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Will Our Kids Be Sucked In By Sugar Free Sweets?

Will Our Kids Be Sucked In By Sugar Free Sweets?

Removing sugar from our kid’s lives is hard. Crazy hard. You can’t keep them in a sugar free cocoon when parties are filled with the stuff. It’s also crazy hard understanding how much sugar is where. There are 2 and half teaspoons of sugar in an iced Krispy Krème doughnut but 12 teaspoons in a glass of apple juice. What?!

Raw veggies in a lunch box might work for some but if I gave my son a crudité, he’d stick it up his sister’s nose. Teaming fruit and vegetables with protein and fat the correct way in order for them to be properly assimilated would send me over the edge every morning and quite frankly I’m normally perched on it to begin with.

So, the best way to take sugar from my kid’s lives is by good old fashioned lying. ‘What?! Of course it’s a wagon wheel darling, they’re doing special shapes for Easter!’ ‘Ooh yes these are the new snickers bars, aren’t they just amazing?’

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I appreciate that you can buy sugar free sweets and I think that’s fantastic but I don’t really understand the process of making them and I would much rather make my own from scratch. (Incidentally, I did find this blog, which explains the differences in ingredients between classic sweets and sugar free versions)

So, I made some sugar free versions of my families’ favourite sweet things and thought I would test them out.

Refined Sugar Free Wagon Wheels

I chose this recipe from the I Quit Sugar recipe book. In my imaginary world, I lead my life according to this book and I float around bare feet all virtuous and glowing with really clever kids called Apple and Strawberry. In reality, however, I panic buy in supermarkets because I have yet again forgotten to do my meal plan and in between working from home, doing up a refurb, having two kids, doing meals, laundry and cleaning, I just sometimes need things in packets that I can throw at the children.

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So as expected I had to make each element of the not so wagon wheel from scratch. The base is a sugar free baked cookie dough recipe that I thought would be disgusting but it actually turned out to be everyone’s favourite part. It’s made with 150g unsalted butter, 2 tablespoons rice malt syrup, 1.5 cups of flour. (The recipe called for ¾ cup of buckwheat flour and ¾ cup of gluten free plain flour but I didn’t want to go too crazy), ½ cup of desiccated coconut and a pinch of sea salt. This was simple. I mixed it up and baked it for 20 mins. Then let it cool.

Then I spread this with homemade refined sugar free strawberry chia jam which I took from the Deliciously Ella book because the recipe looked nicer. Then the best bit which I thought would not in a million years work, but it did and it was amazing! Homemade refined sugar free marshmallow made with 1.5 tablespoons gelatin powder, ¼ cup of rice malt syrup and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

I mixed the gelatin into a cup of cold water until it dissolved. Then in a pan I combined the rice malt syrup with the vanilla and salt and stirred until it boiled. I let it simmer for 8 minutes then turned off the heat and added the gelatin which wobbled slightly at this stage. Then I blitzed the whole lot in a processor. It was supposed to go creamy but it actually didn’t so I didn’t hold much hope. However I poured it over the biscuit and jam and popped it into the fridge and it set absolutely perfectly and was exactly like marshmallow. That too was the kid’s favourite part. Once set, I added melted dark chocolate (85%) let that set and then tried to cut it in circles with biscuit cutters. That just cracked everything and looked a real mess so I made squares instead and they looked and tasted so good. I was pleasantly surprised but, were the kids?! Well, my son took his plate into the lounge and then brought it straight back. He had an issue with the darkness of the chocolate and the jam he said. So I had to scrape those bits off and give him the marshmallow and biscuit. Win. Even the boyfriend liked them but I didn’t see him rushing back for a second?

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Refined sugar free Snickers!

Again I took this recipe from the I Quit Sugar recipe book. ‘Snickery Caramel Bars’ and they were, in my sons words ‘awesome’! Yay, result! Even my daughter liked these and she is particularly persnickety when it comes to her food.

The nougat base consisted of ½ cup of coconut cream, 1 tablespoon of rice malt syrup, a pinch of sea salt, 1 teaspoon of vanilla powder, 1/3 cup of coconut flour (again, I just used plain) and ½ cup of smooth peanut butter. All mixed together then pushed into a loaf tin and frozen for at least 2 hours. I froze mine for 2 days and it worked just fine. I covered this with gooey caramel sauce which was just insane. I heated ¼ cup of rice malt syrup in a pan until it bubbled, cooked it for 13 minutes, yes 13, added 100g butter and a pinch of salt, stirred, removed from the heat and then added ¼ cup of coconut cream and stirred until it was combined. It was delicious. This was then frozen for 2 hours. Gosh, seriously it was lush. If I can make this taste this good without sugar then it opens up all sorts of recipes that I can use it for.

Once the gooey caramel sauce was poured over the nougat, I sprinkled it with roasted peanuts and then sliced into 20 pieces and put them back in the freezer before taking them out and dipping them individually into melted dark chocolate (85%). Super lush and a big high five from each family member.

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So the end result, as expected is that yes I can give my kids treats without the dreaded white stuff, though they are fiddly to make and you need strange ingredients like rice malt syrup to hand. That said, I bought a stash from Whole Foods so now have plenty of jars at the ready. So, I guess this means that I now have to get up even earlier in order to prepare these sweet gems. They may not be a crudité but they are just little steps towards us going sugar free and I for one am very excited by this.

Featured photo credit: DollarPhotoClub via dollarphotoclub.com

More by this author

Kelly Coleman

CEO of Dawn and Shawn Digital Ltd

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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