Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Delicious sugar-free Mousse au Chocolat

Being the sweet tooth that I am, I could not resist temptation and searched for sweet alternatives. Xylit seems to be one of the cheapest and healthiest alternatives to sugar, which is even good for your teeth. It tastes quite similar to sugar and doesn’t have a weird aftertaste like stevia. At amazon you can get 1 kg of xylit for 10 Euros. Compared to sugar that is a huge difference, but I would say it is worth it. Xylit is also called wood-sugar, as it is made out of tree barks. It has much less calories than industrial sugar and it does not rise your blood sugar levels. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xylitol)

Last weekend we tried a recipe with xylit. It was also lactose-free, but instead of soycream we used regular cream. You can try it with soy cream, I bet it will still be delicious. Not being too fond of mousse au chocolat myself, I still know how much my better half enjoys it, which is why our first xylit-dessert came to be mousse au chocolat. We loved the coconut fat, and I found quite different opinions on it in the net. They all agree that coconut fat has lots of saturated fat, but there are hints that these saturated fats act differently from others… Hm. I can say it is delicious, as it adds some coconutty flavour to the mousse au chocolat, it was so tasty. The good thing about organic coconut fat, if it is really not good for you, we won’t have it often, as it is fairly pricy.

Try the recipe, I bet you will love it as much as we did:

4 eggs
100 g Xylit
60g coconut fat
70 g cocoa powder
300 ml cream (soy)

Attention: The mousse needs to cool in the fridge for a few hours in order to make it firm enough. We were pretty impatient and ate it after about an hour, which was great already.

Separate the eggs from the yolk, beat the yokes for a while and add Xylit and cocoa powder.

Beat the egg whites till they are stiff. Melt the coconut fat (microwave), add it to the cocoa-yolk-mass. Add the beaten egg whites carefully.

Whip the cream and add it to the rest. Put into the fridge for about 4 hours. Enjoy J

Monday, April 7, 2014

Dr. Lustig's approach on sugar

Reading can be such a joy. Knowing this for ages, one resolution of 2014 is to read more. I have always enjoyed reading a lot, but being a student of English and media science, it feels like all you have to do all day is read. For your studies. So reading for sheer pleasure while you had roughly 600 pages lying next to you that you SHOULD read, not fun. So I didn’t read much for myself during my studies.
Though working at university, I currently do not have as much to read for work (will change when I start my PhD. Big time…), plus I am spending roughly three hours every day sitting in a train. Purchasing books is one of my favourite leisure time activity, I own dozens of books, still waiting to be read. Having put roughly ten of them right next to the couch in the living room, I am reminded on a regular basis to take one of them with me whenever I leave the house, or just read when I am at home. I am enjoying it a lot and can only recommend it. As mentioned earlier “Fat chance” by Dr. Robert Lustig was one of the best reads I have had for a long time. It is pretty unbelievable how little I knew about our bodies and about nutrition, although it is such a large part of our life. (At the moment I am reading “Thinking fast and slow" by Daniel Kahnemann. Also new insights into everyday life. I will tell you more about it when I am finished, but I definitely recommend it.)

If you are interested in the fight against sugar and how exactly sugar works in your body, read “Fat Chance”. For those with limited time, I collected some of the most important facts:

-        a mantra used to be “A calorie is a calorie”, so if you use up as much as you take in you should be fine. Dr. Lustig makes clear: not every calorie is like the other
-        40% of normal weight Americans (so not only obese people) suffer from metabolic syndrome in some way [type 2 diabetes, lipid disorders, hypertension, heart disease, cancer, dementia]
-        Obesity is not the result of gluttony and sloth, but of a defect in energy deposition
-        Today, the obese outnumber the undernourished on the planet by 30 %
-        The body decides whether it uses your energy intake for storage or the business of living
-        Different calories are metabolized differently, the difference is: insulin
-        High blood sugar leads to a release of big amounts of insulin, which will store energy that is not used by the muscles and the brain in fat cells.
-        Subcutaneous fat is not the devil here, in fact it seems to be healthy to have some fat stored on your thighs, hips, arms, but the visceral fat makes you really ill. It is the fat surrounding your organs, which you cannot see, apart from the size of your belly. A lot of people have too much visceral fat and not only if they have a big belly. Even slender persons can have vast amounts of visceral fat, putting them as much at risk for diseases as someone who is obese.
-        I guess we all know, that our bodies are still programmed for droughts and ice age times, when food was scarce and who stored best got farthest
-        Sugar is as addictive as alcohol, the same part of your brain derives pleasure from it, which is why the food industry puts sugar into anything (ketchup, burgers, all kinds of processed food)
-        Your hunger is managed by a substance called leptin. Whenever the fat cells are full, and you have eaten, blood sugar is high, then there will be a lot of leptin in your blood, telling your brain that you had enough
-        Problem is: when you eat a lot and a lot of sugar that is, your insulin levels will rise high, as well as your leptin levels. After a while though, the cells will ignore both substances as they always exist in such abundance that your body suffers from a type of burn-out, it just gives up, resulting in insulin and leptin resistance.
-        Those resistances have a lot of horrible consequences, most interestingly, the body of an obese person releases the same signals as a starving one: the brain cannot see the leptin anymore, therefore it signalizes GET FOOD and DON’T WASTE ENERGY, SO DON’T MOVE. It is not only the sheer body mass of obese people that keep them from working out, ironically it is their brain, being afraid of starving.
-        Processed food is full of glucose, fructose, fats and proteins
-        Obesity is no result of behaviour, it is mainly the result of nutritional alterations of the last decades that drive insulin levels higher
-        Our bodies produce twice as much insulin as the bodies of people 30 years ago, even for the same amount of calories or glucose, which is one difference, the other: there is much more sugar and sweetener in our diet than 30 years ago

Factors and reasons

-        stress, little sleep -> biochemical response is to store more fat; sugar makes you happy and satisfied for a short amount of time
-        fructose (50% of refined sugar is fructose) activates pleasure centre in brain, but liver has a hard time to metabolize it -> liver fat -> metabolic syndrome
-        tans fats: increase shelf-life of products, mitochondria cannot digest them, they stay in your liver, your arteries, a.s.o. -> metabolic syndrome
-        omega 6 fatty acids: are essential, but too many lead to inflammatory compounds, intake of omega 6 acids (e.g. canola and corn oil and protein from animals fed by it (as most of them are today) has to equal omega 3 (e.g. in wild fish)

What to do to fix it?

You have to give your liver and your mitochondria a break. Insulin levels need to get down to fix the resistances.

Cooking fresh food containing

a) fiber

slows the rate at which body turns food into energy, therefore regulating blood sugar and insulin levels. Processed food lacks fiber to make it freezable and prolong shelf life. Fiber also activates leptin, tells your brain that you are full. [Dr. Lustig identifies not only softdrinks, but especially fruit juice as bad, as it is still considered healthy by a lot of people, containing as much sugar as coke and no fiber and therefore really dangerous.]

b) Omega 3 fatty acids

Anti-flammatory, wild fish and eggs from chicken fed with omega 3 fatty acids, flaxseed, linseed oil, walnut oil, a.s.o.

c) micronutrients

fruit and vegetables, especially wild ones, containing healthy micronutrients and antioxidants -> combat inflammation, keep cells intact and can protect you from cancer and Alzheimer

Eat real food, cook it yourself, when cooking or baking, take less sugar than in the recipe and experiment with healthier sugar alternatives, like stevia or xylose. Move -> movement refreshes the mitochondria and helps you to shrink your fat cells.

Read the book, it has helped me to see sugar differently and understand our bodies and our problems much better.