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The other night a coworker and I were strolling out of our job at a late hour when she told me that instead of having a sugary snack from the vending machine when we’d hit the 10 pm mark, she elected to eat an apple instead. She said it gave her just the right amount of energy to stay focused the rest of the night and she felt good about making the choice.
While I’m not against the occasional slice of pie, there is a lot to be said for a natural healthy sugar and its effect on our body chemistry. Sometimes it seems that the easiest thing to do during stressful times is to reach for exactly the thing that will make a situation worse, like too much caffeine, or refined sugar, or the temporary comfort of fried food, but it’s only when we resist these quick fixes and make a smart choice that we can really see the difference.
Fruit sugar has many benefits over refined sugar. First of all, refined sugar actually takes away the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from healthier foods, so that salad you just ate won’t have the same positive effect on your system that it could when absorbed to full potential. It also gives you a quick burst of energy, which you might think is what you need at the time, but the crash is just never worth it, because it only makes you want more (hence sugar’s reputation as an addictive substance). It also gives you the kind of quick energy that if left unused can turn to fat.
Fruit sugar, however, actually helps a body feel full. Aside from all the other vitamins and nutrients in fruit, the fiber in fruit controls the rate at which the natural sugars are broken down in your system, so it is less likely to turn into unused energy, meaning fat, and there is an actual sensation of fullness after eating fruit, instead of the feeling of needing to keep eating more.
Here’s a recipe for a Sinless Gluten-Free Apple Pie, courtesy of Gluten-Free-Vegan-Girl.com. And you can get your bake ware clean with Seventh Generation Natural Dish Liquid in Fresh Citrus & Ginger, made from a plant-derived, nontoxic formula that’s free of dyes and synthetic fragrances.
Sinless Gluten-Free Apple Pie
makes one 9 ” pie
For the Crust:
- 2 cups raw cashews
- 2 cups pitted dates
- 1 cup brown rice flour
- 1 cup certified gluten-free oats
- 2-8 tbsp water
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- a pinch of sea salt
For the Filling:
- 4 apples
- 2 cups pitted dates
- juice from ½ lemon
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp cardamom
- 1 tsp cloves
1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius/400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Now start making the crust. Place all the dry ingredients in a food processor and pulse until you have a fine flour. Transfer this into a large mixing bowl and set aside for now.
3. Place the dates, vanilla and 2 tbsp of water in the food processor and run until you have a complete smooth and creamy mixture. Scrape down the sides and add in more water if necessary.
4. Scoop this into the mixing bowl with the dry ingredients and mix together using your hands. The dough should be firm enough to form into a ball. Cover the ball with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator while waiting for the oven to preheat.
5. Once the oven is heated, grab your pie pan and split the dough ball into 2 equally large pieces. Press half of the dough down into the pie pan lined with parchment saving the other half for the lid. I found the easiest way to do this was by rolling the dough out with a rolling pin and flipping it into the pan, before pressing down the sides. Prick the crust all around with a fork. Place the pie into the oven to pre-bake for 15 minutes.
6. While the crust is baking, make the filling. Slice the apples into thin wedges and place this in a mixing bowl. Blend the dates, lemon juice, vanilla and spices in a food processor, and scoop this into the bowl with the apples. Mix this thoroughly before pressing this down in the pre-baked crust. It will overflow a bit but that is ok.
7. Now take the remaining half of dough and roll it into a flat circle. Carefully lift it up and place on top of the apple filling. Press down the sides and press the filling properly down. Cut out four slits on the top crust and place this into the oven.
8. Turn down the oven temperature to 175 degrees Celsius/350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake for 30-60 minutes, until the crust has a deep golden color. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool for 15 minutes before serving.
Serve with whipped coconut cream and enjoy!
About Lisa Ferber
Prolific multidisciplinary satirist, blogger and journalist, Lisa’s nonfiction has appeared in Crain's New York Business, Hypervocal and The New Inquiry. She wrote and stars in the feature film The Sisters Plotz (coming 2014 and based on her hit web series), and her artwork has shown at National Arts Club, Mayson Gallery and Governors Island Art Fair. Find out more about her at www.LisaFerber.com.