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Sweet Potatoes for Breakfast
For those skeptics our there, just hear me out for a second. Sweet potato may not jump to mind as a traditional breakfast food option. But really, it makes a lot of sense when you think about it. Sweet potatoes basically taste like dessert, but they are quite versatile and pair with both sweet and savory.
When going paleo, low-carb, or gluten-free or giving up grains altogether, breakfast beyond smoothies can be tricky to navigate. Fortunately, sweet potato bread, muffins, pancakes, and even savory loaded sweet potatoes and patties are all a thing.
But what about a nice warm bowl of oatmeal? Can anything really stand in for that breakfast stand-by? Maybe not entirely. But we can get pretty close: enter sweet potato mash.
While sweet potatoes clearly are not a direct substitute taste-wise, they do provide a similar consistency and the same warming comfort a hot bowl of oatmeal serves up on a cold winter morning. And if you throw them in the food processor for just a few seconds with the skins on, you’ll wind up with a smooth yet slightly chunky consistency similar to oats with the bits of skins mixed in.
They’re sweet but not overly sweet, provide a solid dose of real food nutrition to start the day, and can take a variety of toppings and add-ins just as well as the best bowl of oatmeal. I like to top mine with blueberries, chopped pecans, a generous sprinkle of cinnamon, and a bit of unsweetened coconut. But really, as with oatmeal, the sky’s the limit.
Sweet potato mash also works perfectly as a side dish, with or without the toppings. And of course it can stand in for a healthy dessert alternative!
Sweet potato health benefits
But first, the benefits. Sweet potatoes are chock full of carotenoids, which are full of potent health benefits due to their rich phytochemical concentrations. My favorite: cancer risk reduction. Increased intake of carotenoids has been associated with reduced risk of multiple types of cancer. Interestingly, they might also help protect us from harmful UV sun rays. Research has found that supplementing sunblock with daily intake of carotenoids before (and during) sun exposure can help reduce the rate of sunburn and sun damage, likely because it slows the absorption of UV rays.
Sweet potatoes have also got you covered on the Vitamin A front: one cup provides over 200% of the recommended daily intake, as well as 50% of your Vitamin C and Manganese, making them an excellent immunity-boosting staple. They also provide a substantial amount of the B vitamins and biotin, plus copper, pantothenic acid, potassium, phosphorous, and fiber.
Not only are they high in antioxidants, but they are contain anti-inflammatory benefits. Studies show a reduction in inflammation in nerve and brain tissue following sweet potato consumption. The phytonutrients prevent demyelination caused by excess fibrinogen, which has implications for diseases like multiple sclerosis. The research so far backs it up – I won’t argue with that!
In spite of their relatively high GI rating, sweet potatoes have been show to actually improve blood sugar regulation, even in people with Type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, another class of nutrients found in sweet potatoes called glycosides have been shown to contain antibacterial and anti fungal properties.
The Upshot: Nailing the Breakfast Game
While research into all of these potential health benefits is ongoing, the upshot is clear: eat your sweet potatoes!
In order to maximize the bioavailability of the nutrients (aka how efficiently your body absorbs the nutrients), adding a little fat to your meal is a good idea. Sweet potato and avocado is one of my favorite combos.
But you can easily add just a little olive oil to a dish, or to keep it sweet, I like to add coconut oil. For those who aren’t fans of the coconut flavor, unrefined coconut oil has no coconut flavor.
Sweet Potato Mash
A paleo, grain-free, gluten-free alternative to breakfast oats.
- 2-4 sweet potatoes depending on size
- 1 tbsp coconut oil refined or unrefined
- Toppings of choice. My favorites include: pecans, walnuts, unsweetened shredded coconut, cacao nibs, blueberries, dried fruit, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, warming spices, a drizzle of honey or maple syrup for a touch of added sweetness if desired.
Pierce the sweet potatoes a few times with a nice and bake at 400F for 35-50 minutes (depending on size; they should be soft when fully cooked).
Place the sweet potatoes in a food processor, add the coconut oil, and blend until thoroughly mashed. Option: scoop the insides from the skin and mash with a fork.
Scoop into a bowl, add toppings as desired, and eat up!
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Cleanse your system the fun way
What is a Cleanse?
Who should cleanse?
- If you wake up feeling less than vibrant or energetic. If you feel like crap all the time. If you suffer from any of the symptoms listed below.
- If you struggle with keeping the weight off. As it turns out, not all calories are created equal. Sugar and refined flour have a unique effect on the body’s metabolism, and often trigger hunger and cause people to overeat. Not to mention, sugar triggers inflammation.
- If you’re addicted to sugar, carbs, or salty food-like junk. The fact is, it’s not your fault. It’s the sugar and the flour and the chemicals and the concerted efforts of the food industry over the years to hijack our brains so we become addicted, repeat customers.
- If you’ve never done a cleanse or detox. These days, all of us could use a little reset. And most of us could do with a little more self-care. Cleansing allows you to focus on self-nourishment. You and your body are your top priority for over a week. How great is that?
But wait, cleansing sounds hard!
When not to cleanse
The cleansing process
Bottom Line: It’s worth a shot!
Signs you need a Cleanse
- have trouble sleeping
- get headaches
- gain weight easily, especially in the belly
- feel exhausted and depleted
- feel a lack of focus and energy
- have trouble losing weight
- experience bloating or gas
- have digestive complaints
- have excessive sinus problems
- suffer from joint pain
- have acne, eczema or other skin problems
- feel stuck, unmotivated, or irritable
- feel stressed and overwhelmed
- experience mood swings
- crave sugar or starchy food
Symptoms of Toxic Overload
Below is a list of the many symptoms of toxic overload:
- weight gain or loss
- belly bloat
- painful gas
- frequent belching
- joint and muscle aches
- muscle tension
- skin eruptions
- inability to focus or concentrate
- foggy brain
- mood swings
- flu-like symptoms
- allergic reactions
- runny nose
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Organic Vegan 0g Sugar Paleo Dark Chocolate Recipe – No Sugar Alcohols Necessary
Life without chocolate simply wouldn’t be worth living, so when it comes to healthy chocolate, I’ve become somewhat of an expert. Ok ok, expert is a bit of a stretch. But I’ve been doing all the necessary (and delicious!) research. Because I need sugar-free paleo dark chocolate in my life. Fortunately, this recipe passes my super-strict test.
I’ve tasted the healthiest chocolate bars. I’ve researched and tested the best cocoa and cacao. I’ve searched for clean sugar-free chocolate recipes. And I’ve experimented with making my own paleo dark chocolate. Because sometimes, you just gotta create your own solution.
Recipes for homemade chocolate abound on the internet. But whenever I searched for ‘sugar-free’ paleo dark chocolate, the recipes generally replaced sugar with coconut sugar, honey or maple syrup. Although all-natural and each great options in their own right, they still contain sugar. And really what I was looking for was a sugar-free, paleo dark chocolate without sugar alcohols. Sugar alcohols are a great solution for many, but I (along with many others) don’t always respond well to them.
Because of my gut-healing journey and my need to steer clear of sugar, I embarked on a mission to make delicious treats with literally zero grams of sugar – not just refined sugar but any sugar. I did all sorts of experimenting in the kitchen with stevia and other sweeteners containing sugar alcohols. These can work great for loads of people and each has their own place, but I’ve finally found my favorite sweetener: monk fruit.
Monk fruit: The superior sweetener
Monk fruit’s all natural, does not contain sugar alcohols, and has no funky aftertaste (like many find with stevia). So imho, it’s the best option. When I first researched this sweetener, I experienced a little sticker shock. But it turns out a teeny tiny bit goes quite a long way, so the upfront cost is absolutely worth it. In fact, when I use monk fruit, I find that an eighth of a teaspoon is sometimes sufficient for an entire recipe. And if I want to sweeten my coffee, for example, just the tiniest dash will do.
Beyond personal taste preferences, using any of these sugar alternatives requires a bit of experimentation and a fair bit of caution. Despite what many of the packages indicate, the vast majority are not a one-to-one substitute for sugar. As far as sweetness is concerned, I find that less is more in all cases.
Anyway, back to the chocolate.
As much as I love chocolate and chocolate-containing goodies, I knew absolutely nothing about making chocolate when I first embarked on my paleo dark chocolate making endeavors. So I did my best searching for simple versions to work off of.
I first experimented with several homemade chocolate recipes using stevia. It worked, but the stevia aftertaste was detectable. I also added different flavors like coffee, cinnamon, sea salt, peppermint, and hazelnut. I varied ingredient quantities, and tried adding a touch of coconut oil, and, finally, coconut milk.
Finally, I’ve landed on a version worth sharing.
This paleo dark chocolate requires just five ingredients – cocoa butter, cocoa powder, monk fruit, vanilla extract and coconut milk – and takes just five minutes to make (minus setting time). Without the coconut milk, the blend tastes a bit dry. These days, I do appreciate the taste of very dark chocolate (I often purchase 85%). However the powder quality comes through a bit too much without the milk.
I tried adding coconut oil as a couple recipes do. The chocolate was definitely a lot smoother, but I didn’t love the addition of extra oil. So finally I tried coconut milk and found a winner. It lacks the oil and the chocolate is still so much smoother on the palette.
And it’s super easy to customize: I sprinkled it with a little sea salt, because dark sea salt chocolate is one of my fav versions, ever. You can make any flavor you choose using this as the base and blending in essential oils or organic extracts.
All you do is melt the cocoa butter using a double boiler setup on the stove, then mix in the remaining ingredients, scoop it into a mold, and set it in the fridge or freezer. I actually did purchase a chocolate bar mold from Amazon which I love.
But you can simply coat the bottom of a dish, plate, small loaf pan – whatever works. It may be more difficult to remove intact. But it doesn’t really matter if the chocolate breaks into pieces if you’re just making it for your own consumption purposes!
Best of all – you can chop it up to make vegan, nut-free, soy-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, sugar alcohol-free paleo dark chocolate chunks for your baking needs 😉
Sugar-Free Paleo Dark Chocolate Recipe
- 1 cup grated cocoa butter, or cocoa butter discs
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1-2 tsp natural vanilla extract
- 1/8-1/4 tsp monk fruit sweetener (start small and adjust to taste!)
- 1-2 tbsp coconut milk
How to Make:
- For quicker, even melting, grate the cocoa butter, (or purchase the discs to skip the grating). Place the cocoa butter in a double boiler, or in a medium-sized glass bowl.
- If you do not have a double boiler, fill a medium-sized saucepan with 1 inch of water. Very carefully nest the glass bowl on the rim of saucepan (make sure it nests securely).
- Heat on medium to high heat bringing to a gentle boil at most, allowing the the cocoa butter to melt completely. Remove the glass bowl from heat as soon as the last bits melt. Immediately mix in the cocoa powder, vanilla, sweetener, and coconut milk. With the last three ingredients, start small, and adjust to taste. You should achieve a smooth ganache-like mixture. As you mix the ingredients, do not let the chocolate cool too much otherwise it may become rough.
- Using a spatula, fill your mold. Then allow to set. You may place it in the refrigerator to set, or the freezer to speed up the process. (If you’re in a warm climate, you’ll definitely need to set it in the fridge or freezer).
- Keep refrigerated. Makes a bit more than 3 ounces. Enjoy!
*These quantities filled my break apart 3oz mold, with a couple spoonfuls left over (which obviously went straight into my mouth… perfect 😉
Want more vegan, paleo, sugar-free chocolate recipes?
Check these out:
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