Sugar here, sugar there, sugar everywhere

by Shelley Frances Deegan
oday, I wanted something yummy and sweet without sugar. Resisting sugar has always been difficult for me. Like most Americans, my taste for the white stuff started at home. My mother used to bake the most delicious sugar cookies, and her peanut butter cookies with the fork crosses were to beg for. I later moved on to Oreos, which I sometimes used to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
It turned out that, in addition to wheat, gluten, yeast and dairy, I was allergic to cane sugar. This was a blessing and a curse: a curse, because I had chronic fatigue, candida and was 25 pounds overweight; a blessing because these problems put me on the track of a healthier lifestyle.
Many people have health problems associated with sugar consumption and don't even realize it. I am one of the many people who feel better and think clearer without sugar. Fortunately, there are good alternatives that can help us avoid sugar without forsaking sweets.

Sugar-free products

Here are some products I personally recommend:
  1. Pamela's Products - these are a line of cookies that are wheat free, gluten free, sugar free and fill your sweet tooth. I like the pecan shortbread and chocolate chip. Keep them in the freezer to keep them fresh.
  2. Rice Dream Ice Cream - by Imagine Foods. This delicious cow's milk alternative to ice cream is made from rice. The flavors are grand, from Vanilla to Carob Chip.
  3. Tropical Source brand dairy free "milk" chocolate has cane juice crystals in it. Awesomely satisfying! They come in large bars or snack squares.
  4. Brown Rice Treat brand - a puffed rice square similar to the Rice Krispies baked snack mom used to make, but without sugar. It does contain barley malt, which those with gluten allergies may not be able to tolerate.
  5. Little Bear Carmel Popcorn - this is better than I can make! Rice syrup and vanilla make a tasty combination on organic popcorn.
  6. Rice Bran Crackers by Health Valley Foods - wheat free, gluten free snack crackers sweetened with honey and fruit juice. Crunchy and good!

Alternative sweeteners

  1. Rice syrup by Lundberg Farms - not as sweet as sugar, but the same consistency and bakes well. I also use it as an ice cream (Rice Dream) topping or waffle/pancake topping.
  2. Fruit Source brand sweetener - I bought this last week and made some corn bread. I like the taste, sweetness and consistency of the bread very much. Fruit Source is made with rice syrup and grapes.
  3. Fruit juice - a simple sweetener. Try concentrated pineapple or apple.
I have not addressed every alternative sweetener available, but those listed can get you started. Share this information with a friend and your health care practitioner.

Where to shop

OB People's Food Coop is an excellent health food store. Located at 4765 Voltaire Street in Ocean Beach, they carry many of the delicious products I have mentioned. People's has well stocked shelves and a helpful, knowledgeable staff to show you where these products can be found. They have cookbooks and many of the dairy replacements and wheat replacements (flours and breads) I have discussed in my previous articles. Their phone number is 224-1387.

Recipe of the Month: Rice Pudding


1	Liter  of rice or soy food beverage
1	3-inch stick of cinnamon
1/2 Tsp  Cardamon seeds, crushed
3        Whole cloves
3/4 cup  Basmati rice
2 Tbsp   Any nut butter
2 Tbsp   Rice syrup, Fruit Source, maple syrup, honey, etc.


Bring liter of liquid food beverage, cinnamon, cardamon seeds and cloves to a boil. Add rice. Turn down heat and simmer for 60 minutes. Discard cinnamon stick and cloves. Stir in nut butter and sweetener of your choice. Serve warm or chilled. Great for breakfast or dessert.

Shelley Frances Deegan is founder of "Solutions to Food Allergies," a company dedicated to educate people about food alternatives. They offer informational health food store tours several times per month and "Food Police" services to support you in restocking your kitchen with healthy foods. Individual consultations available. For more information, please call (619) 543-0334.