Ever since I’ve cut out the white poison (might sound a little bit harsh but more later) known as refined sugar from my diet, I’ve been looking for healthier alternatives. As you know I love baking and cooking, so having yummy sweeteners is a must for me! Over the years I’ve tried and experimented with many of them and eventually found the healthiest natural sweetener: Medjool dates! In addition to the fruit itself there are also variations like date sugar (made from 100% ground dates) and date syrup, which are both amazing and can be used for various purposes.
Dates in general are incredibly healthy as they’re of vitamins, minerals and fiber. If you have no idea what dates are, here’s a quick explanation: Dates are the edible fruit of the date palm tree. The Medjool date variety grows primarily in the Middle East (Saudi Arabia, Israel, Iran, Jordan, Palestine), California, and North Africa. Dates make great natural sweeteners and sugar alternatives, and have a variety of health benefits. They have been proven to decrease cholesterol and boost bone health, and help with a number of other health issues.
My favorite variety is the Medjool date. It’s the big, juicy, super sweet cousin of the small date and it tastes like ooey-gooey caramel! Sweet heaven – I’d choose a juicy Medjool date any day over a chocolate bar. They’re just too good! Nature’s candy at its best! 🙂
Where do I get my dates?
I’ve found the BEST and juiciest jumbo dates in Europe and I’m happy to share that secret! 😉 You really want to be going for the best quality as dates are a pricey product (with good reason), as not to spend your money on some mediocre dates. I get a big box (usually 1 – 5kg) from KoRo delivered straight to my door every month and I couldn’t be happier. They’re also an awesome Christmas present, just in case you want to do something good for a friend/family! 🙂 Check them out here: http://bit.ly/2Au5NGa
>> Also: if you use the code ‘THETASTYK’ you’ll get a 5% discount! <<
I know there are a lot of stereotypes out there regarding eating too much fruit, the high sugar in fruit, blah blah, but as discussed in previous posts, this anti fruit sugar hysteria is complete non-sense. The fiber, vitamins and minerals of fruit cancel out any negative effects and contrary to popular opinion DO NOT cause weight gain or a rise in blood sugar.
And, not surprisingly, the same thing counts for Medjool dates. I’ve successfully lost 10kg and staid that way for the past 2 years all while eating tons of Medjool dates. My blood sugar is steady and my iron levels are finally good! 🙂 For more than just anecdotal evidence though, have a quick look below:
Do dates cause weight gain?
“When compared ounce-for-ounce, dates have about five times more calories than fresh fruit, however eating dates on a daily basis does not result in weight gain. In fact, those who eat one tablespoon or more of dried fruit a day, including dates, tend to be less overweight, have slimmer waists, and less abdominal fat.
Even though dates are about eighty percent sugar by weight, this whole food has a low glycemic index and offers a variety of health benefits. Date consumption may lower the risk of stroke, and result in improvements in triglyceride and antioxidant stress levels, without adverse effects on blood sugar or weight.” – Nutritionfacts.org
During my last visit to Israel I had the pleasure to visit a date plantation close to the border of Jordan and it was such a breath-taking experience. The lovely people from Medjool Plus – one of the major date distributors (both organic and non-organic) – invited me to spend the day looking at organic date farms and learn about the whole process of how the dates end up with the consumer.
It was so incredible to see first hand how much work and effort is involved in growing dates. Did you know that it takes a Medjool date palm tree about 7-10 years to bear fruits and hence make profit? We are often so disconnected from the foods we buy in the supermarket, because it’s just so convenient. It’s easy to complain about high prices, especially in the organic/ethical sector, when we don’t really have any idea what needs to happen so that we can enjoy our food! This experience definitely made me appreciate dates even more (and I know it’s similar in other agriculture! 🙂
If you decide to try Medjool dates, date syrup or date sugar, let me know! Leave a comment and tell me about your experience – it’s so helpful to me and other readers. And don’t forget to take a picture and tag me (@thetastyk) and #thetastyk on Instagram! Love and enjoy! ♥