The Sugar Timeline, celebratory events, and why we eat more when we’re together
The Holidays can be frustrating when it comes to making healthy food choices.
This should be a special time of year when your energy is centered around celebration, togetherness, and joy and where the focus is to spend quality time with the people you love most. Instead it often includes frustration around food decision making, and the fear of uneasy digestion. On Thanksgiving especially, it's common knowledge that we overeat and typically we overeat sugar.
In North America (and all around the globe) the use of sweets in celebratory events has been a historical tradition. Though the cultivation of sugar dates back to 8,000BC, we see the use of sugar in celebratory event as early as 2,400 BC (!) where there is evidence of beekeeping and the collection honey for honey cakes found at a religious temples near present day Cairo, Egypt. (Hippocrates Health Institute-The Sugar Timeline)
We also see this in the Hindu/Yoga tradition where bringing sweets to the temple as an offering to the God’s is commonly practiced. Traditionally, before industrial sugar cane manufacturing, sweets were more of a luxury item and were considered “Sattvic,” or pure. Of course, this is in reference to sugar in the form of dates and honey which aren’t nearly as taxing on the body as the chemically refined sugar we most commonly use today. As sugar cane evolved into the chemically refined substance that we know all too well now, it became more accessible and affordable and unfortunately we see a direct correlation to the rise of Alzheimer's, diabetes and obesity. Instead of sugar being used a sacred treat, or offering, it became readily available to everyone, all the time, in unnatural states and in absurd quantities.
So, how do we go back to making sugar sacred?
It all comes back to eating whole foods and preparing food at home. For most Americans, having access to healthy ingredients and the time to prepare food at home is a luxury. If we all made an effort to only eat sugar when we could prepare our own sweet treats, it would likely lead to much healthier options (no matter if you’re cooking with white sugar or not). The act of cooking for others truly is sacred and the Thanksgiving holiday is a perfect time to make food that is celebratory, healthy, and sweet.
What about when it comes to overeating?
It’s interesting to note that a food study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in 2013 concluded that people tend to eat more calorically dense food and more volumes of food—depending on the information they’re given about what other people are eating. Similarly, the same study showed that we even synchronize our bites, the same way we subconsciously mirror someone else’s posture or body language, without ever realizing it. Simply becoming aware of this fact is enough to make you think differently and possibly act differently when you sit down at the Thanksgiving table. If you are able to be more aware when you’re eating it not only will help you to make more thoughtful choices about your meal, but it could actually help those you are eating with to make more thoughtful choices about what they are eating as well.
Now, let’s go back to celebrating.
Now that we’ve established that we all love the occasional sweet treat and we want to celebrate with some sort of sacred sugary dessert, it’s important to choose something that is still balanced and nourishing, not something that is loaded with white flour & white sugar. This is especially important when you want your energy to be sustained through those long evening chats with cousin Kristie. So, how can we be sure a healthy option shows up to the Thanksgiving table? Bring it yourself!
If you want your family to be blown away, show up to the holiday dinner party with this amazing (and healthy) Pumpkin Pie ! ! ! It’s not going to spike your blood sugar, it’s going to make everyone in the room happy, and eating it might even be a sacred act.
The Pumpkin Pie You Want To Eat
For the Crust:
- 2 cups pitted dates
- 2 cups raw nuts (I used half pecans, half walnuts)
- 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1 tbsp of coconut oil
- 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- A dash of salt
For the Filling :
- 2 cans of pumpkin puree
- ½ cup of cashews (previously soaked)
- 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
- 3-5 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon each of nutmeg, ginger and cloves
- pinch sea salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
For the crust: pulse the nuts & coconut flakes in a food processor until they're crumbs, add the dates and the remaining ingredients and process until it begins to stick together. Press into a pie dish and put in the fridge (or freezer) to harden.
For the filling: blend all of the ingredients until smooth, adding however much of the spices you like. Pour into your crust and freeze overnight until it's set. The next day transfer to the fridge to let it thaw out. Take it out of the refrigerator 15-20 min prior to serving.
*Top with your favorite homemade whipped cream!
(It’s best to use an organic Grass-Fed Heavy whipping cream or you can try this recipe below for a vegan coconut whipped cream).
Vegan Coconut Whipped Cream:
1 can coconut cream or full fat coconut milk (Cream tends to work better)
3 TBSP of organic powdered sugar (optional)
1 tsp vanilla extract
*Place the can of coconut cream into the refrigerator and leave it there overnight
*The next day, take it out and carefully open it
*Scoop out only the cream into the bowl of an electric mixer, leaving the coconut water behind.
*Start with a slow speed and gradually increase speed until you achieve a whipped cream consistency
*Once you have whipped cream consistency, Add your powdered sugar and vanilla
*Whisk again until it’s mixed in !