You don’t need sugar honey, you’re sweet enough…

I thought I would start off Saturday with a nice cringing chat-up line… but it”s true! Not exactly being a fan of charm myself (my man struck up conversation with me by asking if I wanted to borrow his moustache comb… I don”t think he really thought the implications of that one through…) BUT you don”t need refined sugar. Contrary to popular belief, a quick mars bar will not do your energy levels any good, a rush of refined sugar will make your blood glucose spike, giving you a rush, and then crash, giving you an afternoon of sneaky naps, crankiness and craving donuts. PLEASE don”t avoid all natural fats and sugars, they fuel our brain, digestion and muscles and it really irritates me when ”diet” products – whether sweet or savoury – are on the market claiming to be sugar and fat free… the ingredients they do usually use cause your body to react in exactly the same was as it would to a tub of sugar. ALSO, it makes me scowl reading articles about how you should avoid fruits and smoothies because they are full of sugar which will cause you to gain weight… wrong. They contain FRUCTOSE sugar which helps to give our bodies a long, steady energy boost, not to mention they are packed with all sorts of benefits, not the least of which is fibre, which helps with reaching a healthy weight. Honestly, the ”diet” industry drives me nuts, is constantly rammed in our faces through advertising and the media and will result in so many long term health problems it”s ridiculous… but why shouldn”t it, it”s a goldmine in a society when we are told to look a certain way! I am not claiming to have escaped that trap – I wear make up, take selfies and am aware of my weight – but incase you haven”t got instagram, let me share this little gem: healthy is the new skinny. It is an undisputed scientific fact that – unless you have an underlying medical condition – a healthy diet will result in a healthy weight. Anyway, rant over.
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A little friendly advice: depending on your current lifestyle and level of health awareness, working refined sugar out of your diet will likely be difficult. Your body is addicted to it – I buy organic wherever possible (I know it costs more, so I cook in bulk and meal prep to keep costs down… I asked for tupperware for my last birthday… my life is clearly nothing short of sex, drugs and rock and roll) since learning that some fruits – including some varieties of apples – have been genetically engineered with more sugar to satisfy our sweet tooth. If you wean your body off refined sugar, the cravings will be difficult for a few weeks, but after a month you will feel incredible, far more balanced, and wonder what all the fuss was about. These help in the meantime:

Naturally Indulgent Bliss Balls.

You will need:

  • 1 tbsp guarana powder (a stimulant… burns fat, increases mental alertness, stamina, focus and just basically gives you a welcome boom of energy)
  • 1tsp cacao powder (packed with antioxidants – three times the amount of green tea – which fight ageing and disease. Also a good source of sulfur which is marvellous for your liver and pancreas, but also helps to grow strong nails and make your hair shiny)
  • 1tbsp almond/peanut butter (I now have a tub of this as big as my head. It”s huge… if we got burgled, it would be my weapon of choice… though there is a chance that my emotional attachment to it would mean I would protect it as vehemently as I would my children. Aside from this practical reason to buy it, and the fact it tastes orgasmic, nut butters are amazing sources of protein – as much as you would get from meat, calcium, vitamin E – which helps to improve the condition and appearance of your skin, magnesium, iron, good fats… it”s a nutritional gem. Use whole almonds where possible as the skin is packed with flavonoids, which protect your heart. Almond butter has more omega 3 fatty acids than peanut butter, for maintaining a healthy heart and metabolism. This stuff excites me on a disturbing level.)
  • 1 cup medjool dates – the stickier of the date family, which is needed for this recipe. (Very high in fibre, they aid digestion and metabolism , they also prevent the absorption of cholesterol into the body. Vitamin A… which I like to eat because it”s good for your eyes, the HD effect I”m noticing when I put on my glasses has inspired me to look after my face windows far more… they”re full of goodies)
  • 3/4 cup almonds (the same benefits as almond butter, obviously)
  • 3/4 cup walnuts (they”re packed with omega 3 fatty acids and they help you deal with stress and anxiety by lowering your blood pressure, so I eat them… I don”t like stress, it makes me snarl at people unnecessarily and gives me wrinkles – life”s too short! Speaking of, these also help to prevent breast cancer, diabetes and heart disease.)
  • 3/4 cup pecans (bursting with plant sterols, which lower cholesterol considerably, and antioxidant-rich which prevents the battering your arteries take from an unhealthy diet. Also containing oleic acid – the healthy fats found in avocados) and vitamin B3 – which helps us to use the energy from our foods and will therefore help fight that mid-afternoon euuugh feeling – these are pretty damn spiffing.
  • 2 very ripe bananas (pleeease make sure they”re ripe, it makes it easy for your body to digest. I use bananas in pretty much everything, they take the bitter tastes out of other things I include in my diet like kale, and are full of potassium, fibre – a large banana contains 15% of your daily requirement… thus dispelling the myth that size doesn”t matter – antioxidants, vitamin B6 which helps fight depression during these darker months, vitamin C – which i”ve been hunting down to the point of obsession recently, ask my kids to share a toy and they turn on you like a rabid dog, but the second they get a bug they”re more than happy to share.)
  • A handful of sunflower seeds (Seeds are so nutrient-dense that you don”t need a lot of them to reap the benefits… they”re such complete foods. These are immunity boosters, as well as protecting against heart disease and stress, they contain good fats which help your skin to rejuvenate and glow.)
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup *optional… I don”t as these don”t really need sweetening, but if you”re trying to reduce the sugar in your diet and finding it difficult or the mixture”s not sticking as it should by the end it”s worth adding… if you”re trying to lose weight however, skip the sweeteners and just make sure your dates are really sticky*
  • 3/4 cups desiccated coconut for rolling (though this is good for you and fibrous, it is high in saturated fats – albeit good ones – so if you are really trying to lose weight you could leave this out. I don”t – it”s tasty!)

Put the nuts into a food processor and pulse for about 90 seconds. Then add the rest of the ingredients and blend for a further minute or two until a thick, sticky, rich paste has formed … I tend to blend as little as possible as I like some crunchy bits. Then, using a standard spoon, take a scoop of the mixture and roll a ball between your hands… it”s messy, embrace it and lick your fingers afterwards… then wash them, of course. Finally, roll each ball in a plate of the desiccated coconut (or goji berries, flaked almonds, cinnamon, melted dark chocolate if you wish…) place on a plate and into the fridge overnight et viola, a good, power-packed snack!

Helen
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