Tag Archives: sugar-free diet

Scrumptious sugar-free berry muffins

28 May

I’ve undertaken a bit of a baking bonanza. Since discovering sugar-free substitutes and other handy whole foods, I’ve been whipping and whirring and mixing and stirring and licking the bowl of a whole range of delicious treats.

It’s fun chucking chunky heaps of ingredients into a bowl and seeing what works. I’ve never been one to experiment with cooking, but now I’m leaving the measuring cups and tossing everything in with wild abandon (a bit like my life at the moment, actually!)

Here’s a quick treat I whipped up yesterday, while Sex and the City played in the background. I’ve written the measurements, but you can also throw it all together like I did and adjust until the mixture is gloopy.

Presenting…my scrumptious sugar-free berry muffins

What you need

  • 3/4 C xylitol (or another sugar substitute)
  • A heap of frozen berries (I used a mix of blueberries, mulberries and raspberries)
  • 1/2 C coconut oil (or another vegetable oil)
  • 1 egg, whisked lightly
  • 1 C full cream milk
  • 2 C wholemeal self-raising flour (or a gluten-free substitute. You may need to alter the wet ingredients if substituting the flour)

How to make it

  • Preheat oven to 190C
  • Mix the flour and xylitol in a large bowl
  • Toss in the berries and stir (it will turn purple/red immediately)
  • Add the milk, egg and oil
  • Stir it all together with a big metal spoon
  • Pour the batter into muffin pans. I used silicone pans to avoid greasing.
  • Put the pans in the oven for 20-30 mins. Test by poking a skewer or knife into the centre of a muffin. If it comes out clean, your muffins are ready!

Wait til the muffins have cooled before serving. I cut mine open and placed a chunk of organic salted butter inside.

You can keep the  muffins in an airtight container, or freeze them in individual zip-lock bags for a quick and easy snack.

Enjoy! 🙂

Paleo-inspired slow-cooked lamb shank smoosh

24 May

I’m nearing the end of my first sugar-free week and I’m feeling pretty good. My stomach hasn’t cramped and I haven’t experienced the 3pm slump I got the first time around.

While banning the sweet stuff, I’ve also decided to cut out grains. Just to see. I  know that whenever I eat starchy, processed foods, my gut groans and my tummy twists for hours. And all your encouraging comments on my previous post have spurred me on to keep this up. So thank you!

Of course, cutting out food calls for new recipes and a little research. While Googling, I discovered that the Paleo diet subscribes to the no-grains, no-sugar thang. Followers of the Paleo (or primal) diet stick to meat, eggs, fish, nuts, fruit and vegetables. Essentially, anything our ancestors could grow, source or kill.

Presenting…my slow-cooked lamb shank smoosh

Armed with this new info (and heaps of online resources and recipes), I set out to create a scrumptious lamb shank ‘something’ in my beloved slow cooker.

Slow cookers are fab. You can throw almost anything into them, go about your day and come back 8 hours later to a hot and delicious dinner. Best of all, you can cook in bulk and freeze a few portions.

What you need

Here’s what I chucked in:

  • 2 lamb shanks
  • A couple of carrots
  • A few onions
  • A handful of green beans
  • 1 can of whole roma tomatoes (organic, with as few ingredients as possible)
  • Some sprigs of rosemary & thyme
  • A pinch of oregano
  • A few slices of garlic, pushed into slits in the shanks
  • 2 cups of water
  • Loads of pepper and a dash of salt
  • A little all-purpose seasoning
And here’s how it looked before I flipped the switch:

Sweet potato mash

While that was simmering and stewing, I prepared a pot of sweet potato mash. Here’s how:

  • Cut sweet potatoes into small chunks and place in a medium-sized pot
  • Add a few sprigs of rosemary
  • Cover with water and bring to the boil
  • The potatoes are done once they are soft (check with a fork)
  • Remove the rosemary
  • Drain the potatoes and transfer to a bowl
  • Add a big dollop of organic butter, some salt & pepper and a pinch of basil
  • Grab a masher and pound those potatoes ’til they turn mushy
  • Put the bowl in the fridge

Taa daaaaaaa!

What to do next

Once the lamb shanks are cooked, skim any fat off the surface and freeze into individual portions. I also kept a couple of bowls in the fridge for tonight’s dinner and tomorrow’s lunch.

And this is what I tucked into tonight:

It doesn’t look very pretty, but it was a lip-smacking bowl of smooshy goodness. And the best bit is, I now have leftover lamb bones to make into a stock (more on that in a future post). I’ve also got a week’s worth of meals for less than $5 a dish.

Bon appetit!

The dreaded weekend binge

9 Nov

I’ve been doing the ‘no sugar thing’ on-and-off for weeks now. The longest sugar-free stint I’ve survived is three weeks. It often ends with my face in a bowl of Reese’s Miniatures.

Monday to Friday, nine to five, I can easily survive on a healthy diet of veggies, porridge, nuts, seeds, protein and sugarless carbs. I strut around the office and dismiss offers of chocolate, smirking as I say, ‘No thanks, I’m off sugar’. My skin is clear, my ‘poonch’ (the affectionate name for the lovely fat roll that smothers my hips) has disappeared and I couldn’t care less about food.

The weekends, however, are my undoing. All I can think about is food! The inner west of Sydney is my little hub of gluttony – the endless restaurant signs scream at me, ‘Thai! Italian! Greek! Indian! Pizza! Sugar! Sugar! Sugar!’ The supermarket becomes my enemy. I no longer see the rich Greek yoghurt, rich red tomatoes and ripened avocados. Instead, I become fixated on Doritors, donuts and those bloody Reese’s Miniatures!

To combat my weekend write-offs, I’ll attempt to read a chapter from David Guillespie’s Sweet Poison Quit Plan. I’ll flick through Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar e-book. I’ll cook a big batch of scrummy vegetable ‘something-a-rother’. But nothing works.

It doesn’t help that Saturday and Sunday mornings I work up a massive appetite doing rowing training or racing. It also doesn’t help that I’m an all-or-nothing girl. You know the drill – the packet of Tim Tams is sitting on the coffee table. You tell yourself you’ll just have one, a little treat, and put the packet back in the fridge. Oh, but today was meant to be your ‘good’ day! Now you have 10 Tim Tams and no one to share them with. You can’t keep crap like that in the house when you’re meant to be eating healthily! It’s OK, you’ll scoff the lot now so that they’re all gone and you can start eating healthily again tomorrow.

Why is it that during the working week, I am a health nut, yet on weekends I go on a bingeing rampage?

It’s not just me!

Before going (sorry, attempting to go) sugar-free, I subscribed to the ’80-20’ rule. That is, eat and exercise well 80% of the time and indulge 20% of the time. I like this rule – it allows me to justify being restrained most of the time, and becoming a crazed sugar-scoffing madwoman the rest. It means I can enjoy (guilt-free) all those fun food-centered activities – dinner with friends, dessert with the man, Malteasers at the movies, glass of wine at girly catch-ups…Then I realised I was justifying eating crap at virtually any occasion:

  • Stressed from work? Chocolate.
  • Boring night in? Ice cream and chocolate. Or chocolate ice cream.
  • Strolling around sunny Darling Harbour? Gelato. Usually chocolate.
  • Night before boot camp? Anything I can get my hands on. Hey, I’m exercising tomorrow, I’ll work it off!

To find out why I pig out from 5pm Friday til 9am Monday, I went a-Google-ing. Turns out, there’s a fair bit of research being carried out on people who chow down at the end of the working week.

One study found that people ate 400 calories more on weekends than weekdays, equating to around 20 per cent more.  Sounds about right to me!

According to dietician and exercise physiologist Kim Gorman, this is because “many dieters [are] creating a calorie deficit Monday through Friday but filling it — and more — during the weekend.”

She says the problem lies in unstructured weekends and a change in routine. That’s definitely the case for me – I have set eating times at work. But when I sleep in until 10am on Saturday, my whole weekend is out of whack.

How to eat like it’s Wednesday

An article by Megan Othersen for Rodale Inc, offers some practical tips for treating a weekend day like a Wednesday.

I’m going to try a few this weekend and let you know how I go.

1.    No sleep-ins

I relish my sleep-ins, especially as I’m up at 4.30am most mornings for rowing. However, Megan reckons it’s easier to stick to a healthy eating regime if your eating schedule is constant. So this weekend, I’ll be breaking the fast at 7am (gaa!).

2.    Log it

I use a great free app called My Fitness Pal to track my eating and exercise, though it gathers virtual cobwebs on weekends. This weekend I’ll record all my eating and see if it prevents a blow-out.

3.    Eat the same breakfast

This isn’t in Megan’s list, but I reckon if I eat my weekday brekkie of porridge with rice milk, nuts and chia seeds, I’ll be less likely to scoff sweets later in the day.

4.    Exercise

With the Head of the Parramatta rowing regatta testing my fitness levels this Saturday morning, I can easily stick to this rule. The challenge, however, will be not using the race to justify a later pig-out!

%d bloggers like this: