My sugar surrender experiment is over. The results are in. Apparently, even though I don't consider myself to have a major sweet tooth or to eat that much sugar in any forms, refined or naturally occurring in fruits, I had trouble giving it up completely for 10 days. Which actually turned out to be 7 days when the cravings got so intense, I caved big time with 2 glasses of wine, half a Reeses bar and half a big bag of chips. Not a huge binge by some peoples standards but a tad more than a "slight slip up". I'm not totally sure if they were sugar cravings 100% as much as I may have just been craving for some variety or satisfaction or just plain hunger. When I withheld sugar, I had planned to also reduce my meat intake at the same time. I changed my breakfast to oatmeal or rice cakes with almond butter instead of avocado, salsa, beans and some kind of protein. I found I was hungry within 2 hours of eating and when you are trying to not think about eating certain things, it's becomes all consuming when you are hungry on top of that. Lunches and dinners were not really any different to usual but I found snacking hard as I was not as prepared as usual. Normally I would grab an apple or banana but I was trying to minimise my fruit intake. I had not stocked up on nuts and was consuming a fair amount of nut butter also so that wasn't my ideal go-to snack. That left raw veggies and rice cakes for snacks. I actually love rice cakes. I put nut butter on them or guacamole or marmite. But as I tried to balance less sugar and less meat, I found my starch intake increased a lot and they just don't sit well with me when eaten on a regular basis. Consequently I didn't feel as good as I expected and determined that a) I need a lot of protein, b) I am slightly addicted to sugar c) starches don't work for me. I'm glad I did the "sugar surrender" though and tried different ways of eating to determine my best diet. It has confirmed to me what works best and moving forward, I plan to ensure I have enough protein but I also am going to keep the sugar low for the most part. After 3 days of implementing this, I already feel better digestively and funnily enough, have eaten almost no sugar and have had no cravings. A little goes a long way, it seems.
Moving on to actual food now, Maple Maniac recently sent me this article with recipes to feed those dinner guests you have with food restrictions or issues....yep that's me, the worst dinner guest ever (minus the vegan part, I am all the rest-dairy intolerant, allergic to eggs, wheat intolerant etc). I find these days though that everyone is aware of other peoples dietary requirements and I've been amazed at the lengths people have gone to to accomodate me. I sometimes find it challenging to alert those offering invites to dinner about my allergies/intolerances as I don't want them to do extra work or to have to change their menu on my account. However, it's worse if I leave it and then have to either a) tell them I can't eat their food when it's in front of me or b) eat it and suffer the consequences. I read in one of my allergy free cookbooks that hosts would prefer to know and it's a good idea to offer to bring a special dish so they don't have to go out of their way. Mostly though, I find people are open to trying new things and actually, most meals are easily modifiable. The article details several delicious looknig recipes that fit a wide spectrum of dietary needs but one caught my eye "One Ingredient Banana Ice Cream". Sounds too good to be true, it's so easy, how come I have not heard of this before? I was skeptical. I haven't been able to enjoy ice-cream or come to think of it, most desserts, unless I've made them myself. I read the comments and reviews underneath the recipe. It seems this is as good as it appears. I must try it for myself.
There are a couple of key preparation steps to make this work though. You must peel and slice the bananas before freezing. Sounds simple but I have whole frozen bananas that I have stashed for making Maple banana bread (vegan) and I let them defrost, get all mushy and that is perfect for adding to the dough. For the ice cream, you need the banana slices to be frozen to make the icecream and then you eat it right away rather than making a mixture and freezing it.
2-3 sliced bananas, peeled and frozen
Place frozen banana slices in food processor. Turn on and leave it for 2-3 minutes until it forms into an ice cream like substance.
When I first did this, the processor sort of made it into a granular powdery state. I thought all was lost, it was too good to be true. But I kept the blender on and lo and behold, it did magically turn into ice cream like deliciousness!
I served it up into small bowls for PB and I and we tentatively sampled...amazing! rich, sweet, silky, soft, COLD! Depending on the ripeness of your bananas it will be sweeter or "greener" tasting but you could add some honey/maple syrup if you like. Apparantly the success of this dessert is down to the fact that bananas are one of the few fruits that contain fat naturally. Amazingly, it doesn't even taste that much of banana, it tastes like ice-cream.
If you want to get really complex, you could add some peanut butter, cocoa powder or even avocado (trust me, it won't taste like avocado, it just adds a layer of richness and more nutritional awesomeness).
I added cocoa powder, a couple of tablespoons. It was delicious but a slight powdery taste so I think I will add a little less and use riper bananas next time or add some avocado to moisten it.
I also made a batch where I served the ice cream with a spoonful of nut butter on top which worked well as a contrast of temperature and texture. I think vanilla would be a good addition too.
I highly recommend you try this, I am even going to serve it to my next dinner guests (along with my vegan brownies) without telling them it only contains banana but I know I'm going to want to share my secret before they leave-this one is too good not to share!