4 months sugar-free

The first time I went sugar free was early in 2016 when I bought a lovely wedding dress that I could barely sit in, let alone dance in or eat in. That was in April 2016 and the wedding date was 17th July 2016. I knew I had to take some serious measures. So for 2,5 months I was totally sugar free, and I mean really sugar free. My grocery shopping use to take double the time as I was checking every single food label. And those days I was not even having shakes yet, so every day choices of food were a bit of struggle, but I made it. I went through 3 weeks of sugar withdrawal symptoms which showed me how addicted I was to sugar. But at the end I lost a dress size, my wedding dress fitted perfectly and I felt great. But life happened and I slowly went back to eating sugar on regular basis.

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Over the past two years I tried to do “sugar free” again simple before I knew I felt good doing it and I knew the health benefits. Check my previous blog post called “It’s all about the sugar” to learn more about sugar and sweeteners.

On 3rd April this year I went for it. This time I did not go as OTT (over the top) as the previous time, I was still eating out, so occasional sugar intake was still happening in a form of sauces when eating out (Chinese, Italian etc). Why did I decide to go sugar free this time? In January this year we moved from the UK to Prague. As great as it has been it was also stressful and it took a bit of time settling down again in Czech after 3 years in the UK. And the last few months in the UK were not as joyful as we wished. Therefore the sugar intake at the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018 was quite high –  emotional binge eating.

Starting sugar free this time was much easier as my body and mind already knew what to expect. What made it easier this time was the food choices you get in Prague – so many healthy places to eat that offer even sugar free cakes. My favorite restaurant is now VegGo that offers variety of vegan food as well as variety of sugar-free cakes – my favorite is a raspberry cheesecake.

From 3rd April till 25th July I had no cakes with refined sugar, no ice cream, no cookies etc, I did not use sugar in the household either. As I said the only occasion I might have had some sugar “unknowingly” was when we were eating out. Because sometimes when you make certain sauces, such as when you cook with tomatoes, you might need to use a bit of sugar to balance out the flavors, so I guess those were few occasions I could have consumed sugar. Actually, there was one more case that I am aware of –  pastry. Czech pastry is so good, so I was still eating pastry such as bread ans baguettes. And pastry does contain a bit of sugar as sugar is needed for the yeast to work in the dough to make it rise.

Almost 4 months sugar free and I felt great. I must say I was as consistent in the gym as I wish I were over those four months, but it did not matter because the effect of sugar free was great. My skin became so smooth, especially on my bum, my bum cellulite reduced big time. My muscle definition got more visible even with reduced amount of exercise.

Sugar free was definitely a great detox for me. I only stopped on 25th July as we went on All inclusive holiday. Do not get me wrong, I am not the kind of person who goes on holiday to over eat, but I simple wanted to try some local sweets etc.

The first two days of holiday I tried some cakes, especially the chocolate ones, but to be honest they were not quite worth it. My favorite “sweet” stuff were their pancakes which became my breakfast choice together with some cinnamon and melon, and occasional evening desert choice with some coffee. As much as I do not usually drink sodas, I had few glasses of lemonade and I enjoyed it. But despite, or perhaps in-spite of all that I always made sure I was drinking plenty of water. We even carried one of our gym bottles with us and constantly kept filling it during the day.

Despite change of diet and increased sugar intake I actually did not put on any weight on holiday, I did not notice any changes in my body. And the secret being that as I detoxed my body before the holiday, my body was able to work with the acidity, also thanks to high water intake.

Having come back from holiday where was no ice cream I actually craved ice cream, so I had ice cream yesterday and I truly enjoyed it.

I definitely see benefit of being totally sugar and sweeteners free all the time – your body functions better, your skin improves, you lose weight etc. However, I think there is no reason to beat yourself up about your food choices. Remember “Eat according to your goals and be ready to deal with the consequences”.

Should you wish to go on “sugar free” journey yourself and get some tips, get in touch!

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!

Thai Style Pork Stir Fry

As you may have noticed I am a big fan of Hello Fresh. I love the fact that I receive a new recipe and all the ingredients I need. So I do not have to research the internet for recipes and most importantly I do not have to be searching the shops for specific ingredients.

Here is a recipe that was in my box this week – Thai Style Pork Stir Fry, you might want to give it a go.

Btw I like to tweak recipes, so you may find it is not 100% identical to the original Hello Fresh recipe.

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Time: 35mins

Ingredients (for 2 people):

  • 200g basmati rice
  • 1 chopped shallot
  • 1 chopped/grated garlic clove
  • 3 thinly sliced spring onions
  • 1 pack of green beans
  • 300g pork mince
  • 3 tbsp Ketjap Manis
  • 1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 red chilli pepper
  • 1 bunch of Thai basil
  • Olive / coconut oil
  • Water

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Directions:

  1. Boil water in a large saucepan. Add a bit of salt and add rice. Lower the heat and cook for aprox. 10mins
  2. Chop the shallot, peel and chop the garlic, chop the chilli pepper and thinly slice spring onions.
  3. Remove tops from the green beans, cut them in half. Put a splash of oil in a frying pan and stir-fry until tender (2-3mins) and them transfer to a plate.
  4. Add a splash of oil and pork mince, stir-fry until brown (6-8mins). Then add shllot, garlic, spring onion and chilli. Cook for 2-3mins until veggies are softened.
  5. Add beans to the pan. Stir in ketjap manis and soy sauce.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat and add some basil leaves.

Enjoy!

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If you would like to get your first Hello Fresh box with £25 discount then click here https://www.hellofresh.co.uk/offers/eqxmfn/?c=null 

New Recipes Inspiration

Looking to get some new inspiration for cooking?

I like to order the HelloFresh Box from time to time, just to try some new recipes. My usual style of cooking is “chuck everything you find in the fridge in preferable one pot” 😀 which is lovely, but sometimes you just need a change of flavors. And I do not like to search for recipes and then having to look for the ingredients in the shops. And that is what I like about HelloFresh – new recipes and you get all the ingredients delivered to your house.

So what is HelloFresh? You get your box with ingredients and a recipe card delivered to your home, and you can choose from variety of boxes:

  • Classic box for 2 to 4 adults where you get to select which recipes you want
  • Veggie box for 2 to 4 adults with vegetarian recipes
  • Family box for 2 adults and 2 children

I personally get the Classic Box with 3 meals for 2 adults and I chose the “Low calorie” option so I get recipes with around 600 kcal per portion, nice and light.

And you can choose how often would you like to get your delivery. I just get it every now and then, no need for a subscription (To do so you have to pause the delivery in your delivery calendar)

Click on this link to get £25 off your first order https://www.hellofresh.co.uk/offers/eqxmfn/?c=R93FAS

Stay Healthy this Summer

Summer is here – barbecues, picnics, ice cream, cocktails, refreshing soda drinks. As a personal trainer I often get asked this time of the year how to stay healthy in summer with all these ‘treats’ around us; how not to ‘over-treat’ ourselves, how not to over-eat and over-indulge.

Well, the most important thing to consider while choosing what you put in your body is your health of course, healthy diet contributes towards overall wellbeing. The second thing we have to consider is our goals – what are your health and fitness goals? The food choices will be different for everyone. I provide my clients will nutrition advice, but at the end I always tell them: ‘Eat according to your goals and be ready to deal with the consequences!’ E.g. if you are on a ‘fat loss’ journey, then avoid cakes and ice cream, unless they are home-made and sugar free, till you reach your goal. However, it is also very important to enjoy everything we eat. There is no point to have a cake, feel guilty about it and beat yourself up.

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Here are few tips for your healthy summer:

  1. Enjoy the outdoors. Walk when you can and play outside. Walk to your local store, replace driving with walking as much as you can. Spend time in the garden, do some gardening or go to the park to play football with your children.
  2. Preparation is the key!
    Going for a trip? Prepare your food at home and take it with you! If you know you are leaving the house for more than 2 hours make sure you take some snacks with you!
    What can you possibly take with you? Make a salad, add some falafel, eggs, nuts or berries in it to make it even more filling. You can also make some sandwiges, eg with avocado spread. You can also make a smoothie or a shake (if you are adding milk to your shake, rather use almond or soya milk). Also make sure you have some fruits and nuts with you.
  3. Eat on regular basis! We all know that especially kids are hungry all the time. And we should be eating on regular basis as well!
    It might sound like a cliche, but breakfast really is the key. Make sure you eat at least 5 times a day – breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack and dinner. Make sure you always have something easy to make and snack on in your fridge and cupboards – stock up on fruits, veg, nuts, seeds, berries etc.
  4. Stay hydrated! Drink plenty of water! Always have a water bottle for yourself and your children in your bag!
    Bored of plain water? Infuse your water with fruit or herbs!
  5. Know what you eat! Make your own dressings and sauces! Sauces and dressings from a shop are usually high in sugar or sweeteners.

 

 

For more tips on nutrition and fitness visit my FB page www.facebook.com/TheFABTransformationCoach or my blog www.thefabtransformationcoach.com

 

Avocado Chocolate Mousse

As you have probably noticed, I like avocados. I always have avocados in the house,I am a fan of fast, simple recipes with avocados, such as avocado toast, avocado spread, salads with avocado, and desserts with avocado.

Avocado is amazing type of fruit, there are so many ways you can use it in your meals, and it is also very nutritious. Here are some of health benefits of avocados:

  • High content of healthy fats
  • contains 20 different vitamins and minerals (Vitamin B5 and B6, Vitamin K, Folate, Vitamin E, Potassium etc.)
  • Does not contain cholesterol
  • Low in saturated fats
  • Contains more potassium than bananas
  • Eating avocados can lower cholesterol
  • Loaded with powerful antioxidants that can help to protect your eyes

If you follow my social media you will notice my avocado chocolate mousse recipe changes all the time as I always like to give it a twist. However, here is my basic avocado chocolate mousse recipe for you:

Ingredients:

  • 3 ripe avocados / 2 ripe avocados & 1 ripe banana / 1 ripe avocado & 2 ripe bananas
  • 2 – 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 scratched out vanilla bean / 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp almond milk
  • Optional: carob / maple syrup

Directions:

  1. Blend everything till smooth.
    If it is hard to blend add extra almond milk. If the color is too light add extra cocoa powder.
  2. Serve on its own, with fruits or with chickpea muffins.

Avocado chocolate mousse

Upside Down Apple Cake

I love baking and sometimes it is good to have a simple, fast recipe when you are busy yet you still want to bake for your friends and family.

I really like apples and I like puff pastry, and I love combination of those two together, especially when you add a bit of cinnamon. I have several recipes for desserts with apples and puff pastry, so here is one of them – Upside Down Apple Cake

PREP TIME: 10 MINS
COOK TIME: 25 MINS
TOTAL TIME: 35 MINS

Ingredients:

  • 3 sweet apples (yellow ones are the best)
  • Coconut oil in spray
  • 1/3 of a puff pastry sheet (already rolled)
  • Cinnamon
  • Carob / Maple syrup
  • A cake form (I use a rectangle one. You can use any shape and size, but you must adjust the amount of ingredients accordingly)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Spray the cake form with coconut oil.
  3. Slice the apples (no need to peel) and place the slices in the cake form. When you cover the cake form with one layer of apples sprinkle some cinnamon, optionally you can add some carob / maple syrup to make it more sweet. Keep laying layers till your run out of apples (you should have at least 3 layers).
  4. Cut 1/3 of a puff pastry sheet (depending on the size of your cake form) and cover the apples. Make sure you tuck the edges of the pastry in.
  5. Place it in the oven, when you see the pastry is starting to puff prick holes with a fork to let the hot air out.
  6. Bake till the pastry turns golden brown (aprox. 20 – 25 mins).
  7. Remove from the oven and wait for the form to cool off. Then Place a plate on top of the form and turn it upside down leaving the apple cake on the plate.
  8. Finally you can sprinkle some cinnamon on top of the cake.

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Happy baking! Enjoy!

Chocolate Chickpea Muffins

Prep time: 10 mins
Baking time: 25 mins
Total time: 35 mins

Chocolate Chickpea Muffins are easy to make and easy to store. It is a perfect dessert for any occasion, whether you are having dinner at home or you are going to your friends for a barbecue.

Ingredients:

  • 1 big cup of chickpeas / 1 can
    (I prefer to use dried chickpeas that you have to soak and then cook, but you can used canned as well)
  • 4 eggs / whipped aquafaba / chia seeds eggs
  • 1/3 cup or carob fruit syrup
    (The quantity depends on how sweet you want the muffins to be, I prefer less sweet. Just taste the mixture before pouring it in the muffin cups)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp. coconut oil (melted)

Preparations:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Line muffin cups with muffin papers or coat wit nonstick cooking spray.
  3. Place chickpeas, eggs, syrup, cocoa powder, baking soda, vanilla extract and coconut oil in a blender. Blend until smooth.
  4. Divide batter among 12 muffin cups.
  5. Bake for aprox. 25 mins till the tops turn dark brown.

 

You can either eat it on it´s own, or you can serve it with some coconut ice cream and strawberries or avocado chocolate mousse.

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