How to bust a sugar craving with my blueberry smoothie

My sugar busting blueberry smoothie

I used to get extreme sugar cravings. Mostly when I was a sugar addict. I never admitted to myself that I was but if I look back, yup, I had a problem. I had to have something sweet after dinner or a chocolate at lunch. When I hit a slump at 3 pm at my desk then I would need something sweet to 'pick me up'. Sugar in my tea and syrup with my peanut butter toast. All loaded with refined sugar and SO not good for me. 

I learnt that in life balance is possible and it has since become my mantra. It has taken time, practise and patience with myself. It's a journey and one that I am still working on. I want freedom with food and to have a healthy relationship with food. This blog post is not here to promote extremes but by all means, if it works for your body to completely cut out sugar then listen to that. The reality is that sugar is an inflammatory food and it isn't good for you in a refined form and studies have shown that it is responsible for diseases such as diabetes, chronic migraines, obesity and cystic acne. The scary thing is how many products have hidden sugar in them or label the sugar as something else. Make sure you read the ingredients on labels, not how many calories you are consuming because not all calories are created equal. Sugar is highly addictive and sends more serotonin to the brain than cocaine. Here is a list of few names to look out for and avoid:

  • Corn syrup or high-fructose corn syrup
  • Dextrose or crystal dextrose
  • Fructose
  • Maltose
  • Lactose
  • Sucrose
  • Glucose
  • Evaporated cane juice or fruit juice
  • Caramel
  • Carob syrup
  • Brown sugar
  • Raw sugar
  • Dextrin and maltodextrin
  • Rice syrup
  • Molasses
  • Evaporated corn sweetener
  • Confectioner’s powdered sugar
  • Agave nectar (really spikes blood sugar even though it’s natural)
  • Other fruit nectars (for example, pear nectar) - be careful of this as most orange juices will claim 100% fruit juice but if you read the ingredients you will soon realise this is not the case. 

I personally do not have a problem with fruit. I don't eat too much and when I do; I feel like I am indulging. Fruit can be packed with vitamins and fibre and can help bust a sugar craving. I try to have my fruit with a handful of nuts such as almonds since the combination of fibre and fat keeps my blood sugar stable and satiates me. 

When you first undertake to quit sugar it is going to be hard. You might even experience physical reactions such as headaches and nausea. The detox is real and I suggest that you commit to breaking through this barrier. I upped my water intake during the first week (a good habit to adopt in general) and I focused on taking in high protein foods with high fibre dark leafy greens and veg. Having meals that are nourishing helped me be 'full' and happy. I also learnt that allowing myself to get hungry was not a good idea. Catch yourself before you are hungry and invariably end up in a space where you'll make bad decisions. Focus on what your triggers are and what makes you feel weak at the moment, then focus on avoiding it. Set yourself up to succeed.

Here are a few things I do that help me when I am craving sugar:

1 - I enjoy a big cup of herbal tea without sugar or milk. I find that peppermint helps me bust a craving or chai tea. The spices let the brain think you are having something sweet. 

2 - I indulge in a piece of good quality dark chocolate. Paired with a cup of peppermint tea - its a match made in heaven. 

3 - I keep fresh majool dates in the fridge. I don't overindulge in them as they are still sugar but they are a natural sugar and when they are cold, they go like fudge. Give them a try! One is usually enough. 

4 - I up my dark leafy greens when I am craving chocolate. Especially around my period. I find that it not only helps with cravings but it also helps with bloat. 

5 - Have a big glass of water and if you can add a teaspoon or two of apple cider vinegar. Make sure it is unfiltered with the mother. More often than not when I am craving food - its actually thirst. Did you know that one of the first symptoms of dehydration is hunger? Before I would just go for the fridge and binge on everything in front of me. Now I am more connected to my body and I have a glass of water when I feel like snacking on sugar, give it twenty minutes then see how I feel. 

6 - Eat a high protein snack instead of the sugar. Try having some carrot sticks and hummus or a boiled egg. This helps me and often fills me up until my next meal. 

7 - If I feel for a treat, I have some sliced apple drizzled with almond butter. I try to have this mid-morning not later in the afternoon. Focus on high protein food in the afternoon rather than sugar. This also helps me with over eating at dinner.  

When I find myself craving something super decadent and indulging, I make myself this smoothie. It's better than any milkshake out there and filled with natural goodness that won't leave you feeling awful about it afterwards. 


Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup frozen or fresh blueberries 
  • 1/2 frozen banana 
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter 
  • 1 tablespoon pea protein powder 
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds 
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds 
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds
  • 1 cup almond milk, unsweetened 
  • 2 blocks of ice
     

Instructions:

Add all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. If it is too thick then add a little almond milk to thin it out. I personally like it thick. Serve cold topped with a drizzle of almond butter and berries. 

-Melissa

 

 

 

 

Sunshine mylk - a healthy alternative to coffee

Sunshine mylk - a healthy alternative to coffee
Sunshine mylk - a healthy alternative to coffee
Sunshine mylk - a healthy alternative to coffee
Sunshine mylk - a healthy alternative to coffee
Sunshine mylk - a healthy alternative to coffee
Sunshine mylk - a healthy alternative to coffee
Sunshine mylk - a healthy alternative to coffee
Sunshine mylk - a healthy alternative to coffee
Sunshine mylk - a healthy alternative to coffee
Sunshine mylk - a healthy alternative to coffee

If you lead a stressful life, which most of us do, we often reach for a coffee first thing in the morning. The problem with this can be that you can put your adrenal glands under more stress and set yourself up for a day of caffeine spikes and lows. As much as you need the energy, sometimes coffee isn't the solution. 

I've teamed up with Le Creuset to bring you a healthy coffee alternative that is not only delicious but is anti-inflammatory and soothing to the body. Of course, I am showing it off in their new gorgeous deep teal range. My favourite colour to date! To say I am obsessed is putting it mildly. With its restful green hues and soothing blues, I thought it would work beautifully with something that will calm your body rather than send it into overdrive. Nourishing your body means looking after it when it needs it the most.  

I have created my turmeric lattes or sunshine mylk, as I like to call it with sunflower seeds. This means that the drink is high in fiber, as you don't strain the milk. If this is something that isn't your taste you are more than welcome to substitute it with almond milk or a milk substitute of your choice. When choosing one, try focus on nut milk, as they tend to be better for you than soy-based products. If you are not used to Turmeric lattes maybe try it with almond milk and see how you go. 


Ingredients: 

For the Mylk:

  •  1 cup raw unsalted sunflower seeds 
  • 3 cups filtered water 
  • If you are using a milk alternative use 3 cups. 
     

For the sunshine:

  • 1 cup boiling water 
  • 1 tablespoon coconut butter (optional) 
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom  
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste 
  • 5 majool dates 

Instructions: 

Add all the ingredients plus the coconut butter and dates to a high-speed blender. You need something high speed to macerate the seeds. Once it is all combined add it to a saucepan. If you are using almond milk then add the almond milk, coconut butter, and dates. 

Add the remaining ingredients to the saucepan and bring to a simmer. Serve immediately. 

If you would like to store the mylk it will keep for 3 days in the fridge. Separation is normal as the fiber is in the mylk.  

The mylk can also turn slightly brown from oxidation - don't worry its still lovely to drink! 

-Melissa 

p.s deep teal is part of Le Creuset’s new Natures Kitchen collection and is available storewide and online here from March 2018.

*This blog post is sponsored by Le Creuset. All opinions are my own. 

Christmas Vegan Eggnog!

Christmas Vegan Eggnog!
Christmas Vegan Eggnog!
Christmas Vegan Eggnog!
Christmas Vegan Eggnog!

This year has been the year of connecting with my health. As most of you know I have created a book on mindful eating which is coming out this coming year April (I'm so excited I can pop). After creating something so near and dear to my heart I decided I had to live my brand and heal my relationship with food. So I took my health seriously. I cut out dairy, gluten, and sugar. Why? Because I didn't feel good after eating it. You should give it a try then see how you feel! I learned that being healthy is not black and white and it sure as hell isn't about perfection. It's about making lots of little changes as often as you can. It's about the small things adding up to the bigger picture. So are there days that I have a little sugar? Of course! But I try my best to honour my body with balance and real food. I also let go of when I indulge and allow myself to enjoy. This way I don't feel deprived and it stops me from binging. 

As the festive break is upon us I wanted to reframe my thinking. I don't want it to be about "falling off the wagon" then the tedious climb in January to "get back on it". I've had that mentality my whole life and it has never worked. That is why I have created some healthy recipes for you guys. They are going to be around my table this year. They are just as indulgent and won't leave you wanting for sugary empty calories that will do only harm leaving you with 'food comas' and sugar crashes. I know you will enjoy them and I hope that you share your creations with me! Give something different a try this year! Who knows, your body might thank you for it! 


Ingredients:

  • 2 cups almond milk 
  • 1 cup full fat coconut milk 
  • 1/3 cup macadamia nuts (soaked overnight or for at least 1 hour)
  • 6 majool dates 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste 
  • 1 tablespoon 100% maple syrup 
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg 
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon 
  • pinch of ground cloves 
  • pinch of salt 
  • two shots brandy *optional 

Instructions: 

Add all the ingredients to a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Serve immidiately with holiday cheer!

-Melissa 

 

How to grill the perfect steak and a giveaway with Risoli!

How to grill the perfect steak and a giveaway!
How to grill the perfect steak and a giveaway!
How to grill the perfect steak and a giveaway!
How to grill the perfect steak and a giveaway!

I often get asked, “how do you make the perfect steak?” 

As a proudly South African girl, my first answer is on the grill with an open flame. There is something primal about it that ignites my inner pyromaniac, plus it’s really wonderful cooking on an open flame out in the elements. However, this isn’t always achievable. Add in a howling south easter and that little open flame meant to char a chop can turn into a roaring mountain blaze faster than you can put down the braai tongs. In fact more often than not, in simpler terms, it’s just too much hassle to set up a fire and wait for it to be the correct temperature to grill a single steak. So then what?

Enter Risoli and their marvelous grill pan! Imported from Italy and an absolute essential in the kitchen.  
The best part of the design is that it is non-stick. I love this because a cast iron grill can be such a pain to clean and with the Risoli it is quick and easy! You can focus your energy on cooking rather than cleaning which is right up my alley. 
Nobody likes to wash dishes.  

A grill pan is an essential in the kitchen because it actually goes so much further than just grilling a steak. Essentially you are cooking without added fat making it a healthier cooking method. 
You can grill vegetables as well as meat and my personal favorite, corn. 
I have a habit of trying to incorporate that little yellow ‘mielie’ into as many dishes as I can.
The possibilities are endless, think grilled corn salsa, marinated grilled vegetable salads and of course, chorizo tapas and perfect meat options!  

So, without further adieu - let’s get down to basics. Here are a few tips that I believe will make your life easier in the kitchen: 

Lesson Number 1.
The biggest mistake people make is to put oil into a grill pan. 
This is a big no-no because all you are going to do is smoke out your house. Unless your house is already on fire from that earlier braai attempt in the South Easter – nobody enjoys choking on the thick smoke billowing from an oiled grill pan.
The pan is designed to work with little to no oil. When grilling your steak all you need to do is lightly brush the meat. Lightly. That’s it. If you add more oil it will just cause a mess. 
So lesson no 1, oil the meat - not the pan.

Lesson Number 2.
The second biggest tip is to cook one side and then another. Don’t toss and turn your piece of meat. What I mean is; lightly oil your meat, bring your pan to a high heat and then lay your meat down. The main thing you are looking for is a sizzle! It is all about the sizzle. Once the meat is in the pan, leave it face down for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes turn your meat over and grill for another 3 minutes. You will see the grill marks showing up nicely. Cooking time can vary based on the thickness of your steak as well as how you would like your steak done. I personally only like medium rare to medium. So my cook time on a based on a 2cm thick steak, 3 minutes a side.
Aside from the taste benefit of minimizing the manhandling of your meat – it leaves your steak with a perfect aesthetic; marks on meat that looks more like a grill pan and less like you prepared your meat on chicken coop wire.
I’m a stickler for the details.

Season your meat after grilling with a basic salt and pepper herb mix. 
If your meat is marinated then you won’t need to oil your meat. Just let excess marinade drip off before grilling the meat. 

Lesson Number 3.
Let sleeping meat lie…
Allow for rest time on your meat. You want to be able to rest your meat for 5-10 minutes. 
Remove it from the pan (heat) and put it on a chopping board. 
Cover it with foil to allow the steak to keep warm. 
Resting the meat means it won’t end up in a bloody pool on the plate! (Unless you like that sort of thing...no judgment…okay, maybe a little Hannibal) 

Once rested, slice and serve with a simple chimichurri sauce or cracked salt. See recipe below ... 


Ingredients: 

  • 2 Rump steaks approx 200 grams, cooked according to above method. 
  • A bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley 
  • 1 teaspoon coriander 
  • 1 - 2 garlic cloves 
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano 
  • 1/2 red chilli (depending on how hot you like it)
  • 5-6 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar 

Instructions: 

Grill the steak and set aside to rest. 

Blend all chimichurri ingredients together and serve on top of sliced steak. 


GIVEAWAY TIME! 

Now for the exciting giveaway! Comment below on what your favourite grilled dish is and you can stand a chance to win this amazing pan! Competition for South Africa only, entries close on the 17th of November. If you share the post on social media from The Truffle Journals facebook page and follow the page, then you score some extra points! Good Luck! 

*This blog post was sponsored by Risoli, all opinions are my own. 

Earl grey and honey milkshakes

Earl grey and honey milkshakes
Earl grey and honey milkshakes
Earl grey and honey milkshakes
Earl grey and honey milkshakes
Earl grey and honey milkshakes

These milkshakes are inspired by one of my favourite ingredients of all time, honey.

I add honey to almost everything! You can use it in your tea, mix it in salad dressings and even add it to pizza! Yes, I said pizza. The saltiness of the bubbly cheese mixes so well with the sweetness of honey – its absolute perfection! Don’t even get me started on the health properties of honey. The list is too long to mention here but to give you an example; recently it’s proved a lifesaver in our home as a soothing throat and flu remedy (hot toddy alert!) 

You would be hard pressed to find a bigger fan of this versatile product from nature.

I partnered up with Woolworths to share these decadent Earl grey and honey milkshakes with you because, well, who said milkshakes are exclusively for summer? 
Or perhaps you need to bring a boy to your yard, pronto!?
Everyone knows a sure fire way to achieve the latter is through milkshakes.

I leave you with this parting thought from the only other honey fan that is more obsessed than I. 
The incomparable Winnie-the-Pooh.

“Well," said Pooh, "what I like best," and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called.” “Well," said Pooh, "what I like best," and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called.”


Ingredients:

Serves 2

  • 2 earl grey tea bags
  • ½ a cup of boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons of honey 
  • 1 ½ cups vanilla ice cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ a cup of cream
  • Whipped cream to top
  • Chocolate to decorate
  • Honey to drizzle


Instructions:

Add the tea bags to the boiling water and let seep for 4 minutes. No longer as the tea will become bitter!

Add the honey and stir. Let the tea cool. You can add two blocks of ice to speed up the process.

Blend together the tea, ice cream, milk and cream until light and frothy.

Serve topped with whipped cream, chocolate and a drizzle of honey!

-Melissa 

*This blog post is sponsored by Woolworths all opinions are my own

Source: www.thetrufflejournal.com/earl-grey-and-honey-milkshakes