Cypress Mountain & Nice Cream 

A few photos and quotes from last week’s hike on Cypress Mountain in West Vancouver:

Birds are not meant to be caged. Their feathers are too bright, their songs too sweet and wild. – Stephen King

In quietness are all things answered. – A Course in Miracles

I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me, they are the role model for being alive. – Gilda Radner

Spending time in the forest has always been my yin to the yang of the corporate world. Nothing for me is more soothing and rejuvenating than spending an afternoon surrounded by sweet scented, mossy green trees.

And after working up an appetite on a hike I like to head home to whip up a tasty, sugar-free treat. This recipe is a post hike favourite. It’s vegan, naturally sweetened and uber-healthy with nut butter, dairy free milk and lots of anti-oxidant fruit.

Peanut Butter Banana Nice Cream

  • 5 bananas
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk
  • 3 T. peanut butter (or almond butter if you prefer)

Blend together and store in freezer until frozen. Top with your favourite fruit. This one has banana, mango, strawberries and unsweetened coconut. The recipe tastes a lot like ice cream but is so very good for you.

Hope you enjoy it.

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3 Steps to De-Sugar your Life

Have you been thinking about reducing sugar in your diet? Read on to find out what you need to know to help you get this health buster out of your kitchen and your beautiful body.

1. Find the hidden sugar.  Did you know that the average North American eats 31 teaspoons of added sugar every day? That’s almost 500 calories. How does this happen? Well, lots of packaged foods contain sugar, but it’s hidden under different names. Here are some to look out for: barley malt, corn syrup, dextrose, fruit juice concentrate, maltose, maple syrup, molasses, and turbinado. Read the fine print on labels and don’t be fooled by food manufacturers. Sometimes I think one of their biggest goals is to get consumers hooked on sugar, salt and msg. The more hooked we are, the more junk we eat and the more money they make.

2. Avoid high fructose corn syrup like the plague. This sweetener is made by changing the sugar in cornstarch to fructose and it’s more inflammatory than other types of sweeteners. Because HFCS extends the shelf life of foods and is sweeter and cheaper than other sugars, it’s an ingredient in soda, fruit drinks, packaged bread, crackers, and tons of other snacks. Look for it on labels and avoid it at all costs. It’s extremely addictive. 

3. Take B vitamins every day.
B vitamins help lessen withdrawals symptoms for people coming off of addictions. And, since sugar is addictive, the b’s will help you through your withdrawal symptoms.

And, when you do get a craving for something sweet that just won’t go away, try munching on a big bowl of fruit instead of something sugary and fatty that might mess up your health and fitness goals. Here’s an idea for a naturally sweetened, healthy snack:

BC Fresh Fruit Salad

·         Blackberries

·         Raspberries

·         Peaches

·         Strawberries

Add any other fruit you might like. Fruit is fresh, natural, good for you and will kill a sugar craving in an instant.

And, if that doesn’t do the trick, check out my next blog post featuring a delicious, sugar free peach parfait.

Sweet Enough

Recently I was thinking about why I started this blog. It began a couple of years ago as a way of chronicling my attempt to cut sugar out of my diet. I actually did cut it out for quite a while, and it felt really, really good. Then, slowly but surely, I started to take feeling good for granted and sugar quietly crept back into my diet. It started with ketchup (I’m an addict), next it was the odd sugary cocktail and then, before I knew it, I was back to square one. The white stuff found its way back into my coffee, dark chocolate rested on my kitchen counter, a big bottle of maple syrup resided in my cupboard and I found myself chowing down on a few cookies at work almost every day. Blechhh. Let me tell you, it’s a slippery slope into a big, sugary…hmm, I’m not sure where the slippery slope leads to but it’s somewhere unhealthy with too much sugar.

Now it’s time to get back on track. I’m planning a bunch of difficult and epic hikes this summer and to do this, I need to be on my game. And being on my game doesn’t include spiking my blood sugar, messing with my hormones and aging my skin with sugary treats.

It’s been a little over a week since I’ve been back on the bandwagon and I feel great. I’ve been here before and I know how amazing it feels to live sugar free.

What I’ve been giving up:

  • Refined sugar in all forms
  • Maple syrup
  • Honey
  • White bread, rice and pasta
  • All desserts (obviously)
  • Condiments with added sugar
  • All alcohol except vodka/soda and dry wine

berries

What I’ll be gaining:

  • Clearer skin
  • More energy
  • Tighter body
  • Healthier teeth
  • More vitamins in my system (sugar is an anti-nutrient that sucks up vitamins, most notably the b’s)

Whenever I start to get a craving for something sweet, I whip up a sugar-free, fruit sweetened smoothie or make myself a big bowl of fresh berries or mixed fruit. Then the craving’s gone and I’ve had a big helping of anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals.

I’ll be posting some yummy, naturally sweetened recipes soon, so stay tuned!

mixed fruit

Dark, Delicious Chocolate Banana “Pudding”

Every so often visions of luscious pastries dance through my mind, one by one, clouding my sugar-free judgement in a serious way. When the pastries start dancing, this is what I do…

Step One: Run to my blender.

Step Two: Whip up a serving of this rich, delicious pudding. Luckily it takes about 2 minutes.

Step Three: Have a few bites and feel my pastry cravings magically disappear in a poof.

Rich Chocolate Banana Pudding

  • 2 large bananas
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk, unsweetened almond milk, or cows milk
  • 2 tsp or T of raw cacao, depending on how chocolate-y you would like it
  • a sprinkle of cinnamon
  • if you like a sweet/salty flavour, you can add a small pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt

001

This yummy, healthy dessert gives you an abundant supply of potassium, and a dopamine-producing hit of cacao which will boost your mood and help ward off refined sugar cravings. So, savour the rich sweetness of this dessert knowing you’re paving the way for a healthy, happy you!