I’m always impressed by the confluence of reader questions. Last week, reader Ally wrote in with the following:
Hi Gena! I’m curious about two things and I would be really grateful if you’d answer them for me!
1) Do you personally limit your intake of sweeteners such as agave and dates? and if so, why?
2) Why don’t you eat much fruit?
And just a few nights ago, reader Sharon wrote me asking,
Just wondering, it doesn’t look like you eat a lot of fruit. Is it intentional? Or do you get that in your juice in the morning?
Great question ladies. The answers are connected, but I’ll address the two questions independently:
Yes, Ally, I do limit my intake of sweeteners such as agave and dates. This is for several reasons. The first is that I (like many women) have a history with candida (you can read more about this in my low sugar dessert post), and since I’ve overcome it, I’ve found that I feel much better if I stay away from too many sweets.
Have I cut sweets from my diet entirely? No! Hell no. As you’ll have seen on my quitiversary post, I’m perfectly happy to indulge in a dessert (or three!) when I feel like it, or to have some pitted medjool dates or dark chocolate when I need to. Life is sweet, and it’s important to enjoy sweet foods when one is so compelled.
At the same time, I believe that it’s best for everyone—but especially women, who are prone to candida—to avoid excess sugar. We tend to forget that just because certain sources of sugar are healthier than others (agave, raw honey, and dates), that doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily healthy in excess—or that they won’t contribute to candida if you eat them too frequently.
The bottom line? Of course we should eat sweets when we really feel a need. And when we do, we should gravitate towards healthy sweeteners. But there’s absolutely no reason to use sweeteners unless one needs to. That’s akin to buying something just because it’s on sale!
Be discerning about when real sugar is necessary. I’ll use dates in a fantastic raw dessert, but I don’t need agave to sweeten salad dressings, smoothies, soups, or even guacamole when I know that stevia is just as tasty—and sugar-free!
Another good question. You’re right to notice that, unlike many raw foodists, I’m not so much of a fruit person. This is partially personal taste: I’ve never relished fruits as much as some people do. To be honest, I vastly prefer my morning green juice (which is vegetable based, never fruit based) to the green smoothies that so many raw foodists out there adore. This is totally subjective. If you’re into smoothies, then please, go crazy!
Of course, fruit is also a source of sugar, and for the same reasons I watch my sweeteners, I also try not to overdo it. Most women, even those with candida, can eat low-sugar fruits like green apples, berries, and citrus without any trouble. I find that I’m fine with apples on a regular basis, and that I can enjoy all other fruit on occasion (my favorites are mangoes and bananas!). But when I eat fruit every day or many times a week, it tends to make me feel bloated and to mess with my energy levels (I’m not the only one: see Heather’s post on how fruit gives her similar bloating).
At the end of the day, all bodies are different. Some women do beautifully with high amounts of fruit (some women are fruitarians, after all). Others, like me, do better with fruit in moderation. Fruit is an ideal food in many ways, so enjoy it as you like. But be smart: if fruit tends to make you feel bloated or gassy, scale your consumption back.
And this goes for any food that tends to upset your stomach: don’t be afraid to limit consumption and see how well you fare! Listen to your body: its reactions will give you a sense of what foods work best for you.
Thanks, Ally and Sharon, for asking!
So I know you were all very excited for my photos from Quintessence last night. Sadly, I have none. Quintessence was a bit too subdued for Emma’s and my mood, so we decided to head over to the slightly louder and more lively Caravan of Dreams, where I’ve eaten once before on the blog. It didn’t disappoint: it was reasonably priced and we both loved our meals.
I started with the avocado and coconut soup, which was just that: avocados and young coconut meat, blended to a very thick and creamy perfection. I loved it and will recreate it at home!
After that I had the same salad that I enjoyed so much last week: the Thai Avocado Salad (I know, I know. You’re probably getting sick of avocados. And salads. Too bad, though: they’re not going anywhere!). I got a photo this time.
It was a great meal, all in all.
Hope you’re all having a good day. I’ll be back tomorrow with a re-cap of a special event tonight!
In the meantime, get excited for the start of the Raw Wednesday Challenge tomorrow! Are you all planning some fun meals? I hope so!