Sugar free is the way to be

A few weeks ago I found myself sitting in a raw food eatery in Calgary with my ex-boyfriend, his daughter and his son-in-law, celebrating father’s day. Don’t ask how this happened. It’s a long story.

The cool thing about this luncheon, though, was that the daughter and son-in-law had been sugar-free for a few months and they were singing the praises of this lifestyle like the truly converted.

They had more energy and more even energy throughout the day, balanced moods, their skin looked better and had both, effortlessly, lost weight, they said. And their eyes lit up when they talked about their new eating plan and how much it had improved their lives.

As they talked, I remembered feeling that way too when I gave up sugar. The only thing is that it’s hard and, invariably, I slink down the slippery slope that leads to sugar mountain.

But, what the heck, I’m feeling ready to take on the sugar demon one more time.

I’ll chronicle my experience (and recipes) here and start the journey with one of my sugar-free life savers. This pudding is rich, creamy and bursting with a deep, dark chocolate flavour. Here it is:

The Chocolate Avocado Raspberry Pudding

  • four bananas
  • 2 avocados
  • 1/2 cup raspberries
  • splash unsweetened coconut or almond milk
  • 2 T raw cacao

Blend, garnish with fresh raspberries & unsweetened coconut and serve.

Farm Fresh Greens

One of the basic philosophies of the raw food movement is that since humans evolved from primates, our most natural and health giving diet consists mainly of fruit. I love that philosophy…in theory.

Fruit is sweet and luscious and so delicious that I wholeheartedly embraced this way of eating  for the past few months. I embraced it until I noticed that I began severely lacking in energy and I kept getting sick (three times this winter compared to my usual one), and my skin wasn’t looking better, as all the raw food lessons, books and articles said it would. In fact it was looking a little worse. And I was craving protein. Even as I was studying my “Peak Performance” lesson which stated that protein was over-rated, I was severely craving protein. Something had to give. And so it did.

One day the image of a succulent, savoury piece of salmon wouldn’t leave my mind. No matter what I did or how I tried to lead my thoughts down another path, a path filled with raw carrots and bananas and mangoes, I couldn’t stop thinking about salmon. So, after much deliberation, I did what I had to do. I had to admit that the 80 -100% raw vegan life is not for me. Then I went out a bought the biggest wild salmon steak I could find. I jogged home with it, ripped my coat off, raced to the kitchen and covered my fish in lemon and capers and a thin layer of mayo. Then I proceeded to slow cook it at 180 degrees. The aroma was heavenly.

I really loved eating all of the recipes filled with sweet tropical fruit, honey and maple syrup but clearly I was consuming a bit more sugar, even if it was natural sugar, than my body could handle. So, as much as I like the ‘gorilla food’ theory there is also a theory that you should be eating food that is natural to your environment. So, if you’re living in the Yukon it would not be natural for you to be chowing down on kiwis and pineapple and if you’re living in Vancouver, eating wild salmon and greens and fruit that is indigenous to your environment would be the healthiest fare. Makes sense to me.

So, after a visit to the local farmer’s market, where I found the freshest greens and spouts I’ve tasted in a while, I have a farm fresh salad to share with you.  Enjoy.

Farm Fresh Greens

  • 1 cup fresh organic spinach or greens of your choice
  • 1 heirloom tomato
  • 1/4 cup minced scallions
  • 1/4 cup various sprouts
  • sprinkle of Manitoba Harvest hemp seeds
  • Dressing of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, mixed herbs and fresh apple (all ingredients to taste, blended together)

Nothing beats the taste of home.

Nice Cream

I’m loving the raw food recipes I’ve been sampling as I continue with my nutrition course.

You can’t be perfect though, and sometimes I just want to leave the uber-healthy green smoothies behind and indulge in a messy, gooey, rich and delicious dessert. But a dessert that won’t make me feel unhealthy and bloated and give me a sugar rush. Well, The raw food recipes I’ve been experimenting with have got that covered too.

Let me introduce you to Nice Cream.

Nice Cream

  • 3 frozen bananas cubed
  • Splash of maple syrup
  • One T coconut cream
  • Two T raw cacao for chocolate (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries etc. for other flavours)

Blend all ingredients together and indulge in this rich, delicious ice cream-like dessert that is actually good for you!

Snowfall & Soaked Oats

Our unusually snowy Vancouver winter continues, giving me beautiful photo ops like this..

and also making me crave some good, wholesome, stick-to-your-ribs breakfasts to start the day before putting on my winter boots and trudging through the snow.

Luckily I’ve been Pinteresting and found out about soaked oats. Soaked oats are amazing! Tasty, healthy and wholesome. Top with fruit and nuts and you’ve got a hearty breakfast that will power you through the toughest Canadian winter morning.

Banana Pecan Soaked Oats

  • 2 cups steel cut oats
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 2 T full fat yogurt
  • 2 T shredded coconut flakes

Top with Sliced banana, pecans and drizzle with pure Canadian maple syrup.

soaked oats with banana

Chocolate Chia Pudding

Okay, here’s my second post about the wonders of chia and with another yummy recipe.

Did you know that chia can actually help you regulate your hormones? Pretty impressive for such a little seed.

Insulin, the stress hormone that your pancreas produces, can be slowed down by eating chia daily. How you’re wondering? By regulating the amount of glucose that enters your bloodstream. Another byproduct of having less stress hormones floating around in your body? An increase in the amount of testosterone in your system. Something that’s good for both males and females. See here.

Chia can also help with the interconnectivity of brain functioning, which means that it can actually help seratonin do its thing. And increased seratonin improves your mood and makes you more focused!

More reasons to eat chia every day and here’s a delicious recipe to help you do just that:

Chocolate Chia Pudding

  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/3 cup chia seeds
  • One banana
  • 1/4 cup cacao
  • 5 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Blend all ingredients together. Let sit overnight in a covered container in the refrigerator. Layer the pudding with fresh, slices of fruit or top with coconut and chocolate shavings. Serve and enjoy.

A raw-licious parfait

My oven’s broken. It suddenly decided that it didn’t feel like heating up past 180 degrees. This happened last week and will probably stay that way for a couple more weeks (or months) before I get around to having it fixed.

As you know from this post and many others, I have a bit of a fascination with raw, vegan food. And what better time to renew my interest than when I have a broken oven?

One of the recipes I experimented with lately was so delicious that it has become my daily breakfast. And what kind of blogger would I be if I didn’t share it with you?

Blueberry Bliss Parfait

Alternate layers of fresh blueberries with layers of puréed banana and coconut milk (two bananas and two T coconut milk blended), then top with lots of flaked coconut.

Be careful though, it’s addictive.

Apple Pie Smoothie

I’m a lazy smoothie maker. All of my smoothies are quick, easy, delicious and contain only a few ingredients. With the mountains and forest calling my name every weekend, I just don’t have the time or patience to collect a bunch of ingredients. So my smoothies guarantee that you won’t have to either.

Apple Pie Smoothie

  • one cup plain almond milk (recipe here)
  • one scoop vegan vanilla protein powder
  • two apples, diced
  • one banana (for sweetness and richness)
  • one teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Blend. It’s that easy.

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