In my quest for better health and losing some unwanted pounds, I have decided to cut sugar out of my diet for a while (and drastically cut down thereafter). I don’t remember having all that much of a sweet tooth as a child or teen but somehow about 3 or 4 years ago, I developed this unwelcome need for sugar.
Nowadays, the cravings attack at night, perhaps because I am tired, but even when I am in bed, drifting off to sleep, the sugar monster takes over my brain and tries, sometimes successfully, to convince me that I ‘must’ satisfy my cravings. The real issue is that the sugar monster has triumphed way too many times over the last couple of months, to a point that I feel a loss of control like a drug addict, and there have been, I am ashamed to say, occasions where one could find a half eaten packet of biscuits in my bedside cabinet.
Now, I have been particularly stressed lately, with exams, essay deadlines, research, bad news, too many long car journeys and you know, the day to day stresses of living that I’m sure I don’t need to define. I could put it down to that, but I am more inclined to ‘blame’ the addictive nature of sugar which I have only recently learnt about and am sure I have been under the spell of the sugar rush. This of course means that, as with any addiction, cravings and the ‘need’ increase in times of stress. Further support for this comes from the fact that I can trace the beginning of my sugary craving back to when I started baking.
I am no expert on this issue, and there are very conflicting views floating around the internet, ranging from the idea that all sweet tasting foods must be eliminated including fruits and vegetables and natural sweeteners such as stevia to, artificial sweeteners are a better option, to just cutting out sugar by way of sucrose is enough. For me, I am going with the latter, I am still using stevia and fruits and vegetables but cutting out all forms of sucrose sugar.
I strongly believe that with any ‘diet’, for long term ‘success’, there must not be a feeling of deprivation. That goes for me anyway, who is one who, if on an Atkins diet, would eat a bakery full of bread after a week. But, allowing myself a little sugar every now and then isn’t going to work if what the scientists say is true, that I have some kind of addiction. You wouldn’t recommend a recovering alcoholic have ‘just one glass’ would you?
To combat this issue, I have found ways to satisfy my sweet tooth and give myself a comparably low calorie treat that is so satisfying and is working to end the cravings. One example of this is this peanut butter hot chocolate.
I came across a recipe by A Girl Called Jack a couple of weeks ago, which I just had to make a vegan and sugar free version of! It is so simple, so delicious and you will never feel like you are not consuming an unhealthy amount of calories and sugar. This is not diet food. But virtuous enough for your diet.
I’m looking forward to trying it with almond and hazelnut butter too.
Ingredients: Serves 1
- 200ml grape sweetened or unsweetened almond milk
- 20g/4 small squares of vegan dark chocolate from a bar
- 1 tablespoon of unsweetened peanut butter (I used crunchy)
- In a small pan or a bowl in the microwave, gently melt together the peanut butter and chocolate then very gradually add the milk (preferably warmed) and mix until combined and steaming hot.
- Pour into your favourite mug (mine has a chip in) and enjoy.
Do not just add all the cold milk to the melted chocolate as this will cause the chocolate to solidify leaving you with floating little lumps of chocolate and not a smooth, rich, creamy hot chocolate.
Low in sodium
High in riboflavin
High in vitamin B12
High in vitamin E