Just in time for National Diabetes Month, Jayne Jones has self-published “The No Sugar Baker’s Cookbook of Healthy Living and No Regrets.”
The Minnesota native once loved making traditional Midwestern fare such as tater tot bakes and cheesecakes, so it was not by choice that she now is making a name for herself as the No Sugar Baker. That story began after a watershed moment on her 45th birthday in 2019, when she wound up in the emergency room. Her blood sugar levels were so high that she barely missed having a stroke.
“I did not have regular checkups,” she said. “And here’s the zinger: I am a health policy expert that tells everyone else about preventive care but ignored it myself. They say I probably have been diabetic for over 15 years. We now can see the signs that we all missed, but I don’t look backward. I look forward all the time.”
Following her doctor’s instructions, she drastically reduced her intake of sugar, white flour and snacks.
“But when you do that, the glucose level comes down so rapidly that there’s a chance of vision loss, which did happen,” she said. “I went to a retina specialist. He said, ‘You were inches away from two detached retinas.’”
Shots in her eyes and a changed diet eventually healed her eyes. But after her diabetes diagnosis, she lost her love of food for months. When she finally returned to the kitchen, she had a new perspective on feeding her body.
“As a kid, I never thought of food as nutrition,” she said. “It was a reward. When I got confirmed at church, it was, ‘Let’s get cake.’ When I got straight As, ‘Let’s get tacos.’ There was always a reward with food. Now I see food strictly as nutrition for my body, what I need to live.”
The eight to 10 cans of soda each day were replaced with water only. That and other changes also helped her lose 60 pounds and stay medicine-free.
When it comes to figuring out the best way to manage diabetes, there’s no one-size-fits-all plan. The recipes in her cookbook reflect that.
“My book is more than desserts,” she said. “I’ve got quiche, salads, soups and my life story. There is no magic formula. Now I know the formula for my body. It is 25 carbohydrates a day or less and sugar-free. I have to exercise four to five days a week for 45 minutes. I have to drink half my body weight a day in water, in ounces.”
One of her favorite recipes is actually not in the cookbook, but she generously provided it: peanut butter chocolate chip bacon cookies.
“I never would have drummed up the combination before my diagnosis,” she said, “but let me tell you, it is a grand slam.”
She uses fresh peanut butter made from only peanuts. That’s one of the things she learned on her journey to becoming a no- sugar baker.
“Peanut butter, I always thought that was healthy,” she said. “I looked at the jar, and it is full of sugar. ... It made my glucose level go off the charts.”
She also started buying a sweetener called Swerve. In addition to being available as granular, confectioners and brown “sugar” ingredients, the product line includes cookie, cake and pancake/waffle mixes.
“Here’s the skinny,” she said. “(Swerve) doesn’t raise my blood sugar at all and doesn’t taste like crap. Win! I found it literally by luck at the grocery store when I was saying, ‘Dear God, I need an answer.’”
Jones has become an online star with her blog, No Sugar Baker, and every Saturday, more than 40,000 viewers tune in to her live cooking demonstrations on Facebook. Her cookbook is available at nosugarbaker.com.
Contact the writer: 636-0271.