However, according to two other studies chocolate is not addictive, rather it is a response to either or both hormonal and pleasure-sought to relieve pressure or stress. The reasons for choosing to eat chocolate may be based on feeling down, depressed or simply imbalanced. Because chocolate contains phenylethylamine which stimulates the release of endorphins, the temporary “feel-good” sensation is sought out in the form of “craving chocolate”. The fact that chocolate contains sugars is probably why it is hard to stop at one piece of chocolate. Sugar tastes good and provides for a texture that “feels good” in the mouth. The pleasure sensations stimulated by both chocolate and sugar can keep one reaching for more (having a greater desire) for this particularly hard to resist treat.
Thank you all for your MORSELICIOUS questions for our NUTSO-SWEET posts. Please keep them coming. Your questions are our NSF (Nutso-Sweet Friday) posts! We’d also love to know, “what is your favorite Fall activity?” Please share!
Q. What is MONK FRUIT?
What are the benefits/implications for consuming monk fruit as an alternative sweetener?
A. From the information I’ve gathered on Monk Fruit, this sugar alternative sounds like a promising option. Less carbs (2g) per serving, low caloric content
(not even enough to constitute a gram), “naturally derived”, no unpleasant aftertaste, and heat stable. It is derived from the actual Monk fruit (shaped like an apple or large lemon, the color of a green pear) found in China. But of course to get this powdered form, it is processed in a lab. It is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) according to the FDA and I have yet to find any direct study linking Monk Fruit to any harm/toxicity. Like other sugar alcohols (this does contain erythritol), the main issue is too much at once may cause gas and/or bloating.
But as with other alternative sweeteners, this too can possibly contribute to weight gain. Yes though low in calories and high in sweetness, this article discusses how it may not be in your best interest to rely on such products. Consider that it’s sweetness, while pleasant, does nothing to reduce your cravings for sweetness. In fact, it may contribute to stimulating the desire for sweeter foods, and the pleasure that entices one to consume more of a sweetened food.
So yes, use a little every now and then. I was given a package of Nectresse™ packets from the company that markets it and I must admit, the flavor is nice, no weird aftertaste – just one packet does the trick. But I don’t recommend using it daily or getting too comfortable using it. Remember it is best to eat mostly whole, natural foods (think plants). And there are plenty of ways to sweeten a food without relying on a processed sugar alternative. And these ways include substances that are heart-healthy and good for your digestion. Take almonds, they not only contain a subtle natural sweetness, they also contain heart-healthy fats, some fiber and antioxidant nutrients that are beneficial to your health. And bonus, they are satiating. A little goes a long way to satisfying your hunger. What else offers sweeteness without increasing your cravings:
Why I’d be remiss not to mention Mac-n-Mo’s morselicious treats (With the natural sweetness from rice, cinnamon and other spices, these treats are satisfying, delicious. And while a pleasure to consume, don’t drive you toward “excess munchies”).
Mo can share some real natural ways to sweeten without relying on a product developed in a lab:
Mo’s tips: I believe the best choice MOST of the time is to wean our tastebuds OFF the extra sugar and taste for super sweet foods. Believe me, once you succeed in doing so, a piece of fruit will tantalize your taste buds like a MORSELICIOUS tomorrow. Having said that, there are a few alternative ways to LIGHTLY sweeten our favorite treats, such as a blend of your favorite spices: cinnamon is incredibly sweet and helps reduce/stabilize blood sugar.
Mix into a nice gooey texture and you’ve got date paste!
I suppose one could try that with monk fruit, though I have not done so myself, YET. Another great option is to use unsweetened applesauce or make your own from the abundance of apples we have in season right now. Add cinnamon and voila! Unsweetened coconut, a mixture of your favorite nuts also satisfy. I use pure stevia in the liquid form occasionally and in tiny amounts. The reason I hesitate about some of these commercial alternative sweeteners is because of the OTHER NON-food items they are adding. Are the monk fruit sweeteners out there pure monk fruit extracts or do they contain extra ingredients none of us can pronounce, let alone decode? I love the challenge of NOT using sugar or sweeteners in most of my recipes and consider it a fun game. Wanna play?
Happy NUTSO-SWEET FRIDAY!
every third Friday.
Q: What do you think about canola oil? Is it healthy?
A: Canola oil is very low in (unhealthy) saturated fat and a good source of mono- and polyunsaturated fats (the good fats). It contains very low levels of erucic acid. Only animals studies have shown erucic acid to be harmful. And it thus considered safe by the USDA.
However, according to the Weston A. Price foundation, canola is the first seed out created through genetic modification, meaning it does contain GMO’s! And herbicide-resistent GMO canola makes up a large proportion of the total canola crop available today.
What makes GMO’s harmful? Herbicide-resistant means that farmers can spray more toxic chemicals on these herbicide-resistent GMO plant and are producing super-weeds - filling our crop base with more potential toxin than benefit. Animal studies show concerning issues in liver and kidney distress in exposure to such plants.
Read this article to learn more about how GMO’s, super weeds, our environment and our health.
If trace amounts of erucic acid and GMO’s leave you concerned, we suggest you try coconut oil or avocado oil instead:
- Coconut oil is a satisfying option with heart-healthy fats and a nice mouthfeel. It contains a tri0 of healthy components – lauric acid, caprylic acid and capric acid, which are said to be beneficial for cholesterol maintenance, digestion and metabolism; and has antibacterial properties.
Avocado oil is rich in antioxidant nutrients, including glutathione which may help block potential viruses. It is rich source of mono- and polyunsaturated fats and may be suitable for cooking (depends on the processing and the brand). Avocado oil is excellent in cold salads, salad dressings and marinades. Because of its mild flavor, it won’t overpower the flavor in your dishes.
The Morselist would like to add:
Avocado oil is rich in monounsaturated fats like olive oil,
but it remains stable at high heat. It’s tasty and high in
beta-carotene and lutein.
And fyi, FAT helps our bodies absorb nutrients from vegetables.
We don’t need a lot of fat, but we do need some, so DON’T be fooled into the
FAT FREE dressing options, as they contain much more sugar and other fake food like products, chemicals. Go for the REAL stuff and use moderately.
I like to toss my salad with dressing in order to ensure every leaf gets a drop rather than drizzling or dipping, more evenly dispersed for a MORSELICOUS meal.
A tip I discovered from TheKitchn.com is to pour your oil of choice into an
ice cube tray and infuse with your favorite herbs and freeze.
This way, you will always have a special oil to use in soup bases, stir fry bases,
any type of cooking base in the PERFECT portion size.
Mo the Morselist
Happy NUTSO-SWEET Friday!
You asked, we played!
Mac ‘n Cheese remix:
Thank you for your submission, Amy. You are gluten free – luckily there are a variety of gluten-free pastas now available in brown rice and quinoa/corn. Choose your favorite shell or look for the traditional short tubed noodle.When it comes to your cheese you can opt for a nut-based “cheese”. Buy it or make your own cashew cheese. OR use less cheese in low fat varieties
(You can mix it up using any type or combo you desire – try mozzarella, cheddar, Swiss, gouda.)Add in more flavor, texture appeal AND color with a variety of vegetables to get in heart-healthy nutrients and more dietary fiber that will keep you satified. I like chopped broccoli florets and or asparagus tips and love adding in red and orange bell-peppers, chopped.
Tips for Morselizing this recipe: