After the festivities and indulgent eating of December and January (because we all know holiday celebrations go on and on and on, right?!) I declared February sugar-free month.
Which is a big deal for me. I am a self-declared chocolate lover. I blame my Mum, and I she blames her Dad. In my 34 years of life, never have I once been able to go sugar-free for a long period of time. I think 7 days has been my max previously and it was hard. I was determined to give it a good crack this time though as I’ve dabbled in the Whole 30 and general paleo eating from time to time and know how amazing I feel after eliminating junk foods from my diet. It is just really, really hard to get started!
February is also my birthday month (the 9th) so I allowed myself a cheat day on my birthday and made sure it was worth every single delicious, chocolate overloaded bite! I made a chocolate mud cake and bought a heap of my favourite chocolates and let the kids go crazy with the decorating. It was good. And bad. And I experienced my first “sugar hangover” afterwards which was interesting as I have never been so affected by it before but obviously after just a week of eliminating it, I felt a difference when I introduced it again. It was good that I felt so rotten after though because I was encouraged to jump back on the sugar-free bandwagon again.
Another big incentive for me was the fact that I was to be a bridesmaid in my sister-in-law’s wedding and I wanted to be feeling good before the big day!
I know you are all hanging out for the results of Sugar-Free Feb, right?! I always scroll to the end of a post like this to see if it was worth it or not!! Haha! Well, firstly I’ll admit that I didn’t make it for the whole month. Just over 3 weeks. I’m determined to do another sugar-free month again soon though so that I can prove to myself I can handle 4 whole weeks! But by the end of my sugar-free time, I felt amazing. Funnily enough, I didn’t realise I felt good until I started eating sugar again and then when I ate it I realised how quickly I lost energy and started to feel puffy and flat. I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t lose much weight though – just 1kg! But my clothes did feel much more comfortable and I noticed that I had lost a lot of bloating and flabbiness around my tummy – my problem area. The difference was good enough that I wasn’t worried about what the scales said, I felt and looked different and that was good enough for me to feel happy about!
People asked me how strict I was with all of the sugar-free rules. Basically, if I was eating processed/packaged food I tried to stay under 4g of sugar per 100g. As for adding sugar myself, I was happy to use a bit of rice malt syrup, pure maple syrup or natvia. If I was REALLY struggling, I treated myself to square of Pana Chocolate (this is my favourite flavour) – it isn’t technically sugar-free, but I felt good about eating a little piece a couple of times a week. They felt like easy enough to follow guidelines for me and I didn’t want to make it tricky or it would be too hard to follow through.
So, to keep myself sane, I managed to cook a few nice sugar-free treats to look forward to while I was on the cleanse. One of them was my homemade version of Mango & Macadamia Weis Bars. I think I must have been craving something cold and tasty as a post-dinner treat and these satisfied nicely. I sweetened them slightly with rice malt syrup, but the mango was lovely and sweet to start with the coconut cream has a sweetness to it anyway so I didn’t need to add much. The layers in these clean-eating Weis Bars are great – from fresh and fruity to smooth and creamy with crunchy macadamias and crisp toasted coconut throughout. Yum! If you are looking for a healthy, easy sweet-treat to make yourself then these are perfect to make up and pop into individual snap-lock bags in the freezer.
CLEAN EATING HOMEMADE WEIS BARS
2 fresh, ripe mangoes, mashed
1/4c toasted macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
1 tin coconut cream
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
rice malt syrup (or maple syrup)
2 Tbs coconut flakes, toasted
Combine mango and macadamia nuts. Spoon mixture into ice cream moulds. (I used a deep, silicone muffin tin – but you can use anything you like. Or even make into a big slab and cut into bars when you are ready to eat.) Freeze mango mixture until it starts to firm up.
Mix coconut cream with vanilla and enough rice malt syrup to taste as sweet as you desire. (When I made my weis bars, I just mixed this together by hand. It was fine, but a little grainy so if you want a super smooth mix you might want to blend it in a processor first or even heat the coconut cream slightly so that all of the lumps disappear.) Pour over the top of the mango mixture in moulds.
Sprinkle top of coconut cream with coconut flakes. When mixture starts to harden but is still soft, stick ice cream sticks into the middle of the moulds. Freeze until completely firm. Remove from moulds and store in individual snap-lock bags in the freezer.