Many, many cookbooks find their way to my kitchen, and, among the more recent books to land on my table was I Quit Sugar by nutrition activist and long-time colleague of mine Sarah Wilson, sent to me by Random House. It’s a lovely, simple book with gorgeous recipes, and simple, well-balanced recipes.
I Quit Sugar: Your Complete 8-Week Detox Program and Cookbook
I Quit Sugar guides readers through a simple, 8-week program designed to minimize and remove added sweeteners from their diets, though concessions are made for brown rice syrup and stevia. Her system is low-key, and begins first with cutting back on added sweeteners, learning to love fat, before guiding readers through how to handle cravings, how to get creative in the kitchen and how to settle into a lifestyle that emphasizes wholesome foods, while also minimizing added sweeteners.
And for people who are new to whole foods, and just learning to make that transition, the cheerful, positive guidance provided in I Quit Sugar might just be the support they need.
On a personal level, I strongly favor Sarah’s approach to food: whole, fresh, enticing, and expertly executed. I Quit Sugar is heavy on the stevia, and while I’m not a fan of stevia, those of you who need to choose noncaloric sweeteners might find her book particularly helpful.
While I don’t avoid added sweeteners, and instead favor the inclusion of unrefined sweeteners as a part of a wholesome, well-rounded approach to foods, I still appreciate the gentle and cheerful wisdom provided in I Quit Sugar. And the recipes? They’re fantastic. Summery Quinoa Tabbouleh. Squash and Pumpkin Seed Hash. Cilantro Pesto. Yum.
Among my favorite of her recipes was a simple morning granola of coconut and sprouted nuts that become all toasty roasty in the oven, before gracing a bowlful of yogurt. For breakfast, I enjoy protein- and fat-rich meals because they’re particularly satiating, keeping me full well into the afternoon. I’ve been looking for a solid coconut- and nut-based granola for some time now, and felt so pleased when I opened up Sarah’s book only to find just that. I like to add dried, unsulphured apricots to my bowl for they offer a beautiful butterscotch flavor, complemented by both nuts and cinnamon in the recipe.
Why Use Sprouted Nuts (and where to find them)
Sarah’s recipe for Coco-Nutty Granola includes sprouted nuts. The processes of soaking, sprouting and roasting nuts (alone or together) produces remarkable results from both a nutrition and culinary perspective. These processes mitigate the presence of natural antinutrients like food phytate which bind trace minerals preventing their full absorption, as well as mitigate the effects of enzyme inhibitors that can make nuts and seeds difficult for some people to digest.
You can find sprouted nuts here.
- 3 cups unsweetened coconut flakes (available here)
- 2 cups almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts, pumpkin seeds (preferably sprouted), roughly chopped (buy sprouted nuts here)
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds (available here)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 5-7 tablespoons coconut oil or butter, melted
- 3 tablespoons brown rice syrup (available here)
- Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F and line a baking tray with baking paper. Combine all the ingredients, then spread evenly on a tray. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden, turning halfway through the cooking time. I like to bake mine until quite dark—the darker it is, the crunchier. Remove from the oven and allow to cool, then eat while it's still crispy.
To make chocolate granola clusters, mix in ½ cup raw cacao powder and 2 tablespoons cacao nibs with the rest of the ingredients before baking. Place the clusters on top of coconut yogurt as a dessert.
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