Thursday, 22 November 2012

Sugar Free Baking

I spent the whole of yesterday in the kitchen, baking. It's such a grounding, fulfilling activity, I love it. I had my eighties greatest hits playing all day and sang along (good job I was on my own! ) whilst whisking, melting, stirring, blending..... And successfully created eight sugarfree desserts and sweets.
And today I delivered them to Diet Express. They're running an event at a gym for members, and as my 'treats' are all low GL, contain no refined carbohydrates, no refined sugar and only natural , wholesome ingredients they're perfect for people on diets, with blood sugar issues, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and anyone else who cares about their health enough to eat well.
Regular sweets and treats primarily use refined sugar, agave syrup, maple syrup, golden syrup, high fructose corn syrup, maltose , dextrose and sugar in other guises too! Difficult to keep tabs on all the different names, which basically equal refined, empty calorie, no nutritional value sugar. All processed foods contain it; that's why I bake so much, from scratch. I have a sweet tooth, and it needs satisfying but for health reasons I cannot put sugar in to my body.
The exciting thing for me is that with research, practice, trial and error it's possible to create the most amazingly tasty food to satisfy me . Ok, it took abit of getting used to, I cant pretend it didnt , we get so used to the really sweet taste of processed foods, but when you use a whole host of natural flavours such as cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, vanilla, raw honey, food tastes so much more full of flavour. And no harm is being done to your body, no inflammatory build up that over time can create dis-ease. One less thing to worry about!! Lol!
Have a great day!

Thursday, 15 November 2012

How much sweet stuff do you consume?

I always love getting new clients and not just for the obvious reasons. As part of the consultation process I ask that they fill in a food diary for a week with every single thing that's passed their lips written down in black and white. Quite a daunting, scary exercise to some! And very revealing to me!
It's human nature to push aside things that we don't want to focus on for whatever reason. It's easy to 'forget' the couple of biscuits with morning coffee, or the extra slice of white toast at breakfast, and very easy to lose track of the number of glasses of wine by the end of the night out! This tends to be most people's downfall where diet is concerned.
Most of this additional,forgotten food is laden with sugar, caffeine, or refined carbohydrates (same thing to your body). The following fictitious food diary, may ring some bells with you. Are you in denial where sugar/carbs/stimulants are concerned? Are they keeping you going? Are they giving you quick bursts of energy for you then to 'slump' and need another?

Ok here goes - is this the average British persons daily diet? :

6.45am - alarm goes off, you feel groggy, got to have that strong coffee with milk and sugar, maybe two cups!

8am - need to leave for work,quick breakfast; bowl of sugared cereal with milk, and a slice of white toast with butter and jam.

9am -arrive at work and grab another coffee before you start

10am- someone's birthday today and they've brought cake in, how kind! How can you refuse!

11am - client meeting, more coffee,and a plate of biscuits; don't mind if I do!

12.30 - lunchtime, no time for anything substantial, so you pop to the nearest sandwich shop and grab a ham and cheese in white, a packet of crisps and a Flapjack. That should keep you going, right?

3pm - bit jaded, need something to give you a lift? How about a can of coke and a snickers bar from the vending machine?

6pm - phew that's the working day over. Few colleagues going for a quick drink, that would be nice and sociable. Couple of glasses of wine ok.

7.45pm - bit late to start making dinner from scratch now, maybe pick up a pizza or a ready pasta meal on the way home.

10pm - totally wiped up but you still feel hungry. What's in the fridge? Cheese and crackers? Sugar laden yoghurt? Or maybe it's the biscuit tin that's calling you. Washed down with another coke.

I really hope that this doesn't sound familiar to you, but I do know that this is how lots of people exist on a daily basis. This kind of eating, long term is dangerous; it throws your blood sugar totally out of kilter, spiking it and then plunging it into the depths and then spiking it again. You become reliant on stimulants to keep you going. All the time this is stressing your organs. Eventually, and this may take years, there will be signs of dis-ease. Disease is a result of continued poor choices, not something that happens over night. Your body is very resilient, it will always attempt to right itself, but given enough CRAP (caffeine, refined, alcohol and processed foods) it will eventually be overwhelmed.
Do the challenge and see how you fair. For one day take out all stimulants, all sugars, all refined carbs and eat pure and simple real food. If you start to get cravings, headaches, feel lethargic, anxious, sleepy, bad tempered, and really not yourself , you're probably relying too much on artificial 'pep you ups' to keep you going.


Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Orange Fruit

I've just been recommended a fruit I've never tried before in my life. How did I manage to avoid it all these years, I wonder. It's called a Persimmon, its orange, and I've just bought two! I rushed home cut one open and guess what: it's gorgeous!! There are two types, I've since researched. I got the only type Morrisons in Wetherby have and that's the larger apple type persimmon. It needs to be ripe to eat it otherwise its a little astringent. It's really fresh, juicy and so sweet- for someone who can't have sugar it's a real find!!!
This time of year is just great for orange fruit. We have all types of oranges, the big regular ones, blood, valencia etc and the smaller ones ; clementines, satsumas and tangerines. My mum tells me she used to get tangerines in her Christmas stocking when she was little!! There are mangoes, oh so messy to eat (best eaten on a beach!), and apricots all packing a healthy punch of nutrients.
The orange colour is what makes them so good for us, like carrots and peppers they all contain betacarotene which is a potent antioxidant. It helps big time with the fight against free radicals, those cell damaging chemicals we all need to avoid.
Eating fruit and vegetables every day that are laden with betacarotene is so highly recommended.
It helps the immune system, fight colds and flu, skin disorders, ageing and many infections.
Orange foods are also a good source of potassium, helping blood pressure and lowering the risk of heart attacks.
All round orange foods get my vote.
Just googled persimmon recipes and have found plenty. Most are laden with refined sugar so I'll be adapting them, getting good at that now, and think perhaps I'll start with Persimmon Upside Down Cake. Makes a change from pineapple.
Rush out for your persimmons today, you won't be disappointed.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Fresh Air

Every year when the clocks go back my heart sinks. I'm such a hot house flower; love, love, love the sunshine. Don't get me wrong I love the seasons we get in this country but the dark mornings and short days don't sit well with me.
Yesterday morning, however, was such a joy! I went for a dog walk with one of my oldest and dearest friends , Maria, and at 7.30am the sun was shining, it was vaguely warm and the combinations of her delightful doggies, exercise, and being able to chat was just what I needed. Nat, my eight year old even decided to join us and got 45 minutes of fresh air before being cooped up in a classroom at school. Win win all round.
I returned home afterwards with a glow inside and completely ready to start my day. I felt more focused, enthusiastic, and ready for the challenges that lay ahead, all because of a simple choice I made to get up and get out in the fresh air.
So this morning, in an hour and a halfs time,I'm exercising with another lovely friend and her gorgeous son. We're going for a bike ride to get the most out of the day.......
How do you start your day? Rx

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Sugar Free And Oh -So -Tasty

My children had Marks and Spencer's blueberry muffins after tea this evening. Long story but .... anyway I felt extremely left out. White flour and sugar are both no nos for me so there was no way I could justify it, try as I might!
So I made a little impromptu dessert, which turned out way better than expected, and I didn't miss the muffins. Really.
Take a baked apple ( I keep them already baked, with coconut oil and the core stuffed with nuts, in the freezer) , warm in the oven for ten minutes. Take it out, pour over coconut cream, or the thick white part of coconut milk that sits at the top of the can. Sprinkle over sliced, toasted almonds, and cinnamon and that's it. Enjoy! So simple but so tasty!

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Sugar and Alcohol Free Cocktail

In Rome last week for a fabulous, mind blowing experience but, equally, as a person eating what can be called a 'special diet' it was a major challenge!
And it started at the airport.... there are coffee shops selling the obvious range of drinks, and cakes and pastries to go with them. Full of sugar!
There are self service restaurants selling pizza, coated chicken pieces, burgers in white processed buns, chips, sandwiches in white baguettes etc etc. All refined carbohydrates are treated by the body as sugar- I couldn't eat anything!!
I managed to find some cashew nuts ... eventually ; that was literally it!
In Rome itself there were restaurants galore all advertising fantastic, authentic pasta and pizza dishes, especially for the tourists. Italian wine is rather tasty too, as are the coffees... I could have none of it.
We ended up in the Hard Rock Cafe one night; suffice to say that wasn't my idea!! But, as it turned out not only was my faith in human nature increased, but the meal was tasty too.
After perusing the cocktails menu, a strawberry daiquiri style drink caught my eye- it included fresh pureed strawberries with sugar, lemon juice, basil, lime, lemonade and alcohol. Ok so I couldn't drink it but wondered whether it could be adapted for me!
The children cringed as I questioned the waitress (they hate it when I try to deviate off menu, which is generally always!) . She kept blocking my suggestions until eventually, realising how desperate I was to have something other than mineral water, she said leave it with me.
She was gone for ages, and eventually appeared, tall glass in hand full of a pink looking liquid. She presented it to me, said she'd made it all herself from scratch and it contained NO alcohol and NO sugar. It did contain puréed strawberries, lemon, lime, sea salt, sparkling mineral water and basil. And a straw.....
Wow! It was fabulous and so was the attitude of the waitress. I was bowled over that she'd gone to so much trouble, and thought completely out of the box. Suffice to say I smiled through the meal and her tip was rather large!
Must try replicating it at home.

Friday, 2 November 2012

The Six Doctors Of Health

Just back from a few days in Rome, and didn't have a clear idea what I was going to blog about- have so much swimming around my head!
Then I found some writing on the kitchen table by John's six year old daughter Daisy(see photo below) and it reminded me of a post I'd seen on Facebook whilst I was away.
"The best six doctors in the world are : air, rest, sunshine, exercise, diet, and water". Fit Yummy Mummy.
The similarity is amazing, but more so I was blown away that a six year old girl could write such a simple, but incredibly profound list of how we all should live our lives! If we follow her advice we could lose weight, improve posture, gain fitness, and generally live long, happy and healthy lives.
Why not pick one of these this week and make a change- 21 days of doing it and it'll be a habit for life.