Sugar free raw paleo chocolate fudge

Texture is such an important part of the whole eating experience, and since starting SCD 9 months ago, something I’ve really missed is the lovely chewy, comforting texture of a gooey chocolate bar or a well-crafted piece of fudge… You know how delicious it is when there are no spiky sugar crystals and it’s all just smooth and satisfying? So I was delighted when I found (and tailored) this recipe – especially because it’s so quick to make!

Fudge is so DELICIOUS - healthy, too

Fudge is so DELICIOUS – healthy, too

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of dates
  • 1 cup of coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup of cocoa
  • a pinch of salt
  • flavouring to taste (we recommend: vanilla extract, ginger or cinnamon)

Method

  • Soak the dates in about a cup of warm water (or, better still, fresh brewed filter coffee!) for roughly an hour.
  • Drain the dates.
  • In a food processor with an S-blade, blend the dates, cocoa, salt and any spices until they form a thick paste.
  • Add the coconut oil and blend very well until super smooth. This can take up to 20 minutes. It’s noisy but well worth the wait.
  • Turn into a wax-paper lined dish and refrigerate until set (roughly an hour).
  • Cut into pieces and serve.
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Coconut Ice

When you NEED something sweet, and you need it NOW, this is a great solution: healthy, delicious and so quick to make. Not to mention oh-so-pretty!

Coconut ice is pretty in molds

Coconut ice is pretty in colourful molds

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of desiccated coconut (free from sulphur dioxide. Nature’s Choice makes a good one).
  • 6 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 10 drops (roughly) of pure vanilla extract (we use Vanilla Girl)
  • A pinch of salt (trust me)
ta da!

ta da!

Method

  • Combine all the ingredients and blend very well. Be patient, this takes time. I take off my wedding rings and mash it all together by hand. SO satisfying – and you get to lick your fingers afterwards, too!
  • Spoon the mixture into molds or into a lined dish.
  • Allow to set in the fridge (about half an hour).
  • Serve. Hmmmm.

Coconana Cakelets

When you’re in the mood for a quick snack, and your diet is as restricted as ours, these little morsels make a great tummy-filler. Makes 4.

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil (more if, like us, you need the calories)
  • 1 tbsp raw organic honey (or to taste)
  • 1 very ripe banana
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • a splash of coffee (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Method

  • Blend all the ingredients in a bowl until well combined.
  • Spoon equal amounts into four small cups or large ramekins.
  • Microwave on high for 2 minutes.
  • Voilà! Dessert. For optional deliciousness, we plopped a spoonful of raw organic honey on top the moment they came out of the microwave, and let the goodness soak into the spongey cake. Heavenly!

Everybody’s favourite problem

I don’t know what I did or am doing, but all of a sudden my digestive system seems okay. I am a lot less bloated than even a week ago, and a lot more regular, too. Sorry for sharing that, but these things matter. A lot. My skin is almost clear and I am sleeping better (when I can find the time). The girls have seasonal rhinitis, but otherwise things are pretty good in our household at the moment.

It’s a little creepy, to tell the truth, since I really am not sure what’s changed.

It’s true that I have cut back on the coffee (not cut out, note). The same goes for sugars – I have less than one fruit a day, and about half a teaspoon of honey in the same period. (Unless I run out of coconut oil, in which case I need something in my cocoa besides the cinnamon, don’t I?). I’ve been having a quarter teaspoon of baking soda in half a glass of water every morning and evening, and taking market-made Swedish bitters (rather than the commercial kind). Maybe those things are helping?  I’ve also been drinking less water. I know that’s a little unusual in a health improvement, but I was having up to three litres a day until a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve read that doing that can dilute your nutrients and make you tired. Although in the end it turned out that missing out on four or five hours of sleep a night was in fact the cause of my exhaustion. Ta Da! Mystery solved.

So now my stomach is flat and comfortable, my skin is nearly presentable in public, my hair is shiny and I am slowly getting back my energy (which is sleep-related and not diet-related).

Here’s the problem: I can’t stop losing weight. When I stared this, I was at a comfortable weight. I wouldn’t have minded shifting two or three kilos, but I really wouldn’t have minded not shifting those kilos, either. I was fine. My main thought was better concentration and – most of all – a comfortable gut! okay, I have those, but even though I eat all the time, I am now *technically* underweight. What shall I do? It’s not a problem I thought I’d face in my life, ya know?

As a potential remedy, yesterday we introduced sweet potatoes. I was a little bloated afterwards, but nothing serious and that could well have been from the fact that, breaking my pattern, I’d had TWO bananas AND a pear during the day. I’ll try the sweet potatoes again today, and see what happens.

I also had the most amazing night’s sleep last night, weird dreams notwithstanding. So it’s Friday, and the outlook is good.

 

Short and sweet

It seems I’m not being as consistent with these blog updates as I intended. This is just a short post to update things. Basically, SCD is working well for us all and we’re seeing a lot of benefits. However, we still have cocoa from time to time (because it’s awesome), so I guess technically we’re more Paleo than SCD.

I’ve been fairly “good” about not having any fructose. So far I’ve had an average of half a banana per day, and that’s about the extent of it. I can feel a difference in my body, though I do need to cut out the banana. I’m working on that.

My skin is clearing up, and my digestion is less sluggish (though far from sorted). I also really can’t tolerate seeds, which make me break out and twitch. It’s a pity because they’re delicious, affordable, and something to eat. I’ve lost 7.5kg since starting SCD, and I’m now below my healthy BMI range. Since I was actually quite content with my weight before I started, this is not really a “win”, as it were. I don’t mind, don’t get me wrong. But I do need to bulk up somehow, and I really need a new wardrobe – especially for meetings.

Aunty Em herself has lost a total of just over 20kg, and looks amazing. People don’t recognise her, and it has happened that good friends have walked right by her, not realising it was her! She’s being so good and enjoying it as well. I am very proud of her.

All in all, we need more sleep and (probably) more iron, but SCD is great and Candida is not. Hopefully when I can start eating fruit again, I can starting gaining a little of the weight I’ve lost (in the RIGHT places!) and look a bit more human. Just a bit.

Candida Cleanse: Day 2

Yesterday I *officially* started on the no-fructose programme. I did have a miniscule scraping of honey and three dried banana chips, which combined to make me bloat. I feel like I’m starting to make progress, being able to pinpoint the cause of my woes with more accuracy. And I feel great – clearer head, clearer skin (not much, but still), energy and all that jazz! There’s a general sense of well-being in our home today.

I found a product online which I am very keen to try. It’s called Candidex and it’s available through a website called Nutrineeds. My sister introduced me to this site because they offer online correspondence training in nutritional counselling. I am so excited about that! Next year I will definitely be studying nutrition through these folks, and finally be in a position to help people.

Getting the balance right.

Aromat: packaged poison.

Aromat: packaged poison.

Last week I posted a frustrated update on our health and how exhausted and sick I felt. I did some serious soul-searching and realised that the cause for these symptoms lay not with SCD, but with me. Firstly, I had eaten a miniscule piece of a pork chop which was literally covered in Aromat (pure MSG!) I thought a tiny bit would be okay but, evidently, I was wrong. (I also had about 3 tablespoons of red wine – which was delicious. Between the sulphur and the yeast-feeding alcohol and my personal convictions, this was not smart).

Secondly, I was getting up at 4AM to go running every day (which is awesome), and then working until after 10 at night. Not smart. After reading a fascinating article at brainpickings (LOVE this site), I realised that I really need to pay more attention to getting enough rest, and stop equating sleep with laziness and sloth.

I also spoke to others on SCD and saw how well they’re doing – including my sister, who is very like me in many ways. I finally realised that my old friend Candida had reared it’s ugly head, and that it was time to really address this issue properly. I’ve been trying to cut out sugar (well, fruit and honey), and found it nearly impossible to do so. Apparently this is a symptom of a candida infestation. I was very motivated and inspired by an article at Health Extremist, which outlines the reasons to follow the yeast free diet, how to do it (very basically) and how long it takes to see results. I’ve often given up if I don’t see results within a week or so, but it really takes up to three months to see any improvement. So, we’ll see. I’ll go sugar free from tomorrow (since today’s already shot), and monitor the results. I’m very hopeful about the outcome, and looking forward to MUCH better health!

Under the weather

Despite eating no carbs, drinking no alcohol, completely eschewing all processed foods, and focusing on organic and healthy choices, I am bloated, constipated and sore. My skin is terrible – I look like a wrinkle-faced teenager who’s just hit puberty! My joints ache and I’m exhausted. My hair is dull and lifeless. I am utterly despondent – my so-called SCD lifestyle miracle is not helping me right now, and neither is the two grand’s worth of supplements in my medicine cabinet. Despite working out six days a week (cardio AND weights), in moderation, and getting enough sleep, I have no energy, no motivation. I am focusing on cultivating a more joyful attitude to life, and today, it’s not happening. I want to be svelte and unbloated. I want clear skin, bright eyes, and shiny hair. I want energy, passion and zest for life.

I want health.

If this isn’t the way to get it, what in the world is?

Goals

Last year I had two simple goals when it came to food, and in fact when I started the year I had no idea about either of them.

The first was to poach a perfect egg. I’d never achieved this and I had pretty much given up on the idea altogether. “Some people just can’t”, I told myself. However, during the course of 2012 I stumbled across a blog post (which, for some reason, I did NOT bookmark! How did that happen?!?), which explains the process in simple steps. In fact, the steps seemed so simple, I just had to give it a go. I did, and whaddya know? Perfectly poached eggs! Huzzah! I experimented a few times, with success each time, so I know it works.

The second goal I didn’t know I had for last year was learning to cook and serve delicious, beautiful food – without any grain or starch.

To be honest, I didn’t think it would happen. Until about six months ago I had virtually no interest in food preparation at all. I didn’t enjoy the process, and I certainly didn’t care very much how it looked. It was simple (the way I like things): 1 protein, 1 starch, 1 portion veg. Three fairly even divisions of food groups, neatly(ish) laid out on a plate. Your options, O Recipient of Meal? Eat or starve. See? Simple.

However, since discovering SCD, Paleo, GAPS and the wealth of attendant recipes, my culinary adventures have been transformed! I now love to cook, I take pleasure in delightful plating (which is a long way from looking good, but at least I know what the term means now – or even that the term exists!). Meal times are FUN, and one of my primary de-stress activities.

Fast-forward to NOW.

My culinary goals for this year are: (Maestro, drum-roll if you please) …

That’s it. Well, actually, there was something else but my brain is full and the other goal fell out. Ah well, I’ll add it if I remember.

Sweet nothings

Day two of the “no fructose” plan was a disaster. I ate TWO bowls (small ones, but still) of chocolate-coated candied orange peel (made by me), and had half a teaspoon of honey in my coffee. The result? Exhaustion, sore joints, headache, grumpiness, fatigue and skin lesions. *Sigh*. I am so addicted to the sweet stuff that I’m actually considering getting a strong course of antifungals from a GP and not changing my gluttonous ways. I miss bananas most of all, although cocoa with honey is right up there, too.

Surely I can go more than two days without sweetness? Or maybe I really AM that bitter that I need all the help I can get! 

Have you ever tried cutting out ALL sugars from your diet? How did it go? What were the results?