Sugar Free is not a dirty word.
So here I am, completed my eighth week! 5 weeks has flown by since my last entry.
I really feel like I have kicked the sugar addiction and thru Easter!!! A few things I noticed:
The cravings have greatly vanished if not gone!
If I do crave something sweet, mainly at night, I have cheese and crackers or yoghurt with granola and some rice malt syrup. This curbs the craving. I also feel my food palette has changed to a more savoury flavour.
I have a freakish amount of energy!
4 kids and hubby, plus a household to run I feel amazing. I’m up early and am ok with that. Prior to this I was not a morning person. I would literally stumble and be in pain getting out of bed! Now I literally jump up, ready to start the day.
I really do have 3 meals, if not, less a day.
At first when I read this I thought it was an absolute joke! I would previously eat voraciously – breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, desert and snack…plus all the snacking during the day!!
This was the game changer for me. To not be snacking and feel fulfilled with food was a first time for me. Sugar makes you crave more sugar, and you always feel hungry, the loop never stops!
Once this all kicked in, the weight starting coming off although this was not my primary goal, it was welcomed! I wanted this bad boy out of my life or at least be able to recognise the devil in disguise. And my word, what disguises he wears in our food! I’ve never read so many back packets of food items to see sugar content in everything. I really recommend the book Sweet Poison or I Quit Sugar to go in more detail about this drug!!
No Mid afternoon sugar lull!
Yep just loads of energy!!!!
No bloating issues
To tell you the truth, I did not know I was bloated until I came off sugar. And now I’m thinking I’ve been bloated for most of my life and just got used to that feeling. Used to feeling sluggish, sleepy after food, and never really feeling full. I’m pretty sure I don’t want to go back to feeling like that.
I’m off Diet Sodas and initially was drinking 1-2 cans a day!
I’ve found water to be the most beautiful drink to drink! And I did have an epiphany in the supermarket, I was thirsty and saw all the cold sodas lined up in the fridge and not one of them appealed to me! I just wanted cold water, and I’m so happy that has stuck. I drink about 2-3 litres a day whereas prior I couldn’t even drink more than 2 glasses a day! And to drink a litre was hell.
My husband has noticed my skin looks great and that my mood has been upbeat 🙂 lucky for him!!
My initial few weeks of withdrawal was hard! The physical ailments were joint pains, headaches and swelling in my hands, the mental ailments were much harder, sugar on my mind 24/7, craving a soda hit…like a true addict!!
This journey has led me to look at eating food holistically. I attended a Raw Food Festival which I seriously would have scoffed at a few weeks ago. My favourite shop is now the health food store where I can spend hours perusing. I check the back labels on all the food I buy for us as a family. Sugar Free Baking has given me a challenge to take on. The kids have noticed a change too, and are happily eating healthier.
I feel that I am no longer controlled by food. I survived through Easter by making my own sugar free Easter Buns and Homemade chocolate. I did have two choc macarons as a test. No guilt about it, I only had two and stopped, didn’t really want anymore and here I was surrounded by chocolate on Easter. I made up my mind about it and followed thru. Self control with sweet things was something I did not have prior.
I’m really thinking I could incorporate this into our daily lives for good. We are more conscious as a family of what we are putting in our bodies. Once you realise that apple juice contains 7 teaspoons of sugar, you just can’t ‘unlearn’ that stuff, as Sarah says, and it is true. I was also really worried that I couldn’t be a good baker if I could not work with sugar, but I think I’ve become a better baker, a more creative baker.
A great video that started my food journey was FOODMATTERS and I’d like to give one away to someone who also wants to relook at their relationship with food. So leave a comment below of why you want to change and I’ll post it to you wherever you are in the world!!
Sugar Free Hot Cross Buns
For the dough
450g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
2 x 7g sachets easy-blend yeast
150ml warm milk
1 egg, beaten
50g unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
oil, for greasing
The spices and dried fruit
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp mixed spice
100g mixed dried fruit
60mls cold water
1 tbsp canola oil
4 tbsp rice malt syrup
1 tbsp water
Put the dry ingredients (flour, yeast, caster sugar and 1 tsp salt) into a large bowl add the spices and dried fruit and mix well.
Make a well in the centre and pour in the warm milk, 50ml warm water, the beaten egg and the melted butter. Mix everything together to form a dough – start with a wooden spoon and finish with your hands. If the dough is too dry, add a little more warm water; if it’s too wet, add more flour.
Knead in the bowl or on a floured surface until the dough becomes smooth and springy. I kneaded for approx 5 min in the bowl. Transfer to a clean, lightly greased bowl and cover loosely cling wrap. Leave in a warm place to rise until roughly doubled in size – this will take about 1 hr depending on how warm the room is.
Tip the risen dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for a few secs, then divide into 12 even portions
Shape each portion into a smooth round and place on a baking sheet greased with butter, leaving some room between each bun for it to rise approx 1cm
Cover with the damp tea towel again and leave in a warm place to prove for 20 mins until almost doubled in size again. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.
When the buns are ready to bake, mix the plain flour, oil, and water to make a thick paste. Spoon into a piping bag (or into a plastic food bag and snip the corner off) and pipe a white cross onto the buns in one continued motion. Bake for 12-15 mins until the buns are golden and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. While still warm, heat 4 tbsp rice malt syrup with sugar with 1 tbsp water in a small pan, then brush over the buns.
Kale Chip Popcorn
A bunch of kale washed well (or however much you would like to eat)
Popcorn – I do stovetop
**i also added Parmesan to the leaves **
Preheat oven to 175c/350f
De stem Kale and with paper towels pat dry them well
Place baking paper on baking sheet
Add leaves to sheet and drizzle well with olive oil, salt and Parmesan
Put in the oven for approx 15 min but check after 10 as they cook quick and burnt Kale is horrid!!
Crush in a mortar and pestle when done, or with your hands and sprinkle over popcorn
Coconut Banana Bread
Adapted from http://www.thehealthychef.com/2013/07/banana-chia-coconut-bread/
Makes 1 loaf
400 g (14 oz) ripe banana
5 free range / organic eggs
4 fresh pitted dates (see notes)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
60 ml (2 fl oz/ 1/4 cup) macadamia nut oil, coconut oil or cold pressed olive oil
half teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons gluten free baking powder
70 g ( 1/2 cup/ 2 1/2 oz) ) coconut flour
20 g (1/4 cup / 1 oz) chia seed (see notes)
1.Preheat the oven to 150 C. (fan forced) 170 C ( no fan)
2. Combine banana, dates, oil, cinnamon, vanilla, eggs and baking powder into a blender or food processor and blend until creamy and combined – alternatively you can do this by hand in a large bowl.
3. Add the coconut flour and chia seeds and mix through.
4. Rest for 10 minutes to allow the chia and coconut flour to expand and work its magic
5. Lightly oil one loaf tin and then line with baking paper – The size I used was: 10 1/2 cm wide and 26 cm long.
Bake for 50 – 55 minutes ( a skewer inserted into the centre should come out dry).
Cover the top with foil if over-browning.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool before turning out the loaf.
Makes 1 loaf serves 12.
keeps in the fridge covered for up to 1 week. (freezes well too)
Just a quick Easter Recipe!
This was made before my sugar free days and I’ll probably make it post sugar free but with sugar free ingredients 🙂
This is a lovely one for easter
A Paul Hollywood Special!
Recipe found here http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/apricot_couronne_12975
I’m into week 3 of my Sugar Free Experience, and surprisingly surviving! I won’t lie, the first 2 weeks were crappy, great, crappy, and great again!
I’ve noticed cravings slowly disappear. I see a bottle of cold water in the supermarket and want it! I’m drinking around 2-3 litres of water a day, I would struggle drinking 1 litre prior to this experiment, but could easily drink 1 litre of Coke daily. I attended a Raw Food Festival which normally I would have scoffed at! And my child actually said, ‘Mum, can I have the last piece of raw cacao tart!’.
If anything the boundless energy I have is ridiculous but very welcoming – with 4 kids I need to be on my game! As the weeks have progressed I’m definitely eating less and less. And if I snack it’s nuts and yoghurt. The hardest part of the 8 weeks is no fruit! However, I have a handful of berries in my morning smoothies which I think is ok, if not, well too bad! When the sugar craving kicks in, mainly in the evening I eat cheese, lots of cheese and it does help.
Lastly I’ve definitely lost weight! An added perk to not eating sugar! My local Barista said to me one morning, ‘wow, you look great!’ and then proceeded to give me 2 free meringues! Oh the irony 🙂
Sugar Free Paleo Sweet Potato Bread
Adapted here http://www.thehealthychef.com/2012/07/paleo-pumpkin-bread-2/
450 g (15.8 oz/ 3 cups) grated raw sweet potato
4 whole organic or free-range eggs
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup (60 ml/ 2 fl oz)) olive or macadamia nut or cold pressed coconut oil
2 teaspoons gluten free baking powder
3 cups (300g/ 10 1/2 oz) fine almond meal
1 tablespoon rice malt syrup (optional )
pumpkin and pepita seeds to sprinkle on top (optional)
Preheat Oven 150/160 degrees fan forced/ 180 degrees no fan
Line a loaf tin with baking paper –
1. In a bowl combine all the ingredients Except Almond Meal and baking powder. Give it a good mix and stir.
2. Slowly add the Almond meal and baking powder – Mix well
3. Pour into loaf tin and sprinkle pumpkin and pepita seeds on top
Bake for 1.5 hours but check after 1 hour. It’s a heavy beautiful loaf!! Remove it from the oven and let it rest for 1hour and cool before you take it out.
Ms Skinny Booty Bakes
I’m currently embarking on a sugar free 8 weeks!! What! No! Huh? Why?!! Hi, my name is Izzy and I have a sugar addiction.
I’ve known this for a while, many years in fact. I’ve always pushed it aside, let it lovingly overpower me. When I was younger it was easier to handle, I could eat whatever, burn it all off, and feel fine. Now in my late thirties (well, not too late) the cravings are harder to stop, pregnancy was an excuse to fulfil that craving…and well, I’ve been pregnant 4 times so go figure!!!
I’ve always walked past Sarah Wilson’s book, ‘I Quit Sugar’ but have never had the strength to peruse it! So I slowly started making raw chocolates and energy balls which opened up a whole new dimension of baking and cooking I never really considered.
So to make my long story short, I’m giving up sugar for 8 weeks and following Sarah’s program. My first week has come to an end, and reflecting back it was a good week. The first 2 days were hard with sugar withdrawals, and I went cold turkey on the Coke Zero! She states you need 8 weeks to realign your body, and withdraw from sugar. After this time you can slowly introduce sugar ie fruits etc but you may loose the craving altogether, if not, you finish the weeks being a more informed consumer, which for me is priceless!!
So bare with me, a few more weeks of sugar free and low sugar recipes!!
Peace Ms Skinny Booty Bakes
Wholemeal Spelt Hot Cross Buns
**Adapted from The Complete Book of Baking, New Holland**
560g Wholemeal Spelt Flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cardamom
1tsp crushed cloves
4 star anise crushed
1 tsp salt
6 Tbsp of rice malt syrup
10g instant dry yeast
**i wish I added raw cacao nibs, but I didn’t ** if you are thinking about it I’d put approx 150g
1 egg beaten
Flour Paste for Crosses
75g Wholemeal flour or any flour you on hand
5 Tbsp of water
2 tsp sugar ( I used Stevia for ‘no sugar’ recipe)
2tbsp sugar ( stevia)
In a small saucepan heat milk, rice malt syrup and butter together, then slightly cool
Sift flour and spices and add cacao nibs. Add salt to one end of the bowl and dry yeast to other, as sometimes the salt can inhibit the yeast and effect the rise of the dough.
Pour slowly the egg and milk mixture into dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon in a clockwise direction until it forms a rustic looking dough ball.
Once ball has formed take out of bowl and knead on a lightly floured surface. Knead for approx 10 minutes until smooth.
Cover and leave in a warm place for about 1 hour until it has doubled in size
(I actually did a slow rise – I placed plastic wrap on it and put it in the fridge overnight for breakie the next day)
Once dough has doubled in size knead again for a few minutes until smooth
Divide into 8 medium sized balls and place on baking paper quite close together, and put on a baking sheet. Cover and leave for 10 minutes in a warm place, or until buns have risen
Mix flour and sugar together and add enough water to form a smooth paste
Place the paste in a zip lock bag, snip the end and make crosses on the buns alternatively you can place in a piping bag with a small round tip and pipe crosses.
Bake in a preheated oven at 190c /375F for 15-20 minutes
Heat milk and sugar without boiling. Turn buns on a wire rack and brush with hot glaze.
I never had Dagwood Dogs at the Ekka! I can remember eating them, less then a handful of times in my life, at random places – a carnival, a fair, a dodgy food van! But my version of this dish is a little bit special!! I’ve used Polenta and Parmesan, so there is texture and taste! And Polenta is healthy right???!!!!!
I don’t have deep fryer so had to fry it in my frypan, which didn’t give it the lovely round edge shape it’s supposed to have, still tasty though, and tastes just like the one you get at the carnival!
Traditionally with hot dogs/frankfurters but I also used some gourmet sausages too. Just make sure you cook them first!
Adapted from Diner by Adam Levins
1 cup polenta or cornmeal
1 cup plain flour
1/4 cup flour put aside
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup Parmesan
4 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup milk
8 hot dogs (frankfurts)
vegetable oil, to deep-fry
8 x 20 cm wooden skewers
tomato sauce (ketchup) and American mustard, to serve
Pat the frankfurters dry on a paper towel and put aside.
1. Add all the dry ingredients together in a large deep mixing bowl – Place polenta, 1 cup flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, parmesan, cayenne pepper, sugar and ½ tsp salt in a bowl and stir to combine.
2. Stir in egg, then, gradually stir in enough milk to make a smooth, thick batter.
Fill a deep-fryer or large saucepan one-third full with oil and heat over medium heat to 180°C (or until a cube of bread turns golden in 10 seconds). Place remaining 1/4 cup flour in a shallow bowl and, working with one hot dog at a time, dust in flour, shaking off the excess, then, holding one end of the hot dog with tongs, coat liberally in batter. Gently drop into oil and fry for 4 minutes, turning halfway, or until crisp and golden. Drain on paper towel.
Thread corn dogs onto skewers leaving approx 5cm sticking out one end. Serve immediately with tomato sauce and mustard.
2 Granola Recipes
I’ve scoured the Internet for some great granola recipes and it came down to these two. I make them at last every week and eat it with Greek Yogurt in the morning, as a snack, and late at night!! The first recipe is with maple syrup and the second with a roast nectarine fruit purée with honey and rice malt syrup. Depending on how I’m feeling or what I have in the pantry I play around with these 2 core recipes!! Which ever way you go, I’m hoping these do not disappoint!
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds, hulled
1 cup raw sunflower seeds, hulled
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup mixed nuts
1/4 cup raw pecans, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup walnuts
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
Preheat oven to 300 degrees
Place oats, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut, pecans, walnuts, syrup, olive oil, sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl and mix until well combined. Spread granola mixture in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Transfer to oven and bake, stirring every 10 minutes, until granola is toasted, about 45 minutes.
Remove granola from oven and season with salt. Let cool completely before serving or storing in an airtight container for up to 1 month.
**I sometimes throw shelled hempseed in the mix or add raw cacao! Go nuts…literally! **
Granola Recipe 2
This is a slight adaption of the first with Nigella’s Granola. The added puréed fruit is pure gold! It really adds another dimension to the granola and you can use any fruit in season!!
450 grams rolled oats
120 grams sunflower seeds
60grams white sesame seeds
60grams black sesame (optional do 120g of white sesame if that’s all you have)
175 grams nectarine purée (or apple compote, I roasted approx 8 nectarines )
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
120 grams rice malt syrup (or brown rice syrup, or failing that golden syrup)
4 tablespoons clover honey (or other runny honey)
100 grams soft light brown sugar
250 grams mixed nuts
1 teaspoon maldon salt
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
150 grams raisins
150 grams cranberries
**again you really can use what nuts and dried fruit you have in your pantry. What makes this granola so good and different from the rest is the roasted fruit. You can always use what is in season – plums, nectarines, apricots! **
approx 7/8 nectarines/175g of your choice of fruit halved and pitted
1 tablespoon sugar
1. Heat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Place Nectarine cut side up on sheet, and sprinkle with sugar. Bake until soft and some juices run off, about 15 minutes.
Keep in a sealed plastic container until required.
1. Mix everything including the roasted nectarines, except the raisins and cranberries together very well in a large mixing bowl. I use a wooden spoon or spatulas
2. Spread this mixture out on two baking tins or 1 large (the sort that come with ovens, and are about the width of a rack) and bake in a gas mark 3/170°C/300-325ºF oven, turning over about halfway through baking and re-distributing the granola evenly during the baking process. The object is to get it evenly golden without toasting too much in any one place. This should take anything from about 40 – 50 minutes. I use a gas oven, which doesn’t brown as fast as an electric one, so often leave it in for up to an hour.
Once it’s baked, allow to cool and mix together with the raisins and cranberries. Store airtight.
The roasted fruit adds a beautiful depth to the granola, and also lovely roasted pieces of nectarine in the mix.