The Cake Debate

Do I have cake today? YES. ALWAYS YES. Let me explain…

A few weeks ago I went to my second Fitfluence event and it was great. Not only because I got some great food and good workouts but for another reason this time. We heard from a nutritionist who started by asking “What is a healthy diet?”. A few years ago I would have responded with “Low carb, high protein, low fat and not too much fruit”. SO WRONG.

The question made me realise how much I’d learned and how much happier and healthier I was since I really learned to LOVE food and how to use it to fuel my body in the right way. What was also so refreshing was hearing answers from the crowd like “CARBS!” and “Everything in moderation“, which of course is my main moto. I was in a room with other  young women who actually liked food and weren’t scared of it, didn’t feel guilty when they indulged, and it was great.

I think most of us, girls and boys too, are guilty of having binge sessions and then after feeling pretty crap about ourselves. One of my male friends actually once had 7 quest bars (look them up if you don’t know about them… they are amazing) in one sitting and I know he didn’t feel too great after that. For me this only stopped about a year and a half ago but for a lot of my friends I know it still continues. DON’T LET IT.

Life is too short to worry about having a meal you may not have thought was good for you. Who cares? As long as you look after yourself most the time, is it really worth worrying about that one time you really enjoyed a meal, even if it was chips and some fried fish or a lot of chocolate cake?

In the end of the day, damage isn’t done to your body or your health if you have a lot of cake one day. Fine, if you have lots of cake every day it is probably not the best for you. But every once in a while, eat the cake!

The other day someone asked me if I have cheat days. The answer to this is no. Not that I always eat perfectly, that is not true at all, but I never perceive anything as a ‘cheat meal’ or a ‘cheat day’. It is just an ordinary day when I’m having some food I love and feeling good about it. The thought of it being a cheat is what makes you feel bad about it after.

One day I really fancied oreos. So I had half a packet. Did I feel bad? No, I felt mildly ill from all the sugar but I felt amazing. I could now eat half a packet of oreos and feel good! That for me was more than I could have imagined a few years ago. Back then I probably would have spent the rest of the day sulking and refused to eat enough food the next day. My relationship with food was wrong and I’m so glad I had a switch go off on my brain because now I am so much happier and so much healthier.

Health isn’t about depriving yourself, its about nourishing yourself mentally and physically. Life is too short to worry, complain, and debate cake. The answer is always CAKE.

 

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My Self Proclaimed Bake Off Challenge: Week 5

So I, along with many others I’m sure, was thrilled to hear that this week bake off are doing an ‘alternative ingredients’ week. So no dairy, sugar or gluten. YAY! Finally, a week where I can watch the contestants struggle as much as I do to create delicious baked goods which are dairy free with sugar alternatives and aIMG_2570 lot of the time which contain zero gluten. I’m so excited to see what they come up with.

Here’s what I came up with this week: Nutella Cookies – dairy free, gluten free and refined sugar free. And to top it all off they are also vegan friendly.

The recipe will be available in my Ebook which will be released in October. It was definitely a winner and the whole batch went as soon as I brought them to a friends house. I can’t wait for you all to try them.

Here are my top tips for baking with alternative ingredients:

  1. Apple sauce makes for a great replacement for butter, as well as adding sweetness meaning you can use less sugar in the recipe (however be careful to keep the same consistency).
  2. From my experience, self raising gluten free flour does not work! You are much better off using a normal gluten free flour (my favourite is buckwheat) and adding a teaspoon of baking powder per 100g to make it self raising.
  3. Bananas always do wonders in cakes where you are missing butter – they help make it moist and lovely. But be careful not to lose the flavour of the rest of your ingredients by adding in a banana as replacement. Banana bread is wonderful but not when it’s everything you bake!
  4. Maple syrup and agave syrup do make lovely cakes, cookies, cupcakes etc but you may need to add in some ground nuts or more flour so that the mixture is not too loose.
  5. Dates. They really help to naturally sweeten a bake (when well blended and mixed into the mix) – using dates however will take some trial and error as it changes the consistency a lot and you may have to change up a lot of quantities. Practice makes perfect!
  6. Try the batter. Even though some times I end up eating a bit too much, it really does help you get a feel for the recipe and if you need more sweetener or chocolate etc.

Good luck and get baking!!

My Self Proclaimed Bake Off Challenge: Week 4

So to start of with I have some exciting news! I have decided to release an Ebook after the bake off with all of my creations along the way! This week the recipe is honestly probably the best thing I’ve come up with: Raw Chocolate Torte. IMG_2506Although it is higher in calorie than my other recipes, it is most definitely dessert worthy and although rich, it is a light and delicious summer recipe which will be available in the Ebook. I think you’ll all love it!

Tip: The key thing about this Torte which is better than many alternatives is that it won’t leave you with a big sugar crash later in the day. I have used Agave syrup and coconut sugar (which is not refined) to sweeten it which are slower releasing and far better to add to your baking. If you are looking to make your cakes a little healthier you can simply replace the sugar in a recipe with coconut sugar (although be careful as coconut sugar can dry out cakes a bit so you may have to compensate with other ingredients!) and its roughly 2/3 agave to 1 cup of sugar.

 

Keep your eyes open for more details regarding the Ebook which will be released next month!

My Self Proclaimed Bake Off Challenge: Week 3

IMG_2477

It’s basically good for you

So this week is Bread Week. In anticipation for this weeks episode I have already made our tried and tested banana bread. Maybe not the type of bread Mary and Paul would be expecting for this week, but my mum and I, and the rest of the family love it, so it was a must.

When I first tried this bread, I still remember how sceptical I was. My mum had just found out she was lactose intolerant and was finding it very hard to come to terms with the fact she couldn’t have her ordinary snacks anymore. So my first bite, like most would be when you hear a cake has no butter and no sugar, was taken with apprehension. But it was delicious! I promise you that if you make this you will not be disappointed. It is so moist and light, yet still really fills you up. I’m also currently working on a vegan version so keep your eyes open!

Ingredients:

  • 3 bananas (mashed) – works best when they are very ripe!
  • 100g wholemeal flour
  • 100g oatbran
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 whole sweet apple skinned, cored and grated
  • 4 tbsp truvia baking blend
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Method:

  • Mix all the dry ingredients.
  • Mash the banana’s with the egg whites and whisk until smooth.
  • Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and combine.
  • Pour into a 9inch loaf tin and bake on 180 degrees celcius (fan assist) for 50-55 minutes until browned and springy to the touch.
  • Allow to cool and it should keep for a week in an air tight tin.

This is a real winner with my family and anyone who tries it, we love to have a slice with a nice cup of tea in the afternoon.