We’re less than two weeks away from Christmas. I’m sure you know this, but refined sugar is absolutely terrible for you in every single way. We’re talking heart disease, cancer, diabetes, MS. The whole nine.
For those of us managing candida or simply trying to live sugar-free, that means time to be even more stubborn as we’re offered sugary cookies, cakes and candies in the holiday spirit.
This is the time it’s most tempting to cheat and indulge. You’ve been good all year, Santa won’t mind if you squeeze in just a little bad behavior under the wire.
Though the big guy may turn a blind eye to your sneak eating, that pesky little microorganism which thrives on sugar, and every cell of your body as it tries to process the garbage you’re scooping into it, will not.
Apart from the basic hurdle of turning down sweets, especially when there’s nostalgia involved, the social norms of partaking in holiday goodies can be disorienting for us and for our generous friends who offer.
The best way to combat this awkwardness is to bring your own treats. If you let a party host know you’re on a restrictive diet and you’ll be bringing your own goodies, they’ll understand. That way you don’t have to stand around feeling like an outsider. You can nibble just like everyone else!
Here’s an idea for a fun holiday cookie that won’t leave you feeling rotten. A twist on the classic Christmas cookie, “Russian Tea Cakes”.
I adapted this recipe from this Tahini Cookies Recipe in Bon Appétit Magazine. The coconut flour and arrowroot starch in my version give them a delicate crumble, similar to Russian tea cakes.
Typically, they’re coated in powdered sugar. Since that’s obviously not an option, I took them in a new direction and coated them in cinnamon and xylitol. You can also do just xylitol for something closer to the original.
The xylitol unfortunately melts in the oven, so they don’t have the idillic powdered exterior. But they have a toasty, sweet flavor and the consistency is perfect. You can flatten them a little for a cookie shape or leave them round.
I also rolled this batch up into 1/2 inch balls to see how they turned out and I liked them smaller too. If you roll them into 1 inch balls, you’ll get about 15 cookies. If you roll them into 1/2 inch balls you’ll get around 30 little balls. I sort of preferred the smaller ones just because it was fun to have a handful of little tea cakes. I also liked the littler ones round, rather than flattened.
The cinnamon version are a bit of a hybrid between a snickerdoodle and a tea cake, but the consistency is more along the lines of a tea cake. They’re soft, dense and slightly crunchy. They also have a good amount of fiber and protein, so they’re a really great snack that’ll tide you over for a while.
And if you’re really struggling with temptation, just remember all it takes is a bit of creativity and a positive focus on healing to avoid deprivation and stay strong. Whenever I’m feeling really tempted, I remind myself that this is a choice I’m making to heal myself. The old way of thinking and being made me suffer, and this is helping me thrive.
If you want change, you have to make it. No matter how hard it is sometimes, when you stick to it, the days add up and before you know it, you’ve been feeling awesome for weeks on end. You really can do it. And it doesn’t have to be torture. You can still have cookies!
What are some of the struggles you’ve been experiencing as the holiday approach? Have you found any supplemental recipes that have helped you cope? Share them! I’m constantly in search of new safe goodies.
- For the Cookie
- 1¼ Cups coconut flour
- ¼ Cup arrowroot starch
- ⅓ Cup xylitol
- ⅓ Cup tahini
- ½ cup toasted pine nuts (blended)
- 4 Tbs butter (or ghee)
- ½ tsp salt
- For The Coating
- 2 Tbs cinnamon (optional)
- 2 Tbs xylitol ( 1 more Tbs if omitting the cinnamon)
- First, toast the pine nuts on a large skillet over medium-high heat until slightly browned and fragrant.
- Blend pine nuts in a flat blade blender or food processor to a flour-like consistency.
- Combine all ingredients except the cinnamon and xylitol for the coating.
- Combine cinnamon and xylitol in small bowl.
- Form 1 inch balls of dough and roll in cinnamon and sweetener one at a time.
- Place 2 inches apart on parchment paper lined baking sheet and flatten slightly.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom.
- Allow to cool and then store in the fridge. They'll be a little soft at first, but putting them in the fridge for a while will give them the slightly crisp consistency of a tea cake.