Thursday, 25 October 2012

No Accounting For Taste

I've developed a little panel of people who are busy tasting my no sugar baking 'experiments'! I've become a 'treat fairy' around Wetherby, leaving paper plates with a variety of (what I think are) goodies on doorsteps as I'm passing.
John tries everything first but he's used to me and my eating and he now chooses to eat in a similar way. Took a while to get there but men are so pliable!!! That's a joke by the way, just in case he reads this... He's lost his sweet tooth to a large extent and really does enjoy virtually everything I make. Although one of department heads gives out chocolate as a reward for good work(that would so make me work harder, not!! ) and he does enjoy this!
What I've found from my panel is that the biggest successes have come from the food that tastes the sweetest or the richest in terms of flavour. Texture is a biggy ..... too lumpy, too soggy, too earthy ; Pete (chief taster)even described one of my earlier biscuit concoctions as only suitable for cattle feed and that was largely down to texture! I like him so I let him off.
Appearance is obviously a big deal too- colour can be very appealing or not, and appearance can also be very deceptive- chocolate treats can look heavenly but when it's 100% cocoa can taste very bitter and give the taste buds a shock.
Overall though, the recipes that John and I have really liked the look, texture ,and taste, of have been the most popular. Red velvet cake scored a whopping 9/10 (average), and the same for the chocolate tart. Pecan pieces and macaroons did similarly well, and date and cinnamon loaf was up there near the top. All good stuff.
And they haven't even tasted almond bread yet... delicious warm with butter(see photograph) . That was a real find for me because I hadn't had bread for months and did feel slightly deprived in that department.
So, today I'm creating a whole host of recipes to be let loose on a dozen people tomorrow at some friends get together..... hope they're open minded and haven't got too sweet a tooth!
Anyone who would like to join the tasting panel and lives locally, or works in an office and has a group who may be interested please do let me know.
Have a great Friday.... Honey meringues first up today.... Rx

Monday, 22 October 2012

Sugar : The Enemy?

Everyone (at least I think everyone) is aware that sugar doesn't do you any good. We all know, don't we, that it's empty calories , no nutrition food ... But that it tastes really good!
My eight year old ,Nat, says to me frequently " Mummy, if sugar is so bad for us then why do they make it taste so nice?". Good question.
There's no doubting that it tastes great, there's no doubting that refined sugar is extremely versatile and used in many, many processed foods now to enhance flavour; cheaply.
But eating lots of sugar comes at a price: a sharp rise and fall in blood sugar, regular headaches, IBS, teeth problems, eczema, psoriasis, reflux, indigestion, obesity, diabetes, constipation, diarrhoea... to name but a few health challenges that sugar can be heavily involved in.
It also promotes premature ageing of the skin by damaging collagen and elastin, the building blocks of skin. A sugar rich diet can make collagen brittle and dry leading to wrinkles and sagging, so if you're a smoker, a drinker, and a sunbather, beware!! (I admit to being all of these a good few years ago...)
I talk to my kids regularly about the 80/20 rule- if they eat good stuff 80% of the time, then they can eat sugary stuff the other 20% of the time- sounds good to me! But the challenge comes from 'hidden' sugar. Starting to look at the labels of the foods you're buying is a good start in making you aware of the huge number of products that contain sugar in its many guises: maltose, sucrose, maple syrup, golden syrup, erthyritol, fructose, white sugar, palm sugar, Demerara sugar, dextrose, high fructose corn syrup ( and anything else ending in 'ose').
So to cut back on sugar we need to watch foods other than the obvious; cereals, rice, pasta, cakes, biscuits, crackers and crispbreads, yoghurts (generally nothing more than liquid candy!) and alcohol.
Reducing highly refined products and substituting for more dense foods particularly proteins such as eggs, fish and chicken will help curb sugar cravings and leave you fuller for longer. If you go for six smaller meals throughout the day instead of three larger ones this can also help to
balance blood sugar keeping energy levels consistent thoughout the day.
I remember that 3-4pm energy 'slump' and how I'd grab the nearest fast food to pick me up and get me through my working day. Now I use foods such as nuts and seeds, alongside fruit, between meals, and my moods are way better!!
Apple and a handful of toasted almonds can taste yummy when you get used to it, as can a punnet of strawberries with some
sunflower seeds. Try it for a week and see how much better you feel.
I think the biggest deal with all of his is becoming more aware. Often we blindly feed food into our mouths without thinking for one moment of the consequences. Doing this occasionally is fine, but several times a day, every day of the week, month and year over many years will definitely take its toll in some way shape or form... Food for thought?
Check out my snack today ... Yum and nothing to upset blood sugar levels just antioxidants in the 100% chocolate and also in the green apple.

Friday, 19 October 2012


Last night Lauren and Nat wanted to bake. They sat at the kitchen table pouring over recipe books and exclaiming over cakes, buns, biscuits all full of refined sugars and syrups.
Settling on ginger biscuits (thank goodness as it was already 7.15pm) we set about making them.
I don't have refined sugar in my kitchen as I never use it so we improvised abit and they were happy to mix up the biscuit dough together.
I'm discovering that there are so many ingredients that can be used instead of refined sugars and the taste they offer is just fabulous. If you have trained yourself over the years to have an extremely sweet tooth (as I did) it may take time to 'get' the new sweet taste. But believe me it's worth persevering!
Check these out- don't they look fabulous?

Monday, 15 October 2012


Breakfast is the most important meal of the day -Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and supper like a pauper as the saying goes. It breaks the fast from the night, and gets your digestive system going again for the day.
I used to love eating pancakes with berries for breakfast. I'd make them with oat flour and almond or oat milk, and whisk up with an egg - simple . Spread butter on them, pile on a lots of berries, sprinkle on some cinnamon and a little maple or honey or agave syrup.
Oat flour is low GL, much lower than white, wheat flour which is really refined so this meal would last me the morning.
For the last few months since I've stopped eating sugar and anything my body turns to sugar I've not been able to eat pancakes. Huff!
The oat flour is out of bounds as is maple, agave and honey.
So I've been experimenting with other ingredients, lots have gone in the bin! They ended up as a 'mush' in the pan, or burnt too quickly or just didn't even make it further than the mixing bowl....
Having researched lots in recipe books and online (I'm grateful for the Internet Every day) I finally hit the jackpot this morning and after fiddling with a basic recipe have found one that works and I'm very happy with.
Almond flour is an ingredient I CAN eat, it's not available in the shops as far as I can tell but you can whizz up almond meal in a food processor to make it more fine- but you have to be careful not it over whizz or you'll get almond butter, which is nice but not what we want here! It is available on the Internet, even from places like Amazon, and it's organic too. It can be used just like normal flour, so great for cakes and buns too! Yippee!!!!
So this morning I've had blueberry pancakes , with butter and cinnamon. No sugar but I didn't even notice.
Chuffed to bits as they say in Yorkshire!!
If you'd like the recipe please message me.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Skin Brushing

Hi there, not blogged for a couple of days. I'm really busy developing my no sugar recipes and having so much fun with it!
I think I may have covered todays subject before,a few years ago,but as its become a habit for me I thought I'd blog about it today.
Along with my gut issues I've also had a lot of skin challenges over the years. As our skin is the largest organ of the the body if it's not as it should be we certainly notice very quickly. As do other people. I spent years at school feeling self conscious of my eczema which was often very visible.
By the time my eczema was 'under control' I was left with very dry skin. So I started really looking after it, with lotions and potions. I'm sure I've tried every cream on the market from E45 to Creme De La Mere... and eventually learnt that skin needs to be fed from within.
If we are eating,digesting and absorbing great, healthy, clean food it is reflected in the state of our skin.
And whilst moisturising the skin is very important , it needs internal assistance.
Skin brushing can also help. Big time!!
I've got a great big, long handled, brush from the Body Shop and my aim is to use it every day - realistically I probably manage 5 days a week.
I love it! It takes minutes and you feel some of the benefits immediately.
Our skin is responsible for 1/4 of the body's detoxification every day. It's one of the most important elimination organs we have, and when our blood is full of toxins it's seen in the skin in the form of eczema, psoriasis, dryness, redness, soreness, spots and pimples, acne, sores ...
So why skin brush? :
- it smooths the skin and can make it appear more 'shiny' and healthy looking
- it increases the circulation, encouraging the discharge of waste material which helps lymph drainage
- it helps tighten the skin
- it helps reduce the appearance of cellulite ( cellulite is caused by toxins)
- it helps muscle tone and a more even distribution of fat deposits
-it encourages the shedding of dead skin cells, which can help improve skin texture and cell renewal
-it helps eliminate clogged pores so can aid nutrient absorption
- some even say it's as good as a mini workout!
So with all those benefits,
and for just a couple of minutes a day, isn't it worth rushing out for a skin brush ( if you don't already have one lurking in your bathroom not currently being used)?

How to use a skin brush :
Use large sweeping strokes, always on dry skin (it will drag on wet and be most uncomfortable , I've tried it), and start on your feet. Yes it may tickle abit to start with but you'll get used to it. Always work upwards towards your heart as this helps the flow of blood and therefore toxins within it to move through the body.
Cover the whole of your body and enjoy the tingling, stimulating, invigorating feelings you get from just a couple of minutes each day.
Have fun!

Monday, 8 October 2012


Ok, so I went to see Emma last week and we discussed my progress. She did various tests and the up shot is I have to remain on my no sugar diet. I kind of knew that's what she was going to say so wasn't too disappointed. I had visions of being allowed the odd glass of champagne but it's not to be.... yet.
I know things are shifting in me,and it's going in the right direction,so I'm happy to continue with what has become more or less a way of life.
Yesterday was a tough one though; my sister and family were down from Scotland for the weekend and my mum cooked Sunday lunch. It's always a lavish affair when my mum entertains; she loves it and it shows!
I could eat the three different types of roast meat, and all the veggies. Just couldn't touch the Yorkshire puddings or the beautiful looking roast potatoes. Or more importantly the Christmas pudding and white sauce (yes I know it's October...) or the fruit crumble or the ice cream, or custard. Or the white or red wine, or the Baileys my mum was drinking during lunch ( this is not normal behaviour but she's moving house and 'using up' what she has in her cupboards!!! Logic in there somewhere!) Or the chocolates to go with coffee .... or the coffee for that matter.
The good news was that I didn't feel 'stuffed' and my sister described it afterwards when we took the kids to the park.
My health is more important than a moment of food on my lips. I know I'm going to crack this 'thing' and so am busy experimenting with lots of foods that I CAN eat, that benefit me, and my health, and are pushing me in the right direction.
For breakfast I played with the omlette concept. I love eggs, I love fluffing up the whites, and John makes the most beautiful savoury souffle omlette. So I tried one this morning with berries and coconut and cinnamon. Despite the kids asking what on earth I was eating for breakfast it was most enjoyable.
I'm calling it Breakfast Berry Souffle and it took minutes to make but was very satisfying . I ate it 3 hours ago and I'm not hungry yet...
Here's a pic for you- if you'd like to try it message me and I'll give the recipe out.
More soon..... Bye for now. Rx