I’m all about making dietary decisions that reflect your lifestyle and for some people, that lifestyle includes a sweet tooth that just won’t quit. Example: ME.
Mmmmmm…. sugar. I love it, I love it, I love it.
While yummy, sweet fruits & yogurts can help, sometimes we can’t seem to shake our addiction to the simple, yet complex, dangling carrot that is sugar.
Now, you’ll see plenty of extreme lifestylers who will tell you that sugar is poison, lethal etc. They compare it to toxins like nicotine or anthrax. It’s not. But is it healthy? Not according to your body. Sugar has no nutritional value. None. It DOES cause sharp fluctuations in blood sugar levels (which is why we crave it when we’re tired). Those sharp fluctuations cause ultimately lead to….
When I say sugar ‘addiction’, I’m talking about a dependence on it’s taste & the effects it produces in the body. If thinking about drinking your coffee black, or giving up chocolate chip cookies makes you anxious, you might be affected.
Some people, in an effort to reduce calories, will turn to artificial sweeteners, some of which can be quite processed and full of chemicals. While they are free of sugar calories, they have similar effects on the body to real sugar, including fatigue & cravings for sweet foods & carbs. There are other natural sweeteners that you can use that will not only satisfy your sweet tooth, but give you a nutritional edge. Enter agave.
What is Agave?
Agave is a plant that produces agave nectar (or syrup), a natural sweetener that you can use in place of sugar, honey or other sweeteners. Agave nectar consists primarily of fructose and glucose.It’s glycemic index & glycemic load are much lower than regular sugar (sucrose), but you can still over-do it if you eat too much. Agave nectar (unlike honey) is vegan.
Agave nectar can be used as a substitute for sugar or honey in recipes. Because it dissolves quickly, it’s really easy to use in beverages or smoothies. All agave nectar is “cooked” in high temperatures , so if you’re a raw foodie, you should invest in the raw form.
Even though it has a lower glycemic index, agave sweeteners are SWEETER than regular sugar, about 1.4 to 1.6 times sweeter.
Light Agave: Mild, almost neutral flavor. For use in light or mild tasting recipes or drinks.
Amber Agave: Medium, caramel flavor.
Dark Agave: Unfiltered so it’s strong & distinct, more intense carmel flavor. and imparts a distinct flavor to dishes, such as some desserts, poultry, meat, and seafood dishes.
Raw Agave: Mild & neutral, like the light form. Produced at temperatures less than 118 °F (48 °C) to protect the natural enzymes.
I’ve screwed up EVERY Agave recipe I’ve tried while trying to use it as a substitute in sugar recipes, BUT I know for a fact that other people have done it successfully! If you’re not sure about using it as a substitute, find agave based recipes from people who’ve tried them and know the exact directions & measurements to produce the yummy. Get ready to play around a bit at first.
How to Use Agave in Your Recipes… (see full article here)
Agave Recipes You Can Try (via MadHava)