Easter breakfast – scrumptious fluffy pancakes with fruit

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This Easter is the first with our wonderful little girl who is now 10 months old. I have fond memories of Easter from my own childhood. Growing up in my family in Denmark we would give each other chocolate Easter egg baskets and get to open them Good Friday. In the afternoon we would colour and decorate boiled eggs and my parents would hide them on grand parents farm and in their garden. One of my best memories was chasing around in the garden, racing though the spring daffodils with our cousins trying to find the most eggs.

DaffodilsI

We don’t quite have daffodils here in New Zealand for Easter as it’s autumn but I can’t wait for our little girl to be old enough to chase around the garden looking for eggs. For now, I spoiled my wonderful husband and daughter with some fluffy pancakes and hid a naughty chocolate egg in my hubby’s pancake (melted) and served with fruit this morning. Delicious AND sugar/gluten/dairy-free. If you want the recipe, click here.

Happy Easter everyone!

If you would like to see more articles and gluten, dairy and sugar-free recipes like this you can follow me here (via email, see top right on this page), on Facebook or Twitter.

 

Stop dieting!!! (and what to do instead)

Stop dieting (blog)

I’ve had it with people dieting. To get their pre-baby body back, to fit into a particular dress… whatever it is – stop dieting! Right now! There is no need to constantly feel deprived and hungry. You can loose weight, feel great and still eat delicious food every day. Read on.

What’s the issue? After becoming a mum it is particularly evident in all the online forums I’m in, that loosing weight is a big thing. After all, especially for mums, who doesn’t want to get rid of the baby weight and return to your pre-baby body? (or even fitter!) The problem though, as I see it, is women asking for advice on how to loose weight and the answers from others is all about the latest diet, from the ‘juice only’, ‘only eating every other day’ to restricting daily intake to near nothing. Then, comes the success stories of loosing the weight (but it wasn’t pleasant, headaches, cravings, feeling deprived etc), followed by a re-gain in weight because these diets aren’t sustainable. They are only a quick fix. You will be yo-yo’ing for life if you carry on.

Here is what you can do instead and FEEL GOOD for life:

  • Go sugar-free! Go to this page and read up on all my posts on how to go sugar-free. Not convinced that sugar is the problem? Read this and you will wonder no longer.
  • These posts from my sugar-free challenge will help you through the first week which is the worst and explain what to do after that. Day 1. Day 2. Day 3. Day 4. Day 5. Day 6. Day 7.
  • Follow my blog (sign up your email in the top right corner or follow on Facebook) so you don’t miss out on the latest recipes and great articles.
  • In a pickle or have a question? Just need support? Email me on contact@exsugarholic.com

What – and start a new diet? No. Although it may appear to start with, you are not cutting out a food group, you are just avoiding allergens and processed crap for the most. The hardest part of it is only temporary, then you are set for life long success. After your withdrawal from sugar you will no longer feel like you NEED sweet things, overdose on carbs and trawl the cupboards when you get home or grab that last cookie at the office. You may loose/maintain your weight (depending on what you want), have high energy, loads of motivation and feel happier.

What’s not to like? If you try it and withdraw successfully and you don’t like it you haven’t lost anything! (although I have yet to hear of anyone not loving all the benefits of their new lifestyle :)) Start now!

If you would like to see more articles like this and gluten, dairy and sugar-free recipes you can follow me here (via email, see top right on this page), on Facebook or Twitter.

Ready, set, go!

Tomorrow I have to be up at 5:30am to get ready for the famous Karekare Human Beach Races. Human, you say, what else is there? Well, these famous races are traditionally done by our equine friends. For 20 years, horses have raced the black sands of Karekare beach, and for the first time ever, humans get to join in as well.

Other than eating healthy, I want to get more out in our beautiful nature, this race is just perfect.

The course goes through some of the most beautiful nature just outside Auckland… past waterfalls, through bush, steep inclines and beautiful coastline, ending on KareKare beach.

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CourseMap

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For the race, I whipped together some super powered energy protein bars crammed full of nuts, seeds and chia. Some chocolate and peanut butter to keep it all together (okay and make it taste ridiculously good). I also made two versions, one with glucose for high energy during the race and one batch with zylitol for energy on a regular day.

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I had a final look of the map, and now I better go to bed 🙂

If you would like to see more articles like this and gluten, dairy and sugar-free recipes you can follow me here (via email, see top right on this page) or on Facebook.

A couple of random things I learned from my travels

Chocolate can be bought in 1.2kg bars. Yes YOU HEARD RIGHT! I purchased one single piece of chocolate, pure (sugar-free) cacao weighing in at a whopping 1.2 kilo in the UK! In my excitement I didn’t take the time to do a decent photo, but the photo belowIMG_8523 - Copy should give you an idea of the size (although it broke in half in the mail). I cooked up a storm of sugar-free chocolate treats for Christmas… chocolate covered marzipan and nougat treats. Strawberries in chocolate sauce…. yum! Now I’m pondering in which other ways I can use this delicious chocolate…. I’m open for suggestions 🙂

Other interesting things…

When it comes to gluten-free products in Denmark, I had a hard time finding anything (although GF bread in supermarkets and one bakery was achievable). I’m not sure if it’s because not many are intolerant or just don’t know it, but they were far more concerned with products being whole grain or not, quite interesting. However, they have embraced sugar free products far more than NZ and the UK. Some supermarkets have even run offers like “buy a sugar free product and pay no GST” (which in Denmark is 25%, quite a significant saving). It’s also really easy to find both dairy alternatives and loads of lactose-free dairy options.

Okay, that was it. Mainly, I just wanted to share the giant chocolate bar 😉 If you want to see my top tips for travelling sugar (dairy/gluten) free, please check out my last post here.

If you would like to see more articles like this and gluten, dairy and sugar-free recipes you can follow me here (via email, see top right on this page) or on Facebook.

Top 5 tips for travelling sugar-free

The last couple of months I have been visiting Europe to see family and friends. And let me tell you, it isn’t easy eating sugar, gluten and dairy free on the go in another country!

veg car

This is what worked for us:

1. Make a mobile pantry. If you are only staying in the same spot for a day or two, making your own stuff really isn’t feasible. However, having rented a car, I found that stocking up on items which didn’t need refrigeration worked well (such as fruit, nuts, low-sugar cereal, gluten-free bread).

2. Let your lifestyle be known if you are staying at someone’s house. If you are visiting good friends and family, they will understand and appreciate what your dietary needs are, especially if you are staying at their house. As a host, it’s a bummer to cook a nice meal for your guests only to find out at a later stage that it made them sick. We were very conscious about not being a pain, so we would tell them not to worry about buying anything they wouldn’t normally get, but if they could avoid meals with loads of sugar, gluten and dairy that would be fantastic. Other times, I would offer to cook them a meal in their house – that way you can treat them and your body will thank you at the same time.

3. If only catching up with someone briefly, meet at a cafe. This way you can select something from the menu which suits you (stay away from all the desserts, cakes and any sweet drinks).

3. Don’t sweat the little things. If you want to eat and not starve to death, you will find it easier to eat the occasional sugar/gluten/dairy. Other times, a treat is worth the consequence (I was re-living  a few childhood memories, you may just want to experience something new and exciting – if it only happens very rarely, for me, it’s been 4 years, why not? As long as the ‘occasional’ doesn’t happen weekly).

4. If travelling in Europe, use the new allergen info panels. I must say, the new European rules for allergens were just in time for my arrival in the UK. EVERY cafe, bar, stall and hot dog stand I went to had allergen information readily available. It doesn’t include sugar (I wish) but for my gluten and dairy intolerance, this was awesome. It also appears to have made staff much more aware of what’s in their products which is a bonus, so, quite often this means raised awareness of sugar content, yay.

If you would like to see more articles like this and gluten, dairy and sugar-free recipes you can follow me here (via email, see top right on this page) or on Facebook.

How to get rid of your sugar addiction – when going out (4/4)

Friends at cafe eating (blog)

Going to a bar, café, sports game or the movies can seem almost impossible if you are planning to eat or drink anything at the venues as sugar is added to most things. Many of these businesses capitalise on the fact that you are going out to enjoy yourself. Who wants to go to a place with delicious food and drinks and feel deprived?

There is a fair few things you can do to make sure you can still go out and enjoy yourself without feeling like you are being difficult and still adhere to your life-style choice.

  • Ask your regular places (or find some new ones ) how much sugar there is in the various recipes you would normally eat or drink. Then ask for alternatives. You can ask when you are there or you can call or email them in your own time, so that when you go with your friends that, just like them, you can just look at the menu, picking something, and then enjoy it. Sorted!
  • If you are going somewhere you haven’t been before you can still contact them ahead, but if you don’t have time or only find out last minute – do some research in general. Get street-smart on sugars, know your stuff. Find out what the biggest culprits are on restaurant menus and which are the best options (this would depend on what type of food you normally go for). This will allow you to make easier choices when you have a new menu in front of you. You can, of course, always ask the staff in the venue.
  • If you have to choose something from a café to takeaway, there are usually a couple of gluten free and dairy free options, however, sugar-free is still highly unlikely to be on offer in your typical café. If you have time, order something from the sit-in menu and ask if you can take it away. Many things on lunch menus are naturally sugar-free but ‘glass cabinet’ offers typically aren’t if you are looking for lunch.
  • Finally, if you are going somewhere you know has zero options which are suitable for you, for example the cinema, bring your own snacks! (just keep in mind that some places don’t allow people to bring their own food)

I hope these tips were helpful. Please share any of your tips 🙂

If you would like to see more articles like this and sugar-free recipes you can follow me here (via email, see top right on this page) or on Facebook.

 

 

How to get rid of your sugar addiction – visiting friends (3/4)

At home friends in the kitchen

Visiting friends or going to parties can be a minefield if you have food intolerances, allergies or you life-style choice isn’t very common (i.e. sugar-free). Hopefully you have lovely and understanding friends who accept and support your new life-style choice (that would make this easier for you). Pot lucks are great as you just cook something that you want to eat, and then bring that (check out savoury ideas here on the blog). However, you might find that some friends might hesitate to invite you over for a regular dinner because it’s too hard to figure out what to cook for you. You can, however, explain to them that, main courses shouldn’t be too difficult. Home-made, wholesome dinners don’t often have heaps of sugar in them (with the exception of a few cuisines which has many sauces with higher sugar content), so I don’t usually fret about that (it’s far more likely to have gluten in it, e.g. pasta).

Make it easy for them and say that you will bring drinks for yourself and dessert for everyone. When it comes to drinks, water is of course always best, just not as exciting as other drinks. You could jazz it up a bit and drink sparkling water and add slices of lemon and strawberry. If you are not too worried about the usual effects of alcoholic drinks on your body, just choose wisely (sugar-free or low in sugar) – keep an eye out for my post on drinks soon.

Desserts and treats are the most difficult ones to deal with – they are after all meant to be sweet and sugary. I have dragged many recipes (which are now here on the Ex-sugarholic) to work with me and asked my very helpful ‘taste panel’ to rate them and give me feedback. My aim was to make free-from recipes which tasted just as good as the sugar-laden stuff (to ‘normal’ sugar addicts). This meant that I could still bring cakes and sweets to work, have friends for dinner or visit them and everybody satisfied and happy. That being said, I don’t actually eat sugar-free ‘treats’ very often. When your body and taste buds are cleansed from the sugar addiction you just don’t feel like it that much and I tend to go for foods which are just naturally sugar-free rather than recreating something I miss. But, I like to have the option so that I can choose.

PicMonkey Collage - bring to visit friends

Luckily, you don’t have to worry about all the testing I did. Just try some recipes on this blog and then go visit your friends 🙂

Have you got any questions? Please let me know.

If you would like to see more articles like this and sugar-free recipes you can follow me here (via email, see top right on this page) or on Facebook.

DIABETICS: Please note that the recipes containing glucose (including the following terms: dextrose, rice syrup and glucose syrup), as far as I understand, is not suitable for people with diabetes. Please see my recipes with no added sweeteners or just the natural sugar from fresh fruit. If in any doubt, please contact your health professional

 

How to get rid of your sugar addiction – at work (2/4)

business meeting with sweets

In the previous post we focussed on getting your home sugar-free, now, let’s look at what we can do about the abundance of treats which present themselves at the place we spend the majority of our wake hours during weekdays – work!

The challenges

Work was my biggest pitfall. There was always sugary treats available, in the lunch room, in the kitchen, at people’s desks and at meetings. It was hard to resist because:

1) You’re addicted, so you crave it

2) You want (need!) it if you are stressed, sad, upset etc

3) You don’t want to be rude if someone offers. “No thanks” or “I’m good thanks” (said with a smile) are the shortest ways of dealing with this (if you don’t want to spend the next 10 minutes explaining why you have gone sugar-free).

4) You don’t want to be seen as the odd one out and you want to feel a part of the group. At work, sugary treats are used as a bonding experience (the boss brings cake, going out for an ice cream, having a drink after work etc).

The solutions

1) And 2) are eliminated when you have successfully withdrawn from sugar (you simply don’t feel like it). The withdrawal itself though, takes a while and it is hard work.  I had almost uncontrollable sweet cravings, head-aches and mood swings to match a pregnant woman (now that I know what that’s like!). When I first went sugar-free, I felt a bit like Pavlov’s drooling dogs for the first two weeks whenever I sat in the vicinity of the sweet stuff. I crumbled a couple of times, but started resisting all the time with much difficulty. Then I started seeing the first benefits and gained strength and willpower from then on. After 4 weeks I noticed the ease of which I started to avoid sugary things and after 6-8 weeks I didn’t feel like it any more at all and reaped all the benefits of a sugar-free life-style.

To make this as easy on yourself as possible, make sure that you bring a lunch from home that will fill you up. Just as important – bring snacks!!! Lots of safe snacks are critical for those in-between meal cravings or if you have just been to a meeting where there was a plate full of delicious chocolates that everybody else was scoffing down. Those first couple of weeks you may last it through the meeting, but then you might feel like secretly sneaking off to a kiosk or vending machine to get a sugar kick (don’t judge me, I was an addict after all!). So, look out for my posts coming soon on weekday breakfasts, lunches and snacks (easy to make in and suitable for bringing to work).

I DON’T HAVE THE TIME! If you really, really don’t have time to prepare anything from home,  educate yourself on the amounts of sugar in food and drinks available at, or near, your work. Ask them which of their products have no added sugar (or the least, low sugar) and are low carb. Give them a call in a break or after work if you don’t want to ask in front of your colleagues. Sure it requires a little work at first but then you get to know the menu/offering at you (new) fav places and can make informed decisions on what to pick. If you can’t avoid it, it’s definitely better to reduce the amount you consume rather than carrying on eating loads of sugar.

3) And 4) – feeling ‘rude’ and left out – unfortunately won’t disappear, you just have to think about how you will deal with it. I don’t explain anything to people that I only meet briefly, if offered, a simple “I’m good thanks” will suffice. With work colleagues that I worked with often, I started explaining that I quit sugar and why (health reasons, life-style choice). After that, everything became so much easier as they actually helped. They would stop putting cake in front of me and asking if I wanted muffins, chocolate (or whatever else treat was there that day). Although the “oh you can’t have this” popped up a few times – which really just makes you feel annoyed as you want at least to be asked if you want any. After a while though, it will become a non-issue for you as you and your colleagues get used to your new life-style (but they might still think you are a bit odd, but think about all the odd habits your colleagues have, I’m sure it’s no weirder in the grand scheme of things). However, if you don’t wan’t to explain exactly why you are doing this or really don’t want to be seen as being different, you could always just say that you are “watching your weight” or that you are “on a diet” – nobody thinks that is weird, after all, most people are doing it on/off which is completely accepted part of society (although, probably not very good for you). Why not make one of the recipes from my blog and bring to your next meeting (try the banana cake – I haven’t met anyone who didn’t like this). Sorted!

If you have any questions, do ask away in the comments below and keep an eye out for the next post in this series.

If you would like to see more articles like this and sugar-free recipes you can follow me here (via email, see top right on this page) or on Facebook.

DIABETICS: Please note that the recipes containing glucose (including the following terms: dextrose, rice syrup and glucose syrup), as far as I understand, is not suitable for people with diabetes. Please see my recipes with no added sweeteners or just the natural sugar from fresh fruit. If in any doubt, please contact your health professional.

 

How to get rid of your sugar addiction (1/4)

lady eating sugar cubes - how to get rid of your sugar addiction TEXT

Are you unable to go a whole day without eating anything sweet? Are you an emotional eater? Are your energy levels throughout the day like a roller-coaster? Do you NEED something sweet to get you going during the middle of the day, but then your energy levels drop again soon after? Are you unable to say no to people offering you treats?  If you answered yes to some or all of these questions you are likely addicted to sugar. And who can blame you – sugar is added to most processed food these days. If sugar is as addictive as cocaine and tobacco, it is really no wonder that we get hooked!

If you know that sugar is bad for you (if not, check out my last post) and you are ready to take the leap and become sugar-free, here are some top tips for kicking the sugar in a series of four blog posts 1: Starting out – at home, 2: At work, 3: Going out and 4: Visiting friends.

At home

Living on your own might make the start of a sugar-free journey easier than if you are living with someone. However, if you do live with a partner or have a family, I’d start out by getting them on-board first. If there is chocolate lying around, you might not be able to help yourself (unless you are one of those superhuman people who have an ironclad willpower). If you don’t think that this is a good option in your household, start this journey on your own but know that the sugar-free community is growing rapidly everyday, there is always help and support to be had if you know where to look (you could always start here, by following this blog by email or on Facebook). When the rest of your household witness the changes in you (For example, loosing weight, better skin, loads of energy and how much happier you are) they might be encouraged to join you on your journey. This is NOT another fad diet to try out, it is a life-style choice which will make you happier and healthier.

Before you start whipping everything out of your kitchen, just make sure that you are prepared with sugar-free substitutes. You need to have alternatives ready for when you house is ‘clean’ and you are suffering serious sugar withdrawal (no, it’s not fun the first two weeks). Otherwise, you are setting out to fail. So, if you are new to this, I’d recommend saving the link to this series of posts and then go back and start here when you have read them all). I will be following up with posts about weekday breakfasts, lunches and dinners and how to prep in advance to make life easy.

Now, are you ready to make a change? Start out by going through your pantry, make it a cool challenge, get your partner/kids to help. First, start of by binning the obvious ones, your regular sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar etc. Then proceed to look at all the processed foods (check the labels) – has is got more than 5% sugar in it? (5 gram per 100 gram). Put it all in a pile on your kitchen bench. All the whole foods (oats, coconut flakes, seeds, nuts etc) are fine, only natural (tiny) amounts of sugar there. Don’t be surprised if your seemingly innocent cornflakes, toasted muesli or energy bars are crammed with sugar. While you are at it – remove all your (wheat/gluten) flours. Gluten and wheat are just empty calories which will be turned into sugar in your body.

Woman looking into fridge

Then pull everything out of you fridge which aren’t whole foods (veggies, fruit etc). Look at the back of the labels and add anything which has more that 5% sugar in it (and wheat/gluten) to your pile on the kitchen bench (unless the sugar content it is not added sugar and comes in its original ‘packaging’, e.g. a can of apple sauce with nothing whatsoever added to it).

Now, stand back and be amazed by the amount of food that makes up your pile (hopefully your fridge and pantry are completely empty!). How big was it? If it’s wasn’t much – congratulations, it seems you sugar addiction isn’t being fuelled at home (but perhaps rather when you are out and about). Decide what to do with your haulage of sugar but make sure it leaves your house or lock it in a box and burrow it in your garden with a note as a time capsule for your future self (kidding away, I would suggest actually throwing it in the bin so it doesn’t harm someone else!).

Empty fridge      Healthy fridge

Excellent. You have taken a huge step, now you need to replace all the sugary foods with sugar-free ones. The best way is to make wholesome foods yourself and not buy any processed foods since it’s ridiculously hard to find any processed foods which aren’t sugar-free (and it’s far better for you anyway). You don’t have to make everything from scratch though, use some ‘shortcuts’ if you want. Such as buying unsweetened chocolate (instead of making the chocolate yourself – in some countries it’s really easy to get, whilst in others like NZ it’s almost impossible to find), ready to use gluten and wheat free flour-mixes, unsweetened rice-milk etc). This is where the Ex-sugarholic comes in handy – browse through and see which recipes you like/need, then go shopping and get cracking on your amazing new sugar-free lifestyle.

For weekday breakfast, lunch and dinner ideas and how they can be prepped in advance, please keep an eye on up-coming posts which will be focussing on these particular topics.

If you would like to see more articles like this and sugar-free recipes you can follow me here (via email, see top right on this page) or on Facebook.

DIABETICS: Please note that the recipes containing glucose (including the following terms: dextrose, rice syrup and glucose syrup), as far as I understand, is not suitable for people with diabetes. Please see my recipes with no added sweeteners or just the natural sugar from fresh fruit. If in any doubt, please contact your health professional

 

Casserole

I totally got inspired to cook a casserole after enjoying one with friends recently. This is a scrumptious version of Vera’s recipe 🙂 It mainly takes preparation time and very little to do after that than wait for the house to fill with wonderful aromas and meat that melts in your mouth.

For a vegetarian/vegan option, add kumara (or other sweet potato), carrots and/or regular firm tofu instead of the beef and bacon. It will soak up the beautiful flavors or the marinade and you can shorten all the timings by half.

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DAIRY FREE – GLUTEN FREE – LOW FRUCTOSE – PALM OIL FREE

Ingredients:

Enough for 4 people.

1 kg (2 lbs) of meat suitable for slow cooking, I used beef cut into inch sized cubes.

3 tbsp gluten-free all purpose flour

3 tbsp dextrose

2 tbsp tomato sauce or ketchup

150 ml white vinegar

150 ml port wine or sweet red wine (or for a non-alcoholic option use regular beef or vegetable stock – there is fructose in the wine, so if you want to reduce it use a dry red wine but the taste will be different)

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (check ingredients for sugar content, I found one with less than 5g per 100g)

Grated rind and juice of an organic lemon (you don’t want all the pesticides in the rind of regular lemons).

1/8 tsp each of ginger, mustard, paprika and curry powder

15-20 prunes (or use less if you want less fructose in this dish)

3-6 slices of streaky bacon cut into thin strips

Directions:

Dredge your meat or vegan alternative (easiest way is to chuck the flour and meat in a bag and shake until the meat is coated in flour – this is to thicken the stew) and place in the bottom of a casserole dish. Prep all the rest of the ingredients  and add to the meat and and cover with a lid. Let it sit in the fridge for up to 2 hours to infuse all the flavors.

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Pre-heat your oven to 140C (280F) and cook the casserole for 2.5 hours.

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Just before cooking time is up, make any accompaniments – such as steamed carrots, potatoes or kumara and serve on a hot plate. Enjoy!

If you would like to see more recipes like this you can always follow me here (via email, see top right on this page) or on Facebook.

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