Why do you crave sugar?

sugar cravings, candida, Toronto, black bean brownies, healthy dessert

Do you ever find yourself walking back and forth in your kitchen, scouring your cupboards and fridge for something sweet?  It's the bittersweet craving for sugar.  You know you don't need it, but your body is telling you that you have to have it!  

There are many reasons why we crave the sweet stuff.  Sometimes after eating a savoury meal, dessert is expected as the perfect complement to the main course.   Dessert is part of celebrating.  Sweet things are delicious and make us feel good.  And, sometimes it's important to enjoy this part of life.  But, sugar can become problematic when cravings begin to overtake us.  

Adrenal Glands

The adrenal glands are located at the top of each kidney and are responsible for producing hormones that help the body to regulate blood sugar levels, and support a healthy metabolism to burn carbohydrates, fats and proteins. The adrenals release a number of hormones such as the stress hormone, cortisol. This hormone is specifically linked to sugar cravings.  When the adrenal glands are overworked, the stress response is activated. In our culture, we are often stressed due to our demanding lifestyles, putting stress on the adrenals. In response, we produce too much cortisol for our body to handle. Producing too much cortisol for a long period of time can lead to many negative effects such as blood sugar imbalances, fatigue, and inflammation, increased abdominal fat and lowered immune function. This is also known as adrenal fatigue. When you suffer from adrenal fatigue, you tend to crave sugar as a quick source of energy just to keep you going. 

 

Candida Growth

Another reason for your sugar cravings may be Candida, a tiny yeast that lives in our gut and creates imbalance. There are good and bad types of bacteria throughout the digestive system. The gut relies on this balance between good and bad bacteria to maintain optimal health. Due to many of our everyday choices, we tend to destroy that balance from making poor food choices, stress, and harmful chemicals in the environment. All of which tilts the balance in the favour of bad bacteria in the gut.

When we eat large amounts of sugar and foods that act like sugar in the body, we tend to grow gut flora that also likes to thrive on sugar. The bacteria and yeast in the gut will eat most of the sugars you consume and leave you craving more because they have stolen and consumed them first!

 

Don’t worry, we’ve got some tips on how to deal with your sugar cravings.

  • Aim to consume low glycemic snacks such as: nuts and seeds, carrots with hummus, and fresh strawberries. These foods will not spike your blood sugar as quickly.
  • Chose sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes.
  • Aim for whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, oats) over processed white grain products. 
  • Increase your legume and bean intake, they help to stabilize blood sugar levels and keep you full, longer.
  • Consume foods that contain probiotics for optimal gut health such as: kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh (we use soy-free tempeh in our Meal Delivery meals!!) and kombucha tea.
  • Incorporate healthy fats and protein such as avocados, hemp oil, extra virgin olive oil and fish into your diet to keep blood sugar levels stable.
  • Use natural sweeteners in moderation such as maple syrup, honey, dates and stevia.
  • Drink plenty of water, sometimes you’re just thirsty!
  • Wean off carbonated drinks by replacing them with sparkling water, maybe add a lemon wedge too. 
  • Eat mindfully and be mindful of portion sizes. It’s okay to splurge and treat yourself in moderation. 

 

We can help

We hope that you find these tips useful. Let us know how they work for you and share this post on Facebook or Twitter. 

Still struggling to kick sugar to the curb? We can help make it easier for you! Check out our Meal Delivery menu online or try our June Detox that begins June 6th 2016. You can do it, after all, it’s just sugar.

 

About the writer:
Celena Morgan, George brown nutrition student, passionate about feeding people delicious and nutritious foods.

Sources:
Wilson, James L., DC, ND, PhD, Cortisol & Adrenal Function (2016)
Olson, Scott, ND, Sugar and Candida (2014)

Black Bean, Quinoa and Kale Salad with Cumin Lime Dressing

Spring is approaching us, slowly but surely. When we think of spring we think fresh, colourful and light ingredients that are nutrient dense. So, what better thing to eat than a fresh, vibrant salad? Salads are quick, easy to make and versatile meals. They can be eaten as a main or side dish and they make a great on-the-go meal.

This plant based salad is protein packed, high in fiber, and filled with a variety of vitamins and minerals. Black beans and quinoa are a wonderful addition to salads due to their high source of protein and fiber. Quinoa is also a gluten free grain and is a complete protein, making this salad a great option for vegans and those on a gluten free diet. 

For some of our clients who have diabetes, this recipe is the perfect option as fiber helps to control blood sugar, manage blood pressure, and aids in weight management as it will allow you to feel satisfied, longer. 

This beautifully coloured salad will be a great addition to your first patio dinner, your next pot luck or tomorrow's lunch. 

This recipe can easily be made ahead of time for those who find themselves pushed for time. Did I mention there will be leftovers? It tastes even better the second day and you won’t have to worry about lunch for a few days, fantastic!

Give our recipe a try and let us know what you think by sharing this post on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.  @LivingKitchenCo

Happy munching!

black bean quinoa kale salad cumin lime dressing gluten free vegan living kitchen toronto nutrition

Black Bean, Quinoa and Kale Salad with Cumin Lime Dressing

1 can Black beans
1 cup Red or White Quinoa, rinsed and cooked
1 bunch Kale, washed, destemmed and chopped
3 Roma Tomatoes, diced
1 Red pepper, diced
1 small Red onion, finely diced
½ bunch Cilantro, stems removed, roughly chopped
½ bunch Flat Leaf Parsley 

Dressing:
2 Limes, juiced and zested
4 tbsp. Olive oil
2 tbsp. Apple cider vinegar
3 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp honey or maple syrup
4 cloves Garlic, minced
2 tsp. Cumin, ground
Pinch Sea salt or to taste
½ tsp chili powder and ground pepper

Directions:
1. Using a fine mesh strainer, rinse the quinoa and cook in a pot for 10-15 minutes. Allow to cool completely.  Drain and rinse off the black beans.
2. Wash and remove kale from stems. Chop finely.
3. Prepare the dressing by placing all ingredients in a small bowl and whisking until combined. Set aside. 
4. Finely dice the red bell pepper, onion and tomatoes. 
5. Remove from stems and roughly chop the cilantro and parsley.
6. In a large bowl, place all the ingredients and add the dressing, toss to combine. 
7. Serve immediately or chill covered in the fridge for at least one hour to let the flavours combine.

About the writer:
Celena Morgan, George brown nutrition student, passionate about feeding people delicious and nutritious foods.

Magical Cauliflower Hummus

Hummus is a popular go-to snack. But let's be honest, sometimes the beans don't agree with our digestion. This is where the always magical cauliflower can save the day. Cauliflower is an amazing vegetable because it is so versatile and can be used to replace ingredients such as rice and chickpeas. This recipe is allergy friendly, delicious, light and filling all at the same time! It's a great option for anyone following a paleo diet, vegetarian or vegan diet, or anyone who just wants to reduce their intake of beans and increase their vegetable intake. 

Ingredients:
1 head of cauliflower
2 cloves of garlic
squeeze of lemon juice
2 tbsp tahini
sea salt and pepper
large hansful parsley, chopped
1/4 cup of olive oil

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Cut up the cauliflower into florets and lay them on a baking sheet
3. Toss cauliflower and garlic with a drizzle of olive oil, and bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.
5. Place cauliflower, garlic and the rest of the ingredients, except the parsley, in a blender and blend on high speed until it is smooth.  If you want the consistency to be smoother, add some water
6. Place in a bowl and sprinkle with parsley.

 

About the Writer:
Danielle Milgrom has always loved to cook. Eating is her passion, and she loves good food. As she got older, Danielle realized that what she was eating was not the healthiest and she was not happy when she looked in the mirror, and she developed an eating disorder. After years of anxiety and obsessing about her weight, Danielle had a "ah hah" moment. Danielle started studying Holistic Nutrition in 2015 and has learned that the right foods nourish the body. She now strives to help others heal their body and guide them through their journey by providing lifestyle counselling, developing recipes and cooking meals. 

Danielle studied Psychology and Social Service Work, allowing her the learn how others mind work, and the behaviours that follow. She has worked with individuals to change their behaviours, and develop plans to implement lifestyle changes. 

Instagram: @daniellemilgrom

The Best Cozy Vegan Bean Quinoa Chili

gluten free vegan bean quinoa chili, Toronto, private chef, nutritionist, menu plan, recipe

The Spring Equinox was yesterday, bringing us much closer to sunny jacket-free days.  However, it's still cold in Toronto and we're bracing ourselves for a few more blustery weeks.  When it's cold, there is nothing better than cozying up at the end of the day.  But we need to eat.  This chili is the perfect comfort food for a cold winters day to keep your body nourished and warm. It is full of healthy fats, lean proteins and complex carbs to keep you feeling full.  The best part is that this recipes makes a big pot of chili, so you'll have leftovers for lunch.

The Best Cozy Vegan Bean Quinoa Chili

makes 4 servings

Ingredients:
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 large sweet potato, chopped in small cubes
1 cup shredded carrots
1 1/2 cups of dried black and kidney beans OR 1 15 ounce can of black
beans and 1 15 ounce can of kidney beans
1 cup quinoa
1 yellow onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic
2 cups of water
1 14 ounce can diced tomatoes
2 tbsp oregano
1 tbsp cumin
2 tbsp chili powder
sea salt and pepper to taste
large handful cilantro, chopped

Directions:

1.      Soak and pre cook the dried beans (unless you are using the canned beans).
2.     Heat oil on medium- high heat. Add sweet potato, onion and cook
until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
3.      Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, and sea salt, stirring constantly for
a few seconds.
4.      Add water and quinoa and bring to a simmer, cover.
5.      Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook until the sweet potato
is tender, about 10 minutes.
6.      Add the beans and tomatoes, bringing the liquid to a boil, then
returning to a simmer for another 5-7 minutes.  The quinoa will be cooked at this point as well. 
7.      Remove from heat and stir in freshly chopped cilantro.

About the Writer:
Danielle Milgrom has always loved to cook. Eating is her passion, and she loves good food. As she got older, Danielle realized that what she was eating was not the healthiest and she was not happy when she looked in the mirror, and she developed an eating disorder. After years of anxiety and obsessing about her weight, Danielle had a "ah hah" moment. Danielle started studying Holistic Nutrition in 2015 and has learned that the right foods nourish the body. She now strives to help others heal their body and guide them through their journey by providing lifestyle counselling, developing recipes and cooking meals. 

Danielle studied Psychology and Social Service Work, allowing her the learn how others mind work, and the behaviours that follow. She has worked with individuals to change their behaviours, and develop plans to implement lifestyle changes. 

Instagram: @daniellemilgrom

 

Cauliflower Leek Stuffed Winter Squash

cauliflower leek stuffed butternut squash with olives, pinenuts, pumpkin seeds, vegan, omnivore

It's difficult to feel warm when outside has been so cold. Want a meal that will keep you feeling satisfied and warm? Try this stuffed winter squash recipe that's full of good fats, energy from complex carbs and protein. This recipe is gluten free and paleo friendly, and can easily be made vegan as well.

Cauliflower Leek Stuffed Winter Squash

1  butternut squash
2 tbsp coconut oil
½ cup dried quinoa
1/4 head of cauliflower
1  small leek
2 tbsp raisins or currants
1/4 cup black olives
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp pine nuts
1/2 cup spinach (or kale)
6 pieces organic shrimp (optional)
dash of sea salt and pepper to taste
handful fresh parsley, chopped finely


Directions:

1.       Preheat oven to 450 degrees
2.      Cut the winter squash lengthwise, drizzle 1 tbsp melted coconut oil on the cut side, season with sea salt and pepper and turn cut side down on your pan and bake for about 30 minutes, or until tender.
3.      Chop cauliflower into florets, drizzle with oil, sea salt and pepper, and bake for about 25 minutes.
4.      Cook the quinoa according to the instructions.
5.      Melt 1 tbsp coconut oil in a pan, saute the leeks, add shrimp (if using). 
6.      Add spinach (or kale) last, just until it wilts
7.      Take the quinoa, leeks, olives, raisins and shrimp (if using) and mix together.  Add fresh parsley as well.
8.      Toast pine nuts and pumpkin seeds for 1-2 minutes.
9.      Take winter squash out of the oven, and divide the quinoa mix
evenly in each half.
10.     Add toasted pine nuts and pumpkin seeds on top.  

 

About the Writer:
Danielle Milgrom has always loved to cook. Eating is her passion, and she loves good food. As she got older, Danielle realized that what she was eating was not the healthiest and she was not happy when she looked in the mirror, and she developed an eating disorder. After years of anxiety and obsessing about her weight, Danielle had a "ah hah" moment. Danielle started studying Holistic Nutrition in 2015 and has learned that the right foods nourish the body. She now strives to help others heal their body and guide them through their journey by providing lifestyle counselling, developing recipes and cooking meals. 

Danielle studied Psychology and Social Service Work, allowing her the learn how others mind work, and the behaviours that follow. She has worked with individuals to change their behaviours, and develop plans to implement lifestyle changes. 

Instagram: @daniellemilgrom

Love Cinnamon Buns (grain free, sugar free)

healthy cinnamon buns, gluten free, grain free, sugar free

Cinnamon buns are the most notorious of them all for our sense of smell- the yeasted bread, sweet cinnamon concoction, syrup melting all into one guilty roll.  And, we developed this recipe just in time for Valentine's Day this year.

We’ve experimented a bit with revisiting that idea to keep it clean and nutritious, yet soul satisfying.  

This recipe uses a versatile amount of whole foods, starting from the base of almond flour all the way to the topping options such as coconut products or non-dairy yogurts. 

Almond flour is one of the simplest products that should be kept in your pantry at all times to add texture to baked goods, as well as vitamins and minerals. Simply put, almond flour is ground, blanched almonds. 

Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a generic spice used heavily during the colder seasons that isn’t often awarded for its real benefits. The nutritional benefits in cinnamon are not entirely set in stone in terms of vitamins and nutrients as it is just a spice; however, the active chemical structure in cinnamon has various antioxidants and health providing factors. One of the most known benefits of cinnamon is its ability to lower blood sugar levels for people with type 1 and 2 diabetes. It is also used to treat vomiting, diarrhoea, infections, common cold, erectile dysfunction and appetite issues. Another major component of cinnamon is the chemical “cinnamldeyhde” which helps fight against bacteria. 

Maple Syrup 

Maple syrup is used as a sugar substitute in this recipe, and in many others as well. It is known for its very distinct toasty, yet oaky flavour – but it also has specific properties that make it better than sugar. North American Natives historically used maple syrup as medicine; they extracted the maple sap from birch bark and condensed it by evaporating the water and freezing the sap. Maple syrup, unlike sugar, has a variety of minerals such as zinc, thiamine, calcium and manganese, which are all essential for proper body functions. Though many food products include vitamins and minerals, maple syrup also contains abscisic acids which help stimulate insulin release via pancreatic cells. This is helpful for people with metabolic syndrome and diabetes, and also for helping type 2 diabetes. 

Cinnamon Buns (paleo, gluten free, sugar free)

Dough:
1.5 cups almond flour
1 Tbsp chickpea flour
1 egg
2 tsp maple syrup
dash sea salt
2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted

Filling:
1 Tbsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp maple syrup
large handful of raisins or chopped dates
large handful chopped walnuts

Optional Toppings:
coconut oil
coconut butter
organic butter
coconut dairy-free yogurt

Directions:
1. Mix together the ingredients for the dough.  You should be able to form the batter into a ball.

2. Press the ball between two pieces of parchment paper.  Roll out with a rolling pin (or wine bottle if you don't have a rolling pin) into a thin, flat rectangle.

3. Mix together the maple syrup and cinnamon.  It will form a thick, gooey mixture.

4. Remove one sheet of parchment paper.  

5. Spread the cinnamon syrup evenly over top of the dough.

6. Then sprinkle the raisins or dates, and walnuts over top.

7. Carefully roll one edge of the dough over on itself and continue rolling to form a log.

8. Cut the log into 8-10 individual pieces. 

9. Preheat oven to 350.

10. Place the cinnamon rolls next to each other in a baking dish.  Bake for 15 minutes, or until the dough begins to turn a light golden colour. 

11. Serve warm with coconut oil or other topping of your choice.

 

Sources

Roy, H. (n.d.). “Cinnamon.” Pennington Nutrition Series.

Khan, Alam. Mahpara Safdar, Mohammad Muzaffar Ali Khan, Khan Nawaz Khattak, and  Richard A. Anderson. (2008) "Cinnamon Improves Glucose & Lipids of People With Type 2 Diabetes"Diabetes Care.

Abou-Zaid, M. M.; Nozzolillo, C.; Tonon, A.; Coppens, M.; Lombardo, A. D. A. High performance liquid chromatography characterization and identification of antioxidant polyphenols in maple syrup. Pharm. Biol. 2008, 46, 117-125

Yoshikawa, K., Kawahara, Y., Arihara, S., & Hashimoto, T. (2011). Aromatic compounds and their antioxidant activity of Acer saccharum. Journal of natural medicines65(1), 191-193.