Happy Monday friends! Is it weird that I don't really hate Mondays?? Don't get me wrong, if I could I would live in weekend land for as long as possible but there is something great about Mondays. The promise of a fresh, new week where new things can happen. :) It's exciting!
Also, weekends aren't the same after you have kids. It used to be that weekends were a "break" from life and from responsibilities (for the most part). We could take off somewhere random for the weekend, we could lie around watching HGTV or movie marathons, we could do pretty much whatever. After kids... do you ever get a break? Ha, ha, just kidding... sort of. You have to be responsible and "on it" at all times. There is a little human that needs you pretty much every moment of the day. There is no more sleeping in, movie marathons, or easy escapes to wherever. For kids being so small, they require a lot of stuff and many, many changes of clothes. You cannot take off in a moments notice.
I would not change a thing though. My life is a million times better with that little human. He rules my world and steals my heart all day long.
Now I don't consider myself to be a person that eats a lot of sugar or sweets. For the past month or so I have been really tuning into this and really watching my sugar intake. That includes fruit too. I highly recommend everyone do this. I know that sugar is added to pretty much everything but this challenge made me even more aware of it. Recently we went hiking and hit up Vitamin Cottage beforehand to get some picnic food and snacks. I love Larabars for a quick snack with clean ingredients but since they are made up from dates they contain a lot of sugar, so I picked up some Epic Bars and was surprised that several of those have sugar in them. Not much but when you can't have any this is a problem. They did have a few with no added sugar, so I grabbed a few of those. Don't mistake this challenge as "sugar free". So many companies are adding this to their labels but what that really means is "we took out the sugar and added a bunch of crap to make up for the taste". You need to read your labels and make sure your ingredients are clean and are real food.
So basically I think that I was probably consuming more sugar than even I was aware of. Even if something has only 2 grams of sugar, if you eat a lot of items like that throughout the day plus a lot of fruit it adds up. While at times I really, really crave a Paleo pumpkin muffin (hello pumpkin season) or a glass of wine, I know in the end I will be better off for sticking to this for a bit. Actually for the past week I have not been being as careful and even had some hard cider earlier this week and boy am I feeling it. There will be a time when I can have the occasional treat, but right now, health and healing is first.
So why am I doing this? I have Candida overgrowth and am working through getting rid of it. Candida grows on sugar (even sugar created by stress hormones), so sugar is out. Currently I am following Ann Boroch's method. She allows 1 piece of low sugar fruit a day (i.e. strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, green apples) which now is totally doable but at first was hard to do. I realize now how much I rely on fruit as a quick snack or alongside eggs in the morning.
That is where this recipe comes in. I have made it for years but have really relied on it lately. Ann has some good pancake recipes and while she includes her own sauces that are fantastic, I find this one to be much easier to throw together. Now when I use this sauce currently I use it sparingly and it counts as my piece of fruit for the day. So many fruit sauces out there have added sweeteners. I find it unnecessary though. The fruit makes it plenty sweet. I like this sauce served immediately, while warm. However, if you refrigerate it it thickens up and makes a great jam. Don't you love a recipe that works in multiple ways? This sauce works well over pancakes, vanilla ice cream, brownies, chia seed pudding, yogurt, the list goes on!
Chia Strawberry Jam
- 16 oz strawberries, cored & sliced
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp all spice
- 1-2 Tbsp chia seeds
- Put strawberries in saucepan and turn heat to medium-high.
- Let strawberries begin to "sweat" (juices release). Stir for about 4 minutes.
- Turn heat to medium, continue to cook and stir for another 2 minutes.
- Add vanilla extract, cinnamon and all spice. Stir well.
- Add 1 Tbsp chia seeds.
- Turn heat to medium-low. Let cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once sauce has thickened to your desire remove from heat. If you want it to thicken even more, add 1 more Tbsp of chia seeds. If you need to do this step, make sure to let the sauce cook for a bit. Chia seeds will expand and become sauce with time.
- Serve immediately or refrigerate and use as jam.