Chia Jam

Thursday, August 15th, 2019

A few weeks ago I posted a recipe for chia pudding with info on the benefits of chia seeds (https://www.menupause.info/chia-seeds-for-healthy-hearts/), which I am sure most of you have not attempted because it is a rather strange concoction. But recently I saw a recipe for chia jam in Real Simple magazine that looked interesting. I tried it with their ingredients, which included honey and salt and water.  I substituted unsweetened fruit juice for the water, no salt, and monk fruit drops instead of the honey to make it vegan, so almost everyone could eat it (ex. people watching their salt and sugar intake). I found the results very satisfactory. Here is my recipe, inspired by the one from Real Simple magazine, below the info on monk fruit extract.

When I Googled Monk fruit extract on www.healthprep.com, here is what I found:

When monk fruit is fresh, the skin is green. Once the fruit is dried, however, the skin becomes brown. With that, monk fruit is said to have an extremely sweet taste. Evidence suggests the monks began using the fruit during the 13th century. From then, monk fruit was widely used in medical terms. Due to its low-calorie content, the herb is also used as a sugar alternative in beverages. Throughout its period of usage, monk fruit has been reported to have various healthful properties. In addition, some of the properties are backed by research. Here are numerous health benefits of monk fruit.

The article then lists these benefits:

  1. Safe for diabetics
  2. Suitable for the ketogenic diet (high in fat, low in carbs)
  3. Improves liver function
  4. Lowers cholesterol and triglicerides
  5. Promotes healthy weight management

Please go to the website for a detailed description of these benefits

 

CHIA Jam

Utensils:  Small saucepan, potato masher, wooden spoon, bowl,  glass jar(s)
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 5- 10 minutes
Categories: Vegan, no refined sugar and salt free

Fresh, Organic Berries

Ingredients

2 cups organic berries, washed and stems removed, if necessary. Cut berries,
such as strawberries or blackberries, into smaller pieces.
¼ cup filtered water or unsweetened, organic juice (ex. apple)
4-5 tsp. chia seeds (white)
1-2 drops monk fruit extract*
1 tsp. lemon or lime juice
*Can also use stevia

 

 Coarsely Mashed Berries

Directions

  1. Place berries in saucepan with water or juice. Place on low flame and as berries are simmering, mash them with potato masher to the consistency desired. Cook about 7 minutes, stirring often.
  2. Remove pan from heat. Add chia seeds and lemon or lime juice and monk fruit drops. Transfer to a bowl to cool.
  3. When cool, pour jam into a jar and place in refrigerator. You can experiment with 4 tsp. stevia or 5 (next batch) to see how thickly the jam becomes once chilled.

Yield: Approximately one cup

Finished jam cooling before storing in small jar(s) in ‘fridge

 

Note: The first time I made the jam, I used organic blueberries, and the second time I used a mixture of organic raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries for a mixed jam. Both were good. I used organic juice with both batches.

 

 

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Monkfruit extract on left and stevia on the right

 

Afterthought: I haven’t tried this idea yet, but will try with next batch: Adding twice as much water to creating a pourable sauce to use over fruit salad.

 

 

Sugar is Sugar is Sugar

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

While I do love chocolate, I am aware that despite its antioxidants, it does contain sugar. The lower the percentage of cacao, the higher the level of sugar. However, sugar comes in many forms and is used in cereals and baked goods with several names on the list, which may fool you into thinking there is less sugar than there really is, unless you look at the nutrition label as to how many grams of sugar are in each serving.

When I came across an older article in Nutrition Action Healthletter (from Center for Science in the Public Interest), I thought I would post some of the many names of sugar. The little box inside the article “Sugar Overload,” is labeled “Sugar by Any Other Name.” (January/February 2010)

  1. Agave syrup or nectar (from the Mexican Agave cactus)
  2. Apple juice concentrate
  3. Brown sugar
  4. Corn syrup
  5. Evaporated cane juice
  6. Fructose
  7. Glucose or Dextrose
  8. Grape juice concentrate
  9. High-fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
  10. Honey
  11. Maple syrup
  12. Molasses
  13. Orange juice concentrate
  14. Table sugar, Confectioner’s sugar, Baker’s sugar (all 100% sucrose)

These all have different proportions of table sugar (sucrose), some less and some more, they are all sugar and need to be used carefully.  The article goes on to list 10 reasons to cut back on sugar of any kind:

  1. You can’t afford the empty calories.
  2. Sugar-sweetened beverages promote obesity.
  3. Sugar-sweetened drinks may raise the risk of heart disease.
  4. Fructose raises triglycerides.
  5. Sugar-sweetened beverages may promote diabetes.
  6. Fructose may boost visceral fat (deep abdominal fat) rather than subcutaneous fat, less likely to raise the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
  7. Fructose may raise the risk of gout.
  8. Fructose may promote overeating.
  9. Minimizing added sugars keeps a lid on blood pressure.
  10. Most sugary foods are junk.

Note that sugar is linked to heart disease. While many people believe fat is the problem, I have long believed that sugar is just as bad for the heart as “bad” fats.

The final information in this excellent article lists several recommendations. I think the most important one is to shoot for no more than 100 calories (25 grams; 6 ½ tsp.) for women and 150 calories (38 grams; 9 ½ tsp.) for a man, daily. Even less might be better for your heart. (I personally aim for 5 grams or less per meal.)

So for a healthier heart, slimmer body, and stronger teeth, think about cutting back on your intake of sugar to the recommendations from Nutrition Action. Your heart will love you for it! ♥♥♥

P.S. I came across an even longer list of names for sugar on a website that no longer has the list. Many of these names you may or may not find on products you buy in packages, but some may be incorporated into items you buy fresh in a bakery where the sweets don’t have nutritional labeling. (ex. malt syrup, sorbitol, maltose, ethyl mall, diets, caramel.) If you want the entire list, please email me: menopause.info@gmail and I will see if it will scan clearly.

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