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10 Unbelievably Delicious Sugarless Treats

10 Unbelievably Delicious Sugarless Treats

Sugar has been the subject of a heated health debate for the last couple of years with experts, doctors, governments and even chefs urging us to reduce our sugar consumption.

Last year, a new WHO guideline recommended that adults and children reduce their daily intake of free sugars (i.e. all monosaccharides and disaccharides added to foods by the manufacturer, cook, or consumer, plus sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, and fruit juices) to less than 10% of their total energy intake. A further reduction to below 5% or roughly 25 grams (6 teaspoons) per day would provide additional health benefits.

Many recent studies have brought to light what sugar does to our bodies and how most of us are exceeding our recommended daily intake without even realizing it. Most of us know the several reasons why sugar is not good for us. Not only does it not give you any nutrition, it is addictive and doesn’t satisfy hunger, making you overeat easily. Recent scientific research suggests that sugar contributes majorly to obesity and is considered to increase our chances of developing chronic ailments such as type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, heart disease and even cancer.

Sugary drinks, cakes, desserts are all to blame. But most of the sugars consumed today are hidden in processed foods that are not even seen as sweets. In 2015, a documentary called, “That Sugar Film” by Australian actor-director, Damon Gameau was aimed at showing consumers the hidden sugars in everyday food that we buy from supermarkets and how it all unknowingly adds up to exceed our daily intake. As part of an experiment, the actor altered his diet to include more processed foods marketed to be healthier options such as low-fat yoghurt, fruit juice and cereal bars and quickly saw weight gain, mood swings and his health decline.

But how easy is it to eliminate refined sugars from our diets? How do we deny sweet treats to our children when supermarkets are full of attractive boxes calling out to them? I’ve tried eliminating sugar from my diet for 21 days but slowly found it creeping back into my diet. The solution I have found, by experience, is to create a balance. I endeavor to gradually cut out refined sugar and processed foods one at a time, read labels more carefully so I know what I am putting in my body and instead of denying myself totally, substitute sugary treats with healthier versions. If you want your children to eat healthy, you need to make a lifestyle change yourself and lead by example. Though honey and maple syrup are included as free sugars, I still prefer to use them for their nutritional value and restrict my portion sizes. In any case, anything homemade has way less sugar than the supermarket variants.

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Thanks to the growing awareness and efforts by some very creative home cooks and chefs, there have emerged many new recipes to cook without refined sugar. These are delicious, use wholesome healthier ingredients and you wouldn’t believe don’t have sugar in them. Here, are some of my favorites that have become a part of my family’s meals.

1. Raw Vegan Lemon Meltaway Balls

Raw-Vegan-Meltaway-Lemon-balls

    I love lemony desserts, especially in summer. If you are a lemon fan you have got to try these! With almonds, coconut and organic lemon, they make an amazing snack. I don’t use the powdered sugar in the recipe and instead, prefer rolling these in coconut flakes.

    2. No Churn Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream

    10 sugarless treats

      What I love about this recipe is that you don’t need an ice cream maker for this. This is a simple recipe with wholesome ingredients that yields a rich, creamy, perfectly sweet treat without using any sugar. My daughter loves ice cream, and summer to her feels incomplete without it. So my solution is to allow occasional treats but still keep it healthy: I make smoothies and lollies at home with her. She enjoys the process and the result, of course.

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      3. Raw Blueberry Cheesecake

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        I’m a fan of raw desserts as they retain the wholeness and nutritional goodness of the ingredients. This beautiful cheesecake is a perfect summer treat with berries, yogurt and nuts. Pure maple syrup, though still a simple sugar, has antioxidants and might help fight inflammation. It has a lower glycemic index rating than cane sugar.

        4. Healthy Applesauce Carrot Muffins {a.k.a Carrot Cake Muffins}

        carrot-muffins3

          These are made with wholemeal flour and use honey and applesauce instead of sugar. The spices fill the house with a pleasing aroma as these bake in the oven.

          5. Refined Sugar-Free Chocolate Cake

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          chocolatecakeslicessm

            This a good recipe for a simple birthday cake that is full of healthy ingredients. It uses buckwheat flour, almond flour, Greek yogurt and coconut sugar. Coconut sugar is a low glycemic food containing B vitamins, and a high mineral content (potassium, magnesium, zinc, iron). It also contains glutamine.

            6. Banana Strawberry Ice Cream

            Banana-Strawberry-Ice-Cream-1

              Often, you get a sweet craving when you feel low in energy. But don’t reach out for that chocolate bar. Instead, try this quick two-ingredient treat. Bananas are the perfect pick me up food containing vitamin B6 and are a good source of manganese, vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber, potassium, biotin, and copper.

              7. Clementine and Pomegranate Jewel Cake

              ClemJewel_28.tif
                This fabulous recipe comes from patisserie chef, Henrietta Inman who decided to extend her healthy lifestyle to her work by creating gorgeous wholesome, healthy, natural cakes. It would make a stunning centerpiece for your Christmas table. (Image by Lisa Linder).

                8. Mango Tart

                mango tart

                  Surprise your friends with this show-stopping dessert. Watch their jaws hit the floor when you tell them it’s healthy, natural and refined sugar-free!

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                  9. Sticky Toffee Pudding

                  10 sugarless treats

                    Sticky toffee pudding without all the nastiness? You’ve got to be kidding! Well, almost! This is a healthier version. So it’s got butter and dates but no refined sugar or gluten. I use lesser quantities of dates for this as my palate has adjusted to a lower level of sweetness over time. So, feel free to do the same. I don’t add sauce to it unless it’s a special occasion and I’m allowing myself a rare indulgence but restrict portion size. Again, balance is key!

                    10. Dairy-Free and Sugar-Free Chocolate Truffles

                    dairy-freechocolatetruffles.jpg

                      I love chocolate and truffles are the ultimate indulgences for me. A recipe to make them healthy seems almost sacrilegious, but it’s not when it is just as rich, creamy, delicious, enhances the chocolate flavor and, more importantly, is good for you. Try this fantastic recipe by Jamie Oliver. You won’t be disappointed.

                      Featured photo credit: http://minimalistbaker.com/ via minimalistbaker.com

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                      Last Updated on June 20, 2019

                      Science Says Guitar Players’ Brains Are Different From Others’

                      Science Says Guitar Players’ Brains Are Different From Others’

                      There’s nothing quite like picking up a guitar and strumming out some chords. Listening to someone playing the guitar can be mesmerising, it can evoke emotion and a good guitar riff can bring out the best of a song. Many guitar players find a soothing, meditative quality to playing, along with the essence of creating music or busting out an acoustic version of their favourite song. But how does playing the guitar affect the brain?

                      More and more scientific studies have been looking into how people who play the guitar have different brain functions compared to those who don’t. What they found was quite astonishing and backed up what many guitarists may instinctively know deep down.

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                      Guitar Players’ Brains Can Synchronise

                      You didn’t read that wrong! Yes, a 2012 study[1] was conducted in Berlin that looked at the brains of guitar players. The researchers took 12 pairs of players and got them to play the same piece of music while having their brains scanned.

                      During the experiment, they found something extraordinary happening to each pair of participants – their brains were synchronising with each other. So what does this mean? Well, the neural networks found in the areas of the brain associated with social cognition and music production were most activated when the participants were playing their instruments. In other words, their ability to connect with each other while playing music was exceptionally strong.

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                      Guitar Players Have a Higher Intuition

                      Intuition is described as “the ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning” and this is exactly what’s happening when two people are playing the guitar together.

                      The ability to synchronise their brains with each other, stems from this developed intuitive talent indicating that guitar players have a definite spiritual dexterity to them. Not only do their brains synchronise with another player, but they can also even anticipate what is to come before and after a set of chords without consciously knowing. This explains witnessing a certain ‘chemistry’ between players in a band and why many bands include brothers who may have an even stronger connection.

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                      This phenomenon is actually thought to be down to the way guitarists learn how to play – while many musicians learn through reading sheet music, guitar players learn more from listening to others play and feeling their way through the chords. This also shows guitarists have exceptional improvisational skills[2] and quick thinking.

                      Guitar Players Use More of Their Creative, Unconscious Brain

                      The same study carried out a different experiment, this time while solo guitarists were shredding. They found that experienced guitar players were found to deactivate the conscious part of their brain extremely easily meaning they were able to activate the unconscious, creative and less practical way of thinking more efficiently.

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                      This particular area of the brain – the right temporoparietal junction – typically deactivates with ‘long term goal orientation’ in order to stop distractions to get goals accomplished. This was in contrast to the non-guitarists who were unable to shut off the conscious part of their brain which meant they were consciously thinking more about what they were playing.

                      This isn’t to say that this unconscious way of playing can’t be learnt. Since the brain’s plasticity allows new connections to be made depending on repeated practice, the guitar player’s brain can be developed over time but it’s something about playing the guitar in particular that allows this magic to happen.

                      Conclusion

                      While we all know musicians have very quick and creative brains, it seems guitar players have that extra special something. Call it heightened intuition or even a spiritual element – either way, it’s proven that guitarists are an exceptional breed unto themselves!

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                      Featured photo credit: Lechon Kirb via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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