I’ve been reading some not-so-great stuff about Agave lately. I wish someone had a definitive answer. Now that half of you have told me you’ve gone out and bought agave nectar…I feel I really need to work this out!
Refined sugars are disastrous for human consumption. Any consumption actually. And it is addictive, and it is in pretty much everything these days. Cereals used to have a little sugar and over the years the sugar content has grown exponentially. Anyway, I won’t rave on about this because it’s pretty common knowledge. We all know we could cut down on refined sugar. The trouble is, it’s hard to avoid.
What I didn’t expect was sugar to be a key factor in my ongoing headaches and migraines. When I first gave it up I had leg cramps, mood swings and all sorts of crazy reactions to detoxing from it. It was dreadful. When I first gave up dairy I had the same thing. It shows the immense impact on the body that these foods can have, when we have a big reaction just withdrawing from them.
Lately I have discovered I have zero tolerance for refined sugar. Even a little bit sparks a migraine for me these days. Agave does not have that impact so all I can say is for me, it is a better option than refined sugar but is it the best? It has been sold as a much healthier alternative and is certainly a key ingredient in health food shops. Recently I have been listening to the Rich Roll podcast with Sid Garza Hilman. It is brilliant. If you are on a drive or need some entertainment, download it! All things centred, mindful, healthy and plant based. Lovely. Anyway they are plant based but mostly, because they both choose to eat raw honey instead of agave nectar. Interesting.
I know a friend of mine said recently that she cannot tolerate agave on the FODMAP eating plan. I’m guessing Diabetics may not be able to tolerate it either? (EDIT: I’ve read that fructose is ok for diabetics which would mean that agave is ok, as it does not affect blood sugar but goes directly to the liver to convert to fat.) Agave is in fact primarily fructose (as high as 70%) and is processed in such a way that there is little benefit to it. This potentially makes it little better than high fructose corn syrup which is concerning.
It’s hard to know which agave products are better than others but on the whole, there is a growing sense that this has been a marketing scheme of grand proportions and doesn’t quite hold up. I guess even better would be to use all natural sweeteners such as dates and bananas where possible.
I’m not saying “Throw your agave out”. I am saying – we need to work this one out and I feel the need to fess up to my new queries about it since I have been promoting it.
Here is one option. DATE SUGAR.
This is directly from this Holistic and Happy blog, if I could have worked out how to reblog it I would have. But here it is:
Homemade Date Sugar3 Cups medjool datesDirections:1. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Fahrenheit2. Slice the dates in half lengthwise and lay them out with the hollow part facing up on a lined cookie sheet3. Bake for around 7-8 hours4. After 8 hours they should be pretty crispy. Turn the oven off and leave the dates in the oven for another 6-8 hours.5. After their resting period, the dates should be hard and crunchy with pretty much no moisture left in them.6. Place them in a blender or food processor and blend until the hard crunchy dates have been ground into a fine powder. Store in an airtight container or mason jar and enjoy!Health Benefits:Dates- Contain Vitamin K, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, food Folate, Folic acid, as well as minerals such as Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sodium, Zinc, Copper, and Manganese. They also contain awesome-for-you amino acids!