It is easy to say, "Stop eating sugar." It is another thing to enjoy life without it. Having "broken my sweet tooth" many years ago, I can honestly say that once you get past the withdrawal period, and bring the body into biochemical balance, you will not miss sugar. In fact, you will feel so "out of order" by eating sugar, your body balance becomes self-regulating. You do not indulge in sugary sweets simply because you feel better without them.

This season would not be complete, however, without some treats. Following are two of my favorite holiday treats. (I borrowed these recipes from my book, Weight Success for a Lifetime.)

Chocolate-Covered Apricots

Chocolate is not the "mother of all dietary evils." After all, it is a plant, isn't it? This recipe is very rich—truly decadent—but low in sugar.

  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ pounds bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 30 dried apricots

Bring the cream and butter to a boil, pour the hot liquid over the chocolate and let stand 3-5 minutes. Gently stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon just to mix. The ganache should be satiny and smooth with a minimum of air bubbles. Let it cool to the point that you can touch it without being burned and then dip each apricot into it, coating the lower half only, and allowing excess to drip off. Place the apricots on a buttered cookie sheet and let them firm in the refrigerator before serving. Fabulous and beautiful!

Dark Secrets

These cookies remind one of fruitcake—but nicely. A little richer and really, really good!

  1. 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  2. 2 ½ cups chopped dates
  3. 1/3 cup white spelt flour or kamut flour
  4. ½ teaspoon non-aluminum baking powder
  5. 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  6. 2 tablespoons melted butter
  7. 3 large egg yolks
  8. ½ teaspoon vanilla

In a bowl, combine the pecans, dates, flour, baking powder, walnuts and melted butter. Add the egg yolks and vanilla and mix thoroughly. Spread the batter in a buttered 8-inch pan. Bake at 300 degrees for 25 minutes, cool and cut into bars.

Carol Simontacchi, CCN, MS

Carol Simontacchi, CCN, MS, is the host of "Your Personal Health," a nationally syndicated radio show that airs on over 200 stations. An online columnist for Vitalcast.com, she is a certified clinical nutritionist in private practice in Portland, Ore., and the author of a number of books on nutrition. She lives in Vancouver, Wash.