Health + Wellness

Sweet Potato Pound Cake with Maple Orange Glaze

Hello MealMasters!  People choose to adopt vegan or other lifestyles for a variety of reasons, and they are usually related to improving their health. They may want to eliminate the need for medications to treat their cholesterol or high blood sugar, or maybe they want to lose a few pounds to reach an ideal or preferred weight.

By cutting out animal protein, you may notice an improvement in chronic conditions such as joint pain or kidney disease. You may also decrease your risk of developing certain types of cancer.

For me, in addition to the known health benefits of a plant-based diet, I truly enjoy experimenting and testing recipes featuring vegetables or other plant-based foods. I also get to create in my “lab” while using my many kitchen gadgets and appliances. This year I am chronicling my journey toward more plant-based meals, and I am sharing with my readers my favorite foods, along with tips and tricks I have discovered along the way.

Today I am continuing my series, Dr. Monique’s Favorite Food ABCs. The foods that are on this list are here because of both their contributions to mouth-watering dishes as well their health benefits. So far we have discussed the following:

At the halfway mark, we have M for maple syrup. After several savory blogs, it’s exciting to talk about something sweet! My approach to desserts is everything in moderation. I don’t want to live in a world where I can’t have dessert from time to time. And that is not what adopting a healthy lifestyle is about IMO. I personally do not believe in eliminating all enjoyable food items from one’s diet. I just encourage people to find healthier ways to enjoy their favorite treats, and “dessert responsibly”.

RELATED: Vegan-ish: Avocado Waffles

So in this blog, I will talk about my go-to sweetener for several of my baked goods: maple syrup. Let me just start by saying: all maple syrup is not created equally. The maple syrup that I use and will be referring to is 100% maple syrup, not to be confused with imitation maple syrup or maple-flavored syrup. The latter is made with high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, and chemicals.

The difference between the two is significant. The maple syrup that I’m referring to is produced from actual tree sap. It is one of my preferred sweeteners in baking or even in my TablespoonBBQ sauce recipeMaple syrup comes in different grades.

Here in the United States, we have either grade A or grade B syrups and they can vary by color: light, medium, or dark. Interestingly, the tree sap that is harvested later in the season is used to produce a darker-colored syrup and has a more robust maple flavor (Grade B for example).

Now, do not be misled: maple syrup does contain sugar and as such should be used in moderation. It does also contain

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