Thursday, May 1, 2014

Sesame Seed Bars and My Stance on Sugar

I have a pretty definitive view on sugar.  While I grew up on sweet treats and really struggle visiting my parents without at least 1 bowl of ice cream, I try to avoid it at our house.  Sugar causes inflammation in the body, which causes everything from a cold to heart disease and cancer. (Here is good article on the topic for more information:

Loving broccoli at 7 months

On top of that, I am a firm believer that what Charlotte eats now will affect her palate for years to come.  Therefore, we rarely give her sugar, and when I do make her muffins or cookies, I add as little sugar as possible in them while still making them tasty. 

We completely avoid processed sugar in my house, opting instead for natural sweeteners like bananas, dates, and raisins if possible.  When I bake, as I love to do, sometimes you need some real sugar, and then I choose between maple syrup, raw honey, and coconut sugar.  These less processed sugars are a little tamer on the body and retain their vitamins and minerals because of the way they are processed without high heat.  But, in the end, sugar is sugar, and I usually keep it to a minimum in my cooking and baking.

Unfortunately, our entire house is sick with some sort of upper respiratory bug. While that means backing off on sugar even more, it also means favoring one kind in particular: raw honey.  I've never been one for over-the-counter medicine, unless I truly need it, and that's especially true for pregnant-Amy and little Charlotte.  So as soon as the tissues started filling the trash can, I bumped up our intake of all of Mother Nature's best remedies: raw honey, raw apple cider vinegar, fresh ginger, and lots of garlic and onion. 

I'm not talking the cheap honey you buy at the store.  75% of regular honey has had the pollen removed, which is the most beneficial part of honey itself (eye-opening read:  Raw honey hasn't been pastured, filtered, or heated to high temperatures so it has all of its vitamins, minerals, and pollen in tact.  It is an incredible antibiotic and has more benefits than I could even type here without your eyes glazing over.  For a really interesting read on the healing powers of honey, check out this article from Food Matters:

As this bug of ours continues to drag on after more than a week, I've been searching for some sort of recipe with a high honey content that's raw, meaning I don't have to bake it and destroy all of its' healthy goodness.  I came across this raw sesame seed bar recipe from The Rawtarian, and it was exactly what I was looking for.  Plus it was a one bowl recipe, which is always nice because pregnant-Amy's energy levels come and go, so avoiding washing the food processor or baking dishes is a huge plus.

Check out the recipe here:  I substituted raw honey for the maple syrup, adding some craisins in with the raisins, and added chia seeds and sunflower seeds for a quarter of the sesame seeds because I just ran out of sesame seeds. Normally I would have tried decreasing the honey to 1/4 cup, but the whole point was to bump up my raw honey, so I gave into the sweetness. 

They firmed up nicely in the freezer and should be stored there. The sesame seeds give them a really nice crunch, and they are definitely sweet.  Did I mention they are super healthy?  Sesame seeds/tahini, coconut oil/shredded unsweetened coconut, and raw honey are all fantastic for you, plus raisins and vanilla have their own health benefits.  I love eating foods where every single ingredient is healthful!  I had at least 3 for lunch, and this was after licking the bowl clean.  They will make a tasty snack and even a breakfast when I'm feeling lazy.  And most importantly, they were Charlotte approved :)


  1. Looks good, Amy! I wish we were that disciplined with sugar. We certainly eat way less than the average family at least. Good for you, starting a blog! I'll have to try to remember to come check it out every so often. =]

  2. I talk a good talk about it at least. I try really hard in our house to avoid sugar (although currently baby is craving sweets, so I'm thinking about what kind of cookies I want to make tonight...), because I know when I am in Riverview visiting family, on vacation, or our to eat, all of my willpower goes out the window. I'm really good about not eating something if it's not available, which is why we don't usually make/buy sugary treats at home. When stuff is available though... no willpower.