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sugarfree chocolate brownie recipe

Sugarfree chocolate brownie recipe (banana sweetened)

Delighted to share with you this low fructose sugarfree chocolate brownie recipe, kindly contributed by The Sugarfree Siblings.

Replacing sugar with a natural version (like a banana) is a great step to eating less of the refined stuff and the fact that each of these sugarfree chocolate brownies is just sweetened with 1/4 of a banana means they are also going to hit the chocolate spot without a natural sweetness overload.

Sugarfree chocolate brownie recipe

sugarfree chocolate brownie recipe

Recipe & images by the Sugarfree Siblings

Serves 4

  • 1 banana
  • 4 tbsp coconut cream
  • 2 tbsp almond butter (any type of Nut Butter really!)
  • 2tsp chia seeds
  • 70g 100%* dark chocolate

*FYI (Madecasse, Willies Cacao & Pacari Raw Chocolate are good options available from Wholefoods / Planet Organic / Amazon. Or try a Lindt 99% bar – which isn’t quite as good but still a great option!

Method

  • Melt the Coconut Cream by putting the bag in a bowl of hot water.
  • Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl mash the banana thoroughly with a fork and add the coconut cream when melted.
  • Fold in the almond butter & chia Seeds and combine.
  • Add the chocolate to a saucepan and on the lowest heat, melt it before adding to the rest of your ingredients and stir well
  • Pop the mixture in a small, lined baking tray/vessel and leave to set in the fridge for min. 2 hours.
  • Optional to serve with a couple of cherries & a little sugar-free or low sugar ice cream

sugarfree chocolate brownie recipe

About

The Sugarfree Siblings are a two sisters from Scotland obsessed with cooking and nourishing sugar-free and low fructose. With a host of delicious healthy recipes on their website, you’ll find lots of lovely things to keep your taste buds savoury and less sweet. You can also follow them on Instagram and Twitter.

low-sugar-hot-chocolate

How to manage sugar cravings during your menstrual cycle

Last week running my webinar, someone asked about the intense sugar cravings they were having in the week before their period. As I started to answer the question I noticed lots of others on the webinar chat box chime in ‘me too!’ so I figured it was time to write on this one! (one for the ladies this week!).

Maybe you can relate….

You’re doing to doing well with your lower sugar efforts until that PMS week comes along and you feel maybe one of the following:

I want chocolate.

I feel fat and horrible and I want chocolate.

I’m useless. Life is not feeling great right now and I want chocolate!

You think because I live a generally lower sugar lifestyle these days that I’m immune to this? Hell no.

However, I’ve gathered some knowledge and techniques that have helped, so here’s some practical sugar busting PMS tidbits you can try.

Why the cravings and feelings in the first place?

As any woman knows, the week before our cycle, our hormones go a bit mental. The stress hormone Cortisol increases and the happy hormone Serotonin decreases.

These biological changes remove our sense of emotional well being where generally happy feelings are likely to be replaced with irritability, anger, exhaustion and depression – personality depending.

I’m not really an angry person so my pre-menstrual symptoms usually manifest in some form of crying and a more pronounced irritation at something irrational like a wobbly table! (This was the most recent one I can think of!).

To add to that bundle of fun, it’s common to bloat and retain water. It’s not abnormal to increase 5-10lbs through water retention and when clothes feel tight and uncomfortable, it’s just not fun. I will have a few days where I don’t want to wear half of my wardrobe and feel like a baby elephant – I get the water retention bad.

Psychologically all of this can cause sugar cravings primarily the form of emotional comfort, especially if sugar is your default emotional crutch where habits are well established i.e you’ve always reached for chocolate to feel better. We aren’t feeling great and it’s our natural response to reach for sweet sugary comfort which does temporarily increase our happy hormones serotonin and dopamine. So our brains know that it does work.

Another reason why we can crave sugar at this time is potential magnesium deficiency. During this second half of our menstrual cycle when progesterone and estrogen are elevated, magnesium levels plummet and our bodies are naturally going to crave it.

Guess what’s magnesium rich? CHOCOLATE!!

dark-brown-milk-chocolat

So what can you do to help with these crazy cravings. Here are my best strategies:

1. Up the magnesium

First one is obvious given the whole magnesium thing. Dark chocolate or cacao which has as little sugar as possible and is as minimally processed as possible is actually pretty healthy and will up your magnesium levels. I personally love cacao nibs (click here for 5 easy ways to use them), Lindt 99% and 85% dark chocolate to get my fix. Here’s a video showing you the comparative sugar content between %s.

Don’t forget you’ve got raw cacao powder you can add to smoothies or make a completely sugar and sweetener free low sugar hot chocolate recipe.

low-sugar-hot-chocolate

Green leafy vegetables like spinach, along with some nuts and seeds like pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds are also a good source of magnesium. You can add all of these things as an addition to most meals and snacks pretty easily e.g. scrambled eggs, salads, soups etc. It goes without saying to just try and keep your diet as healthy, well balanced and varied as possible.

spinach-sugar-cravings

 

You might also want to look into magnesium supplementation. I’ve never done this myself but I will point you in the direction of Dr Carolyn Dean who shares loads of helpful information to help you decide if this is an option you want to explore.

2. Ease up on any restriction

You may have also noticed that you want to eat a lot more during this part of your cycle. Carbohydrates, fat and sugar especially. This ‘I could eat a horse’ feeling can feel frustrating, especially if you’re conscious about your weight (which is even more likely due to bloating & water retention).

So what’s the remedy?

Recognise what’s going on with your body, emotions and cycle and resist any urges to do some drastic form of diet or restriction. These are likely going to backfire and install unhealthy mindsets that don’t serve a good relationship with food or sugar. Binges at this point will inevitably be more likely and your body wants and needs more food, so allow for it. You wont’ be as hungry the other weeks and accepting this natural cycle is really eating in line with your body. 

It’s also worth practice intuitive eating more attentively – so really listen to your hunger and cravings and try to eat the healthiest version of what you’re body is craving.

So if you’re craving starchy carbohydrates, could some roasted sweet potato fries do the job? If you’re hankering for some fat, could you add some extra grass fed butter to your veg or eggs? If ice cream is screaming your name, could you top some full fat creamy yoghurt with berries and grated dark chocolate? Or blend a frozen banana with some coconut cream and a drizzle of chocolate. Yum!

bananachocolate

Try to resist thinking black and white at this point and really seek those lowest sugar or healthy carb middle ground options that will satiate your cravings and feed the hunger.

3. Up Serotonin in other ways

If you know you habitually use sugar or sweet things to feel good, it’s time to up your serotonin in other ways and start getting these established as new habits. Think exercise, sleep, massages etc.

Feeling stressed? Move your body for the pure reason to feel good and get a happy fix (not just to counter and burn what you eat). So take the pressure off how long or hard you workout for and really seek to find something where you enjoy the actual process of the exercise.

Start prioritising your sleep as a health non-negotiable and maybe treat yourself to a massage. Also don’t underestimate the powerful hormonal fix you get from connecting with friends, partners and loved ones around this time too.

Start building these things in as your more default emotional coping mechanisms habit by habit. Track them. Get some accountability to start doing them more. 

If you want more hormone knowledge, two books I would recommend having read both are The Hormone Cure by Sara Gottfried and The Woman Code by Alisa Vitti.

4. Body confidence, mindfulness & gratitude

I didn’t’ have my menstrual cycle for nearly two years and it was somewhat nerving to say the least. Now when I am throwing a tantrum at my wardrobe, feeling fat and the rest of it, I bring my mindfulness practice right into play to consciously remind myself of a few things – most notably, that my body doing all of this jazz is healthy and I am not to take this this for granted.  

If you are feeling fed up getting PMS cravings and symptoms, chances are your body is working as it should! You’re able to reproduce and is going through the motions which when you think about all that is going on inside, it’s quite an incredible thing. Eating a bit more than usual if it happens can be managed. 

Being aware of your emotions, how they tie into your cycle, what’s going on in your head with yourself and how it all plays out into your habits and decisions is where mindfulness and emotional intelligence can really come into it’s element as a low sugar lifestyle strategy. 

Just consciously practice catching your thoughts and turn any negative ones on their head where you can. Then add in some gratitude. Don’t beat yourself up for overeating a little chocolate and instead use it to practice slowing down and mindful eating. I find journalling in the morning really helps, doing some form of movement everyday (even if it’s a seemingly lame 1k run) and actively try to process negative emotions with talking to friends, dancing and time off.

running-serotonin

 

In a nutshell

If you get sugar cravings for one crazy week a month – know you’re not alone and well, you’re normal!

Eat all things raw and dark cacao.

Put in place your magnesium and serotonin strategies.

Practice intuitive eating over anything restrictive and make ‘better’ low sugar choices where you can.

Finally, be mindful of what is going on with your wonderful healthy body and practice gratitude where you can (even for that irritating wobbly table ha!).

How do you find your sugar cravings are before your period? Do you crave particular things? Chocolate? Share in a comment below or just let me know if this has been helpful – I hope it has!
Laura xx

 

chocavotruffles

Dark chocolate avocado truffles (low sugar)

So I know it’s the festive season as we’re now into December for many of you around the world and there are sweet things everywhere.

One thing you can do to reduce your overall sugar intake is to make your own healthier low sugar versions of things to keep your sweet palate from increasing too much during the month and also to HAVE FUN playing around, discovering new things.

A few months ago I experimented making these chocolate avocado truffles and I never fully shared the recipe on the blog despite them turning out pretty well. So here they are! These truffle balls are something you could make to sneak some super nutritious avocado into what feels like a chocolate indulgence. 

chocavotrufflesplate

These aren’t crazy sweet at all but the small amount of sugar in the dark chocolate and the cacao flavour means they don’t taste like avocado. I didn’t use any other sugar substitutes but you could add a little brown rice syrup, yacon syrup or something if you did want them a bit sweeter for a wider crowd who have more of a sweet tooth!
Because they really are low sugar and packed with healthy fats and nutritious cacao, they shouldn’t have you on a full sugar craving train and I found they could work for a chocolate fix or post-meal craving well.

It’s really fun to make them too!

Chocolate Avocado Truffles

chocavotruffles

Ingredients

  • 1 perfectly ripe (or slightly over ripe) medium avocado
  • 140g 70% dark chocolate
  • Few drops of vanilla essence
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 ½ tbsp raw cacao powder

Method

  • Peel and pit the avocado then mash the flesh until it becomes smooth
  • Melt the chocolate. Ideally do this with a glass bowl over a pot of boiling water so you do it gently and don’t burn the chocolate. You can also do this in the microwave but be careful not to burn it!
  • Stir the mashed avocado into the melted chocolate along with the vanilla essence and salt
  • Mix all together well (this bit is fun!)
  • Place the mixture into the fridge for about 30-40 minutes to set. If you leave it in for longer, just remove and then wait for 20 minutes for it to soften a bit so you can mould.

I know loads of these type of recipes would pack in dates but I wanted to share a really low sugar alternative as a change. What do you think and will you try making them?

Time to change around sugar?

Love this recipe but feel like you are not sure where to start with recalibrating your tastebuds, dealing with emotional eating, changing habits etc? Then check out my free 4-video training course which describes my four pillars to embrace a low sugar lifestyle and sends you LOADS of other helpful resources to get started.

 

 

Binged on sugar again? Your 7 must do’s…

You’re annoyed with yourself. Really annoyed. It was meant to be one small piece of chocolate to relieve a hectic day. Yet it turned into a rather large slab of the stuff; then 3 biscuits; and somehow the tub of ice cream also came out. Damn that Ben & Jerry’s…

Yes I’m talking about the almighty sugar binge.

For me, binges weren’t usually the ice cream type. It was usually a low fat fruity yoghurt, 2 muesli bars, a few handfuls of granola and then I’d pull out the biscuits, chocolate or cake.

I used to start off ‘better’ and then progressively get worse as I got increasingly frustrated with myself. It was like more sugary unhealthy foods were meant to more appropriately sooth my increasing rate of self-bashing and frustration for eating to unnecessary excess.

Laura those three handfuls of granola were ridiculous, you need to stop this. Ok well let’s just eat that piece of cake to feel better and then that will be it.

Yeah flipping right!

Whatever the food of your choice, the outcome is the same. You feel frustrated, annoyed, shameful, and possibly a bit sick. Too full, uncomfortable, embarrassed, and desperate.

You might also have even eaten something that wasn’t yours and be aware you need to go and replace it before they notice (I did this often because I usually didn’t stock biscuits but my flatmate did!).

All of this I describe is just the emotional downside of it all. Heck knows what that rather large concoction of sugar is doing physically inside your body.

So pain aside, what can you actually do? Like right now.

I seriously hope you’re still reading because I’ve got 7 practical and mindset shift steps to sort you out immediately. Read on my sugar guzzling friend and come out a new person…

1. Balance your blood sugar

Ok let’s start super practical. You’re possibly on a sugar high with an impending crash due over the next two hours. Your temptation might be that you deserve to starve yourself for 12 hours to try and balance out the calories, but this is going to take you right down the wrong path – both physically and emotionally.

Plan to steady your blood sugar with a healthy protein based snack or a full meal about 2-3 hours afterwards. It will help reduce the crash and steady you out again.

I know when I ate a stupidly sickly cupcake once on an empty stomach once, I felt so jittery for the hours afterwards I couldn’t wait to eat a proper meal to steady me out again. I wasn’t that hungry but I could tell my blood sugar was out of whack. Listen to your own body and respond accordingly.

2. Be aware of all sources of fructose and isolated refined carbohydrates over the next 48hours

Without getting overly restrictive (because this feeds binge behaviour), just be aware of all the sweetness passing your lips afterwards (e.g. sugar, dried fruit, juice, sugar substitutes etc.) and avoid eating what I call isolated refined carbohydrates e.g. a plain rice cake or white bread roll on it’s own.

The fructose will drive cravings more through your palate and increase your sweet preference whilst the refined carbohydrates will drive cravings through blood sugar unsteadiness. These two things are a little different in terms of what’s going on in your body, but keep an eye on both for a few days after to reduce the chance of a binge round two.

3. Green yourself up

When you eat a lot of sugar, your body needs to process it. To do this, it uses up a range of vitamins and minerals that you get from the rest of your healthy (or not so healthy) diet. Thus after eating sugar, there’s a strong a case for you to get coloured goodness (especially of the green kind) back into your body to replenish all that’s being used up.

This is a prime time to whip out that spirulina powder, add extra greens to your dinner or whack some extra spinach in your smoothie. Nourish and soothe. Your body can cope with the sugar onslaught but it will thank you more if you eat well to aid rather than starve yourself.

4. Talk out loud

Ok nutrition practicalities aside (the easier bit), let’s move on to the more serious matter of making yourself feel better in the moment.

Ever spoken out loud to yourself? It’s rather fun, try this one first:

‘I just ate [list it ALL] and do you know what, it’s OK!! HA!’

Then notice any self judgment you hear yourself e.g. You are not a good role model for your kids when you eat like this or you deserve to be overweight acting like this.

Mine at points has been…You can’t write a blog about sugar habits when you eat this much sugar!!

Then say:

‘I notice you self judgment. Thank you but I am choosing to like myself today no matter what I decide to eat’

If you feel a bit crazy talking to yourself, then confined in someone close who knows you well and will accept whatever happens with loving words and a realistic perspective.

This is part of my role as a coach helping people with sugar, but because I’ve got pretty good at it, friends now tend to spill their sugar sins on the fly. I’ve become a magnet for sugar confessions let me tell you.

Laura, today I ate three (medium sized) Lindt bunny’s in a row. Then I had some chocolate log, a coke and 5 bananas. That’s ok right?!!

I actually feel blessed that instead of people feeling scared of telling me they ate loads of sugar (which used to happen I suspect), they feel comfortable, accepted and normalised by telling me.

Of course, there’s likely action to take to avoid this becoming regular behaviour, but in that moment when it’s done, my primary goal is to make that person feel OK.

5. Add some other sweetness to your life

It’s often the case that overeating sugar is symptom of something else going on or just a lack of other sweetness in our lives (fun, self care, connection).

In the hours after your binge, commit to take one action to add something in over the next few days. Even if it’s just a hug, some meaningful human interaction, some love, laughing, dancing or even a flirt!

Write it down and make it happen.

6. Understand and consider the term ‘validated learning’

Now this is clever. I’m going to take a term from a business book a read a few years ago and let you use it for post binge mindset healing.

The term ‘validated learning’ comes from The Lean Start Up and is defined as process in which one tries something and can clearly quantify its effect afterwards e.g. in business you learn through testing the sales of your drink that using the phrase ‘sugar-free’ on your product sells 100 more units of it a week than when you didn’t use it (like what I did there?).

Anyway, back to your sugar binge. Use this experience as one of your ‘tests’ and validate your learning if you can. For example, you could say ‘when I’ve had less than 7 hours sleep and I skip breakfast, I binge on 3x as much sugar in the evening as when I’ve had enough sleep and eaten breakfast.’

Or ‘when I say I can have only 1 biscuit, I eat 3 and feel annoyed but when I allow myself 2, I actually only eat two and feel better about myself.’

Both of these are valuable learning.

Progress can be measured in the amount of ‘validated learning’ or lessons instead of just measuring the reduced amount of sugar grams you eat over the week. So effectively this binge can equal more progress in your lower sugar journey because you’ve learnt something valuable than if it hadn’t happened.

You just need to make sure you acknowledge the learning, ideally record it and take logical action on it i.e. don’t keep doing the same thing again.

Clever right?!!

7. Remind yourself you’re human and normal

Sugar is addictive. It’s middle name is binge. If you didn’t overindulge in it ever, you’d probably be less normal that you are right now for going a bit over the top.

Accept that you’re human, this is temporary and it will pass. You can choose how you feel in this moment. Sugar doesn’t need to be making you feel bad all the time and your body will cope.

I really hope this helps you with whatever you were feeling before you read this and I’d encourage you to print it out for yourself in times of need but also share it with others who may find it helpful.

Any other tips or things you do that you want to share? Did you relate to any of this?

How to have a sugar-free Valentines Day

Ok it’s that time of the year again… Valentines Day! It’s only been 7 weeks since the last sugar onslaught of Christmas and we find ourselves with another ‘holiday’ to bring sweet food back into the picture.

If you’re concerned the sparks are going to start flying with your old friend sugar more than your partner, then arm yourself with some soul-filling sugar-free alternatives.

I’ve got the ball rolling here with some ideas and resources. Feel free to add anymore in the comments below…

Sugar-free Valentines Day SOS

First up, check out my post last year with a good array of sugar-friendly Valentines day tips. It includes eating out, communicating your lower sugar preferences to loved ones and how to avoid the ice cream sorrows if you’re single.

Secondly, watch how to stop one chocolate from turning into 10. I know it’s a Christmas video but the technique is still useful if you do find yourself presented with a large box of Thorntons….

Finally, I thought I’d compile a massive random list of alternative gifts and activities (for the loved up AND the single). Remember, Valentines is really about the message over the ‘stuff’.

sugar-free-valentines-tips

Gifts to buy (or request) instead of sickly sugary chocolate:

  • Good quality antioxidant busting dark chocolate
  • Posh tea in a pretty box
  • A thoughtful book with a personal note
  • A good playlist
  • Cuddly toy
  • Cute or funny keyring
  • A heart shaped handwarmer
  • Gloves, scarf, socks
  • Shoes (probably just for the women)
  • A ticket to something
  • Candles
  • Massage oil
  • FLOWERS!

So yes, I’ll give that list to my army of men….or not 😉

For the single, here’s a list of things you could do as ideas and inspiration:

  • Spend quality time with friends
  • Watch a movie (serious or action I personally feel)
  • Call an old relative for a chat
  • Facebook message a distant friend from your past (preferably not an ex)
  • Fresh strawberries and cream (instead of ice cream)
  • Buy & read a new magazine or book
  • Plan & research your next holiday
  • Indulge in your favourite hobby for a day
  • Hot bath with candles
  • Make a new healthy sugar-friendly recipe (like heart-shaped fudge)
  • Write a gratitude list (10 things you’re truly grateful for right now)
  • Try out a new class or learn a new skill

For the singletons out there, if you find yourself tempted to drown yourself in chocolate sorrow, this video by sugar-free Gabrielle Bernstein has some great mindset tips to help shift you out of the blues.

Finally…

If after all of this you still feel like you’re missing out on chocolate, remember healing your relationship with sugar has a lot of similarities to overcoming a romantic relationship. You really do need space and time apart to grow without it in your life and right now that space is important to the long term end goal of feeling that you call the shots on sweet.

You can be ‘friends’ with sugar, where you feel in control and empowered, but you need to know that life and all occasionas can be just a rich without it first.

Show yourself that this is true this Valentines day and you’re well on your way to a happier balanced relationship with sugar long term.

Let me know what you think. Do you feel that fear of missing out when it comes to sweet food and particular holidays that push your favourite sweet treats? Any other items you’d like to add to the lists?

Get sugar perspective on your dark chocolate %

You can read my other blog posts on how to buy dark chocolate and a review of a number of different brands.

I know there were a lot of numbers in that video there so here they are below:

99% cacao, 2% sugar, 1g per 50g bar, 0.1g or something ridiculously small per very small square

90% cacao, 7% sugar, 7g per 100g bar, 0.9g per square

85% cacao, 14% sugar, 14g per 100g bar, 1.75g per square

70% cacao, 29% sugar, 29g per 100g bar, 3.6g per square

5 easy ways to use cacao nibs

I picked up these cacao nibs in Holland and Barratts (£7.99) where you can currently get one half price when you buy two (I gave a bag to Stephanie Fleming for Christmas if you’re wondering!).

What do you think of cacao nibs? Too bitter? Or an awesome sugar-friendly chocolate hit? Let me know in a comment below.

Laura xx

lindts-excellence-chilli-dark-chocolate

Review time: Dark chocolate brands

A little while ago I did a sugar comparison on dark chocolate brands to help you get an idea for those that are high and those that are low when it comes to sugar content.

I advocate dark chocolate as a lower sugar option in a number of instances e.g. better than a sugary low fat yoghurt, better than a Special K bar and better than a 100 calorie milk chocolate bar. However, as my previous post demonstrated, not all dark chocolate is equal.

I really used dark chocolate to help me transition from my post meal sweet fix for a period of time and I still dabble every now and then if I really fancy it. There are a world of brands and varieties out there. I can’t review them that fast because I simply don’t eat it often enough!

Nevertheless, here are some reviews on many of those that I compared and a few that have made it into my home!

lovechock-dark-chocolate-raw-100percent-pure-nibs

Willie’s Cacao Venezuelan Gold 72%

I ended up with this chocolate because I mentioned to my mum I wanted to try their 100% cacao block, and she was on the lookout for it as a present. I wanted the block because it’s good for grating and using in recipes. However, my mum found they had run out of it, and not wanting to disappoint, she picked me up a different one from the same brand.

This Venezuelan Gold 72% is about as sweet as I can tolerate – I don’t like to go below 72% cocoa solids these days (oh how things have changed!). This bar has quite a distinct unusual nutty flavour – sometimes I think I really like it, sometimes I’m not sure. It comes wrapped as two big thick squares, so it’s not great for breaking off and eating (I like thin and snappy) but it is superb for grating though. Try it grated over full fat natural yoghurt and frozen berries for a tasty, sugar sensible dessert.

Green & Blacks organic 85% (&75%)

This is a classic and the 70% is usually pretty widely available here in the UK at a reasonable price in most supermarkets and shops. A smooth texture and lovely taste, it’s quality dark chocolate.

I prefer the 85% as it’s a bit lower in sugar, but the 70% variety can come in a really cute little bar.  This is great for those that struggle to stop at one or two squares and need a bit of forced portion control…and it’s just so cute!

Lovechock

12% sugar (coconut nectar – so one of the healthiest forms of sugar)

80% cocoa solids

Dairy & gluten free

100% raw

OK, I was given a Lovechock bar  to try at a show I attended. It’s really really nice, so much so that I found I got ‘I could easily eat the whole bar’ syndrome. I don’t usually get this so I wonder if this has something to do with the different ingredients or if it’s just way up there in terms of taste. They also gave me an orange and goji berry one, which again was totally delicious, but a little higher in sugar and it put me on the border of being in sugar control!

If you want to try, you need to buy online, I found Detox Your World sells it for £2.78

lindts-excellence-chilli-dark-chocolatedark-chocolate-nero-and-bianco-fairtrade-and-organic

Lindt Excellence 90%

This is dark. It’s for the hardcore dark chocolatiers. It’s the lowest in sugar content, so it’s more bitter than sweet. I love this chocolate now, but I expect if you gave it to your Dairy Milk sugar-loving friend, they would screw up their face like they’d eaten a sour grape and say ‘That’s not chocolate.’ Try it and let me know how you get on!

It’s definitely one to work towards and if you can grow to like it as much as I do, then you can satisfy your chocolate fix with practically no sugar…result!

Nero & Bianco

I picked this up in my office canteen one day. I have to say I’m not a massive fan. It’s quite sickly sweet and doesn’t feel as good quality as other brands. I still have half a bar of it leftover that I haven’t touched. Enough said.

Lindt Excellence Chilli

This is so unusual and I love the chilli-choc combination. It’s a nice smooth texture with a great velvety kick afterwards.

However, despite being ‘dark’, it’s nearly 50% sugar, so beware. Don’t go eating this thinking you’re being dark chocolate virtuous, because I’d count it more towards the regular chocolate camp.

It was largely my dark chocolate of choice for a while, but as I became aware and I moved to the darker end of the scale it edged down the ranks. As my tastebuds continue to get used to a life less sweet, I probably won’t buy it again or at least for a while.

What other dark chocolate brands have you found and would like to share? I will continue to try some new ones over the next few months.

 

I quit sugar chocolate cookbook review

Review: Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar Chocolate Cookbook

Love chocolate? Attempting to get on the low sugar train? These two things don’t tend to go hand in hand, do they? Fear not my chocoholic friend, help is at hand. Sarah Wilson has gone and made a completely sugar-free (and fructose-free) Chocolate Cookbook. I’ve purchased, read and road tested a recipe. So it’s only fair that I share my thoughts……

The book in a nutshell

  • A whopping 89 pages!
  • 74 recipes, although some are variations taken from other Sarah Wilson I Quit Sugar books.
  • Lots of extra and detailed information on things like the difference between cocoa and raw cacao.
  • Pictures, prettiness and pure salivating material.

I quit sugar chocolate cookbook review

My favourite bits

  • Substitution is easy (& encouraged). I don’t often have all of the random ingredients, and I like the fact that Sarah appreciates this and offers practical substitution options.
  • Sarah emphasises that these are treats and because they still taste sweet, they’re not appropriate whilst you’re on a formal sugar detox. I am in complete agreement, so this is possibly a better buy later on in your sugar-free journey.
  • Some combinations are brilliant. They’re creative and unusual, and I am thankful that they have been discovered!
  • Apparently you can have some of these chocolatey things for breakfast. Coco Pops you’d better watch out!

Sarah Wilson I quit sugar chocolate cookbook review

Know this

  • Recipes are generally made sweet tasting with rice malt syrup, stevia and coconut, so you’ll have to perhaps buy a few things. I will also add that fruit does not feature in any of the recipes.
  • Lots of the recipes involve coconut oil or butter so you will certainly need to get over any fat fear (if it’s still lurking).
  • Some recipes are what I would deem a bit ‘faffy’, but others are super easy and quick, so simple souls like me are well catered for.

I quit sugar chocolate cookbook reviewAll in all, I think it’s a good shout, especially if you’re at the point of being more or less safely off sugar, and you’re looking for a dessert alternative to natural yoghurt. You can buy and instantly download the Chocolate Cookbook for $16 which worked out just over £10. Some of these recipes are also great if you’re a serial baker or you want to impress some guests without a complete sugar blowout.

Here’s a picture of me with my adapted version of the Sweet Potato Fudge. I used walnuts and I didn’t add enough cocoa (whoops!). But they still turned out well and tasted mighty fine, hence the Happy Sugar Habits smile…

 I quit sugar chocolate cookbook review

Note: If you decide you want to purchase and you click through one of my links, I am an affiliate for Sarah and I get a small thank you. I’ve given my honest opinion on the book and am purely reviewing it because I genuinely think it’s good stuff for those on a sugar-free journey. All proceeds go to support the continuation of this blog. 

Any other good sugar-free resources you know about? Feel free to comment and by doing so you’ll be sharing the love with all who read this post.

Healthy Easter Tips

Your Healthy Easter Survival Guide: 5 Tips

Easter time and the chocolate eggs come out to throw anyone, who managed to stay on their New Year health kick, right off track. Having a healthy easter can be hazardous. If it’s not the Lindt bunny with a bell on, it’s the hot cross bun or the Cadbury Cream Egg.

Sugary temptation is everywhere once again.

So here are my best tips manifested into some kind of survival guide to keep you from sweet overload.

My Healthy Easter Survival Tips

Survival Tip 1: Mentally prepare

  • You eat what you want to eat. End of.
  • You have complete control (actually believe this).
  • Your fear of missing out, being an Easter scrooge or changing things, is mostly in your own head and is not half as bad as you imagine (I reference this point from Christmas)

Just remember those things and equip yourself with some determination.

Healthy Easter Tips

Even the chicks are ready for it!

Survival Tip 2: Monies over chocolate

My Grandma stopped giving me chocolate a long while ago and I get something little and pretty instead. A pair of knickers or a spring bunny shaped soap (OK I’ve never been given that, but it popped into my head and fits nicely). Even better, she gives me a bit of money to go and buy a new top. I much prefer this arrangement, so now Easter is like a mini giving-fest. Ironically this year, I have a three tiered cake platter for my Grandma. It’s pretty enough without the cakes and will exist more as ornamental centrepiece… I hope!

Survival Tip 3: Don’t waste your saliva on cheap chocolate

I liked this quote from Sarah Wilson today…

“You just have to come to regard pre-masticated, additive-addled chocolate confection as a vile non-food and a waste of your salivary glands. Which it is”

OK quite extreme, but with this in mind, if you are going to have a little chocolate at least make it ridiculously expensive, extremely dark and good quality. Banish the day you will chuck a piece of cheap egg from the 99p shop into your mouth. It tastes simply horrible, even if you are desperate.

Survival Tip 4: Arm yourself with alternatives

Remember there are sugar substitutes like Stevia and Xylitol that you can sneak in if you’re baking. My flatmate and I are decided on finally making Sarah Wilson’s Raspberry Ripe tomorrow and you could also try your hand at some chocolate avocado mousse or chia seed pudding. Alternatively stock up on your favorite nuts or fruit so you always have something that is more nutritional to hand. Swap, substitute, swap…whenever you possibly can.

Survival Tip 5: Don’t stress

Healthy easter tips

Spring wishes…Will daffodils ever come!?

I don’t want to pain this picture that I am of high sugar virtue all the time, because quite honestly, I’m not. Despite having a very different taste for sweet to a year ago, I still falter like any normal human being, particularly with the social side of it all, which for me is still sometimes tricky.

This is my first Easter sans sugar, so like Christmas, I’m going in a bit unknown. My Grandma will have whipped up a lemon meringue pie before I have the chance to lace it with Stevia and there will be points where I’ll get curious about what a hot cross bun might taste like.

So don’t stress. Take your survival tips, do your best, play it cool and ride on for a very Happy Easter!

Laura x

p.s Just to let you know, I am an affiliate of Sarah Wilson, mainly because I actually love her quite a bit. If you do fancy buying one of her products and you click click here or through my side banner, I do get a small token that will go towards the all things Happy Sugar Habits.

p.p.s I can’t add a picture to this post but I’m totally going tweet pic the fancy three tiered cake platter once given, so follow me on twitter if you want to see!