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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 October 16, 2018

                      The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

                      The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

                      It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

                      If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

                      One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

                      Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

                      In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

                      Why you can’t sleep through the night

                      The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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                      Stress

                      If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

                      Exposure to blue light before sleep time

                      We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

                      While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

                      Eating close to bedtime

                      Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

                      Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

                      Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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                      Medical conditions

                      In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

                      The vicious sleep cycle

                      The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

                      Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

                      You get a bad night’s sleep
                      –> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
                      –> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
                      –> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

                        You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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                        How to sleep better (throughout the night)

                        To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

                        1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

                        What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

                        Here are a few suggestions:

                        • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
                        • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
                        • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
                        • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
                        • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

                        2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

                        What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

                        • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
                        • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
                        • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
                        • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

                        3. Adjust your sleep temperature

                        Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

                        Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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                        Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

                        Sleep better form now on

                        Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

                        I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

                        As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

                        Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

                        Reference

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