me to do some research about the benefits of dates. Here’s what I learnt:
- They are a great source of fibre.
- Contain essential minerals including iron and zinc.
- Contain vitamins.
- Help to regulate bowel movements (great for those with IBS).
- Contribute to bone health.
- Are said to be beneficial for those with anaemia due to the iron content.
Now obviously, dates are a natural form of sugar, but what is the difference between natural sugar and processed sugar?
Sugar is a form of carbohydrate. The body needs carbohydrates to help energise. Therefore, my understanding is that the body needs a certain level of sugar. However, both natural and processed sugar contain fructose and glucose. From my research, I have learnt that fructose breaks down in the liver and glucose breaks down in the gut. Insulin is released to help break down glucose, but the insulin does not break down fructose. Once fructose is carried from the blood to the liver, it is stored but if it can only store so much. Therefore, any excess fructose becomes fat. Now I am no scientist, so I hope I have understood this correctly. In any event, I do know that ALL sugar, whether natural or not, should not be consumed in overly high doses. Nonetheless, there is a difference between refined (processed) and unrefined (natural) sugars because of the way the body digests them.
There are zero benefits to eating refined sugar:
- It is natural sugar that is modified.
- The glucose and fructose are extracted while all other nutrients are stripped during the extraction process.
- Gives a “sugar rush” because the fructose and glucose are not accompanied by other nutrients
- Often difficult for the body to digest as the body absorbs it quickly.
- As a result, it can cause inflammation.
Whereas natural sugar:
- As well as fructose and glucose, contains important nutrients including antioxidants, vitamins and minerals (as seen from the dates).
- The additional nutrients mean the body absorbs fructose and glucose much slower.
- Slower digestion keeps the body fuller and energised for longer.
- This will hopefully keep you less hungry.
Now from a girl that absolutely HATED science at school (and may have faked a sickness of two to sit in the medical room *cough*), I really enjoyed doing my little bit of research. It’s funny how a bit of maturity and not having to hear Mrs A’s need to smack myself in face to wake up monotone voice can spark interest.
This research really helped me to understand my breakfast habits too. I have always had a sweet tooth and I am more inclined to have a sweet breakfast than a savoury one. This is why my breakfast jars will typically be of the sweet variety. However, with the combinations of natural sugars, oats and no additives yoghurt (typically Coyo), I find I am kept full until lunch time. Breakfast is by far my sweetest meal of the day. If I am peckish throughout the rest of the day, you would typically see my munch in raw carrots, nuts and maybe an extra bit of fruit (probably an apple).
Now that I do not eat refined sugars, I really do notice the difference in the taste. The flavour of natural sugar is a lot more subtle to the point that I would not even enjoy an actual snickers bar anymore even if I tried. Plus it’s much more fun to create your own sweet treats at home.
So there you have it a new recipe and a little science lesson, especially for those of you who also suffered “need to smack myself in face to wake up” style science lessons at school.
Follow this link for the recipe to the Chocolate Date Cups: http://www.breakfastbybella.com/recipes/chocolate-date-cups/