Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Cutting out the white stuff – two weeks in: calorie-free baking

I wrote a post about three weeks ago about cutting out processed sugar from my diet. So far, it’s been going pretty well. I am still eating fruit and dried fruit and drinking the odd glass of wine or beer. I’ve just stopped eating cakes, biscuits, sweets, and I’m starting to read labels and cut out some of the hidden added sugars in foods like ketchup and mayonnaise. I deviated slightly one weekend – I had the opportunity to try a pancake with salted caramel apple purée (like, who is going to miss something like that?), and I definitely was a little bit jittery afterwards. I’m noticing too that savoury food is a lot sweeter.
I had my first sugar craving about two weeks in and it lasted 24 hours. Like a lot of grown ups, we have a goodie cupboard and nothing in it appealed to me. Instead, I satisfied my craving with some things that did appeal to me: almond purée, dried dates (medjool dates are like Scooby Snacks to me now) and a yummy mix of sunflower seeds, raisins and pine nuts from Colruyt.
Side effects hit around that time. I’d had an active weekend, and then spent six hours cleaning and ironing. I was wiped for about a day. I was exhausted! Thankfully I’m over that now.
As I said, I’m eating dried fruit, which you’re not really meant to on a sugar-free diet. I’m going to cut this down this week (down from four pieces every day to maybe one) and see how I get on. I’m really surprised at how few cravings I’m having and my utter lack of enthusiasm for biscuits, cake or sweets.
Saying this, I’ve been looking at baking. Many of the sugar-free recipes I’ve found are paleo and/or gluten free. I was very taken with these chocolate truffles from Peachy Palate and these cinnamon rolls. Both recipes use ingredients I knew I wouldn’t find in my local Carrefour. So, list in hand, I went to my local bio-planet (which is owned by Colruyt).
I found everything I was looking for. The staff were very friendly and helpful when I couldn’t find a couple of the ingredients. I added a jar of my beloved almond purée and a couple of other things (honey and almond milk). When I’d got everything – almond flour, coconut flour, coconut oil, coconut sugar and cacao powder - I did a quick mental tot-up. And the lot came to nearly €60! Now, I don’t know about you, but this is a significant chunk of my weekly food budget! And this is before I bought the pecan nuts, raisins or the avocados. To be perfectly clear, I wasn’t going to use the whole lot of what I was buying, so for example, the coconut flour was one of the most expensive items at about €10 for 500g, and I’d only need about 30g of it, so I’d have a lot left over to use in something in the future. But I was still looking at very expensive pastries. So, I put all the baking ingredients back on the shelves and stocked up on nuts and cheeses when I did the family grocery shop an hour later. I haven’t had cravings for sweet stuff so far, and cheese can satisfy any post-dinner stomach holes.

And that, my friends, is calorie-free baking.

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