We all know refined sugar is bad for us.
Sugar raises our blood sugar levels, giving us a quick boost of energy.
It lights up the pleasure centre of the brain – studies suggest it may be eight times more addictive than cocaine.
And we are hardwired to seek out sweet tastes, to ensure we are choosing the ripe fruit, the freshest vegetables, the mature nuts – maximising our antioxidant, vitamin and mineral intake.
Which was fine when food was seasonal and gathered from a large area.
The complication today is that refined sugar is in almost all processed foods, even those you might not expect – many breads, yoghurts, milks, cereals, crackers, dressings and drinks.
And it is available all day, every day.
Sarah Wilson of I Quit Sugar devised a program to eliminate sugar from all foods for a few weeks, to retrain taste buds and encourage alternate foods. This may suit those wanting to press the reset button and start afresh.
Or perhaps you would like to gradually reduce your use of refined sugar, experimenting with alternative natural sweeteners, reading ingredient labels, and satisfying sugar cravings with some of our favourite (refined) sugar free deserts.
2 cups pitted dates, sultanas, cranberries or any dried fruit
½ cup mixed nuts
½ cup almond meal, coconut flour or rolled oats
3 tablespoons chia seeds
3 tablespoons cacao
3 tablespoons coconut oil
3 tablespoons honey or maple syrup – to taste
Optional extras for exceptional health benefits – probiotic powder, greens powder, antioxidant powder
Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Roll in wet hands and coat in desiccated coconut if desired.
Refrigerate until ready to serve, at least 20 minutes. Keep well in fridge or freezer.
Chocolate Pudding or Slice
1 cup almond meal
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon Himalayan salt
½ cup cacao powder
1 cup pitted dates, Medjool recommended (if using dried dates, soak for five minutes in small amount of boiling water and drain)
1 teaspoon vanilla powder
2 tablespoon cacao nibs
½ cup coconut oil, softened
Preheat oven to 180°C
In blender or processor, pulse almond meal, baking soda and salt. Add cacao powder, dates and vanilla, pulse. Add nibs, pulse. Add eggs, pulse. Add oil, blend.
stevia extract or drops can be added if sweeter is preferred
Pour into a greased baking dish about 20cmx20cm.
Bake for 20 minutes, until skewer poked in centre indicates still a little moist at base.
Serve as pudding immediately, or if you wish to slice, allow to cool in dish before cutting.
It’s as easy as blending frozen fruit – honestly!
Frozen bananas become a creamy blend with no other ingredients required – but we like to add cacao nibs, cinnamon or vanilla powder.
Frozen berries benefit from an egg white, added after initial blending.
Frozen mango goes beautifully with a splash of nut milk and a handful of macadamias.
And frozen pineapple pairs well with a little coconut cream or flesh.
Enjoy releasing your creative side and share your ice-creations!
For that mid-afternoon urge for something warm and sweet, blend any mix of the following with one cup of room temperature water:
one fruit – banana, pear, berries
1 tablespoon cacao
1-2 tablespoon of a protein source – protein powder, raw egg, bee pollen, nut meal, greens powder or small bunch of leafy greens
1-2 teaspoon maca powder
1-2 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch cayenne pepper (if like a little heat)
1 teaspoon probiotic powder
Add one cup of boiling water and one tablespoon of coconut oil, blend again.
Note: please ensure your blender can accommodate warm liquid and that lid is secure.
For regular new recipes, subscribe to my newsletter here.
What are your favourite sugar free deserts? We’d love you to share below.