The days are starting to turn into a blur again and my life has turned into a constant cycle of 3-hourly feeds, burps, issues with gas and poo explosions. Who knew something so tiny could possibly be considered a weapon of mass destruction?? Lucky for him, he’s pretty cute and I’m not so bothered about poo anymore.
Eating has become something that happens when it happens – my body clock is all over the place and often breakfast is somewhere around lunchtime because sleep > food. Every time.
Also, it has to be convenient – none of this la gourmet stuff for me at the moment – I can tell you scoffing down a handful of grapes while having a baby attached to your boob is a skill.
The other day, I had a few moments to myself and I was pottering around in the kitchen when I thought I should make some granola. I had some greek yogurt cups in the fridge that would make a quick a tasty snack or breakfast when I needed something quick.
Then I couldn’t actually be bothered turning the oven on, given Rehan could wake and demand SOMETHING with the potential to crack it to high-pitch squealing standards and so looked for something non-bake.
And then, this.
BETTER than granola, but unfortunately I didn’t have all the ingredients to the original recipe. So I subbed what I had, omitting the puffed rice and sticking with oats and just adding whatever I could find in my pantry.
AND, since I used rice malt syrup (brown rice syrup) – it’s also conveniently fructose-free.
At the last minute, I noticed the bag of cacao nibs I had bought on a whim a few months back (as Evs rolled his eyes and placed in the pantry with all my other “healthy shit”)and never really found the time and recipe to use them in and decided to add a handful in. Cacao nibs are made from raw cacao beans and full of antioxidants and magnesium.
Best. Idea. Ever.
It turned it from a peanut-butter granola bar to a CHOC peanut-butter granola bar. I have since made 3 batches of this, and it has become my go-to meal when I am feeling peckish. The last batch I made, I probably added in a *touch* too much syrup (was wanting to finish the bottle) and they became delightfully sticky that I turned them into balls rolled in shredded coconut rather than bars.
These are really good on the-go, new mum or not – they’re easy to make when you have a few minutes to spare, packed full of nutritional goodness and really filling to boot. They are vegan, gluten-fee (if you use gluten-free oats) and fructose-free if you use the rice malt syrup. The best part is that it can be easily modified to suit all tastes and combinations – sub maple syrup/honey if you like, chocolate chips for the cacao nibs and you can definitely add whatever you like as well!
Dry (use scant measurements)
1 & 3/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 TB ground flaxmeal
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (optional – can use to roll in)
Wet (use generous measurements)
1/2 cup rice malt syrup (sub for honey (will not make it vegan)/maple/agave syrup)
1/3 cup peanut butter (I used crunchy and loved the peanut bits in it)
1 tsp vanilla extract/essence (optional)
1) Add all dry ingredients into a medium sized bowl and mix together.
2) In a separate (microwave-safe) small bowl – add wet ingredients together and heat for 20-30 seconds. Mix together.
3) Pour wet mixture into dry and mix until well combined and it’s all evenly distributed.
4) Put mixture into a shallow pan and spread and flatten it down so it covers the pan.
You can then cut it into 12 now and store each one separately, or leave them in the pan. If making into balls, wet hands and roll into balls, covering them in the shredded coconut. Store them in the fridge – this will help bind the ingredients and make them easy to grab when hungry
Seriously good – even Evs liked them and said they tasted like healthy Reeces Pieces. Check out the original post for some fun modifications and combinations!
I was converted and started preaching a sugar-free way to all that would listen.
Fast forward a few months. Ok….most of the year.
About halfway through the year, and looking back it was funnily enough after coming back from holidays in Sri-Lanka and falling pregnant, I started craving the sweet stuff again. When I found out I was pregnant and couldn’t have my beloved wine, I think I started compensating by replacing wine with chocolate. MILK chocolate. And if that amount is anything to go by, then I was well on the way to becoming an alco.
Lots of compensating was done.
It was done in the most overt way that I didn’t even realise I was doing it. I’d accept a handful of M&M’s while watching a movie, and then find I’d eaten the whole packet. Foods that hadn’t graced our kitchen for a long time suddenly started sneaking back in for those “just in case we have visitors” moments. Vegetables were on my hit list for things I couldn’t stand the sight of. I started feeling sluggish and tired and bloated and I put it down to the joys of being pregnant.
The funny thing was, everything tasted SO SWEET to me still yet I couldn’t stop.
Anyways, Sarah is throwing out the call to one and all to get back on the wagon – no judgement – in her pre-Christmas program. It starts today (29th October) and after seeing that and reading Laney’s post, I thought it was just the kick in the pants to get me back on track.
That being said, I’m all for listening to my body and if I wake up in the middle of the night with an itch only two things can cure (and the husband’s asleep)…well….I’m not going to feel guilty over that.
It’s really all about re-calibrating myself and getting to a place where I feel as good as I did the first time around. It’s also about respecting my body and ensuring that I’m giving this little baby all the best nutrients it can get.
The best thing about doing this is that I KNOW I CAN DO IT. I have done it before.
Evs is on board leading up to the silly season and I’ll be posting my journey here again for those who are interested. I bought the IQS cookbook when it came out as well and have since made some of the delicious recipes from it. One of the things I’ve been wanting to do more here is post more quick and easy healthy recipes, only because I tend to use blogs as my main source of inspiration for food and I want to share how easy it is to eat delicious food while taking care of your health.
For those interested, to get yourself started, I have a few posts I wrote the first time around that might help. I also highly recommend getting the I Quit Sugar e-book because it covers a lot more than what I did (or you can get the bundle with the cookbook which is also good) (and as a small reminder, they are aff links which means I get something small for it – which means – woohoo one free coffee for me!! )
You can also sign up for Sarah’s newsletter which will also give you a lot more tips and discounts on some of the things she mentions in her book as well. There’s a ton of support out there through the IQS community and I’ve joined Laney’s FB group as well which is great for meeting other people and sharing like-minded things related to quitting sugar.
As for me – I’m starting by getting myself prepared. I’ll be doing my weekly grocery shopping tonight and making sure I stock up on lots of nutritious food. I’ve made a loose meal plan for the dinners I want to make this week and will share some of the recipes as well here too.
So for the week:
Monday – leftovers (my cousin gave us heaps of food from the weekend – all healthy Indian stuff, so that with some rice will do )
Tuesday – Vegetable Noodle stirfry (may chuck in some meat for the husband, but I have tofu/paneer that needs to be used up)
Wednesday – Vegetable Cauli-rice (Evs will most likely have a steak with this)
Thursday – Stuffed chicken breasts with home-baked spicy sweet potato fries and salad (or possible going out for Pho)
Friday – Cheesy mushroom quesadillas
I’ll also be preparing for my breakfasts by making a batch of my fructose-free granola and removing all tempting things from my fridge and pantry.
I’ve always been a huge fan of granola, ever since I patiently looked it up in the dictionary after reading about a ‘granola bar’ in one of my Baby Sitters Club books when I was twelve.
Never mind I had never had one – if it was the snack of choice for a bunch of pre-teen girls who were given way too much responsibility (and their own phone line!!!) and wondered how they ended up having so many adventures including being jealous of the cute 8th grader Mary-Ann somehow snagged despite being the most boring member of the club, then it was good enough for me!
And I wonder why my parents took away my books from me.
Years later, I actually got to see granola in the flesh (or as much it can be as it contains no meat at all – heyyyy….wouldn’t that be an…? Ok stop. Too far.) in the guise of ‘Oat Clusters’ at my local supermarket.
With the invention of the internet and my discovery of blogs, I found the real granola and also how to make your own.
Why would you make your own?
Well, for one – those ‘Oat Clusters’ – as much as they try and advertise it as health food, they usually contain an insane amount of fat and sugar.
So, on a rainy weekend gone by, I decided to make some granola.
Oh – and make it fructose-free. (Because you know, sugar is evil)
I’m not a sugar-hater, but if I can substitute it with something that won’t do damage to my body like sugar will, then I’m all for it. (If you don’t believe me – read this)
Peanut Butter Granola (makes 4 half-cup serves)
1 cup rolled oats (use gluten free-oats to make this gluten free)
2 Tb natural smooth Peanut butter (I used chunky too and was just as yummy)
1/3 cup Brown rice syrup (you can use agave/maple syrup/honey if you like – just something brown and sticky. Just not a stick. Bwahahaha. Err… I suck at recipes)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract/essence (I use essence because surprise! – Pure vanilla extract has sugar in it. Sigh.)
1. In a medium bowl, add the brown rice syrup and peanut butter. Microwave for approx 30 seconds until warm. Mix together with cinnamon and vanilla.
2. Add the oats and make sure it’s all coated nice and evenly
3. Oops! Make sure your oven is heated to about 170 C. Spread the oat mixture flat on a baking tray lined with baking paper/parchment .
4. Place in oven for about 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.
5. Take out and let cool.
6. Eat with a splash of almond milk or some plain greek yogurt!
Each serve of only granola is just under 200 calories (it will depend on the peanut butter you use) with 21g carbs of which is 4.3g sugar and 3g fibre/5.9g protein/8.2g fat
I started experimenting a little and the beauty about granola is that you can put in any combination of things you love to make something tasty. Feel free to substitute with some dried fruit (will not make it fructose-free), choc bits or different nuts and seeds.
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup raw almonds
1/4 cup shredded/desiccated coconut
1/4 cup ground flax seed/meal (a great source of fibre!)
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
2 Tb sesame seeds
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1/3 cup brown rice syrup
2 Tb coconut oil
1. In a small bowl, heat the coconut oil and brown rice syrup and mix together well. Add the spices and
2. In a medium-large bowl, add the rest of the dry ingredients.
3. Pour the oil-syrup mixture over the dry ingredients and mix well
4. Spread mixture flat on a baking tray lined with baking paper/parchment.
5. Place in 170 C oven for about 15-20 mins. Keep an eye on it and flip over halfway so it doesn’t burn.
6. Take out and let cool before devouring.
(My breakfast of choice on days when I’m running late. Easy to take to work and eat with a latte and your laptop by your side )
Based on 8 serves – each serve of granola is approx 211 calories with 16g fat (all good stuff from the nuts and coconut oil)/5g protein/11.25g carbs with 2.5g sugar and 3.6g fibre).
I find it incredibly filling because of the fibre and the fats and it hits the spot with some plain yogurt which is high in protein. It also keeps really well in an air-tight container/jar as well, but seriously it tastes so good that it won’t stay around for very long!
Are you a granola fan? Actually – are you a Baby Sitters Club fan? Fave character?? I always loved Dawn because of her hippie name and long hair.
I needed it after a shitty week and Evs even chipped in by making himself scarce and going to play computer games with his mates for a few days.
Which meant it was me, on my lonesome with just the two dogs to keep me company.
It was actually quite fun.
I may or may not have given reason for the neighbours to think I’m a crazy dog person with my coaxing Dex to look at me while I taped him and Toby through my iPhone.
(If I ever figure out how to upload videos onto here you WILL be subjected to watching my crazy dog antics)
For some reason, it’s when Evs isn’t here that I get all domestic and do things that normally wouldn’t DREAM of doing.
Like washing the bathmats.
And finally cleaning out underneath the bathroom sink.
And to be completely honest, my eating habits had taken a bit of a nosedive over the last few days – takeout twice in a row, scoffing mini-chocolates while stuck in whole-day training in the office (in my defence, I NEEDED something to keep me awake through a multitude of corny firm videos and team activities)
I had gotten off-track on my no-sugar life and my body was feeling it. I woke up CRAVING vegetables.
But I did what any other person would do when faced with the thought of vegetables (no matter how much my brain was screaming for spinach!) and baked a pie instead.
In my defence, once again, it was a delicious SUGAR-FREE pie.
Hahaha yes I realise it was mean to leave you with a picture of its deliciousness but what could I do?
I used this recipe as the base for the pie and changed it up a bit.
I used David Gillespie’s recipe given in his Quit Sugar Plan book as a base for the fudge sauce and it was OMG yum.
There are so many ways you can make this and I have a few different combinations in my mind already. Coconut cream pie anyone? Choc-mint pie?
(Bee Tee Dubs – Evs thinks it’s hilarious that I keep asking if he wants to taste my pie. SO immature that one!)
(Coz, you know, I’m not)
Fructose/Sugar-free No-bake Peanut Butter Cream Pie with Choc Fudge Sauce
For the pie base:
2 cups almond meal
2.5 Tb dextrose (obvs can use caster sugar or something here)
3.5 Tb butter – melted (or enough to hold it all together)
For the pie filling:
125g cream cheese (~5oz) – I used light Philly – no difference in taste
1/2 cup dextrose
1/3 cup natural peanut butter (use smooth if you can, I only had crunchy on hand and had little peanut flecks in my pie. Still tasty though)
250mL cream – whipped (you can use a low fat version of this or whatever that stuff is that comes out of a can if you like as well)
For the sauce:
1Tb cocoa powder
2Tb dextrose (or to taste – this sauce is quite chocolatey and not hugely sweet)
1 Tb butter
For the base:
Preheat oven to 180C (350 F).
Melt the butter and mix the ingredients up in the pan and pat into place with your fingertips. You can def double this recipe if you want to create sides but this made about a 1/2 inch base for the pie.
Bake for about 10 minutes until the crust is beginning to brown. After 8 minutes, check every minute or so, because once it starts to brown it goes quickly.
Let cool while you make the filling
For the filling:
Beat cream cheese and dextrose together in a bowl (if using a stand mixer on a med speed)
Mix in peanut butter until smooth.
Whip cream until fluffy and then fold in gently with the peanut butter mixture
Spoon mixture into cooled almond meal pie shell and put in the fridge until firm, for approx 2-3 hours. (You can leave overnight and it helps to set it even further)
(You can see the peanut butter chunks – you won’t have that if you use smooth PB)
For the sauce:
Melt butter and cocoa in a small saucepan over low heat
Add in dextrose and mix until smooth
Add in cream and bring to boil – once boiled turn heat off (this sauce will thicken as it cools – heat it up before serving if you want to drizzle it)
Serve pie with sauce and delight in the magical combination that it peanut butter and chocolate
So I thought I better put in an update to how this little thing is going. It’s been about two full weeks now since I went cold turkey and removed all sources of fructose in my diet.
The first week I was cranky. And bitchy and really really moody.
And then I worked out the real reason.
It’s quite funny, because in this type of situation, I wouldn’t have hesitated before getting stuck into a bar of chocolate and then another one once the endorphins from the first one had worn off and my lower back started to hurt like a bitch again.
So, dealing with hormonal mood swings while I can’t eat sugar has been interesting.
In the first week, I’m not sure if I technically cheated, because I had made some fructose-free desserts.
Not all for me, mind you, but once I figured out how to cook sweets without fructose, it was like SWEET (no pun intended), I can have my cake and eat it too!!
(Seriously. No pun intended)
So those hit the spot when I wanted something sweet.
But then I ran out.
Sarah hosted a webinar on Monday night, which I ended up missing because I was stuck in peak hour traffic.
(As an aside – I find that the ONLY time I ever get road rage is in peak hour traffic. I turn into this cussing, enraged person that doesn’t hesitate to flip the bird or overtake someone rudely when they are being OMFG so slow. I’m working on it.)
I managed to catch it the next day in my lunchbreak at work. She answered reader questions that were sent to her live and actually answered some thoughts that were swirling through my mind in the last few days as well.
As I’ve mentioned before, there are literally hundreds of people that have joined the I Quit Sugar bandwagon (which is awesome!) and the community out there to share and discuss has been invaluable.
But I did find that I was getting really upset when people would comment on their own successes (in particular weight loss). It made me worried that I wasn’t doing it right, that I wasn’t experiencing the same kind of things that the book and most people seemed to be experiencing.
A sense of competitiveness had subtly crept in.
Sarah actually addressed this as part of the webinar – she says that most people who start the program are those who have typically are coming from a high processed food diet to one that is virtually cutting out a big part of what they were eating.
Because of that, a fair amount of the toxins that sugar produce were being removed as they removed sugar from their diet which manifested itself in the form of symptoms, similar to that of those when going through a detox.
Meaning – headaches, crabbiness etc.
Also – these people would be those that were more likely to experience a faster weight loss.
Those people whose original diets were already cleared of highly-processed foods meant that there were less toxins to be removed and thus less likely to have withdrawal symptoms and faster weight loss.
I can’t tell you how much relief I felt from hearing that.
One – because, AWESOME, the way I have been eating for the past few years which is that I don’t eat very much processed goods, I eat a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables and quite a balanced one with complex carbs and protein – it was a GOOD thing.
Two – it made sense to why I hadn’t been feeling much of the withdrawal type symptoms and also why to date – I’ve still only lost about 1.5 kilos since I started.
So that was helpful to know.
Also helpful to know, was when someone asked Sarah as part of the webinar – “Should I avoid semen?” and she understandably avoided answering , I then felt compelled to Google it WHILE AT WORK to discover that semen, in fact, is made up of 70% fructose.
Some things you just don’t EVER want to know.
This week has been better – interestingly enough, since I don’t have the crutch of my sugar-free desserts to get me through, in the last day or so I’ve been feeling a mild headache – nothing major but almost like when I realise I haven’t had my morning coffee.
Which really, is a whole OTHER issue.
(I’m not addicted to coffee. But I may love it just that tiny bit too much).
Also, some of you guys may have seen a few newspaper articles floating around about the recent study done by Nature journal on dangers of sugar to be on par with tobacco and alcohol. There is even talks about the possibility of imposing a sugar-tax onto food.
The study singles out fructose in particular and is really, pretty much what people have been trying to say about the effects of sugar for a very long time. What I particularly find interesting is the band of nutritionists and health policy advocates who are refuting the science and dismissing it as nothing but ‘sensationalism’.
It comes back to the point, that sugar is so deeply ingrained in our psyche and in our diets that even the inkling of anything negative about it causes an uproar. Perhaps, it’s because sugar – unlike tobacco and alcohol is everywhere and in everything – it’s not as OBVIOUS a ‘poison’ that the former two are.
Sarah’s thoughts here on the article, if you’re interested.
Anyways, for the cold-turkey phase, I have another full week to go before we can re-introduce some low-fructose fruits like berries back into my diet, plus the alternative sweeteners (Stevia, dextrose and rice malt syrup).
I think that probably the next week or so will be the most telling – will I be ‘cured’ of my addiction?
I think I’m heading to a place where I can see the tangible effect of removing sugar in my life – it’s sustainable to do, I don’t crave it as much as I used to and most importantly – I FEEL better.