One of the first things I did last year after reading the amazing book, The Sugar Smart Diet, was to eliminate packaged cereal from my diet. I had known for a long time that the great majority of cereals – even the supposedly healthy ones – were chock-full of sugar, but I had pushed this uneasy knowledge aside, not wanting to have to consider ways to change.
The Sugar Smart Diet forced me to fully acknowledge the serious and real ramifications of eating a sugar-loaded diet – and it gave me concrete, delicious solutions to how I could reduce my processed-sugar consumption. I highly, highly recommend this book. Even if you don’t feel like you have a major sugar problem (you might, without knowing it) or aren’t trying to lose weight (I wasn’t, but I still majorly benefitted from the knowledge presented), the scores of included recipes alone will be worth it to you. The Sugar Smart Diet‘s recipe for Power Granola, for instance, was the first time that I ever made my own granola and enjoyed it. It is also processed-sugar-free – except for the dried cranberries in it, since sugar is typically added to those to make them less tart. My chocolate-cherry granola is also processed-sugar-free – except for the dried cherries I used (which had sugar added to them for the same reason). While not incredibly chocolaty-tasting (I plan on experimenting with adding additional cacao to change that), it’s still deliciously addictive!
In considering how to make a chocolate sauce that would be processed-sugar free, I thought of dates, which have been used as a natural sweetener in other recipes I’ve encountered. I found and used this method for using dates as a sweetener provided on the site Hold the Sugar, and it worked great. One tip: make sure your dates are nice and fresh, or be sure to soak them extra-long if you’ve had them a while and they’re looking dry. I’ve made the mistake many a time of using too-dry dates in recipes; in this case, the extra soaking worked wonders. But it’s best if they are fresh.