Breakfast of kings, queens and gym bunnies!


It’s freezing outside and I was feeling a little sorry for myself this morning. So I thought what better way to kick start my day than with the breakfast to beat all breakfasts!

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Spelt porridge oats cooked with water, a tablespoon of cashew butter and a scoop of Pure Protein Powder, with some stewed apple (unsweetened) and natural Co Yo. Then I sprinkled a mix of chopped roasted nuts, linseed and desiccated coconut on the top with some Acai berry, and finally a drizzle of date syrup. Omg! 🙂

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Chocolate banana bread! Omg!


So I have had some very ripe bananas hanging about in my kitchen for the past few days and decided I just had to do something with them… and it just had to be banana bread! But… I was in need of a chocolate fix….. and boy, is this a good chocolate fix!

I used my original non-dairy banana bread recipe with just a couple of additions:

2 cups wholemeal spelt flour
1/4 cup raw cacao powder
couple of handfuls of chopped non-dairy dark chocolate of your choice
1 cup coconut palm (or any unrefined) sugar
1/4 cup and 2 tbsps almond oil or olive oil
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup soya milk mixed with 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp himalayan rock salt

Preheat oven to 350 F / 175 C. Line and grease a small loaf tin (approximately 8 inches x 4 inches) or 6 mini loaf tins.

Mix the flour, baking soda, raw cacao, cinnamon, allspice and salt together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl mix the oil and sugar together until well combined. Add the mashed bananas and the soya milk (to which vinegar has been added) and the vanilla extract. Add this mix to the flour mixture and stir well. Finally stir in the chopped chocolate. Pour into the loaf tin and place in the oven for an hour, or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Once cooked remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 5 mins then transfer to a wire rack to cool. And then eat…. quickly.. while it’s still warm and the chocolate is still melted! yum!!

 

 

Agave vs Sweet Freedom


This was originally published on Pureformfitness.co.uk but I thought it was time to re-post it here. You’ll notice in a lot of my recipes I give the option of either Agave or Sweet freedom for a liquid sweetner (if you’re avoiding honey). I’ve actually ended up mostly using sweet freedom myself and this is why:

For the past few years, agave syrup, also known as agave nectar, has been one of the most popular natural sweeteners, widely used amongst the health conscious as an alternative to sugar. Despite being a fructose (generally seen as being not much healthier than sugar, perhaps even less healthy than sugar), agave was seen as the exception to the rule where fructose is concerned, because it has a lowish GI (of around 40).

Agave plant

However, agave can have an extremely high fructose content  (between 60 – 95%) and it’s not always possible to tell from the packaging what the percentage in the syrup you’re buying is.  The extremely high percentage of fructose (higher than that of high-fructose corn syrup) can be deleterious and can trigger fructose malabsorption, metabolic syndrome, hypertriglyceridemia, decreased glucose tolerance, hyperinsulinemia, and accelerated uric acid formation if eaten in large amounts. Basically long term consumption of large amounts could lead to the development of diabetes (though of course this goes for unrefined white sugar, maple syrup, corn syrup (which is a common sweetner in soft drinks) etc).

There’s also some controversy over the production of agave syrup, which suggest the provenance, quality and raw status of much agave syrup produced is difficult to guarantee.

So what is the alternative? Well one possible alternative is Sweet Freedom – a syrup with a very similar taste to agave (the mild version anyway) which is made from carob, apples and grapes. It has a 23% fructose content and a GI of around 35. It’s not raw, if you’re concerned about eating a high raw food diet, but otherwise it’s not too bad.

So looking Looking at the health / nutritional side of things, then Sweet Freedom
get’s the win, as it’s lower GI than agave, honey and sugar, plus has lower fructose levels than agave and honey. It’s not something you want to be using tonnes of (no sweetner is) but it could be a better option health-wise. The fact that the producers of Sweet Freedom are a small UK-based company is also a good thing.

Ultimately it’s up to you. I will continue to do some research – I am always open to new information and ideas and if anything comes up I’ll let you know. Do comment here if you have any views on this – it would be interesting to see what people think.

Date syrup is another popular sweetner but I’m yet to find out the fructose content of that… if anyone knows do let me know! 🙂

 

 


These biccies were posted on the fabulous Colette’s Fitness Kithen – thought I’d share them here as well 🙂

Healthy Plant Based Recipes

 

2 Cups whole wheat spelt flour
1 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
3/4 tsp Salt (Himalayan rock salt works well)
1 Cup organic, chunky natural peanut butter
1 Cup maple syrup (type 2 or 3)
1/3 Cup hazelnut oil or if not,  extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F/ 175 C degrees.

 

Combine the flour (sieved), baking soda and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl add the peanut butter, maple syrup, oil and vanilla. Mix until well combined. Add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mix and stir until just combined (do not over mix). Let it stand for 5 mins then give it another gentle stir.

Take heaped teaspoons of the mixture and drop them on to a greased baking sheet – this should make up to 24 cookies. Press them down with the back of a fork. The…

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Heaven in a tub! CoYo coconut yoghurt review


I am so so excited! I’ve been waiting to publish this post for a while now. I’ve mentioned this yoghurt a couple of times before so this review should come as no surprise! I first discovered this wonderful product in my local health food store but the fantastic news is that they’re now being sold through Ocado so everyone can get their paws on it! Wooohoo! 🙂

The wonderful people over at CO YO sent me some samples to review. I was sent the Natural, Raw Chocolate flavour, and the Mango one (in a rather nifty little cool bag – thank you! 🙂 ). There is also a mixed berry flavour and a pineapple one (which I’ve tried separately so I’ll give an overview of all of them!).

Firstly the thing I love most about these yoghurts, aside from the fact that they are dairy free, is that they are also totally free from added sugar. They do contain xylitol which is a low GI naturally derived sweetner though, but it’s low calorie and natural so I’m ok with that. They’re also gluten free (they contain tapioca starch but nothing else), nut free and soya free. To top it off they’re also probiotic, so all in all they’re just a little pot of amazingness!

My favourite comfort dessert of stewed apple, berries and toasted nuts and coconut with some natural CO YO! Yum!

All the flavours, apart from the raw chocolate one, are essentially the natural coconut yoghurt with a layer of fruit at the bottom (or not in the case of the natural one). The yoghurt itself is just so good – it’s rich, thick and creamy but still retains that yoghurty tang you’d expect from any natural yoghurt. They obviously have a coconuty taste about them but it’s not at all over-powering. The natural one is perfect on it’s own, or with nuts and seeds for brekkie, or in place of cream or ice cream with dessert. It works really well with my salty spicy pumpkin seed recipe I posted for hallowe’en too 🙂

The fruit flavours are all lovely. I think my favourite is probably the mixed berry but they’re all good. The layer of fruit is just about right – not too much, not too little. The fruit tastes lovely and natural, without that fake flavour you sometimes get in layered yoghurt products. Stir it in to the yoghurt for a yummy full flavoured treat 🙂 Again this is great as a snack or with your breakfast. I particularly like the mixed berry one sprinkled with some roasted hazelnuts as a dessert (or mid afternoon snack!).

The raw chocolate one is joint favourite with the mixed berry. This is simply divine. It tastes like an indulgent chocolate mousse and really hits the spot if you’re having a chocolate craving.

Look at that chocolately goodness! 🙂

These yoghurts are full fat, but there is increasing evidence that the fats in coconut products are “good” fats not bad so consuming more coconut-based products could actually bring you health benefits. In fact coconut is rich in medium-chain fatty acids which are processed by the body differently to other saturated fats and there is evidence that they help with maintaining weight without raising cholesterol. So if you’re worried that these yoghurts might be high in fat, then I really wouldn’t worry too much. We need fats in our diet, fat isn’t always a bad thing, and if you’re going to consume fat then this is a very good way to do it! The product is all natural and also delicious!

They cost a couple of pounds for a small 125g tub (they’re also available in 250g and 400g tubs for most flavours) but they are totally worth the price and you definitely get what you pay for, and in this case it’s heaven in a tub! 🙂

Mini kiwi loaves!


I had a few kiwi’s left in the fruit bowl, half an hour to spare and a very dear friend who needed to try these so I thought I’d make some more kiwi loaf

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The best things come in small packages so I decided to make mini versions this time 🙂 yum yum!

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SlimKicker – a new fun tool to track diet and exercise :)


Ok so this isn’t a baking post I’m afraid (as you will see shortly!). I didn’t manage to get in the kitchen at all this weekend – last week was manic, the weekend was jam-packed and this week is even worse, so much to my dislike I couldn’t whip up any yummy treats this time. Instead I thought I’d take the opportunity to tell you about a pretty cool site I found out about recently.

I lost a fair amount of weight a couple of years ago and one of the big things that helped me to do that was using an online tracker site (myfitnesspal was the one I used) to track what I was eating and how much I was exercising. I found it really useful to keep me on track. Recently I found out about a new site called SlimKicker and it looks awesome.

You can record what your eating (including those lovely healthy bakes 😉 ), and by tracking your exercise and logging “healthy” calories you can earn points. You also earn points by completing food related challenges (e.g. giving something up for a week etc). You can also take part in fitness challenges with other members as well. Now this is the bit that appeals to me – I love a challenge and I need things like that to keep me motivated so I’m keen to give that a try 🙂

There are also prizes to be won and you can upload your own images of your goal or the reward you will give yourself for reaching a certain target so you have something to aim for. You can link up with friends and other users as well so you have some support.

I think this site could be a lot of fun and really useful so I’m looking forward to trying it out. Have any of you used it before?

I’ll let you know how I get on…watch this space! 🙂