It's safe to say that I've struggled with an addiction to sugar for much of my life. Overeating it, sneaking it, thinking about it, eating half of a batch of something I've baked because I just can't get enough.
I know I'm not the only one that has been a slave to sugar. Many women I know in particular, have those intense cravings, bake/buy to follow through with those intense cravings, and suffer from the life-long cycle of indulging, feeling guilt, warding off sweets, indulging, guilt, and trying to get some control. I know that cycle very well.
I remember that cycle for the majority of last summer of heavy "feel good" baking: mermaid cupcakes, fairy log cake, bridal shower sugar cookies, Choose the Right cupcakes, Caroline's baptism cake, seashell cookies, etc. My heart honestly aches when I think about all of the sugar I consumed trying this, nibbling on that, eating four of these late at night, and, mostly, the mental anguish of feeling like I had no control over myself. (Not to mention the roller coaster of fat gain.)
After last summer, I decided enough was enough. I took a break for decorating and baking the traditional way and have since done my own homework and experimenting with other sweeteners and learned to enjoy the occasional sweet treat without encouraging the addiction.
There is so much I could write on this topic but for now, I just want to tell those of you that suffer the way I have for years that there is a way out of the web. I would have honestly never believed that statement if I hadn't tried it for myself. And it doesn't mean never having a special piece of wedding cake at a wedding or other social eating.
In general I'll enjoy a few treats during the week that I've made with my family. I enjoy it's sweetness (usually sweetened with a natural, sugar free sweetener) and am actually moderate. Surprisingly moderate. Since I don't make gluten-filled fluffy cupcakes anymore I can't eat 5 of them. Nut flours and other fat/protein rich ingredients I use in many of my recipes leave me feeling totally satisfied with one or two. No kidding.
And since I no longer am addicted to sugar, I prepare myself mentally for the special occasions that I choose to eat a white sugary/traditional flour treat--always outside my home. I know that once the sugar (and addicting grain) is running through my veins again I will think about and want sugar for a few days later. Sugar is such a powerful substance that this happens every time. So I've treated this summer quite the opposite to last summer: I simply map out the next few months of trips, activities, and possible social events that I might be tempted, socially pressured, or simply interested in eating a traditional sweet. I've learned to decide well in advance if I will or won't, make a note of it, and move on in my current non-addictive world of eating.
This process actually works so well. I eat happily all week, bake things here and there for our family with our particular ingredient constraints (low sugar), and still might have a traditional white sugar/flour sweet every blue moon at a special occasion if I really want it. If not, no pressure, I know I can return home after the social event and have some [amazon_link id="B000EUF9CK" target="_blank" ]dark chocolate squares[/amazon_link] and a handful of salted peanuts or make a chocolatey-peanut butter protein shake.
I'm actually quite satisfied for the first time in my life.
The biggest change for me has been accepting that although I live in a world of abundance of white sugar, candy, cakes, donuts, soda, and cinnamon rolls considered "normal" to be had throughout the week--at every social event, gathering, church function, party, and so on-- no matter how you look at it they add up to loads of sweets every single week that keep the addiction alive and well. That's not for me. It's not for my family. Eating that way always leads to never being satisfied, excess fat, headaches, lack of self control, and loss of real focus of proper nutrition. I've been there.
The recipe below is one recipe our family enjoys together. It's easy to make and I love that it isn't addicting but rather, very satisfying. It is hearty from the almond flour and slightly sweet. I also love that is is quite cake-like. Enjoying sweet things don't need to throw us off the health wagon. They don't need to spike our insulin then drop off as soon after we've eaten, making us want more and begin the vicious cycle. Treats can actually sustain our good health.
Here's our family's chocolate chunk slab cookies....
chocolate chunk slab cookies
This recipe makes a cake-like cookie square, perfect for dunking in milk or almond milk.
Makes 25 square cookies
2 ½ cups almond flour (I use [amazon_link id="B0055IRNAC" target="_blank" ]Anthony's Almond Flour[/amazon_link]) ½ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon baking soda ⅓ cup butter, melted 2 eggs 3-4 tablespoons natural sugar-free sweetener (I use [amazon_link id="B001EO6FPU" target="_blank" ]ZSweet[/amazon_link]) or your choice of sweetener 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2 cup- 1 cup bittersweet, dark, or semi-sweet chips or chunks (I use these [amazon_link id="B004N5FR1U" target="_blank" ]bittersweet 70% chocolate chunks[/amazon_link])
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a bowl, combine almond flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside. In a standing mixer, mix butter, eggs, sweetener, and vanilla. Pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix well. Stir in chocolate chunks.
Place cookie dough on parchment paper or baking mat lined cookie sheet. Form dough square or close to it. Bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown. Let the slab cookie cool for about 10 minutes before cutting into squares. Using a pizza slicer works wonders.
*I tend to make our baked goods less sweet. Feel free to use more or less chocolate chunks since they are the primary sweetener, dark or sweeter chunks as well.
Per cookie: 113 calories
2.8 net carbs
3.4 grams protein
Have you ever struggled with a sugar addiction?