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8 Weeks Sugar Free & a Giveaway!

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!!

Peace xxxx

Sugar Free Hot Cross Buns

For the dough
450g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
2 x 7g sachets easy-blend yeast
50g stevia
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

To decorate
70g flour
60mls cold water
1 tbsp canola oil
Topping
4 tbsp rice malt syrup
1 tbsp water

Method

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.

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Kale Chip Popcorn

Ingredients
A bunch of kale washed well (or however much you would like to eat)
Olive oil
Sea salt
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

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Coconut Banana Bread
Adapted from http://www.thehealthychef.com/2013/07/banana-chia-coconut-bread/

Recipe
Makes 1 loaf
Serves 12
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)

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