Tag Archives: sugar free

My Gut Makeover

Now that I completed my Nutrition diploma I thought it about time to put some of my learnings into practise and trial out some new eating habits.

I think I generally eat pretty healthily – the vast majority of what I eat is unprocessed, homemade and nutritious however I am prone to bloating, bad skin, lack of energy and catching every cold around so after reading Jeanette Hyde’s “The Gut Makeover” I decided to give it a go.

I have completed week one of the cleanse and thought I would share my thoughts and a couple of recipe ideas with you.

Firstly, the theory behind the book centre on the gut being central to our weight and health so it sets out a 4 week cleanse plan to help repair the gut, re-populate with good bacteria and have us feeling better, happier, more energetic and healthier.

Our guts are filled with trillions of bacteria, processed foods, dairy, gluten and sugar are some key foods which act as irritants to the gut lining and cause an inbalance in the levels of bacteria in the gut. By removing these foods from our daily diet we are giving our guts a chance to recover, rebuild and rebalance. Good bacteria will flourish and we will hopefully end up feeling rejuvinated and glowing. 

The author of this book makes it clear that this isnt a diet – it is more a makeover and whilst you dont need to follow the daily plans forever this cleanse will help form better food and eating habits and can be revisited periodically to routinely give yourself a bit of an MOT!

Essentially week one has involved cutting out caffeine, alcohol, dairy, gluten, sugar, salt and processed foods. Every time I have told my friends about this they have been horrified asking what I am able to eat but, being honest, the only thing I have really missed is cappuccinos! I have followed the advice in the book by snacking on fruit, nuts and vegetables. The plan recommends trying to eat a wide variety of all fruit and vegetables – 20 a week and I think I have achieved this!

This isn’t about calorie counting, it is about 3 healthy, nutritious meals a day with healthy snacks, plenty of water and herbal tea.

When I am at work I have followed the following plan: 

Breakfast – Grapefruit with a Smoothie made with 3/4 fruits and vegetables – usually banana, kiwi, spinach and pear.

Lunch – Sweet Potato, Squash, Carrott and Chilli Soup

Snacks – a handful of nuts, an apple, melon and pineapple

Dinners this week have included Courgetti with Fresh tomatoes, chilli, garlic and anchovy

Warm Thai beef salad with Cauliflower Rice

Seabass with Chilli Greens and Mushrooms and Cauliflower Rice

Almond Crusted Chicken with Apple and Walnut Salad and Kale

Genuinely I think I am now a cauliflower rice convert – coarsley grate a quarter of a cauliflower and warm in a dry pan – I couldnt tell the difference between that and rice when it was mixed with the warm thai salad!

Again, by using ground almonds and crushed pistachios or walnuts to coat chicken instead of breadcrumbs you still retain a crispy coating – perfect for with a salad.

Weekend breakfasts have also been a treat – poached eggs, homemade guacamole made by mashing avocado, grated ginger, diced chilli with lime juice with sauteed mushrooms and spinach or salmon.

I have been drinking plenty of water, peppermint tea androoibos tea. 

So it really hasnt been too difficult at all despite sitting in the pub with my friends on water whilst they enjoy beer and wine and walking to the market near work seeing the lovely falafal stall (which i love!) and being unable to eat it!

So far i have lost 1.5kg in weight and have not felt bloated at all. My skin and sleeping patterns arent great but I am putting that down to the stress of moving house and a restructure at work.

I will blog again once I have finished week 2 which I am excited about! I am making a vegetable curry today for Elix and I to have for dinner tomorrow in fact and look forward to sharing the recipe!


I want to Bake a Cake…..what can I use from the Cupboard?!

To cheer myself up today….and also start to use up some of the food in the cupboard before we move house – I baked a Marmalade, Coconut and Polenta cake. I know it sounds like a random mix of ingredients but the end result is lovely and tasty. 

The recipe makes enough for two loaf tins worth….il admit, the first batch i forgot to put sugar in (oops!) but…..I can attest to the fact that the sugar-free version tastes nice as it benefits from the sweetness of the coconut and orange juice but obviously the sugar helps to balance out the slightly bitter marmalade taste. So…..its upto you which version you make!

Makes 2 Loaf Tins
180ml Rapeseed Oil
240ml Orange Juice
Grated zest of one Orange
160g Marmalade
4 Eggs
70g Dessicated Coconut
70g Caster Sugar
100g Ground Almonds
180g Polenta (fine)
2tsp Baking Powder

For the Syrup

50g Caster Sugar
20ml Water
10ml Orange Juice

Preheat the oven to 180 degs.
Whisk the wet ingredients together including the marmalade, until it dissolves. Mix the dry ingregients together so all incorporated. Gently add them to the wet ingredients and mix together. The mix will be slightly runny – don’t panic – the oven will sort that out!
Line the loaf tins with greaseproof paper and fill them with equal measures of the cake mix.
Bake for 45minutes or until a skewer comes out clear.
To make the syrup, slowly heat the sugar, juice and water until bubbling and slightly syrup-y in texture.
As soon as the cake comes out of the oven generously brush the syrup over the top so that the whole cake can soak it up for extra sweetness and moisture.
Leave the cake on a wire rack to cool and serve with some greek yoghurt.

Roast Pork & Summer Veg

Elix is away so what better chance to have ourselves a little experiment with Roast Pork Chop which she pulls a face at each time I suggest I cook it for dins. 

This meal is super simple and despite the stonking size of the pork chop is a good, light meal for a warm evening.

As im getting further down the very enjoyable road of becoming a nutritionist I am mindful of what goes into each meal ensuring my diet is balanced. 

This meal is protein rich, sugar free and packed with 3 of your 5-a-day. The Apples provides fiber and sweetness without sugar, sweet potato is rich in Vitamin C and fennel is good for lowering cholesterol.
Coconut Oil is one of the only types of saturated fats which reduces bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol in the body.

Serves 2
2 Pork Chops (bone in) – seasoned with salt and pepper
3tbsp Chicken Stock
3tbsp Cider Vinegar
1tsp Dijon Mustard
1 tbsp Coconut Oil
1 handful Asparagus – sliced in half
1 Medium Sweet potato – thinly sliced
1 Apple – cut into 8
1 Fennel bulb – thinly sliced

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degs. Heat the coconut oil in a large frying pan, add the pork and sweet potato and fry for a few minutes before flipping everything over to the other side. Remove from the pan and add in the rest of the veggies for a few minutes.
Pop the sauteed vegetables into a roasting dish and top with the sweet potato and pork chop.
Stir together the mustard, stock and vinegar and pour this over everything in the roasting dish.
Roast for 20 minutes and devour!

Mediterranean Roast Lamb &Veggies

The bikini diet continues as does the no-sugar and no-carb phase! 

This recipe achieves both of the above as well as being super nutritious. Lamb contains a good amount of Vitamin B12 which is good for a healthy nervous system and glowing skin. Lamb is lower im cholesterol than some other meats and is a good source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Protein meats are healthiest and easiest to digest when eaten with non-starchy vegetables as they are in this dish. The original recipe I was inspired by, roasted lamb chops for 20minutes with the veggies but I used lean lamb leg steaks – as these cook quicker, i lightly fried and caramelised them in a pan for a couple of minutes and then left them to roast for 10 in the oven. 
Serves 2
2 portions lean lamb leg steaks
2 Cloves Garlic – smashed
1tsp dried oregano
Olive Oil
Juice of 1 Lemon
1 Aubergine
1 Courgette
1 Red Onion
1 Red Pepper
1 Yellow Pepper
200g Cherry Tomatoes
100g Feta
Handful Black Olives
100g Peas
Handful of Mint

Marinade the lamb in the garlic, oil and oregano and leave to rest for at least 30 minutes – all day is better!
Roughly chop the veggies (not the tomatoes) and mix with olive oil, salt and pepper and pop in an 200 degree oven for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, throw in the tomatoes, feta and olives and pop back in the oven (if using lamb chops pop them in now aswell).
Lightly fry the lamb steaks for a couple of minutes on each side until sealed and caramelised. Pop into the oven for 10 minutes on top of the veggies- this will let the lamb cook through and allow the cooking juices and marinade to flow into the veggies.
Meanwhile make the pea and mint puree by pulsing together the blanched peas and mint with some olive oil until mixed together.
To serve, place the pea puree on top of the lamb and veggies.

A Little Parcel of Loveliness

Something different for dinner last night – no carbs and no sugar but lots of tasty goodness.

Here is my recipe for Baked Miso Basa Fillet with Mange Tout and Sesame. This recipe is delicious, light, contains one of your 5-a-day  and is healthy and nutritious.

Serves 2
2 Basa Fillets – can also use Cod or Seabass
4tbsp Dark Miso Paste
2tsp Sesame Oil
1tsp Agave Nectar
2cm Grated Ginger
Large Handful of Mange Tout
3 Spring Onions – sliced
Sesame Seeds to sprinkle

Mix together the miso, sesame oil, ginger, agave and marinate the fish fillets for 10 minutes ensuring the fish is completely covered.
Cut 2 large sheets of greasproof baking paper and lay flat. Place a handful of mange tout on each sheet. Top with the fish pouring any excess marinade on top.
Wrap the two parcels up with string ensuring no air can get in. Place in the oven at 180 degs for 10-12 minutes until cooked through.
To serve sprinkle sesame seeds and spring onions on top. We ate alongside lightly stir fried mini-corn, pak choi and chilli with some cauliflower rice.

Apple, Cinnamon & Coconut Loaf

Im on a bit of a health kick at the moment and im dragging elix along with me. This weekend i’ve been making lots of healthy new dishes and wanted to share the cake i baked this morning with you.

The below uses spelt flour which is nutritionally better than normal wheat flour (you can also use wheat flour for the recipe if you dont have spelt flour). Spelt flour has fewer calories and higher protein content and adds a slightly nutty, sweet flavour. If you want to add extra sweetness to the loaf (it has no added sugar) i would suggest adding raisins or sultanas or dried berries. 

450g grated apples
3 eggs
2tsp baking powder
60ml coconut oil (olive oil will also work)
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
260g wholemeal spelt flour
handful of dried berries/raisins (optional for extra sweetness)

This recipe is very easy – mix all the ingredients apart from the flour together until all incorporated. Add the flour and stir through.
Line a loaf tin with greaseproof paper and fill with the mix.
Pop into a pre-heated oven 180 degs for 45-50 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.
Serve sliced, either warm
or cold, lovely with custard, creme freche or fresh berries.