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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 September 28, 2020

                      The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

                      The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

                      At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

                      Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

                      One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

                      When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

                      So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

                      Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

                      This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

                      Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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                      When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

                      Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

                      One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

                      Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

                      An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

                      When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

                      Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

                      Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

                      We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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                      By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

                      Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

                      While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

                      I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

                      You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

                      Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

                      When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

                      Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

                      Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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                      Con #2: Less Human Interaction

                      One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

                      Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

                      Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

                      This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

                      While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

                      Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

                      Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

                      This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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                      For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

                      Con #4: Unique Distractions

                      Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

                      For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

                      To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

                      Final Thoughts

                      Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

                      We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

                      More About Working From Home

                      Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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