Why Cupcakes Aren't Cheating in 2017 (Pt. 2)
2017 has officially been welcomed with the fanfare of New Year’s Eve and many of us have begun the exhilarating task of tackling our list of resolutions. I know I have personally enjoyed exploring who I want to be in the present year. For me, 2017 is a year of enhancement, not necessarily one of change. It’s a time to reflect on what is important to me and see how I can give myself, and others, the most out of every experience.
Ironically, this is the very idea that UnGrained was built on. How do I take an indulgence and get the absolute most out of it? I’ve already written about why UnGrained cakes are 100% gluten and grain free. Now let’s turn our attention to sugar, as it has become quite the modern culinary demon, and rightfully so. A source of inflammation, a major contribution to obesity and diabetes, is it any wonder many going even so far as to avoid fruit? You may have heard from the sugar-free purist that “sugar is sugar is sugar”; but is it really?
UnGrained desserts are made without the use of refined-sugars. This includes cane sugar, sucanat, and other “natural” alternative sweeteners such as xylitol. Instead, our cakes are made with 100% natural maple syrup and our frostings are sweetened with raw local honey. Of course, these naturally occurring sugars add caloric value to our treats. However, there is one defining factor that sets our cakes apart from traditional baked goods: Our sweeteners also add nutritional value.
Maple syrup contains many minerals and antioxidants. In fact, per 100 g of syrup, you will find low levels of calcium, potassium, and iron, as well as 28% of the RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) for zinc and a whopping 165% of the RDA of manganese. You will also find a complex of B-vitamins, which assist in energy production and metabolism, as well as vitamin A, most notably used for vision health and maintaining the skin.
Natural maple syrup requires only a simple two step process in order to be produced; sap is gathered from trees and then boiled and strained to condense it down to a thicker consistency. These production methods are in stark contrast to the lengthy chemical processes, including multiple rounds of bleaching, required to produce the perfectly white crystals we are used to.
If that wasn’t enough to convince you, supplementing maple syrup in a recipe cuts down the total sugar content by a third.
Our frostings, as mentioned above, are made with a raw-honey-sweetened marshmallow base, giving them a rich and creamy texture without the overwhelming sweetness associated with a traditional buttercream (which often contain several pounds of powdered sugar in contrast to our recipe which utilizes a mere half cup of honey). In addition to a lower sugar content, our frostings offer the many health benefits of raw honey, including vitamin B6, thiamine, niacin, riboflavin and pantothenic acid. Calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc are also abundant minerals in raw honey as well as antioxidants to fight off free radicals.
So, isn’t sugar just sugar? The answer is “no”. Naturally occurring sugars can offer a host of nutritional and medical benefits while refined sugars have been stripped of any dietary advantage. Of course it is important to monitor your sugar intake and I would be a liar if I claimed otherwise. But I also hold firmly the belief that a healthy diet is about being mindful of the foods we put into our bodies and getting the most out of every food, including our sweets! So if you are one that must sweeten your coffee or tea, try honey or maple syrup! And should you be craving a cupcake...eat an UnGrained cupcake to get that fix while still maximizing your nutrition and being gentle with your body! Let your new year be one of enhancement. You deserve to maximize your experience in everything you do, because life is meant to be lived to the fullest. Happy New Year!
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