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Paleo Pecan Pie with a Secret Ingredient (Low Sugar, Gluten-Free)

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Before I wax poetic about Thanksgiving, let’s all take a moment to watch the greatest Thanksgiving commercial of all time, starring the two salt shakers pictured above. My life as a Florida resident was enriched every holiday season by the sentimental holiday ads from Publix grocery store. 

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Secret Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe (Sugar-Free and Better Than Starbucks!)

What’s the secret to making a healthy, diabetic-friendly version of Starbucks’ infamous Pumpkin Spice Latte at home? 
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It involves real pumpkin, fresh spices, and a crock pot! You’re gonna brew up a batch of your own PSL flavored coffee creamer, so that you can have this nourishing and delicious treat every morning on the go! A few glugs of this sweet nectar of the gods (it’s that good!) will transform your coffee into something magical…

Homemade Vegan Pumpkin Spice Latte

DId you know that the Starbucks version doesn’t contain any actual pumpkin?! 

The best part about making PSL lattes at home is that you can control the sugar and type of milk used. The recipe below is sugar-free and dairy-free! It’s made from a blend of creamy cashew milk and coconut milk, which creates an amazingly rich, silky smooth “cream” that lightens coffee just like dairy cream!

To keep this treat diabetic-friendly, I sweeten it with natural, calorie-free sweeteners called stevia and erythritol. You could use xylitol as well (3/4 cup xylitol = 1 cup erythritol), or mix erythritol and xylitol together for an even better sugar-free sweetening option. Keep in mind that xylitol will cause your blood sugar to rise, whereas erythritol and stevia will not. I like adding 2 Tablespoons of xylitol to the recipe below for an extra boost of sweetness. (*whispers* Find out why you need to combine sugar-free sweeteners in the Healthy Indulgences E-Cookbook!)

To make this paleo, simply swap out the sugar-free sweeteners for maple syrup or coconut sugar. 3/4 cup of maple syrup should sufficiently sweeten the creamer.You’ll want the Pumpkin Spice Creamer to be quite sweet since it’s a concentrated mix that gets diluted by coffee, so keep that in mind if you’re adding your own sweeteners. 

So, how can we make a PSL coffee creamer that tastes like pumpkin without any chunkiness from the pumpkin puree? I’ll show you how!

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Xylitol

What Is Xylitol?

Xylitol is a natural sweetener derived from the wood of birch trees. It can also be produced by bacterial fermentation of corn cobs and sugarcane. 

Xylitol has much less of an impact on blood sugar levels than other sweeteners (white sugar, brown sugar, turbinado, maple syrup, honey, etc.). It even has less of an impact than maltitol, which is the most commonly use sugar-free sweetener in commercial products like candies and syrups. Xylitol contains 2.4 calories per gram, but is not completely digested, so many sources state that you should count half the carbohydrates and calories. This sweetener can be a safe alternative to sugar for those on low carb diets, but as always, check with your physician for making any changes to your diet. 

Xylitol has a clean-tasting sweetness that imparts a slight “cooling” sensation on the tongue. Compared to erythritol, it has less of a cooling effect. It’s also not as “gritty” as erythritol and dissolves more quickly in liquids. Because xylitol doesn’t caramelize, it can’t make a true caramel sauce and will make baked goods soft rather than crispy.

Most sugar-free store bought products don’t contain xylitol (they contain maltitol… blech!), but there are a few sugar-free syrups and gums on the market that do. To make a xylitol-sweetened syrup, you need to add a gum thickener like xanthan or acacia. I’m not a fan of these products because syrup made with xylitol is usually a bit runny and “slimy” for my taste. Xylitol sweetened gum tastes great and can even fight cavities! You can purchase it here.

Xylitol has less of an impact on blood sugar than other sugar alcohols excluding erythritol. I generally count half the carbohydrates of xylitol in recipes since it is incompletely absorbed. If you have diabetes, you’ll want to test your blood glucose levels after consuming xylitol to see how it impacts them. 

If you haven’t tried xylitol before, you’ll want to slowly introduce it into your diet. I experience some unpleasant gastric distress when I eat treats sweetened with a lot of xylitol (say, more than a 1/4 cup), but your mileage may vary. In a study performed on 70 human volunteers, the majority of them experienced GI side effects after drinking 1/4 cup or more of a xylitol-sweetened beverage. However, I’ve been told by readers that some people tolerate it well. If wish to try xylitol, start out with small amounts and see how your body responds. I would not, however, recommend using a lot of xylitol to make a dessert that will be served to company. You might have a houseful of unhappy dinner guests on your hands! 😉

Warning: Do not keep xylitol in the house if you have dogs! Our furry friends metabolize it differently to the extent that it can cause life-threatening toxicity. Rest assured that its toxicity to animals does not reflect on the safety of xylitol for humans. 

In some recipes, I add a tiny bit of xylitol along with erythritol and stevia to enhance the sweetness. Combining sugar-free sweeteners is the trick to creating the best tasting treats! To find how out more tips and tricks for baking with sugar-free sweeteners, check out the cookbook! For less than the cost of two lattes, you can support this website.

Where to Buy

You can purchase xylitol here, using my coupon code (built into the link). The lowest priced option for xylitol is the 5 lb bag of it. If you’re concern about the used of GMOs, here‘s a brand that is GMO-free. I’m personally not concerned about the GMO content of sugar alcohols since they are pure crystalline substances that do not contain traces of the source plant.

References:

Calorie content in xylitol (Caloriecontrol.org)

Counting carbohydrates in xylitol (Ucsf.edu)

Counting carbohydrates in xylitol and other sugar alcohols (Ksu.edu)

Gastrointestinal responses of sucrose vs. xylitol vs erythritol (Nature journal)

How xylitol is made (Usda.gov)

How xylitol is made (Bioresource Technology journal)

Toxicity of xylitol to dogs (Veterinary Medicine magazine)

How-Tos

Here you will find a list of the most high quality tutorials for making low carbohydrate and paleo treats.  I scoured the web to find posts containing the most clear explanations and beautiful photos, and am happy to share the best of what myself and other bloggers have to offer. My mission here at Healthy Indulgences is to assist you in eating healthier and feeling well. Quality content is quality content, whether it comes from myself or a talented fellow blogger. 

If you have a tutorial to nominate for this list, please submit it for review using the contact form. Please provide the link to it, along with a one sentence summary of what it covers.

Healthy Indulgences Tutorials

How to…

…make Almond Meal

…make Whipped Cream (Sugar-Free)

…make Powdered “Sugar” (Sugar-Free)

…make Chocolate Candies (Sugar-Free) here and here

…make Marshmallows (Sugar-Free)

…use Erythritol, Xylitol and Stevia

…whip Egg Whites 

 

Tutorials from Other Blogs

Paleo

How to…

…make Almond Butter @ Detoxinista

…Make Paleo “Pasta” (Spaghetti Squash)  @ Elana’s Pantry

…make Paleo “Pasta” (Zucchini)  @ Nom Nom Paleo

…make Pumpkin Puree @ Oh She Glows

…make Paleo Cream Cheese @ Healthful Pursuit

 

Grocery List

Below, you will find a printable grocery list with all of the ingredients you need to get started making sugar-free treats! Click on any item to see my where to purchase it. 

To find out more about the ingredients and kitchen tools you see listed, check out the Healthy Indulgences Cookbook. For less than the price of two lattes, you can find out everything you need to know about sugar-free baking in one convenient, printable or Ipad-friendly file. Your purchases of the book or products sold through the affiliate links make it possible for me to continue offering all of the free recipes you see here. Thank you kindly for supporting the website!

Ingredients (Dry)

Baking Powder, Aluminum-Free

Baking Soda

Cocoa Powder

Coconut Sugar (for paleo baking)

Erythritol

Sea Salt

Stevia Extract, Pure Powder (no fillers)

Xylitol*

Xanthan Gum**

Ingredients (Fresh)

Blanched Almond Flour

Butter, Unsalted, Organic

Coconut Flour

Coconut Oil

Cream Cheese

Egg, Large

Honey

Heavy Cream, Organic

Half and Half, Organic

Vanilla Extract

Ingredients (Specialty)

Arrowroot Starch

Chocolate, Lindt, unsweetened

Chocolate, Lindt, 85%

Chocolate Chips (Sugar-Free), Lily’s (find them at Whole Foods)

Cocoa Powder, Hershey’s Special Dark

Cocoa Butter (essential for making chocolate)

Cream Cheese

Whey Protein Powder

Flaxseed Meal

 

 *If you have dogs, please read the warning about xylitol here

**Bob’s Red Mill is the only brand of xanthan gum I buy. It is certified gluten-free and does NOT contain corn. Read more about the manufacturing process here.

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Linda Turner

Thank you for all the great recipes! I have been a juvenile diabetic for 38 years now, and have used so many of the sugar alcohol sweeteners. But I only recently found out that erythritol is the only one with a zero rating glycemic impact! All the others will eventually raise the blood sugar, but it doesn’t happen until hours later (about 3-4 for me), so using erythritol has been a great choice for sweetening purposes.

I love how you mix sweeteners, too. I often use the erythritol a little xylitol and a little stevia powder to make things taste sweeter. I can’t imagine how much time and money has gone into creating all these wonderful dessert recipes! But I thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Almond Flour Biscuits + Pumpkin Apple Butter (aka Fall In a Jar!)

These paleo biscuits will rock your world.

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 Slathered with Pumpkin Apple Butter, which tastes like a cross between pumpkin pie and apple pie, these biscuits will satisfy the fiercest of carb cravings.

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Sugar-Free Pumpkin Apple Butter make your house smell the best it’s ever smelled, getting you in the mood for pumpkin spice lattes and color changing leaves and knit scarves and all of the other seasonal accoutrements taking over storefronts and Pinterest.

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An Easter GIVEAWAY + Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Egg Candies (a.k.a. “Better-than-Reese’s” Eggs!) for a Healthier Holiday

My name is Lauren, and I’m a Reese’s peanut butter egg-a-holic.

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Earlier this month, I received a request from a reader, Deb, to create a healthier version of the highly addictive, seasonal candy that is the Reese’s egg. Knowing there are many low carb eaters out there who face the temptation to hoard these candies every Easter, I was determined to create a healthier alternative. It would be  dairy-free, soy-free, and paleo for my primal peeps and allergen-averse candy fiends.

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