Category Archives: Sugar free

Healthy Cookie Cutter Cookies (with a sugar free option)

This recipe is an adaption of the Butternut Cookies on the I Quit Sugar blog. The original recipe was okay, but the coconut flour gives it that horrid dry mouth feel, and the recipe uses a whole jar of cashew butter. I don’t know about you, but I can’t afford to spend $6 on just one ingredient for a batch of cookies.

This adaption makes a flaky, buttery, pastry-like cookie. The girls devoured them, so that’s always a good sign.

Ingredients

  • 300g spelt flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 4 tsp rapadura sugar (or xylitol for sugar free)
  • pinch of salt
  • 50g cashew butter
  • 100g butter (or nutlex for dairy free)
  • 2 tbs coconut oil
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2.5 tsp vanilla extract

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180c, and get a baking tray ready
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl
  3. In a small saucepan, melt the cashew butter, butter and coconut oil. Make sure it is over a very low heat.
  4. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the butter mix, eggs and vanilla essence. Stir well.
  5. At this stage you should probably rest the dough in the fridge a little bit, but we just went right ahead and rolled it. Up to you.
  6. Roll out half the dough between two sheets of baking paper, until it is about 4mm thick
  7. Using cookie cutters, cut out the biscuits and use an egg flip to lift them gently onto the baking tray.
  8. Bake in the oven until golden brown and crispy. (Sorry I didn’t time it. We did a basic clean-up and read two books if it helps)
  9. Allow to cool on the tray

NOTE: I froze the other half of the dough so we have some ready for another day.

 

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A yummy and healthy cookie cutter cookie. Yes we added sprinkles to this batch

 

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Filed under Activities for Toddlers, Snacks for Children, Sugar free, Toddler snacks

Quitting sugar: week 3 and beyond

I must apologize for dropping the ball on my sugar free diary. It has been really popular, and friends have now resorted to calling me to see how I am going. Life got busy, Easter came and we went away, I got exhausted and depressed, so yeah the diary went out the window. At long last I present you with week 3 and beyond…

Week 3 was the last week of super-strict sugar free eating. I found it quite challenging again, and I am sure that Easter chocolates bombarding me anytime I left the house didn’t help. When you quit sugar, you really see how much these foods are in your face every time you go to the shops. It’s a little depressing, and enough to make a ranty lady like myself get angry. Anyway, I stuck to my guns and arrived on the other side of Easter having completed 3 (intense) weeks of no sugar AT ALL! High 5’s to me please! I am really proud I achieved that, and I must thank the Tradie for his support in making it happen.

So what now? I have decided to stay fairly strict. Whenever I add some fruit in, or allow myself to use rice malt syrup, I find I have a lot more cravings. It is actually easier for me to be strict. These are my guidelines now.

  • No foods with more than 6 grams of sugar per 100g (although I really try for under 4g/100g)
  • The only sweeteners I use are xylitol and rice malt syrup – nothing else
  • Very limited fruit. One piece every couple of days

My taste buds have changed, and I have lots of interesting experiences with food now. Pre-quitting I LOVED sweet, strong black tea. Once the 3 weeks was over I added some xylitol to my tea, and sat back ready to savour it. And it was nice. I found that I wanted more. Badly. What I wanted was the sweet taste. If I drink my tea with no sweetener, then I am satisfied after 1 cup. Add some sweetness and I am hooked again, and need more. So back to plain tea and milk for me.

I love being sugar free. It suits me perfectly, and is something I will continue with. I thoroughly recommend trying it, and the Sarah Wilson book is a great reference to have. Do I think it suits everyone? No. I think it best suits true sugar addicts. If you eat an entire block of chocolate in one sitting, if you can have ridiculously sweet dessert and want more, if a tub of ice cream is a one sitting event, then yup I think you should give it a try. If you can eat half a slice of cake and be satisfied, then you are probably okay with sugar.

My last little comment is on anxiety and sugar. When I got back from Melbourne I had terrible anxiety and depression again. Desperately seeking anything to make me feel better I ate half a bag of mini-mars bars the Tradie had in the cupboard. It actually fueled shocking panic attacks. If you have anxiety, it is well worth remembering that the effects sugar has on your blood sugar can exacerbate your moods.

So now I can proudly say I live a sugar free life. I promise to not turn into a smug wanker when we have coffee though.

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Quitting sugar: week 1

I’ve decided to write a weekly report while I go through the quitting sugar process. I should have done this the first time around, as I had heaps of great tips to share. The first time I did the protocol set out by the Healthy Home Economist. It was great, but as I don’t eat much junk food and make nearly all my own treats, for me the first 3 steps were all combined into one. This time around I’m trying the I Quit Sugar program, set out in Sarah Wilson’s book. So far, I’m loving her book. It’s got an impressive amount of helpful recipes, and the info is what I would share with my clients.

The I Quit Sugar program is 8 weeks, but the first two weeks are unstructured and based on cutting down on sugar and increasing good fats. I’m skipping them as I want to jump in now! So I’m starting at week 3: cutting out sugar cold turkey.

Day One

It’s just past lunchtime on the first day, and so far so good. The key to the early days is to eat, eat, eat. Don’t let yourself get hungry, as it’s so much harder. Lots of protein and fat based snacks. I love macadamias as they have a great natural sweetness too.

Well, in the run-up to dinner I was no where near as zen as after lunch. I was hungry, grumpy and wondering at a sugar free diet that excludes fruit. I have to admit, I don’t personally feel that fruit ever needs to be removed, but I’ve decided to challenge that belief and follow the Sarah Wilson program properly. It was so weird to not share a plate of fruit with my girls at afternoon tea! Anyway I have learnt another valuable lesson: you need to be really organised in the early days. Not having myself a snack ready at afternoon tea made the lead up to dinner unbearable. To succeed at this you really do need to have the following:
-Your cupboard well stocked with sugar free supplies
-Have your day meal planned the day before
-Have several snacks in your handbag (I learnt that the hard way)

I’m planning to end tonight with some natural peanut butter and cacao powder mixed into warm milk. Mmmm sugar free isn’t too bad!

Day Two

Okay see that statement above; the naively hopeful one about sugar free not being too bad. Yeah, that comment can just fuck off. Today has been hell. The only thing that has got me through is eating my body weight in fresh bread and butter. To not even eat fruit is just crazy! I feel rubbish, and my body is telling me I’m starving, even when I’m not. I tried Sarah’s suggestion of tossing toasted walnuts and cinnamon over yoghurt – it was awful. I choked down 3/4 of the bowl and then admitted defeat. I actually like natural yoghurt, but it needs some fruit at least. I just walked past Sarah smiling from the front cover of her book as I went to write this. For a moment I wanted to physically harm her! (to be fair it’s the first day of my period. I would harm cute kittens today if they messed with me).

The good thing about today is it has strengthened my resolve to see this through. For me to feel so strongly about quitting sugar shows me what a problem I have with it. I have eaten a ton of food all day, so it’s not low blood sugar. This is something I do need to do. I’m keen to see what my palate and food choices are like once I can relax the program a bit.

My tip for today is again about being prepared. Whenever I have had a craving today it has been when I am most busy. Normally I would mindlessly grab something sugar laden, like a muesli bar, but today I had no quick solution and no time to think of one. Tomorrow I’m going to write a list for the fridge. I’m going to include sweet vegetables like carrot and red capsicum, a yummy spread like macadamia butter and cacao and a fat fix of olive tapenade on rice cakes. These little treats would have got me through today, and had I made the list already would possibly have saved the bread from becoming a casualty of the sugar war.

Day 3

Hell. Just pure hell.

Day 4

I felt a lot more in control today, and my every waking thought was not on sugar like it was yesterday. I made a list of healthy snack options for the fridge too, which helped me find food options when a craving hit.

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This is my list of non-sugar quick food options. Pretty basic, but all filling and easy to make in a flash. The frozen peas were great!

Day 5

Today has been really good. I’m in control of my cravings and have had steady energy all day. The biggest change I’ve got so far is an awareness of how much I mistake hunger for a sugar craving. There are so many points during the day where I snack on a muesli bar, a huge bowl of yoghurt with honey or chocolate thinking I’m hungry. Really I’m not though, I’m craving sugar. I had no idea this was occurring! My eyes have really opened. I’m looking forward to the next couple of weeks, and having my body come back into balance.

Day 6

Tonight was my birthday party; a traditional Sri Lankan feast! I was really excited about today as I had planned to indulge in the Sri Lankan desserts. All day I was wondering what they would be like. When the dessert was served though I had NO desire to eat it. I can normally annihilate a dessert in record time, but I didn’t even taste it until an hour later. Even then I had two tiny bites of one, and one bite of the other and was done. This is a massive turn around for me, and has completely convinced me I am doing the right thing.

Day 7

Today I am having some sugar cravings, but I find it quite manageable now. I’m going to have a bowl of raw nuts now, and some vegie sticks. This seems like a treat! I’m completely sold on the sugar free lifestyle change.

Overall this has been the most amazing journey. I started slightly skeptical on the benefit of such a strict 3 week quitting period, now I am totally sold. I am finding it easy to do now at day 7, and my relationship with food is changing. The most surprising aspect of this last week is realising how often I eat a snack when I’m not really hungry. I will often have a muesli bar, a big bowl of yoghurt with honey or some chocolate because I thought I was hungry. Now I realise I wasn’t hungry – I was craving sugar! 

I am really excited to see what changes the next 2 weeks bring.

 

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Quick craving buster: choc-coco-nut crackers

I almost didn’t post today, as things have been so busy. Quitting sugar has still being hard today, and I finally caved and sent hubby to the shops to get some xylitol, but alas he came home empty handed. Desperate, I rummaged through the cupboards and came up with a quick treat. I didn’t have high expectations, but it was amazing. My sugar craving is totally gone and it took less than a minute to put together.

Method
Mix together a heaped spoon of natural peanut butter (I used crunchy), 1/2 spoon of cacao and 1/2 spoon of coconut oil. Spread over a plain corn thin or rice cake. Devour!

That’s it! So simple, but really satisfying. I’ll be making these for the girls to eat at snack time tomorrow. You could use any nut butter you like. Try almond for a calcium boost.

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A quick update

It’s been awhile since I lasted posted, so I thought I would give everyone a quick update, before I bomb you with posts all April. I’ve decided to take up a 30-day blog challenge, with the key goal of posting every day. There are so many things I want to post, so hopefully this is the inspiration to stop thinking about it and actually do it.

So, how are you feeling?

The funny thing about being so open about my post natal depression, is that everyone asks me this question is such a new way. It’s amazing how much tone and inflection can change a question! Anyway, to answer, I’m really good. A couple of months ago I had a crazy-bad set back, which saw me become almost as sick as I was at the start. In response to this my doc added a new medication, which has been fantastic for me. It’s totally changed my life around. I still feel a bit weird swallowing pills, when I’ve dedicated my life to natural medicine, but hey, sometimes a girl just needs to make these decisions. I was really resisting this drug, as its known to make people gain weight, but it has been so good for me. Any weight gain has been offset by my finally feeling like I can live healthily again.

I’m quitting sugar: take two

So you remember the resolve to quit sugar? Well that went really, really well. Until it didn’t. Christmas threw me a massive curve ball, by seeing my in-laws fridge stocked with 3 types of cheesecake and a few other assorted baked goods. My mother-in-law makes great cheesecake. I felt awful every time I ate sugar for about two months after quitting, but like all good addicts I kept at it (insert sheepish face here). I was never quite able to quit it again. Well the time is nigh, the motivation is at peak levels and tomorrow I go cold turkey again. While I have PMS. Please forgive me if I start yelling obscenities at others; it’s the (lack of) sugar talking. Seriously though, I am really excited. You will probably hear a lot about this.

My babies are getting big. 

I now have a 3 year old and an 18 month old. How did that happen? I am still unwilling to advise anyone to have children close together (seriously, don’t do it!), but it is getting easier. I look forward to updating you on some of the cool things we are doing lately. A big addition to our family has been 6 laying hens. The girls adore them, and I adore producing another food in our own yard.

That’s it for now….

It’s time for me to sign off, and get some sleep. But stay tuned, and hopefully you will see a lot more posts soon.

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Filed under Post natal depression, Sugar free

Going sugar free

Today I started to give up sugar. Hooray!

You might be thinking that a naturopath giving up sugar is not exactly blog worthy news, but I have a dirty little secret. I am a closet sugar abuser. Note that I didn’t say addict. I actually don’t think I am an addict per se (is that something an addict would say?), but I do have a sweet tooth and I use sugar as an emotional crutch. Being currently sleep deprived and having PND means I am using that crutch A LOT at the moment. I don’t feel my healthy best any more and as much as I have excuses for why that is, valid excuses in some cases, my diet is a big contributor. So it’s time to kick the habit.

What really spurred me on was this fantastic plan I found for quitting sugar. The steps are basically as follows:

  1. Replace all refined sugars with natural sweeteners
  2. Increase good fats in your diet
  3. Stop buying any pre-made foods with natural sugars, but you can make your own
  4. Reduce daily sugar load (from natural forms) to 36grams or less

Now this is a plan I can follow! The idea of going instantly sugar free is just too traumatic to me, and unrealistic given my current situation. The tradie is also a terrible sugar junkie, so I feel this plan is workable for me given that temptation lurks in our fridge and cupboard.

So today is the big day, and so far I already have two tips to share.

  1. This one comes from my very good friend, who has advised me to eat, eat, eat! Making a diet change requires lots of will power at any time, but try it on an empty tummy or on ‘diet’ sized portions and you are asking for trouble. This little tip has already paid off me today. At morning tea we attended a kids party. The sight of all the cupcakes and treats almost had me changing the start day to tomorrow! However I filled up on the healthy sandwiches and the sugar cravings came under control.
  2. Prepare your house. Learn from my mistake; clear ALL the temptation out of your house before you start. Not only do I have all the tradie’s treats staring at me when I open the fridge, there is 2 types of juice, home made gingerbread, and an amazing rhubarb compote all begging to be eaten. If I had any sense I would got rid of all this stuff. I’ll be honest, I’m probably going to eat the compote (it’s rhubarb compote people!), but the juice and gingerbread have to go. If, like me, you have a sugar addict in the house who is not quitting with you, then ask them not to buy your favourite treats in the early stages.

So what natural sweeteners?

I have chosen three to start with. I might write a post comparing some of the natural sweeteners another time if people are interested. For now I’ll keep it basic.

  • Honey: raw unprocessed honey is such a super food and a favourite with my kids. When not heated it has antimicrobial and healing effects on the body.
  • Maple syrup: most maple syrup is organic and wild crafted. It goes through minimal processing: basically just extracted from the tree through a tap, filtered and warmed slightly.
  • Jaggery (also known as palm sugar, which is not to be compared to coconut palm sugar): jaggery is another unrefined sweetener normally extracted as a juice from palm trees and evaporated to make a crystalline solid. I grew up eating palm sugar, so I really wanted this one instead of similar alternatives like rapadura or coconut sugar. Another reason it that it is so much cheaper. You buy it in a block, and just grate it or buzz it in a processor to get a fine sugar.

I’ll be blogging a lot on this topic, as I feel there is so much I am going to learn and be able to pass on. I hope you might even join me!

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Filed under Mummy health and wellbeing, Nutrition, Sugar free

Fresh pineapple icy poles

Icy poles are all the rage in our house, since the discovery of the tea icy poles The other day I wanted to make some with fruit, so I whipped up these beauties. They taste great, and got a big thumbs up from Boo.

Ingredients
1 small pineapple, core removed.
1/4-1/2 cup of coconut cream
Filtered water

Method
Blend the pineapple with half the coconut cream, once it’s a liquid taste and keep adding coconut cream to taste. I find the pineapple taste intensifies when frozen, so keep that in mind. Once you have your perfect pineapple-coconut ratio, add a small amount of filtered water and blend again. Pour into moulds and freeze.

I love that this method uses the whole fruit, not just the juice, so you still get the fibre. Eat the core yourself, as it’s rich in Bromelain, a potent antiinflammatory

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