Monday, November 23, 2009

The Eat-Clean Diet Recharged!

I received an email today from Amazon letting me know that my pre-ordered copy of Tosca Reno's The Eat-Clean Diet Recharged has been shipped... EARLY! Originally the book was due to be released in late January; however, it is available NOW on Amazon and it's definitely a steal at $13.57, which is 32% less than the retail price.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Big Announcement!

Good Afternoon, Bloggers!

I have a very important announcement to make...

I am pregnant!!!

Baby Peters is due May 19th and I am in my 13th week of pregnancy. I am feeling well and taking good care of myself. In my first trimester, I struggled with all day nausea and fatigue that impacted my day-to-day activities. I also suffered from intense food aversions. As you can imagine these side effects combined made it pretty difficult to cook, bake and workout. Which left me with little to blog about!

The good news is that as I begin my second trimester, I am starting to feel like myself again. I have had a lot more energy and am regaining my interest in food. I was even able to pick up the latest issue of Clean Eating and Tosca’s new cookbook for recipe inspiration!

Being that I am pregnant, my food choices have shifted from weight loss to weight gain; which is a weird feeling and has required a complete shift in my mindset. So far, I have gained 3 pounds and plan on gaining a total of 6-9 pounds in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. So, that leaves me with another 3-6 pounds to gain until the end of December. From 20 weeks on, I plan on gaining 16-20 additional pounds. This will put me at a total weight gain of 22-29 pounds.

For now, I am focusing my workout efforts on prenatal yoga and walking/jogging on my treadmill. I find little interest in weight lifting at this point, but as I regain my energy I plan on creating a pregnancy weight lifting plan for myself.

I would love to hear your thoughts and advice on this wonderful time in my life! I cannot wait to share the next 27 weeks of pregnancy with you along with my newfound motherhood!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Sugarcane-based Sweeteners

I know that a lot of us are confused about the different versions of sugarcane-based sweeteners that are out there. And for good reason! It seems like every other day another company releases a recommendation on which sweetener is best. Also, the descriptions of each sweetener’s processing can be very cumbersome to decipher. So, the following is the result of some research that I did on the subject. I looked at the three most common forms of sugarcane-based sweeteners: Sucanat, Turbinado, and Evaporated Cane Juice.

Sucanat, which stands for Sugar Cane Natural, is made from whole sugarcane. The sugarcane is minimally processed by cutting the sugarcane, extracting the juice and heating the juice to extract the water. The juice is then reduced, creating a rich, dark syrup. It is then cooled and dried creating porous granules. Sucanat retains the full molasses content of the sugarcane.

Turbinado sugar, also known as Raw Cane Sugar and Demerara, is made by crushing sugarcane and extracting the juice from the cane. The juice is evaporated by heat and then crystallized. The crystals are then spun in a turbine to remove access moisture (molasses). Turbinado sugar looses some of the molasses content, resulting in a lighter brown crystal.

Evaporated Cane Juice, aka Sugarcane Juice and Rapadura (in Latin American countries), is produced by evaporation and distillation. This processing varies based on the manufacturer and regional influences. Unfortunately, there is not one tried and true way that Evaporated Cane Juice is created. When doing my research I came across several different photos of Evaporated Cane Juice and they seem to vary from very light in color (less molasses = more processing and closer to refined white sugar) to very dark in color (more molasses = less processing and closer to the source).

Overall, it is best to purchase Sucanat, as it is cleanest of the sugarcane-based sweeteners. This is because it is reliably closest to the sugarcane source by using less processing and retaining the full molasses content. If you find the thick granules of Sucanat unappealing, you can always whirl them in a food processor to make the granules smaller to closer resemble the consistency of refined, white sugar.

Also, if you are interested, I also did some research on Stevia and Truvia.

Click here for more information on Splenda.

Also, a little more information on the sweetness of different sweeteners in comparison to refined sugar:

Please keep in mind that if you replace table sugar with a liquid sweetener, then you will need to increase the dry ingredients or decrease the liquid ingredients in order to compensate for the extra moisture.

100% Pure Maple Sugar - replace 1:1 and read this article about compensating for extra liquid
Maple Sugar Flakes - 100% sweeter than sugar (use 50% less than sugar)
Sucanat - substitute 1:1 (I usually process it in my Magic Bullet first to create a more refined powder for baking)
Agave Nectar - 25% sweeter than sugar (use 25% less than sugar)
Honey - 25% to 50% sweeter than sugar (use 25% to 50% less than sugar), depending on the sweetness of the batch that you have
Dates (taste like brown sugar) - I wouldn't suggest baking with dates as they do not mix well into liquid ingredients, I add them to VitaMix smoothies and raw desserts
Molasses - 65% as sweet as sugar (use 35% more than sugar)
Organic Zero by Wholesome Sweeteners - 70% as sweet as sugar and can be used 1:1