The No-Crap VEGAN Chocolate Banana Loaf!

no-crap

 

AFTER POPULAR DEMAND TO VEGANISE MY LAST RECIPE…..So, bye bye eggs!

 

So I posted some pics on Instagram last week of a new protein, low sugar, gluten free/dairy free/soya free chocolate banana loaf recipe that I had been working on, and promised the type up my scribbled notes into a legible format for you all.

We aren’t really cake eaters in this house, and avoid as much processed junk as possible but sometimes you just need something dense and chocolatey that won’t spike your insulin levels leaving you crashing in energy and piling on the pounds!

By removing traditional flour from recipes and substituting with oats and almonds, you cut the carbohydrates right down (and everyone knows thats carbs turn to sugar in the body, which in turn can cause obesity and diabetes if consumed in excess and not burnt off!).  Using oats and almonds also make sure we are getting a good whack of protein which aids muscle growth and repair, along with helping us to stay feeling fuller for longer.  And finally, they also help to slow down the effects of the natural sugars in the recipe by binding with them, giving a constant and slow source of energy without the spikes and crashes!

We never use sugar in the traditional sense in this house either; always preferring to use naturally occurring and unrefined alternatives such as fruit, or either brown rice or maple syrup.  We also use these natural sugars in a FAR less quantity than you would use traditional sugars in a recipe and we NEVER use any nasty artificial sweeteners as replacements (you know they were invented as a pesticide right??  And cause a whole load of health issues, especially with the joints and muscles!  Plus can cause obesity by both tricking the brain and encouraging over-eating!).  

But we aren’t boring and restricted….Mummy likes a good Gin on a night out and the babies enjoy chips and a slush puppy at the beach!   We live our life by a 80/20 rule – 80% a wholesome, natural, colourful, varied, and purposeful diet mixed with about 20% crap for fun 😉

Anyway……..

Back to the recipe rather than the science behind the ingredients I chose!  As the cake loaf is so naturally dense, you really only need two small slices to curb a sweet craving and leaving you feeling satisfied…..ENJOY!

Ingredients:

75g oats (certified gluten-free)
75g ground almonds
10g cacao powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
3 medium ripe bananas*
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
4 tablespoons organic brown rice syrup (MUST be organic to avoid arsenic!)
50g chopped dates
4 tablespoons of organic virgin coconut oil (plus a little to grease the loaf tin)
1-2 tablespoons dark chocolate chips (depending on preference)

*Not a fan of bananas??  Then use 360g of unsweetened cooled stewed apple, seasoned with nutmeg & cinnamon to taste.

Method:

  1. Grease a small silicone loaf tin & preheat a fan assisted oven to 160°C/320°F or gas mark 3 (adjust accordingly for a non-fan assisted oven!).
  2. Put the oats, almonds, bicarbonate of soda, and cacao into a food processor and blitz with the bladed attachment until they form more of a chunky flour consistency (you may need to alternate between a pulse and a blitz depending on how powerful your machine is!).
  3. Add in all the remaining ingredients EXCEPT from the dark chocolate drops, and blitz/pulse until a thick cake mixture is formed.
  4. Remove blade from the food processor bowl and stir in the dark chocolate drops.
  5. Tip the mixture into the greased silicone loaf tray and bake on the middle shelf in the oven for approximately 20 minutes until cooked through (you may want to check the loaf in the middle with a skewer after 15 minutes).
  6. Remember this recipe makes a dense loaf-style cake, not a sponge so it won’t really rise but will be very moist and substantial! 
  7. Once cooked, remove the silicone loaf tin from the oven and place on a raised cooling rack for around 10 minutes.
  8. Gently tip the loaf out of the silicone tin and onto the cooling rack for a further 15 minutes.
  9. Slice and serve either hot or cold – we loved our warm with a little drizzle of oat cream over the top…..PERFECT! 

 

cake-big-bowl.jpg

 

Amy Griffiths, Well Being Freedom Services Ltd ©

The No-Crap Chocolate Banana Loaf!

no-crap

 

So I posted some pics on Instagram last week of a new protein, low sugar, gluten free/dairy free/soya free chocolate banana loaf recipe that I had been working on, and promised the type up my scribbled notes into a legible format for you all.

We aren’t really cake eaters in this house, and avoid as much processed junk as possible but sometimes you just need something dense and chocolatey that won’t spike your insulin levels leaving you crashing in energy and piling on the pounds!

By removing traditional flour from recipes and substituting with oats and almonds, you cut the carbohydrates right down (and everyone knows thats carbs turn to sugar in the body, which in turn can cause obesity and diabetes if consumed in excess and not burnt off!).  Using oats and almonds also make sure we are getting a good whack of protein which aids muscle growth and repair, along with helping us to stay feeling fuller for longer.  And finally, they also help to slow down the effects of the natural sugars in the recipe by binding with them, giving a constant and slow source of energy without the spikes and crashes!

We never use sugar in the traditional sense in this house either; always preferring to use naturally occurring and unrefined alternatives such as fruit, or either brown rice or maple syrup.  We also use these natural sugars in a FAR less quantity than you would use traditional sugars in a recipe and we NEVER use any nasty artificial sweeteners as replacements (you know they were invented as a pesticide right??  And cause a whole load of health issues, especially with the joints and muscles!  Plus can cause obesity by both tricking the brain and encouraging over-eating!).  

But we aren’t boring and restricted….Mummy likes a good Gin on a night out and the babies enjoy chips and a slush puppy at the beach!   We live our life by a 80/20 rule – 80% a wholesome, natural, colourful, varied, and purposeful diet mixed with about 20% crap for fun 😉

Anyway……..

Back to the recipe rather than the science behind the ingredients I chose!  As the cake loaf is so naturally dense, you really only need two small slices to curb a sweet craving and leaving you feeling satisfied…..ENJOY!

Ingredients:

75g oats (certified gluten-free)
75g ground almonds
10g cacao powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 medium eggs
2 medium ripe bananas*
4 tablespoons organic brown rice syrup (MUST be organic to avoid arsenic!)
50g chopped dates
4 tablespoons of organic virgin coconut oil (plus a little to grease the loaf tin)
1-2 tablespoons dark chocolate chips (depending on preference)

*Not a fan of bananas??  Then use 230g of unsweetened cooled stewed apple, seasoned with nutmeg & cinnamon to taste.

Method:

  1. Grease a small silicone loaf tin & preheat a fan assisted oven to 160°C/320°F or gas mark 3 (adjust accordingly for a non-fan assisted oven!).
  2. Put the oats, almonds, bicarbonate of soda, and cacao into a food processor and blitz with the bladed attachment until they form more of a chunky flour consistency (you may need to alternate between a pulse and a blitz depending on how powerful your machine is!).
  3. Add in all the remaining ingredients EXCEPT from the dark chocolate drops, and blitz/pulse until a thick cake mixture is formed.
  4. Remove blade from the food processor bowl and stir in the dark chocolate drops.
  5. Tip the mixture into the greased silicone loaf tray and bake on the middle shelf in the oven for approximately 20 minutes until cooked through (you may want to check the loaf in the middle with a skewer after 15 minutes).
  6. Remember this recipe makes a dense loaf-style cake, not a sponge so it won’t really rise but will be very moist and substantial! 
  7. Once cooked, remove the silicone loaf tin from the oven and place on a raised cooling rack for around 10 minutes.
  8. Gently tip the loaf out of the silicone tin and onto the cooling rack for a further 15 minutes.
  9. Slice and serve either hot or cold – we loved our warm with a little drizzle of oat cream over the top…..PERFECT! 

 

cake-big-bowl.jpg

 

Amy Griffiths, Well Being Freedom Services Ltd ©

READ THIS Before You Shovel That ‘Healthy’ Ice Cream Into Your Gob!

With Summer here (well, one or two days of it ha!) we all enjoy a little Ice cream treat, with many commercial companies offering ‘light’ or ‘diet’ varieties aimed at the weight loss troupes. But how do we know which ones are the healthiest? Let’s have a look at the content of three different types:
Weight Watchers Vanilla Ice CreamClick HERE for an eye-opening look at their not so healthy approach weight loss!

Weight watchers products are aimed at the weight loss conscious – you see the brand & automatically assume this is a healthier option. But is it really? Let’s look further at the ingredients in detail:

Milk – one of the main allergens in western society, & blamed for contributing to a whole host of medical issues such as leaky gut syndrome & auto immune disorders. Check out one of my favorite bloggers The Paleo Mom here who goes into much further detail.

Skimmed milk – see above, dairy but without the beneficial fat & over-processed!

Sugar – heavily processed & with ZERO nutritional value to us. Causes peaks in G.I. which can lead to diabetes & heart disease in excessive amounts. We have to make the assumption here they have used refined white everyday sugar.

Polydextrose – an indigestible synthetic form of fiber – yes, manmade, fake!

Maltodextrin – an artificial substance usually made from either corn or rice, which gives fat-like body to food products, increases their shelf life, & mixes quite well with other ingredients. It’s also cheap to make & produce. Though not a sugar, it still has a glycemic index of 130 by itself (table sugar is only 65). So unless you are burning off this high G.I. immediately with some intense physical activity, any excess will be turned into fat & stored in the body! So this is a clever way of Weight Watchers getting more sugar into you! & a fake one at that!

Cellulose gel – acts as an emulsion to hold ingredients together, usually made from wood pulp or cotton, & the cheap filler is stuffed into shredded cheese, salad dressing, & ice cream to thicken it without adding calories or fat. It’s also added to shampoo, lovely!

Mono & Diglycerides – are common food additives (E471) used to blend together certain ingredients, such as oil & water, which would not otherwise blend well, thus extending shelf life. The values given in the nutritional labels for total fat, saturated fat, & trans fat do not tend to include those present in mono & diglycerides. Mono & diglycerides can be made either from animal, vegetable or even synthetically produced, but we have no way of knowing which type Weight Watchers are using. Also the chemicals used in manufacturing these additives may well still appear in the finished product.

Cellulose gum – see Cellulose gel

Natural flavor – but what are they & where do they come from?? Are they from organic source without pesticides?

Vanilla extract – a solution containing the flavour compound vanillin, however, this version is very unlikely to be the ‘pure’ variety, so who knows what nasties it may contain.

Artificial vanilla flavor – well the name says it all – artificial, fake, & manmade!

Carrageenan – has ZERO nutritional value, added to many low fat processed foods to make them thicker & fuller. Some research has a shown a concerning connection between carrageenan & gastrointestinal cancer in lab animals, & current research is underway investigating its link with ulcerative colitis & other diseases like diabetes. Read here for more nasties on this ‘natural’ product!

Polysorbate 80 – another binder that’s found not only in food, but medicines & cosmetics too. When tested on animals, this substance was found to cause adverse reproductive effects, cancer & may affect genetic material. Sound like something you want to put into your body?

Vitamin A palmitate – a synthetic version of the essential nutrient vitamin A – yes, another fake!

Is this ‘healthy’ marketed ice cream still sounding like a delicious treat that you want to put into your body? Didn’t think so! It’s that clever old marketing machine trying to fool us into believing products from a commercial weight loss programme are healthy for us, when clearly the ingredients can be very harmful indeed!

So, now let’s look at an alternative ice cream; Bessant & Drury’s Vanilla Ice Cream. I have purposely chosen to compare Weight Watchers ice cream to another manufactured shop bought ice cream to make the comparison fair when it comes to shelf life etc. Let’s see how they compare on ingredients:

Coconut Milk –is the liquid that comes from the grated meat of a brown coconut. Coconut is often referred to as The Tree of Life’, due to its many health benefits – check them out here! Coconut has actually been found to aid weight loss, how brilliant is that!

Concentrated apple juice – high concentrations of vitamins & minerals, ASLONG as its 100% from concentrate with no sugars or additives added. However it’s unlikely to contain much fibre.

Glucose – a sugar found in plants & is absorbed directly into the bloodstream during digestion. Not actually required by our bodies in this form, other forms of carbohydrates can be converted in the body & used instead.

Sugar – ZERO nutritional value, our bodies have zero need for it! Again, causes peaks in G.I. which can lead to diabetes & heart disease in excessive amounts. We have to make the assumption here they have used refined white everyday sugar.

Chicory root –works well as a replacement for fat & sugar, & also contains a decent level of fibre. It also contains Inulin which prevents constipation, helps maintain a healthy balance of good bacteria in the colon, & helps lower cholesterol levels. High amounts however, can cause gas/bloating, nausea, flatulence, stomach cramping, diarrhoea, & constipation. Moderation is the key with this one.

Xanthan Gum – is a form of carbohydrate made by fermenting corn sugar with bacteria, used to bind substances together & reduce ice crystals in ice cream. Corn sugar isn’t a great form of sugar, & is now being linked to a whole host of health conditions such as diabetes & liver damage.

Natural Vanilla Extract –a solution containing the flavour compound vanillin.

Vanilla Pods – contain the seeds from the vanilla orchid plant. These are a good, quality ingredient, even better if organic. Some have linked vanilla as being a sexual stimulant!

Vanilla Flavour – where do they come from?? Are they from organic source without pesticides?

In comparison the Weight Watchers ice cream contains a whopping 15 ingredients, many of which are artificial & pose numerous health risks, whereas the Bessant & Drury’s contains just 9, many of which are not too bad. Bessant & Drury’s ingredients are certainly much more natural & quality ingredients than the Weight Watchers version, with the added benefit of coconut milk to aid weight loss amoungst its many health benefits.

BUT, if you really fancy an even healthier option, then try making your own! This is one of my favourite recipes – just 6 totally natural ingredients (make sure you use raw, organic produce though to get the best health benefits!):

Raw Almonds – a brilliant source of protein & healthy essential fats that not only aid weight loss but have many other amazing qualities too!

Shredded Unsweetened Coconut– we have already covered above, it has many healing properties & aids weight loss too!

Madagascar Vanilla Bean – a great quality ingredient, use organic of course for the best benefits.

Egg yolks – high in protein, organic ones are great as no nasty hormones have been added.

Honey – use raw honey like Manuka, due to all its healing health benefits.

Water – Nothing too suspicious about that! Try filtered waster if you really want a health boost.

But this comparison isn’t just about ice cream, I will be honest! Did you see the Channel 4 Dispatches documentary on Weight Watchers – How They Make Their Millions? I did & it was quite an eye opener! Yes, they remove some fat or sugar from their products, but they then replace them with a whole host of un-pronounceable artificial nasties that can be damaging to our health (as we found above!).

So, before you rush out to the freezer department of the local supermarket, don’t always assume the ‘light’ & ‘diet’ options are actually the healthiest or will help your fat loss journey – because they probably wont!

Remember, natural organic ingredients are by FAR healthier & safer in the long term, EVEN if they are full-fat versions!

Alternatively, just blend some frozen fruit with a little canned coconut milk to create an instant creamy (and healthy!) version to boost your fat loss journey this summer!

Amy Griffiths, Well Being Freedom Services Ltd ©