Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Sugar Free Challege Week 1 Wrap up

Greetings and salutations from Fructose-Free land! Can you believe this self-confessed fruit junkie has gone without bananas, strawberries, papayas, and, gulp, dates, for all this time?!
Yes my fellow sugar coated humans (or those other crazy kids who are also doing this), I have survived week 1 of the IQS 8 Week Challenge.
Hooray for me!

The hardest thing about this challenge so far is how to get enough colour in to my meals, specially breakfast.
Having preached the laws of food combining and so on, having a cooked breakfast first thing in the morning, totally goes against some of my eating principles.  
Being the creature of habit that I am, this has been a little confronting.  I feel almost, how do you say? Hypocritical, gasp!
But alas, this is an experiment, so I had to leave those feelings by the wayside.  As many a yoga teacher have said 'acknowledge the thought, and then let it go'.
So, I am openly acknowledging that parts of this challenge are making me feel like a liar liar pants on fire, and letting it go.

I must be honest with you, whilst I have felt no difference by eating cooked instead of raw for breakfast, it still makes more sense to me to eat a raw breakfast, i.e., green smoothie, fruit, and other delicious natural candy like berries, apples, grapes.......oops, I lost my train of thought.  
Ok yes, so no changes in my digestion that I have noticed and it hasn't been as hard as I'm making it out.  Whilst I miss fruit muchly, having foods like GF oats, and experimenting with buckwheat porrdige has been a yummy adventure.
I've been trying to keep at least most of my meals raw but I find that by dinner I really want something super duper filling and satisfying, and not been able to add fruit really makes that hard.  For that reason, I have been adding cooked foods like baked vegetables, cooked grains like quinoa and some legumes.
This has really helped and I feel like I have the same energy levels. 
My, ahem, elimination, is also the same so no issues there.  Sorry, had to go there for those who are wondering.
So what does this all mean then?  Are cooked foods better? Is eating raw better? what, what, what?!!
The answer?  It depends totally on the individual.
Personally, I find that I will probably go back to having my raw breakfasts, but then again, it's still early days, and I'm totally getting ahead of myself.  
So what about side effects of fructose withdrawal? I haven't yet experienced any, which I find odd because I eat a lot of fruit normally.  Hmm, the only thing I can think of is that my sugars, although fructose, are natural, thus the sugar withdrawal wasn't as bad for me as for someone say, who ate a lot of refined sugars.
Again, how you experience sugar cessation in your body is totally personal.

Another point I want to make is this, it's not so bad.  Seriously.  It's doable and making meals from veggies is what most of us plant based geeks do anyways.

So, what have I been eating? Here are the recipes :)


Buckwheat Porridge
Serves 1


1/4 cup buckwheat (soaked in water overnight)
1 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/4 tsp of cinnamon
Toppings of choice:
raw cacao powder made into a syrup by blending it with some more unsweetened vanilla almond milk
shredded coconut
coconut yoghurt
activated buckinis


Rinse* the buckwheat and add to a medium sized pan with the almond milk, cook on low to medium heat until buckwheat is soft and cooked (it will become plump and open up a bit.  It will still have a bit of bite to it).  Approximately 10 minutes.
Place this in a blender with the cinnamon, and blend until super smooth.  It will become thick so here's your chance to add some more almond milk or water if you want and get it to the consistency that you like.
I like mine still a little thick so I only added about 1/4 of a cup more of almond milk.
Serve warm with your toppings.

*rinsing your buckwheat is important because it produces this, as my youngest daughter says "gooey gooey" like substance that does not look appealing to me at all.  And whilst some may blend it with this included, I prefer to rinse mine away, thank you very much.

Pumpkin Pie Oats
Serves 1


1/2 cup gluten free oats
1 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or milk of choice)
1/2 cup of water
1/3 cup of thinly sliced pumpkin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp maca
Toppings of choice:
shredded coconut
coconut yoghurt
pure vanilla extract


Place all ingredients, except for toppings, into a medium saucepan on low-med heat and bring to the boil stirring.  Once it starts to boil, turn heat to low and keep stirring until you get your preferred consistency and pumpkin is soft and can be mashed with a fork.  Add more milk or water if it gets too dry too soon.
Keep mashing until you are satisfied with the way the pumpkin has incorporated into the oats.
Serve in a bowl with your toppings.

Chocolate Cinnamon Quinoa Porridge
Serves 1


1/2 cup of quinoa flakes
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk 
1/3 cup water
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbs raw cacao powder
Toppings of choice:
coconut cream
raw cacao nibs
shredded coconut
flaked almonds


Place all ingredients, except toppings and cacao powder, in a mediums saucepan on low-medium heat and cook until it thickens and it reaches your desired consistency.  Stir in the cacao powder and stir until it incorporates.  Add more liquid if it has become too dry.
Serve warm and add toppings.

Lunches and Dinners

The following meals can be either or but I've been mainly keeping lunch raw, trying to keep dinner raw but adding some cooked foods in there as well.  Point being, you have options so enjoy them!

Three Kale Salad with Avocado Dressing
Serves 1


3 stalks each of curly, tuscan and purple kale (or whatever other greens you have available, chopped semi-fine
1/2 cup sprouted legumes (you can buy these or sprout your own)
1 tomato, chopped
1/4 cup capsicum, chopped
2 TBS red onion, diced

1/3 cup diced avocado
1 TBS nutritional yeast
1/2 lemon, juiced
Himalayan pink salt and pepper to taste

Optional sides
1/4 cup raw sauerkraut
sweet potato slices


Place chopped kale into a big bowl.  Add the dressing ingredients and mix it through with your hands, massaging the kale as you go.  This will achieve three things: 
1. It will soften the kale.
2. It will make sure each strand is coated in deliciousness.
3. It will mix the dressing ingredients together.
Once that is done, add all your other ingredients and mix through again with a spoon, or your hands, just don't squash the tomato. No one likes squishy tomato!
Serve and top with sauerkraut and sweet potato if using.

For the following recipe, I made roast veggies for the whole family, so the ingredient amounts are just a guesstimate of how much it would take to make one serving so feel free to modify.  
I always bake heaps of veggies at the one time, you can always use them to add to sandwiches or salads the next day and they are just as nice cold as they are hot.  You also save on your energy bill and minimise, however small, your impact on the environment.

I am also always asked for a good hummus recipe, one that is smooth and creamy and delicious.  My answer to this is: any one can make hummus, it's the easiest thing in the world to make.  Seriously, you can't eff it up, the trick is in your blender.  My vitamix blends like a boss that's why I love her, she's the best, I call her Bey the minxy vitamix after everyone's favourite, y'all know who she is!
But, here's my recipe to a fail proof hummus all the same.
This recipe makes about 500mls and keeps well in the fridge for I'm guessing up to 5 days, I wouldn't know, it never lasts that long in mine.  Keep it in glass, keep the lid tight, do it!

Kale Wraps with Roasted Root Veggies and Mami's Hummus
Serves 1


1 large carrot (I used 1 purple, 1 orange)
1 medium parsnip
2 small beets ( I used 1 golden, 1 purple)
1/2 sweet potato 
1 tomato, sliced into half moons
fresh parsley
4 large kale leaves (the ones I used look like collard greens, you could also use cos lettuce, iceberg or silver beet if you can't get your hands on these)

Mami's Hummus
1 1/2 cups of cooked/sprouted chickpeas*
1/2 lemon juiced (or more to taste)
1/4 tsp cumin
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup water
Himalayan pink salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celsius.  Line a baking tray with baking paper and place all your chopped vegetables.  Cook in the oven until ready and soft.

Mami's Hummus
Place all ingredients except water into the blender.  Process until smooth and add water as needed to get the right consistency.  You may need to scrape the side of the blender from time to time.  Feel free to adjust lemon juice/seasoning.

Place hummus on kale leaves, add roast veggies, tomato and parsley, wrap and eat!

NOTE:  Some individuals get terrible gas from eating raw kale, if that is you, don't fret, or fart, just blanch your kale leaves and see how you go.  Alternatively, use silverbeet or lettuce leaves.

Here is a recipe for cashew mayonnaise that is yum and super adaptable to suit your taste.  

Basic Cashew Mayonnaise
Makes 1 cup


1 cup of cashews (soaked overnight)
2 TBS nutritional yeast
1 lemon juiced
1 clove of garlic
1 cup of water
Himalayan pink salt


Drain and rinse the cashews well and place in a blender with all other ingredients except the water.  Process and once it's thick, start adding the water 1/4 cup at a time until you get the desired consistency.
Keeps well in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Herb mayo: add herbs of choice
garlic mayo: add more garlic
chilli mayo: add chilli/chilli flakes
and so on, and so on, and so on.........

The following dish is a great one if you are the only vegan/vegetarian in your household but don't feel like making two dinners.
It's tasty and the main ingredient, the lentils, is made up like a stew that can be served on top of rice, and with your family's favourite animal protein if they choose to do so.
It also stores well, so you can make a batch, use what you need and freeze the rest in single portions, ready to go when you have no time to cook.
Instead of rolls, you could also make it like a lasagne, as the rolls can be tricky for some.  Just use the eggplant as you would lasagne sheets.

Eggplant Rolls
Serves 4


1 medium brown onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup carrot, diced
1/4 cup zucchini, diced
1/4 cup broccoli, diced
5 very ripe tomatoes*, diced
1/2 cup of water
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
Himalayan pink salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cup cooked lentils*
1 medium eggplant, thinly sliced (use a mandolin if you have one)
Baby spinach leaves (optional)
1/2 cup parsley mayonaise


Heat a large frying pan on medium heat and add onion, garlic, spices, and all vegetables, except eggplant, lentils and baby spinach if you are using.
Cover the pan, turn heat to low, and cook until vegetables are soft.  You may need to add more water to keep it from drying out.
Once veggies are soft, adjust seasoning, and add lentils. Stir and cook for another 5 minutes, with lid on.  Remove lid if there is too much liquid.
Once ready, pour into a bowl and set aside.
Heat a large non-stick frying pan and place thin slices of eggplant and cook until each side is golden.  Turning over a couple of times.  I used 4 slices per person.
Once ready, assemble your baby spinach on a plate, place one slice of eggplant on the bottom, scoop 1 TBS of the lentil mixture in the middle, add more if needed, and fold sides of eggplants towards each other.  See illustration.

Once you have them all rolled up, pour over some more lentil mixture, top with parsley mayo, some fresh parsley, and serve.
For mayonaise, use the basic mayo recipe and add a handful of parsley to it.  

*feel free to use canned lentils if it saves time but cooking dry lentils is really easy.  You can pre soak them but it doesn't take that long even if you don't.  It's also cheaper and less processed.
This goes for tomatoes, organic canned tomatos are an option too.

The following two recipes are raw vegan and really easy to make, best of all, they are tasty!

Raw Burritos with Spicy Guacamole
Serves 1


4 radicchio leaves

1 large parsnip chopped roughly
1 cup of broccoli florets
1 TBS nutritional yeast
1/2 clove of garlic
1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt or to taste

1 medium avocado
1/2 lemon/lime juiced
1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt
1 tsp of jalapeńo chilli, diced

1/2 cup kale, chopped finely
1 tomato chopped
1/4 cup red capsicum chopped
1 TBS lemon juice


Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until resembles fine rice grains.  

Mash all ingredients together except jalapeńos, once you get the right consistency (i prefer mine smooth, some like it chunky), place in serving plate and top with jalapeńos.

Mix all ingredients together.

Raddichio, rice, salsa, guacamole respectively.  Now go and stuff your face, andale, andale!

This next dish is so easy, and is a go to meal for me.  I nearly always have all the ingredients to make this, and if I don't, I just improvise with whatever veggies are in the fridge.

Zucchini Spaghetti with Creamy Tahini Sauce
Serves 1


2 zucchini spiralized using spaghetti setting (peeling optional)
handful of baby rocket or whatever greens you have
1/4 cup red capsicum, finely chopped
2 TBS red onion, finely chopped
1/2 medium avocado, cubed

Tahini Sauce
1 TBS unhulled tahini
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 TBS of water
1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt or to taste

Hemp seeds


Place all your pasta ingredients in a bowl and mix making sure you don't totally squash the avocado.
Mix all your sauce ingredients together and add more water if you want it to be a runnier consistency.
Pour over your pasta and top with hemp seeds.
E A S Y ! !
Can you see why it's a go-to meal?  You can literally add any veggie that you like to this, which is why I have it a lot.  If I have any veggies sitting in my fridge that may look like they're on their way out, I quickly chop them up and make them into one of these pastas.  The sauce is so tasty, you could also adjust the flavours.  If you had more asian style veggies, you could add some tamari to it instead of lemon juice and add some chopped raw almonds on top instead of the hemp seeds. Winner!


Chips always pop into my mind when people ask me whether I eat junk food.  But not your conventional chips that are fried in oil, I mean vegetable chips, the ones you bake and are just as good, at least I think so!
All you need to do is thinly slice your vegetable of choice, and then bake them in a pre-heated oven until crispy.  A few burnt bits aren't bad either.
You could use carrot, zucchini, beetroot, kale, sweet potato, e.t.c.
Here's some I made with eggplant

NOTE: If making eggplant chips, make sure you sprinkle some Himalayan pink salt onto the slices first and let them sit for a while in a colander.  Rinse well after about 20-30 minutes, and squeeze out the water.  Then place them on a lined oven tray.  The salting process draws out extra moisture as well as making them less bitter.  If your eggplant has no seeds, salting is not necessary. The bitterness is contained in the seeds.

Here are a few more pics of my foods from week 1

Coleslaw with broccoli, olives, tomato steaks anad baby spinach (RV)

Curried cauliflower with marinated eggplant salad & sweet potato

Coconut yogurt with a modified version of the IQS coconutty granola, avocado on GF sprouted bread
My thoughts after the first week are:  I can do this, I miss bananas, I want a green smoothie so bad, can I do this?
Jokes, yes all those things are true but yes, it can and will be done.
I am however, having issues with the amount of nuts I am eating.  Whilst I'm nutty about nuts, I don't like to eat them all the time, but I am finding that I'm eating them quiet a bit, mainly to snack on during the day, they are textural and filling at the same time.  I'm really missing apples, if I could eat fruit, i would be eating apples instead of nuts, gah!
But, I have to suck it up right?
Ok, I have to suck it up.
So yes, the high nut thing is a concern to me, will have to substitute and make more veggie chips instead, or I could try not snacking.  Hmmm, now there's a thought?
Maybe I'll make that my goal for week two, although we're already half way through that!
Having said that, for something as challenging as this, I think it's important to set small goals so that you can feel accomplished thus minimising the risk of failure.
Yep, that's what I'll do, otherwise, I'll probably be the only person known in history to put on weight after quitting sugar!
The other goal I've set for week two is to have raw breakfasts, and I've got some yummy recipes for that at the end of week two so stay tuned.
Would love to hear how everyone else is doing, hope it's been not too painful so far.

Peas, love and mungbeans!


p.s, it's not a mistake that there is no oil in my recipes, I don't like to use it.  I used a fraction of coconut oil for the coconutty granola and I still feel it's too much.  That's how much my palate has changed since I stopped adding oil to my food.  Weird ha? Anywho, I won't hold it against you if you use oil, what I'm saying is, you can not use oil and still have tasty meals.  Besides, there's enough natural oils in all the bloody nuts I'm eating to make up for what I don't add.  That is all.

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