There seems to be heaps in the media lately about the benefits of quitting sugar, and while I think we all get why reducing your sugar intake is a good thing, there is a lot of new evidence that suggests we should be quitting all together.
This isn’t a new concept to me. I’ve been trying to break up with sugar for the past 4 years – but we keep making up – it needs me and I need it. Like a true addict I can’t be without ‘my drug’. It’s why I have a soft spot for smokers – I ‘get’ how it feels to try and give up something you love that you know is bad for you….(Note to smokers: don’t smoke, it’s really bad for you).
But back to my story – it was recommended I cut all sugar (along with a few other nasties) to help improve my immune system and allergies. I think I spent most of my 20’s severely lacking energy, constantly sick, and during my lowest points I’d head straight to my friend chocolate to get me through an afternoon of work to avoid falling asleep at my desk. It was ridiculous – and it turns out this momentary spark of alertness was doing more damage than good. Poison even. It’s so funny how doing something you think is helping you to survive the day is actually having a far greater negative effect on you in other ways.
So I have tried (and failed over and over again – damn you big supermarkets for stocking Easter eggs from January!) to end my long lustful relationship with sugar. But as my health plummeted again at the end of last year, I realised my only option was to get focused and stay as committed as possible.
Luckily, I was able to feel more confident in my last-ditch attempt given the increase in resources for quitting this past 12 months – there is LOTS more info out there both online and in print that provide great guidance and support with staying off the sweet stuff for good. Plus, there seems to be greater accessibility to many products that provide good sugar alternatives. It was dire trying to find a natural sweetener 4 years ago. Today, I can’t get enough of Rice Malt Syrup and there are plenty of other natural sugar alternatives on the market to allow me to continue to do things like bake – which was one of the things I struggled to give up and was pretty much always the cause of my sugar-free failings. I can’t help that I love making my late Grandmother’s recipes, as laden with sugar that they are! And let’s face it, if you have a sweet tooth, you are probably always going to always be more drawn to the sweeter types of food – so being able to enjoy these sweet treats passed down from generations can still be achieved with a few modifications of ingredients. Probably nothing new to our Gluten or Dairy free folk out there.
So I thought today I would share a ridiculously simple recipe that I have come across in Sarah Wilson’s cookbook I Quit Sugar (which you can purchase online here). Sarah is a big advocate for quitting sugar, and probably has a lot to do with its recent promotion through mainstream media. I have mentioned how much I love her blog before, and her guidance for quitting sugar is just one additional reason to get on her blog bandwagon. Not only does she have her cookbook – which is full of really easy recipes – she has also put together an 8 week program to give those of us who need a kick up the behind when it comes to committing and quitting.
And a little tip – She talks about increasing fats in our diets as key for staying off sugar, but I will let you check this info out (which there is plenty) on her blog for more on this. All I will say is – hello bacon!
The recipe I am sharing today is a great go-to treat. Not too sweet to get me thinking about a 200g block of Green & Blacks Organic Milk Chocolate, but perfect for helping me at 3pm when I’m getting tired and restless. I reckon this will be a great afternoon tea treat for kidlets too and will be testing it out on Alisha’s 2 little ones when they visit me in Melbourne later this month (but maybe without the salt and nibs). Enjoy!
SARAH WILSON’S ALMOND BUTTER BARK
INGREDIENTS (certified organic where possible!)
1/4 cup almond spread – this stuff is SO much better than peanut butter. Albeit a little pricey – find it in the health food section of the supermarket or health food shop.
2 tablespoons coconut flakes – I like using the BIG chips but if you are less keen on coconut, use smaller shredded flakes
2 teaspoons rice malt syrup – my new sugar boyfriend
salt – the chunky good stuff
Cacao nibs – your chocolate fix in a nib. No joke. It also seems to give me a big energy hit so a warning – don’t eat them at night unless you have dancing til 3am planned!
Pop the almond spread into a small saucepan and warm a little over low heat. Just to allow you to stir it with the ingredients a little better as it can get quit dry in the jar.
Sprinkle with salt and cacao nibs for extra wow factor. Don’t be shy with the salt – think salted caramel heaven. The more salty the better I say!
Place in the freezer for 20 min and then break into shards/chunks.
Store in in a container in the fridge to ensure it stays hard and bark-like!
Sarah’s cookbook book is currently 30% off – so you don’t have any excuses! Go to her website and use the code SPRING.
Do you have a sugar-free recipe or advice for quitting? Let’s hear it!