Also read my medical advice disclaimer - I'm no expert in anything relating to health or nutrition, my opinions below are just that . . . MY opinions, based on info I've gathered from reading various sources - they may be scientifically or medically incorrect, so keep that in mind before you follow any advice found on my blog. Ok, just had to keep myself in the clear. :)
When I say a recipe is "sugar-free", what I mean is:
that it is completely free from ordinary sugar - the kind you buy in every store, the white refined sugar, the most common sugar that everybody knows about, you know what I mean.
It also means that the recipe is free from alternative sugars that I'm not convinced are necessarily healthier than refined white sugar, eg agave, rice syrups, molasses, honey, coconut blossom sugar, maple syrup, stevia etc . . . From what I have read about these sweeteners, they are still bad for you because they either contain high amounts of fructose (eg agave), they are highly refined or processed (eg agave, stevia, sometimes honey) or they are devoid of any nutrition (eg stevia). Some alternative sweeteners do however contain some amounts of nutritive value, but in the end they are still a sugar and maybe refined or processed to a point where any nutritional value they had, has been removed.
Although some of these alternative sweeteners are, in my opinion, not a healthier substitute for large-scale use in cooking, I still believe that the unrefined and unprocessed ones do have some nutritional value in small amounts now and again.
When I started this blog, I had different ideas of which sweeteners were better or healthier than sugar, which is why I've used different sweeteners throughout the earlier stages of my blog, but as I've read more about this topic, I've re-classified all my recipe lables and unless they contain only fruits as separate sweetening ingredients, they are NO LONGER labled as sugar-free.
So, my sugar-free recipes may contain fresh fruit or dried fruit as sweeteners.
I'm slowly but surely trying to move away the large-scale use of processed sugars of any kinds in my cooking and baking, but until I've reached my goal, there will still be some dodgy sweeteners found in some of my recipes, however I do usually try to use healthier sweetener options where I can.
When I say a recipe is "gluten-free", what I mean is:
that it is free from the common gluten found in wheat, rye etc - the kind of gluten that people who are gluten intolerant or who have celiac disease cannot tolerate. Some of my gluten-free recipes contain gluten-free oats, however there is a gluten in there called avenin, but it's not the same gluten that affects people with gluten intolerance or those with celiac disease.
Here's the scoop on oats and gluten - even though oats is naturally gluten-free, they usually aren't certified gluten-free because they are most often cross-contaminated by wheat products during production in the factory which uses the same machinery to process oats and wheat products, so if you are very sensitive to gluten, you may not even be able to eat most oats. Avenin is a kind of gluten that people with gluten-intolerance or who have celiac disease can tolerate - only rarely will a person not be able to tolerate avenin in oats. So if you want wheat-gluten-free oats, buy certified gluten-free oats, because they make sure there is no cross contamination from wheat and other gluten items.
So some of my gluten-free recipes that have oats in them contain gluten-free oats when I can find it, otherwise I use ordinary oats.
When I say a recipe is "raw food", what I mean is:
that there is no cooking, baking or heating called for in the recipe, but some ingredients in the recipe may be heated (eg when I dry my desiccated coconut in the oven, or store-bought dried fruits etc), or steamed (eg in the process of making rolled oats, or when using cocoa powder instead of raw (unheated) cacao powder etc), or agave (which may have been heated during processing etc), hence the use of "" when I say "raw" food.
I do use as many truly raw ingredients as I can though when I label a recipe as "raw food". Some raw foodists are more strict than others when it comes to classifying raw food, eg some allow for some heating (at low temps, usually below 50 degree C) in certain foods, whereas strict raw foodists stick to absolutely raw in everything. So it's up to you to decide whether my "raw food" recipes are raw enough for you or not.
My recipes labled "100% raw food" does however only contain ingredients of which I am satisfied are RAW.