Sugar is Addictive

Here we go again, another topic that I am very passionate about – sugar.

We all know that smoking is addictive and it has bad effect on our health. Well, sugar is addictive and it has negative impact on our health. So, why do we see those ugly pictures on cigarettes packs, but we do not see picture of obese people, or people with cancer on sweets packets?

Excess intake of sugar in your diet leads to extra pounds, obesity, cardiovascular or pancreatic diseases. Sugar makes your body environment acidic, meaning your body is more likely to develop cancer, it’s like a welcoming ground for cancer cells.

When we feel down, we eat ice cream, when we are celebrating, we eat cake. Even when we are bored our brain demands sugar. When sugar enters our body, it triggers chemicals that affect the pleasure part of our brain and it makes us feel good, and on top of it we get blood sugar spike and we feel great, till we experience that blood sugar level drop.

The recommended dose of sugar should be no more than 6 teaspoons per day. And imagine how much sugar you eat only in things like pastry, juices, yogurt, and then you add some cereals, cakes etc. So, how many tea spoons of sugar do you actually eat? Or do you measure it more in table spoons?

If you are craving something sweet, you are better of with fruits, or perhaps try to have a glass of water or actual food. Your sugar craving can be caused by blood sugar level drops which can be a result of bad diet. So, rather then giving in, think about the origin of those symptoms you are experiencing.

In general, think twice before having processed sugar or sweeteners, rather go for natural sugars 😉

You know I had a nice 4 months sugar free detox (only had sugar in salty pastry like bread), and past two weeks I have been having actual processed sugar and I can feel and see its effect – cravings, my skin etc. I am going to start sugar free again soon. Should you wish to join my sugar free challenge, let me know. 

 

Hemp protein pancakes

You know the days when you come home famished and you realize that both your fridge and your pantry are practically empty? I had a day like that when I came home from work and I found only eggs, spinach and tomatoes in my fridge. And since I always keep protein powder at home, my hemp protein pancakes were born.

To get a 5% discount on your help protein powders or other hemp products use the discount code “annaogunnusi” at the checkout at https://www.cannadorra.com/ 

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs (2 for the batter and 2 fried)
  • 3 scoops / tbsp of Cannadorra hemp protein powder
  • 2 hand-fulls of spinach (one for the batter and one for dishing)
  • A few cherry tomatoes
  • Goji berries
  • Sesame seeds

Directions:

  1. Put 2 eggs, 3 scoops of hemp protein powder and a hand-full of spinach in a blender and blend together.
  2. Put a bit of coconut oil in a frying pan and then add the batter. I fit three smaller pancakes in a pan.
  3. Let it fry on one side till the edges turn dark green and then turn.
  4. Once pancakes are ready, fry the eggs.
  5. Then put the cherry tomatoes, goji berries and sesame seeds on a pen.
  6. Lay few pancakes and then an egg. Put the tomatoes, goji berries and sesame seeds on top.

Enjoy!

To get a 5% discount on your help protein powders or other hemp products use the discount code “annaogunnusi” at the checkout at https://www.cannadorra.com/ 

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!

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!

 

 

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 Blueberry “Cheesecake”

This was the first ever raw cake I made and it came out amazing! Whenever I see a good recipe on Facebook I send it via messenger to my husband so I do not lose it. And when I was contemplating about what cake to my for my stepsons’ birthday my husband insisted I made this one.

Let’s make the “cheesecake” word clear – it looks like a cheesecake but there is no dairy, it is a vegan cake. #dairyfree #lactosefree #refinedsugarfree #vegan

First I was a bit scared as I usually stick to baked cakes and avocado based “cream” layers, so I was afraid what if it did not come out nice, especially the cashew nuts “cheesecake” layers sounded very alien to me. However the cake was very straight forward to make, I tweaked it a bit, as I always do with any new recipes that I adopt. And my husband and my stepsons’ said it was the best cake I have ever made.

 

INGREDIENTS:

For crust:

  • 1/2 walnuts
  • 1/2 chopped almonds
  • 1/2 almond flakes
  • 1/2 pitted dates
  • 1/2 prunes
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp melted coconut oil

For layers:

  • 2 1/4 cup raw cashews soaked overnight
  • 1/4 cup carob/ maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Lime juice from 3 – 4 limes
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • Blueberries and strawberries for garnish

TO MAKE THE CRUST
1. Pulse ingredients in food processor/ blender until sticky crumbles form. (Add a splash of water/almond at the end if it needs help sticking.)
2.  Press crust into a parchment lined cake form.

LIME CHEESECAKE LAYER
1. The night before, soak cashews in a bowl of water. The next day, drain and rinse. Place cashews in food processor and blend for several minutes until smooth.
2. Scrape down sides and add lime juice, 1/4 cup sweetener, zest, & vanilla & blend again.
3. Stream in the melted coconut oil & blend until well combined. Taste and add more sweetener, if needed.
4. Scoop out enough of the cheesecake filling to cover the crust with about 1/2 to 1 inch of the white layer. Then set in freezer for 30 minutes to firm up.

BLUEBERRY CHEESECAKE LAYER
1. Add 1 cup blueberries to the remaining cheesecake in your food processor and blend until smooth. If your blueberries are tart, you may need a couple more tsp sweetener.
2. Spread the blueberry layer on top of lime layer and decorate with fresh blueberries and lime zest.

Cover with foil and set in the freezer for about 3 hours to firm up and then transfer to the fridge for a couple more hours.

Decorate with any fruits (strawberries, blueberries etc)

Raw blueberry cheesecake.png

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.

upside down apple cake

 

Happy baking! Enjoy!