It’s all about the sugar

Some of you that know my story remember that just before our wedding I went completely added sugar free and sweeteners free for almost two and half months. It was an amazing experience and it was definitely worth it as I lost one size to fit my wedding dress. It was also a huge eye-opener to what sugar does to us and how addicted I actually was.

You see, people talk about all sorts of addictions – drugs, alcohol etc, but sugar addiction is not something that is spoken about that much. Why? Because companies make money, a lot of money from sugar. And just when we started being a bit cautious about „added sugar“, they came up with „no added sugar“ labels which trick a lot of people.

Have you ever wondered how come you buy a product labeled „no added sugar“ yet it is still sweet? Were you hoping there is „naturally occuring sugar“ from one of the ingredients? Well, think about it – most of the „no added sugar“ labels are on sweet drinks where no natural sugar occures. So, what is the trick? They pump us with sweeteners instead, such as sucralose, aspartam, just to mention a couple. So, what is worse – added sugar or sweetener? Sweetener! Effects of added sugar are visible in short term – you put on weight, your body retains more water etc. So, why do I say sweeteners are worse? Sweeteners are chemicals and chemicals make our body acidic, meaning they are slowly poisoning our body – no short term effect, but it long term they essentially make us sick, which is worse than fat in my opinion. Did you know that common sweetener aspartame has been link to cancer in several studies?

So, if you asked me to choose between a product with added sugar and one with sweeter, which one would I choose? I would choose added sugar over sweetener as I can at least help my body to deal with the added sugar by drinking plenty of warm water to flush it out and doing some exercise.

If you gave me a choice between added sugar and naturally occurring sugar, e.g. a raw cake sweetened by dates, I would 100% always go for the naturally occurring sugar. Why? Because i tis NATURAL. Can you „overdose“ on naturally occurring sugar? Yes, you can, but it would take some amount of dates for that to happen.

Is there any risk that naturally occurring sugar, such as in fruits, bring? I probably should not call it a risk, but yes, there is let’s say a side effect. If you eat too much fruits your blood sugar level can spike, such as when you have purely fruit fresh juice, and once they spike they eventually have to fall down too. Which can lead to fast sugar cravings which might get your brain to crave fast sugars, such as added sugar – perhaps in a form of chocolate or a cake.

Just a little advice – if you want to do juicing cleanse, use more veg than fruits. Fruit juices are good right after a workout as during a workout your blood sugar levels drop, that’s why a lot of people crave simple carbs after a workout, so a fruit fresh juice will level the sugar levels for you. Just think about this – when you make a glass of a fresh fruit juice you will probably use a couple of arranges and a couple of apples. Would you use the same amount in one go if you were to eat it in a form of a fruit? No. Which means you are giving your body much more fruits than you normally would.

This was meant to be a blog post about my 4 months added sugar free / sweets free time. And the paragraphs above were to be an intro. I think almost 700 words are a good blog post on its own. So, watch out for the next blog post about my recent 4 months sugar free.

Prague Health & Fitness Meetup

Having moved to Prague a month ago I miss my personal training clients and my health community that I created back in the UK.

Meetup app worked for me in the past and therefore I have decided to set up Prague Health & Fitness Meetup.

So, if you are based in Prague and you are looking to meet new people, make like-minded friends and have fun, join me!

healthy-choices-1024x768

Banana Chocolate Brownie

This is the kind of recipe you want to remember when you end up with several overly-ripe bananas. It is so simple, yet really yummy! And it is sugar free and dairy free!

 

Ingredients:

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1 scoop of shake / oat apple fiber / beta heart powder
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp coconut flower

 

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Mash bananas in a bowl.
  3. Add a school of shake / oat apple fiber / beta heart powder.
  4. Add 2 eggs and mix everything together.
  5. Add cocoa powder and coconut flower and mix well.
  6. Put a baking paper in a baking tray and spread the mixture evenly.
  7. Bake at 180°C for 30mins.

Enjoy!

2 Simple Desserts to Warm You Up

It’s getting more and more chilly, and in this kind of weather it is good to have some simple recipes to satisfy your craving. These two recipes are suitable as breakfast, snack or dessert.

Both recipes are refined sugar free and lactose free, however they contain eggs.

 

Mug cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 tbsp coconut flower
  • 1 tbsp ground almonds
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • pinch of baking powder
  • Optional: maple / carob/ date syrup if you got a sweet tooth

Directions:

  1. Crack an egg into a mug and whisk it with a fork.
  2. Add sunflower oil and mix together.
  3. Add coconut flower, ground almonds, cocoa powder and baking powder in the mug and mix everything together to get a doughy texture.
  4. Put in a microwave on HIGH for 2mins.
  5. Once done you can add some fruits on top. Enjoy!

 

Scrambled egg white with banana

This recipe was inspired by one of my FAB in 8 weeks clients. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe banana
  • Egg white from 1 egg
  • 1tsp coconut oil
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Optional: nuts, fruits etc.

Directions:

  1. Heat a pan with coconut oil.
  2. Cut the banana into pieces and add to the pan.
  3. Add a bit of cinnamon. Optionally add chopped nuts.
  4. Once banana is nice and soft add the egg white and mix till you have mushy texture.
  5. Serve on its own or with some nuts / fruits. Enjoy!

 

 

Time to Embrace Your Body

Have you realised that #summerbodyready season has just finished and you already have to get #thelittleblackdressbodyready? Have you had a moment when you looked in a mirror and you thought your body was simply not ready for anything?

I think we all had that moment at least once in our life, some of us have it several times a week, and some even every day. Did you know that 91% of women and about 40% of men are not satisfied with their bodies?

The pressure of society and media is so big that it makes us believe that our bodies are never perfect. I must admit I get those moments when I feel like this and that could and should look better. However, it is important to be able to snap ourselves out of it for several reasons.

  • We pretty much got our body to look the way it is right now.
  • If you do not love your body now you cannot change it and trust me, losing weight will not help you to love yourself more.
  • There is always someone listening. If you do negative self-talk your children will pick up on it.
  • Skinny does not mean healthy. Health is not determined by a clothes size or by a number on your scale.

I am 100% for being healthy and physically active, but that does not equal having peachy but and being size 6. It is time to embrace your body, be grateful for your able body and if you want to change anything, do it for the right reason. Embrace your body and take care of your body, it is the only place you have to live in. Do not abuse your body just for the sake of being able to post a before and after weight loss photo.

We should think positively about our bodies. Body Positive Movement is a movement that encourages people to adopt more forgiving and affirming attitudes towards their bodies, with the goal of improving overall health and well-being. And that is something we have to remember – our goal should be improvement of our overall health and well-being.

22894326_10159480307080721_448815288143568531_n

Raw Carrot Cake

Last week was the first time I attempted to make a raw carrot cake and I was so please how it turned out. I love normal carrot cake, so I had high expectations from the raw version. I was also a bit nervous as it was 2 layers of base and 2 layers of cream. But I was very pleased with the results and the guest we had over for dinner that night loved it too.

 

INGREDIENTS

For the base:

  • 2 grated carrots
  • 150g ground hazelnuts
  • 100g chopped walnuts
  • 100g ground almond
  • Handful of pitted dates
  • Handful of figs (or prunes)
  • 2 tbsp carob / maple /date syrup
  • 1 tbsp goji berries
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil

For the cream layer:

  • 500g cashew nuts soaked over night
  • Juice from 2 lemons
  • 2 tbsp carob / maple / date syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Lemon zest from 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp almond milk

 

 

Note: I do not have a food processor so I use my Nutribullet for all the blending. So, either a blender or a food processor are both ok to use. 

DIRECTIONS

  1. Melt the coconut oil in a microwave.
  2. Put the grated carrots and goji berries in a big bowl and mix it with ground cinnamon.
  3. Put ground almonds, ground hazelnuts, chopped walnuts, pitted dates, figs, vanilla extract and coconut oil in a blender and blend till everything is nicely mixed together.
    Note: If your blender is too small just mix half of everything first and then the other half.
  4. Put the mixture in a bowl and mix it with the carrots, goji berries and cinnamon.
  5. Put half of the mixture in a round cake form, push the mixture evenly into the form. Then cut a baking paper into a circle shape of a size of the cake form and place it on the first layer. Put the remaining mixture of the baking paper and push into the form and make it even.
  6. Place the cake form in a freezer for 1 hour.
  7. Put all the ingredients for the cream layer in a blender and blend until smooth.
    Note: If it is not getting smooth because it is too dry just add a bit more of any of the wet ingredients- almond milk, melted coconut oil, lemon juice etc.
  8. When time is up take the cake form with the base out of the freezer and take the upper base layer out of the form.
  9. Pour half of the cream into the cake form on top of the base and spread evenly.
  10. Place the second base layer on the cream and slightly push down till you see a bit of cream coming out on the sides of the base.
  11. Pour the rest of the cream on top and spread evenly.
  12. Decorate with some chopped walnuts on top.
  13. Place in the freezer for 2-3 hours.
  14. Take out of the freezer 1 hour before serving and place it in the fridge. If you intend to server in less than an hour you can even leave it outside.

Tip: The flavors combine even better if you leave the cake to rest over night. In that case put in the freezer for 3 hours and then place in the fridge overnight. 

 

Raw Chocolate Hazelnut Fudge

Do you have a sweet tooth? Do you like nuts? Do you like chocolate? Do you like Nutella? Then you will love this dessert! It is simple, fast and delicious!

IMG_5377[1]

INGREDIENTS:

  • 100g ground almonds
  • 100g ground hazelnuts
  • 50g cashew nuts
  • 4 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp cacao nibs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tbsp carob / date / maple syrup
  • 100ml coconut oil melted
  • chopped hazelnuts and chopped almonds for decoration
  • Cacao nibs for decoration

Note: You can get whole nuts and ground them at home. I prefer to buy ground nuts as it just makes things easier.

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Melt the coconut oil in a microwave.
  2. Put almonds, hazelnuts and cashew nuts in a blender / food processor and blend all together.
  3. Add the cacao nibs, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, carob syrup and melted coconut oil in a blender and blend till everything mixes together.
  4. Line a tray/ dish with a baking paper or a foil.
  5. Pour the mixture into the dish and spread out and smooth the top.
  6. Decorate with chopped hazelnuts and chopped almonds and cacao nibs.
  7. Place in a fridge for 30mins, or in a freezer for 15 mins.
  8. Remove from the dish and cut into squares.

    Enjoy!

  9. Raw chocolate hazelnut fudge

Day 4 Intermittent Fasting

It is midnight in the UK and it is 1am here in Barcelona. I am sat at the airport waiting for my connection flight, so I thought I could use the time to update my blog. Though I would much more prefer to take a nap, but Barcelona’s airport does not cater for naps, unless you are willing to lay on the floor. I am not that desperate, at least not yet.

Today/ Yesterday 🙂 – referring to Thursday –  has been rather a busy day, but fasting still went according to the plan. Had a busy morning but my connection of food and exercise kicked in again in the morning. Had personal training clients at 9.30am, when we finished the session at 10.30am my brain was telling me to eat. We are creatures of habits and we usually give in when our habits kick in. I think it is important to challenge ourselves, step out of our comfort zone and check who is in charge – us or our habits?

My first meal was a chocolate shake with oats and almond milk around 12am.

image1.jpeg

I had my second meal/snack at 2pm in Costa – Latte with soya milk and a ham and cheese panini. I seem to either love coffee or not drink it at all. I am definitely now having the coffee drinking period when I get to have a cup of coffee several times a week. But it is one of the habits that I want to work on and give my body a break from coffee. I know I can do as I had a coffee detox before when I had no coffee for months.

Today we had dinner at the Luton Airport. I must say I was quite disappointed by the low number of restaurant choices there. The airport was really busy and there were just 2 restaurants to dine in – a buger place and a Frankie & Benny’s, both had long queues of people waiting, we decided to go to Frankie & Benny’s. I had a salad with salmon and sweet potato fries. The salmon and sweet potato fries were lovely, salad was pretty blend. But hey, it filled the tummy.

image2.jpeg

The good thing is that I managed to fit in food within my 8 hours eating window despite traveling. However I wonder how is it gonna be the next few days as evening meals are planned 8pm onwards…Well, I will keep you posted.

Let me know if you are going to give fasting a go and please do share your experience!

 

Day 2 Intermittent Fasting

My eating window of day 2 is closing and it is time to evaluate today.

Same as yesterday, I got up today and I had a cup of green tea instead of breakfast.

I had a client for personal training at 8am. When we finished at 9am I had a bit of urge to eat. I did not feel hungry in particular, I think it was more of a result of a habit. Usually when I have personal training clients within the morning, no matter if I exercise with them or if I just stretch, or if I do my own workout in the morning I would usually eat afterwards – either friend egg on toast, scrambled eggs, protein pancakes, sandwich with hazelnut chocolate butter and banana. So, it was quite interesting to observe how is my body programmed. However, I just had another cup of tea.

I broke the fast around 12.20pm with a shake – Herbalife Cookie & Cream shake powder with almond milk, 2 tsp of hazelnut chocolate butter and defrosted fruit mix (red currant, black currant, raspberries, blackberries).

image2.jpeg

After lunch I went to Norwich city center with my husband to sort out some stuff in my banks. W walked by Patisserie Valerie and saw all those yummy looking cakes, I could not resist to have one. I must say that last two days I feel like I crave sugar much more. I usually do have sweet tooth, but feel like the urge is even stronger now. Will observe it the next few days if the trend continues or if it was just random two days of extremely sweet tooth.

We had dinner around 5.30pm, another recipe from Gousto Recipe Box – One pot easy lamb biryani made of lamb mince, green beans, basmati rice, sultanas and white yoghurt. Simple, easy, fast and tasty.

image1.jpeg

I must admit I did not train past two days, however I am quite lucky that my dog gets me to walk every day. Every single day I walk around 5km on average, usually even more. I think a walk in the morning, no matter if you are fasting or not, is the best thing you can do to start your day.

Now it is time for me to head back to designing ads for the next issue of the Reepham and District Community news, and I should not forget my article as well. I got a gentle reminder today that I should send everything over by the end of the week. Well since we are travelling Thursday afternoon abroad I guess I better do everything latest tomorrow. At least one ad is done. What do you think?

Copy of Copy of Fab in 8 newspaper

Day 1 Intermittent Fasting

Today was my 1st day of Intermittent Fasting and I would like to share with you how did it go.

I got up in the morning and felt quite strange not making my shake for breakfast. I usually get up, go downstairs, let the dog out and then make my breakfast. But today was different, instead of making breakfast shake and a cup of tea, it was just a cup of tea.

I must say I was quite surprised that I managed the morning quite well. My stomach was rumbling around 9am, but then it settled and I did not feel hungry in the morning at all. I had few cups of green tea and plenty of water.

My first meal was my lunch around 12.30pm- vanilla shake made with almond milk, a banana, hazelnut chocolate butter, cocoa powder and cinnamon powder. It was yummy and filling and not too heavy for my empty stomach.

image1

I had my second meal, dinner, around 5.30pm. It was a recipe from my Gousto recipe box I got delivered yesterday. So, today we had Peri Peri chicken with Chips & Apple Slaw – home mad chips, chicken made in the oven and lovely refreshing slaw. The only a bit “heavy” thing was the bit of mayo in the slaw, I usually do not eat mayo, but it was a lovely combination with the peri peri sauce and the apple.image2

I must admit my hubby got me a chocolate eclair in Spar and I could not resist it. Definitely not a healthy dessert, I would not have bought that myself, but hey, why not once in a while. I always tell my clients: “Eat according with your goals and be ready to deal with the consequences.” I feel ready to deal with the consequence of my chocolate eclair. Anyway, I am making sure I am drinking plenty of water to dilute the sugar.

In summary, it was a good day 1 and I feel surprisingly good. Let’s see what day 2 brings.