Japanese Cooking Blog with Asako Nonaka #14
Asako Nonaka ◆ December 4, 2015
When you hear cake, chocolate and ice cream, how are you feeling? Many people might want to eat them. Once you have these kind of sweets, they make you feel happy. But sugar has been seen as a toxin these days to link to obesity, high and low blood sugar levels, heart disease, high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis and emotional instability. Therefore some people never eat sugar but it is little difficult to live like them. How should we treat sugar? This time I will introduce how to treat a sugar craving.
Sugar is a sweetener which is made from sugarcane and sugar beet. The sweet constituent is taken out and gathered artificially. Sugar becomes energy to move the body. The brain needs glucose, which is a type of sugar. In the old days people got it from not sugar but carbohydrates like rice and potatoes because sugar was rare and expensive.
Nowadays sugar is inexpensive and we can get it easily. Many processed food uses sugar. Soft drinks contains a lot of sugar. The 500ml Coke pet bottle has about 60g of sugar. It is difficult to eat 4 tbsp sugar as it is but we can drink it as liquid. We have many more chances to take sugar than before without realizing it.
What happens when you take sugar? First let’s see if you eat carbohydrates like rice and potatoes. The carbohydrates are changed to glucose and transported from the blood to the cell. The amount of glucose percent in the blood is the blood sugar concentration. When the blood sugar level rises naturally, insulin, which is a kind of hormone, is released from the pancreas to transport glucose to organs and bring down blood sugar levels. The body controls blood sugar levels like this.
Next, let’s see if you eat a lot of sugar. As I wrote, sugar is gathered as a sweet constituent artificially so it increases blood sugar levels quickly. To bring it down, a lot of insulin is released immediately. If you repeat this many times, it makes the pancreas tired and the function of controlling insulin doesn’t work. A glucose metabolism disorder occurs. If the blood sugar levels keep high, you might become diabetic.
In this way, we have to take care of our sugar intake. However, Japanese foods use sugar often in the recipes and I like them. It’s difficult to stop having sugar. So I will introduce my 6 points to stay fit.
- When you crave sweets, drink water or soymilk at first.
- Choose not snacks but fruits and bite well.
- Eat sweet vegetables like pumpkin and sweet potatoes.
- Use maple syrup or honey instead of refined sugar.
- Make handmade sweets to use less sugar.
- If you have a chance to have sweets during celebrations, enjoy eating them!
If you try these 6 points, your taste will be changed and it reduces sugar cravings. When you cook handmade sweets, you can know how much sugar they contain and you can change the amount of sugar in the recipe. You can also avoid artificial flavors and colors so it is good for children too. In celebration events like wedding parties and birthday parties, I will enjoy eating sweets without thinking about it because it’s a precious chance to share the happiness with families and friends!
This time I will introduce the recipe of carrot cookies.
Recipe: Carrot Cookies
1/5 lb (50 g) carrot
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp water
1/3 cup (100 g) of flour
1-2 tbsp maple syrup
- Mince the carrot. Put it in the heat-resistant container and heat it in a 600W microwave for 2 minutes.
- Preheat oven at 340°F (140℃).
- Put flour, carrot, maple syrup and water in a bowl and knead.
- Spread the dough thin to use a rolling pin, cut into bite-sided pieces. Put them on a baking tray with parchment paper. Bake them for 20 minutes.
Please feel free to enjoy your healthy handmade cookie.