Going low carb & sugar free

Going low carb & sugar free

Well for 2 weeks that is. These past few weeks, because life just got super busy, I wasn’t all that much into healthy eating. Add on numerous outings, birthdays and other occasions that warrant yummy food of the not so healthy variety and I got to a point where I felt bloated and tired again. Which means it’s time for a change! To kickstart that I decided to take my 2 week summer tenure as a good way to get back into the swing of things.

going low carb and sugar free

Going low carb and sugar free for two weeks

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Recipe: Banana-coconut cake (wheat & sugar free)

Recipe: Banana-coconut cake (wheat & sugar free)

A healthy cake? When I spotted this recipe, I knew I had to try it. I’ve been meaning to do some more baking again, but I just haven’t had the time to find new recipes to try. Until I spotted this that is. I found it on a random health website, which linked to this one, where you can find the original recipe in Dutch. I adapted it to fit my own needs and came out with this: a delicious yet healthy banana-coconut cake.

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Healthy banana-coconut cake

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Recipe: sugar & dairy free ice lollies

Recipe: sugar & dairy free ice lollies

It’s summer time! And that means it’s time for ice cream. But ice cream isn’t necessarily a healthy snack. It’s jam-packed with sugar, colorings and anything else that isn’t too good for you. When I was little my mom would thus make us popsicles with yoghurt, banana and instant lemonade. I have very vivid memories of these fruity delectable treats and so when I bought myself some ice lolly molds from IKEA last year, I immediately made myself some. Come this year, I’ve brought them back and and decided to show you the process so you can make your own healthy snacks for hot summer days.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of coconut milk (find the one with the fewest additives)
  • 1 cup of fresh strawberries (rinse and cut off the greens)
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup of frozen blueberries (you can use fresh ones if you’d like)

You can of course use yoghurt (pick whichever you want), and even water to make these. You just need a liquid to make sure you can blend everything. I prefer coconut milk as it makes for a very creamy texture and also has a bit of a naturally sweet taste to it. I add banana to sweeten things up. When you make frozen foods the freezing will take away some of the flavor, so to make sure these still taste a bit sweet when eating them, you need to add something. Plus the banana will make for a firmer texture as well.

Tools:

  • Blender (if using frozen fruits, make sure your blender can handle that)
  • Ice lolly molds (mine are from IKEA and are the only ones that fit into my freezer)

Step 1:

Add the fruit to the blender. Start with the frozen fruits if you’re using that, it’s easier on your blender. Finish off with your liquids, wait a bit for it to reach the bottom.

Step 2:

Blend until smooth. I ended up with way too much of this, but that’s okay: you can simply drink it as a smoothie.

Step 3:

Fill up your molds. Dont’fill them all the way to the top. My molds have a little stripe to where you should fill them up. Freezing liquids will expand so you need to give your popsicles some room else they might spill in your freezer before settling properly.

Step 4:

Pop in the tops and place in freezer. It takes a few hours for them to freeze completely. Your best bet is to leave them in overnight or up to 8 hours to ensure they are solid. You remover the mold by running it under hot water for a few seconds.

Et voilá! Perfect sugar free and dairy free popsicles. Obviously these will NOT be as sweet as traditional ice cream that you buy at ice cream parlors or from the store. However, they are still tasty and make for a great summer treat. If you made these and don’t find them sweet enough, you can always add in a bit of honey or maple syrup to give them a bit more of a kick.

You can use any fruits you like to make these. From peaches to apricots to kiwifruit to pineapple to mango to well anything you like really. Another option is to only blend some of the fruit and leave some fruit whole or in chunks and add them to the mixture later on or add them to the molds first and pour on the mixture. This will make for a pretty picture. Another option is to use different additives such as cocoa powder or shredded coconut for different flavors and textures. In other words: just be creative!

My advice: make these and eat them while chilling to this (even if it rains):

What’s your favorite summer treat?

My no added sugar quest

My no added sugar quest

A major sweet tooth. That’s what I have. I could eat anything sweet any time of day. And that is a problem, especially since I have not been able to hit the gym as much as I’d like due to my current work situation. I already wanted to start this no added sugar ‘detox’ a month ago, but because my life was starting back up and I was trying to do everything at once, that wasn’t working out too well. So I’ve decided to start back up again. From last Monday onwards until I go on vacation in a few weeks time, I will refrain from eating anything that isn’t naturally sweetened.

Source: weheartit.com

But what does that mean ‘naturally sweetened’? By that I mean anything that contains sugar(s) naturally. So if a product contains any added sugars, such as sugar, sucrose, fructose, glucose, dextrose, corn syrup or any equivalent I will not eat it. Naturally sweetened products are mostly produce that are sweet on its own accord. All fruits and vegetables such as carrots and tomatoes are naturally sweet and thus that is pretty much all I’m allowed to eat to get my sweet kick.

The reason why I’m not doing a full sugar detox is that I just know that eating no sugar at all will simply not work for me. I’m a sugar addict (true story) and to get that out of my system I know that it would be best to stop using it all together. However, with my busy schedule and ‘being in my head’ all day, I simply need it to function. Your brain runs mainly on sugar so I need to feed it that thing it needs in order for it to function properly and enable me to do my job.

So here’s what I’m skipping:

  • Any candy, chocolate, baked goods and the like.
  • Anything including added sugar. This eliminates all flavored yoghurts, most store bought sushi, any of my favorite drinks from Starbucks (le sigh), and pretty much anything prepackaged
  • As little dairy/ lactose as possible. Lactose is a type of sugar (notice the -ose ending of the word). So apart from my weekday portion of Greek yoghurt, I am going for dairy free/ lactose free options.
  • No added honey or agave nectar in my smoothies or yoghurt. Even though these are natural, they aren’t the best for you either as both honey and agave nectar are sweeter than actual sugar.

Here’s what I’m sticking to:

  • All fresh fruits, but I am limiting my portions: no more fresh fruit in my morning yoghurt.
  • Dried berries and fruits. As long as they don’t have any added sugars, I can use these as snacks for that little sweet kick. Dried apricots, dates, cranberries and goji berries are on the list, but I’m trying to stay away from raisins.
  • ‘Sweet veggies’: sweet potato, tomatoes, carrots, beets. These are some of my favorites (together with broccoli, green beans, brussels sprouts and cauliflower).
  • I’ve been getting into (hard) goat’s cheese a lot lately. I find it works really well in salads, but is also delicious to munch on as a snack.

Of course I am still going strong on whole semi low carb/ wheat free/ paleo/ sometimes pescatarian, sometimes vegetarian and sometimes vegan diet I’ve been sticking to for the past 2 years. I’m only eating gluten & wheat free bread, no more than 2 – 3 times a week. For dinner I have not been needing much food as I have no time to eat lunch so I snack away during the day on my fruit and veggies and have lunch when I’m on the train home. I then only need something small so cooking is something that is set a on the back burner a bit. I do make sure to get all the fuel I need though, so don’t worry about that.

I’m now 3 days in, and so far so good. But it’s only been 3 days. So let’s see if I can keep this up.