Posts tagged sugar free
Drink Up Challenge.... swap out the sugar!

We're into week two of my Summer Drink-Up Challenge... and this is where is gets really interesting! Week one was all both creating awareness and increasing water intake... the process of adding in and not taking away.

Reflecting back to the reason I wanted to create the challenge, it was the idea that so many people focus on eating a healthy diet, yet the choice of beverage is often overlooked. 

Whether it be the indulgent takeout coffee from Costa, a couple of cans of Coke or even the sugar laden protein shake you chug down after your epic gym workout. 

Many of these beverages could be seen as ‘meals’ in themselves themselves and even those that aren’t of that caloric density often contain huge amounts of sugar or chemicals sweeteners that mess with our bodies and minds just as powerfully as eating the wrong types of foods.

This what I’m passionate about.

I’m passionate about helping you create curiosity and awareness around your choices, make simple swaps that will super-charge life without feeling restricted or compromised. I’m not saying you need to give it all up, of course not! But it’s about making that choice to be informed and in control.

All week all week long over in the Facebook event group I’ll be posting links to recipes, tips and information to help inspire your creativity in all forms of beverages. I'd love you to join us there ... still plenty of time to take part!

I was also inspired by fellow healthy vegan bloggers who have created their ow versions of some of the classic. I have shared them below with permission.

Some top tips for cutting back on the refined sugars and chemicals...

  1. use fruit tea bags mixed with fizzy water (plus a little sweeter as necessary and wean yourself back over time)
  2. make your own shakes and smoothies with fruits and nut butters...BUT remember to that those as a meal not a drink!
  3. coconut water is perfect for hydration and it's naturally sweet and mild flavour makes great option when blended with other fruit such as berries, lemon, lime or ginger. 
  4. vanilla goes the impression of sweets in food and drink so get creative.

 

These are my favourite fruit and coconut water blends. Sweetness without too much fruit.


Healthy recipes from around the web!

Are you in to juicing? Check out this Citrus Energizer by Mason Jar Salads

Are you a kombucha fan?  Why not add it to a very smoothie by Veganosity

Protein peanut butter banana smoothie are always a winner by Win-Win Food

Or why not this peach cobbler protein desert shake by Noshed

Pink lemonade for classic summer time chilling by Ribas With Love

You can never go wrong with simple strawberry milk (try each and mango too!) by Peppers and Peaches

A skinny choc shake.. a great base for flavour options! By Simple Green Moms

Lavender lemonade gives a refreshing summer twist by Green Evi

Fruit Kool aid without the crap by Lexie's Kitchen

Last but not least... I am loving this spin on orange squash! by Kiip Fit

What would be your perfect summer time beverage? 


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Sugar free chocolate spread and caramel butter... candida friendly!

I originally made this chocolate spread this time last year when I was following my strict candida cleanse. It was a life saver when I needed a hint of chocolately sweetness, and the good fats really help curb the cravings too!

It recently came back to my mind off the back of my low carb keto experiments and through seeing friends and clients struggling with cravings when giving up sugar. Though this is not strictly keto... it could likely be adapted to be so using macadamia nuts over cashews for a super low carb alternative. If you use macadamia which are super oily, you may not need the extra coconut oil.

I have also noted below a syrup swap for stevia which would create a richer, sweeter flavour over the stevia if a strict candida friendly recipe is not necessary for you. Taste as you go and add the minimal amount to reach the optimal favour for your tastebuds.

Another little trick for sweetness (i've talked about this before) is you add vanilla bean to offset any potential bitterness of the stevia, it also creates a richer, smoother, mellower taste experince- always use a good quality vanilla bean paste or powder and not an alcohol version (vanilla extract in an alcohol base is best reserved for baked recipe where the alcohol will be cooked off).

Another option is to use  a small amount of flavour extract such as toffee or caramel, I sometimes use this brand of extracts.... so many choices! 

I have added the recipe again with the swap options for you to try.

Recipe: Sugar-Free Chocolate spread

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup 100% pure cacao chips
  • 2 tbs coconut oil
  • 3 cups cashews (or try macadamia)
  • 1 heaped tbs vanilla powder
  • 10 drops stevia* (I use NuNaturals vanilla drops for best flavour)

Method:

Melt cacao and coconut oil and then blend with the remaining ingredints in a food processor until the cashews are ground as finely as possible and you have a smooth spread. 

*This would probably work even better with 2-3 tbs syrup as well/instead of the stevia for those not on a strict candida diet (note: I haven't tested it this way). The lowest carb syrup I have found is yacon syrup.


Another option I have more recently tried is a caramel butter spread... a thicker 'butter' using the caramel extract I mentioned above. This recipe ask uses beans to add bulk and fibre with reduced carbs and also less fat than the chocolate spread for those who prefer an alternative macro ratio. You could probably adapt the chocolate spread this way too if you used black beans- get experimental!

How to eat it?  Spead it on crackers or just scoop from the jar. I found that when I went sugar free on the candida diet I had a tendency to go too heavy on the nuts, so this recipe really helped to moderate that high fat intake but still give the same texture as nut butter... yum!.

The crackers in these photos are low carb seed crackers made in my dehydrator. They were an adaptation of these savoury crackers using a little stevia and vanilla. 

Recipe: Caramel cookie dough spread

Makes 2 heaped cups 

Ingredients: 

  • 2  cups cooked chickpeas
  • ½ cup almond, macadamia or cashew butter
  • ½ cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1 tbs lucuma powder (optional for richer flavour)
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla powder
  • approx. 10 drops stevia (or sub syrup as above)
  • ½ tsp caramel extract*
  • pinch salt
  • handful of raw cacao nibs for crunch factor (optional) 

Method:

Blend everything together until smooth. Add a little extra coconut milk if you want a softer smoother butter.

 *other flavour extract could be substituted, the caramel in this instance helps to create more sweetness and compliment the stevia.

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The Easiest Easter egg nests- sugar free and gluten free!

This nest recipe is my favourite chocolate experiment over the last few weeks and the macadamia 'eggs' with the golden hue from the oven look absolutely perfect. A fantastic twist on regular chocolate mini eggs! Ingenious (if I do say so myself!)

This was another recipe created for Real Food Source using their ingredient range. I have since made these nests as gifts from friends and true to my typical curious nature- I never make things the same ways twice.  You'll find the original recipe here at Real Food Source. But I also had great success swapping the dark chocolate for cocoa power, 1/4 cup nut butter (PB, almond, cashew) and syrup of choice (maple, agave brown rice syrup and date syrup) with a little pure stevia for an extra sweetness boost- just have a play and taste the raw batter until you hit your preferred sweet spot! (best excuse ever to eat a raw cookie mix!!). I also subbed half the ground almonds for desiccated coconut too which worked a treat.  

The nests themselves couldn't be easier to mix up. With just a handful of ingredients and packed full of good fats, these little bites are rich and dense with just the right amount of moisture. Like a brownie bite and totally delicious. 

 

It's totally flexible mix- so easy you can't go wrong! Bake them until just cooked for a lovely moist fudginess. Mmmmmm....

Get the original recipe here at Real Food Source!


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Hemp and almond chocolate bites

I've found that the easiest way for my to monitor my protein and carb intake whilst following a ketogenic eating plan (without continuously counting every macro) is to focus on getting the bulk of my protein via my snacks and hemp porridge as constants in my day to day routine and then focussing on maximising the low carb veggies (which is still the largest carb proportion of my day) in my main meal and green smoothie. 

High protein but low carb snacks that also qualify as a treat are therefore always going to be a winner for me!

These raw hemp and almond squares are also perfect if you are trying to minimise your sugar intake since most snacks of this type are high in fructose and packed with dates as the binding ingredient. A few drops of stevia is the only form of sweetener here, but you could add a small amount of dates or a little coconut sugar to add a touch of caramelly flavour if you prefer whilst still offering a low overall sugar content.

You could also try adding flavour extracts such as orange, rum or almond if you fancy. I often find adding flavours such as these gives the impression of sweetness and covers any potential aftertaste of stevia (for those who are sensitive to it). Make sure you use oil based extracts and not alcohol based ones in raw goodies for best flavour.

 Recipe: Hemp and almond chocolate bites

Recipe adapted from Leanne's Rum Balls

Makes approx. 10 squares/balls

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup hemp hearts
  • ½ cup ground almonds
  • ½ cup cocoa
  • 2 tbs coconut oil
  • a few drops of stevia (or 2 tbs coconut sugar)
  • ½ tsp vanilla bean powder 

Method:

Process all ingredients together until slightly sticky and press into a small pan or roll into small balls. Press in a few extra hemp hearts to decorate. 

Chill the pressed mixture before slicing. Store in the fridge.

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Flax focaccia... sweet and savoury!

Once of my first keto experiments was the flax focaccia bread from Leanne's book. I wanted an easy snack recipe that I could eat on it's own (with almond butter!) or add as a extra boost to meals. I had to make some adaptations to make it vegan since the original recipe uses eggs, therefore the texture is likely not to be so 'fluffy' but it still tasted good to me!

I also decided to experiment with a second batch as a semi-sweet version using ground ginger. Since flax is quite a powerful flavour, I needed to use a spice that could hold its own work as a compliment. I also used vanilla bean for an edge of softenss and molasses … Well, just because gingerbread and molasses go hand-in-hand and you only need a tiny touch to get the depth of flavour.

Even though I call this a 'sweet' bread, it really is only very lightly sweet since I used only pure stevia and no other form of sweetness. If you are not on a strict low-carb diet then I would suggest adding 2 tablespoons of syrup or coconut sugar to taste.

I enjoyed this gingerbread version with plain soy yoghurt that I had also mixed with vanilla. Don't skip on the pecans, they really add a lovely touch to the bread and give great crunch. Pecans always remind me of caramel and toffee... I guess that's what they are often paired with, so for me they psychologically conjure up a hint of extra sweetness!

The savoury focaccioa slices makes a great side for a salad... the bowl in these pictures was a combo of lots of low carb raw veggies (plus a few tomatoes for a flavour pop), some homemade saurekraut plus an olive dressing mixed with a little water to make a drizzle sauce.

Recipe: Keto flax focaccia- sweet and savoury

This recipe is adapted from Leanne’s book- Keto Beginning

Makes 1 8” round cake pan

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup ground flax
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup almond butter/tahini
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 2 tbs coconut oil
  • Chia seeds for topping (savoury version)

For sweet version:

  • Reduce salt to a pinch
  • Add: 1 tbs ginger, 1 tsp vanilla bean powder, 1 tsp molasses and few drops stevia to taste.
  • A handful of toasted pecans.

Method:

Mix the flax, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside. (plus add ginger vailla for sweet version)

Melt the coconut oil and almond butter/tahini into the warm water (plus stevia and molasses for sweet version)

Mix the wet into the dry until well mixed then spoon the mixture into prepared baking pan- I used a round 8” silicone cake tray. Smooth the top with the back of a spoon, spinkle over the chia or reds in the pecans and transfer the pan to the preheated oven. Bake bread for 15-20 minutes, until top is lightly browned.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before lifting from the tin. Allow to cool fully before slicing.

Store in the fridge or freezer.

Why not sign up for my newsletter in my sidebar where I feature roundups and special offers plus my FREE ebook. If you are new round here check out my 'About' and 'Getting Started' tabs up top. To buy nibbles you can also find me over at Wholeplus. 

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Chocolate crunch pudding.... sugar free and keto friendly!

I'm so excited about this recipe!

Over the last month of experimenting with the keto way of eatingdessert and snacks have been my main focus. Main meals have actually been the easiest part of the plan.... predominately a lot of veg! 

I have always been a snacker, and whilst I don't always feel the need for a sweet treat after dinner, I do have a sweet tooth and this dessert hit the spot perfectly. I would go as far to say everyone would really enjoy this, regardless of dietary preference. It's very easy to add a little extra fruit if desired, or if serving for a crowd with differing requirements. These single serve pots are really versatile in that way.

The shortcake clusters have been seen on my blog in various guises in this strawberry shortcake here and atop this blackberry and apple crumble. The almond flour creates a 'dry' shortcake like texture which perfectly compliments a yoghurt or save style base.  The simplicity and speed of the recipe is what grabs me time and time again. You could make a big batch of clusters and have the topping on hand for speedy deserts of snacks throughout the week. The almond flour (make sure you don't use ground almonds!) is also 50% protein making it a perfect low carb option.

Recipe: Chocolate crunch keto pudding

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup blanched almond flour (not ground almonds- I use this one)
  • 3 tbs cocoa
  • 2 tbs coconut oil
  • a little stevia to taste 
  • 1 tsp maple syrup (or other)
  • 1 cup non dairy yoghurt such as soy or coconut
  • Few drops almond or vanilla extract to flavour the yoghurt- optional
  • a tiny handful frozen raspberries- crushed (they go further this way)
  • a handful of rough chopped macadamia nuts (or other nuts of choice)

Method:

Mix the almond flour and cocoa together then add the coconut oil, syrup and stevia, rub through with fingers to form crumbs. The crumbs should tick together when you squeeze the mix in your hands. if they don't the add a little water 1 tablespoon at a time.

Squeeze the mix into small clusters and lay evenly on a baking tray. Bake for approx 10 mins or grill for 3 mins on a medium heat until just toasted (keep a close eye as the almond flour can burn quickly!)

Meanwhile, spoon the yogurt (add flavours if desired) in two glasses or ramekins then add the choc clusters. Top with the macadamia and crushed raspberries to serve.

Chocolate shortcake clusters fresh from under  the grill

Chocolate shortcake clusters fresh from under  the grill

a few frozen raspberries give a pop of flavour without the high carbs

a few frozen raspberries give a pop of flavour without the high carbs

Why not sign up for my newsletter in my sidebar where I feature roundups and special offers plus my FREE ebook. If you are new round here check out my 'About' and 'Getting Started' tabs up top. To buy nibbles you can also find me over at Wholeplus. 

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Bounty bars... totally sugar free and keto friendly!

Did you read my cookie post a few days ago?

I mentioned I have been exploring a ketogenic diet, whereby the body fuels on fats instead of carbs. I have a bunch of recipes to share... all my successes (but let's not mention the failures- including one which stank the house out and made a friend gag when she walked through the door- oops!)

These recipes are packed full of good fats, and really help to curb the sweet tooth without sugar, and create satiety. So many people I know follow some form of lower carb diet from time to time, and even for those that don't these recipes can work for you too to add variety to you snacks and meals.

Coconut is a fantastic ingredient. I use it in all my Wholeplus products because it's a healthy fat that more ready converts to energy, but also when used in my sugar free recipes it is great since it has a subtle natural sweetness. I often combine it with vanilla and/or cinnamon for an even sweeter experience since both spices give the impression of sweetness.

I will mention now that these bars are very 'dark', so if you are not such a fan of dark chocolate you may wish to add a little sweetener of choice to the coating mixture or use your favourite brand (preferably unrefined) of chocolate. I gave one to my mum and she loved it just as it was- result!  This recipe by My New Roots would be a great one to try of you'd like a sweeter version.

Recipe: Bounty Bars (Inspired by this recipe)

Makes approx 5 bars

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
  • approx 6 drops pure stevia (I use this one)
  • 2 x 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean powder or paste (high quality one is essential for best flavour)
  • ⅓ cup coconut cream*
  • 4tbs coconut oil
  • 2tbs cocoa powder

Method:

Mix shredded coconut with coconut cream, 1/2 tsp vanilla bean and a few drops of stevia and blend well with a spoon. Place the coconut mixture on a small cookie sheet lined with parchment and form into a slab. 

Place in the freezer for around 2 hours until frozen and then slice into bars once solid.

n the meantime prepare the chocolate coating. Melt coconut oil in a small sauce pan until liquified, then stir through the cocoa powder, a few drops of stevia and 1/2 tsp vanilla bean until well blended.

Let cool to room temperature but still liquid. Dip the bars in the cocoa mixture, and turn to all sides to coat evenly. The coating will solidify very quickly over the frozen bars, after a minute to so dip them again to get a thicker coating until you have no cocoa mixture left.

hen all bars are all coated put in the refrigerator to harden. The bars can be kept in the fridge or freezer for an ice cream style bar. 

*For the coconut cream, use the thick part of a can of coconut milk. Set the watery liquid aside for a smoothie (not need to waste it!)

Why not sign up for my newsletter in my sidebar where I feature roundups and special offers plus my FREE ebook. If you are new round here check out my 'About' and 'Getting Started' tabs up top. To buy nibbles you can also find me over at Wholeplus. 

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Festive flax blend... the ultimate topping!

I love to keep 'toppings' on hand... simple blends to throw on my porridge, or yoghurt, or in a smoothie, or in cookies mix... or savoury options are great for a salad or a veggie bake.

It's what first inspired my Wholeplus Toppers! (which have been going down very well in the Vegan Kind box this month and has made me super smiley!)

flax blend 2 a.jpg

You'll remember a month or so back I had some samples of goodies sent to be by the lovely folks at Steenbergs, a UK company who's products I love and order regularly. A couple of months ago they launched some beautiful Christmas spices, delicate blends with subtle flavour variations, and were kind enough to send me some to try out. I have been having fun adding them to my porridge in place of cinnamon, and also over stewed apple and other fruits. I also made my Wholeplus Christmas Stollen flavour using their blend along with their dried lemon peel.

I decided a new winter porridge topping blend full of festive spice was in order and so whipped up this little number. All you need is a food processor or grinder and you'll have your very own blend ready to go! 

Ideally keep your blend in the fridge for best flavour and freshness (nuts and seeds can easily go rancid when ground due to exposed surface are) they'll keep fine in the fridge for a three months or so.

This was my spontaneous combo with dates and cacao for a light touch of sweetness but you could add in other ingredients, such as nuts, as you fancy. I kept the ration of flax to other ingredients pretty high as I like to add lots of flax to my porridge as it gives a great omega 3 boost (flax is one of the best sources of omega 3 and we could also do with more of it in our diets!) and the 'gelling' quality of ground flax (linseed in whole form) creates the lovely thicker texture which i'm after. That being said these quantities are simply guidelines,

Recipe: Festive flax breakfast blend

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup linseed/flax
  • 1/4 cup goji berries
  • 1/4 cup cacao nibs
  • 1/4 cup chopped dates
  •  1 tsp Steenbergs Stollen, Lebkuchen or Speculoos spice (or use cinnamon/nutmeg/mixed spice)

Method:

I used whole linseed and ground it before adding other ingredients, otherwise use pre-ground flax.

Add all ingredients to your processor and ground until coarse (or to desired texture). Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Why not sign up for my newsletter in my sidebar where I feature roundups and special offers plus my FREE ebook. If you are new round here check out my 'About' and 'Getting Started' tabs up top. To buy nibbles you can also find me over at Wholeplus.  

Day to day you can always find me hanging out in these places:

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