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Hold the Sugar on Facebook

 

Okay, folks. I finally caved. I didn’t think I really needed an official Facebook page because I have rather humble ideas about this blog and the demand of its viewers. But recently someone tried to link to a Hold the Sugar Facebook page, but it turned out to be a site where you can buy diabetic foods made with artificial sweeteners. Which, as you know, is kind of the exact opposite of the sort of thing I would condone. So I’ve decided to set one up to avoid such mishaps in the future – should they occur. If you’re on Facebook and feel like you’d enjoy updates from Hold the Sugar there, go ahead and follow me there!

I’ll probably end up posting a greater variety of things there than I do here. I’ll of course share any new blog posts I make, but I’ll also post interesting news items or discoveries or thoughts or whatever else I think is interesting that relates to this sort of diet. (Without gunking up anyone’s news feeds with nonsense, of course.)

Hold the Sugar on Facebook! (Your dearest dreams have obviously been answered.)

carolina pork BBQ

Crockpot Carolina Pork BBQ

I grew up in Arkansas, in a small town that was half an hour away from an even smaller town that had the best BBQ in the galaxy: Craig’s Bar-B-Q. The food is so good there that when John Edwards was running for president he had his tour bus go out of the way to make a stop at this place. And DeVall’s Bluff (where Craig’s is located) is not the sort of town you accidentally go through. It’s out of the way no matter where you’re going. But, the BBQ at Craig’s is so good that it’s totally worth it.

It’s the kind of place that the term “hole in the wall” was made for. If you didn’t know what it was, there’s no way you’d stop there and think, “I’ll buy something from this place and put it in my mouth.” It looks like a complete dive on the outside, and the inside isn’t any better, with old dark wood panelling and tables that wobble without the random things shoved under the legs, and a general atmosphere of shabbiness.

craig's bbq

But once you bite into one of their sandwiches, you don’t give a fig about the wobbly tables or the grease-stained walls. You just want another one.

This is my husband enjoying his Craig’s BBQ. He grew up in Pennsylvania, and had literally never had a proper BBQ sandwich before this moment. He didn’t KNOW he’d never had proper BBQ before, but he knew it the minute he bit into one of these babies. (Incidentally, why is it impossible to find decent BBQ north of the Mason Dixon line? I have never understood this. But it’s true.)

craig's bbq

I miss those BBQ sandwiches. Fiercely. It’s probably just as well that living in the Northeast only leaves me with pale imitations of BBQ, because this way I’m not really tempted by anything. The sugars in these sauces are pretty over the top. I tried to make my own BBQ sauce without (or with greatly reduced) sweeteners, and it was just not worth it. At least not when I’m remembering the magic that was Craig’s.

So I decided to try to go a completely different route and attempt a Carolina BBQ instead.

Carolina BBQ is vinegar based, instead of ketchup/molasses based, so it’s much easier to figure out a reduced-sweetener version. Also, I don’t have fond childhood memories of Carolina BBQ embedded in my head making me dissatisfied with anything that’s not exactly authentic, so I can play around a bit more.

(If you have fond childhood memories of Carolina BBQ dancing around in your head, I have no idea how this will hold up for you. We thought it was delish. But you’ll have to judge for yourself!)

This recipe does have some whole food sweeteners in it, but not much. What makes BBQ good is that combination of sweet and tangy, and so it’s impossible to leave it out altogether. However, it’s not much, and this recipe will be just fine for people who aren’t affected as much by whole food sweeteners, or who have gotten their inflammation under control and are just maintaining now. This recipe is simple in that it doesn’t take much work at all. But it’s time consuming since it involves a lot of brining and slow cooking. So plan ahead! 

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sugar

National Geographic Article on Sugar

An interesting article came out in the National Geographic this month. It talks about the history of sugar and how it came to dominate Western culture, even going as far as to be the leading impetus for exploration and expansion of the English Empire! It also talks a lot about the health concerns about sugar, and how our increased sugar consumption has a direct correlation with the increase in obesity and disease. I find it interesting to see such an article in a mainstream source such as National Geographic, since I’m used to finding most of my information from alternative and natural health sources.

Some quotes:

“In school they call it the age of exploration, the search for territories and islands that would send Europeans all around the world. In reality it was, to no small degree, a hunt for fields where sugarcane would prosper.”

“By the 18th century the marriage of sugar and slavery was complete. Every few years a new island—Puerto Rico, Trinidad—was colonized, cleared, and planted. When the natives died, the planters replaced them with African slaves. After the crop was harvested and milled, it was piled in the holds of ships and carried to London, Amsterdam, Paris, where it was traded for finished goods, which were brought to the west coast of Africa and traded for more slaves.”

And here’s a huge one!

“And yet there was no stopping the boom. Sugar was the oil of its day. The more you tasted, the more you wanted. In 1700 the average Englishman consumed 4 pounds a year. In 1800 the common man ate 18 pounds of sugar. In 1870 that same sweet-toothed bloke was eating 47 pounds annually. Was he satisfied? Of course not! By 1900 he was up to 100 pounds a year. In that span of 30 years, world production of cane and beet sugar exploded from 2.8 million tons a year to 13 million plus. Today the average American consumes 77 pounds of added sugar annually, or more than 22 teaspoons of added sugar a day.”

Wow!!

And I love this one:

“And in the 1960s the British nutrition expert John Yudkin conducted a series of experiments on animals and people showing that high amounts of sugar in the diet led to high levels of fat and insulin in the blood—risk factors for heart disease and diabetes. But Yudkin’s message was drowned out by a chorus of other scientists blaming the rising rates of obesity and heart disease instead on cholesterol caused by too much saturated fat in the diet.”

Well worth a read!

nat geo