January 19, 2014: Dessert Potluck

We had a lovely gathering celebrating nourishing sweets on Sunday! There was cheesecake made from honey yogurt, peach cobbler made from frozen summer peaches, banana cake made with arrowroot and walnuts, dates with cream cheese, ripe plantain pancakes with chocolate chips, coconut balls ~ a variation on Nora Gedgaudas’ nut balls, sliced fresh persimmons and chocolate peppermint coconut fudge. Delicious!

Our lively speaker, Kimberly Call, calls herself a natural sugar activist. She said white sugar is four times more addictive than cocaine and that it is linked to heart disease, Alzheimer’s and diabetes. She recommended reading Sugar Blues by William Duffy. Robert Lustig, a local pediatric endocrinologist, gave a popular lecture a few years ago called, Sugar, The Bitter Truth.

Kimberly’s focus is on the environmental impact of cane sugars. She said that it is a slash and burn annual crop which pollutes the air. The workers are paid very low wages. And many acres of rainforest have been cleared for sugar crops. She recommends using tree-based crops because they oxygenate the environment. Some suggestions were dates, maple sugar/syrup, figs, pomegranate, pine bud syrup and especially, coconut sugar, in moderation. She suggested experimenting with eating one dried cherry while paying very close attention to the flavor, texture, sensation and that it can be very satisfying for sweetness. She said that our taste buds change after coming off sugars.

Sucralose (Splenda) is chemically similar to Agent Orange and DDT. There is nothing like it in nature.
Most xylitol comes from GMO corn.
Even toothpaste corrupts our taste buds.

There were historical and personal stories shared about sugar. Here is a bit of history that was mentioned:

“In these early days of the sugar trade, it was so expensive that it was not for consumption, and was instead used to make sugar sculptures that were intended to be looked at and never eaten. Over the 14th and 15th Centuries, it was used only as a part of medicines that featured far less palatable ingredients. It was not until the 16th Century that it began to be eaten, and then still only by the super-rich; Elizabeth I had a notoriously sweet tooth, and after her teeth turned black as a result, it became the fashion in her court for ladies to have blackened teeth.”

By Karen Hamilton-Roth