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Thursday, 18 April 2013

Food: Initial thoughts on new food changes plus fruit nuggets recipe

It's been an interesting few days giving up refined sugars and processed carbs. It started with our big weekly food shop. On an average week, our trolley starts out healthy enough - a reasonable mix of fruit, vegetables and chicken. Then all my good intentions fail when I inevitably add a mixture of the following to trolley: Kit Kats, shortbread, any Cadbury's chocolate, bagels, Ben and Jerry's etc etc etc. Martin is much better than me. He never craves these high sugar foods, he'll eat them if they're around but he won't be pushing for their inclusion in our trolley.

Our latest food shop
Firstly, I'd like to say that it has been much easier than I anticipated. I thought I'd be craving sugary food but I've realised that as long as I make an effort to make/eat tasty alternatives, then I really don't feel like I'm missing out. It's no wonder people fall off the bandwagon when they only have lettuce to look forward to for dinner. However, if you create a delicious quinoa salad (quick and easy to do), then not only are you rewarded with a tasty meal but you also feel very full. So far I've made homemade quinoa, granola bars, chili con carne and fruit nuggets. With such tasty food, this food change can hardly be called a diet!
I've only been eating like this for four days now. My initial thoughts/findings is that I do actually feel better. I feel less bloated in the evenings. I wasn't even aware before that I was feeling bloated - it seems that it was my almost natural, constant state. I had one blip on the second day when I felt incredibly dizzy. This never usually happens and I've been trying to work out if it's related to my diet change. I've come to the conclusion that it must be. I must have been far more addicted to sugar than I had initially realised. After drinking a hot chocolate and eating a cinnamon and raisin bagel, I felt instantly better. Since then, I've been carrying on eating really healthily and I've been feeling great. It seems that my body just needed a little time to adjust to such a dramatic decrease in refined sugar. I've only ever had withdrawal symptoms once before when I was unhealthily attached to Coke Zero during my second year at university. I was only having about three cans a day, but one morning when I didn't have one, I got such an awful headache. This was only alleviated when I drank a can. I soon cut back and then cut out Coke Zero completely. Now I'll just drink full fat coke, but only very rarely when I really fancy a can.

I thought I'd share some pics of the food I've been eating.

simple dinner of beef burgers, quinoa and salad
This is our first dinner,  which was quickly thrown together after a long day. We ate two burgers cooked under the grill with a little extra strong cheddar melted over. I served them with a fried egg (my favourite burger accompaniment!), gherkins, salad leaves and a serving of the quinoa salad I had cooked earlier for lunch. Now I really love burgers and usually I would serve them in a large toasted bun with lots of sugary relish and bacon. However, I can promise you that I actually preferred it this way. The quinoa salad was so much better than a white bun. It added a whole load of new flavours to the meal.

Before I go, I must share with you this recipe for fruit nuggets inspired by BBC Good Food. They're super tasty, perfectly transportable, and high in energy. You can store them in an air tight container for up to a week. The great thing about them is that you can mix up the fruit combinations to create your own unique flavour combinations. I made mine using dried dates, figs and apricots. Dried cranberries, raisins and blueberries would also work well.

dried figs, apricots and dates

Fruit nuggets

fruit nuggets

Makes 12

12 dried apricots
10 dried dates
10 dried figs
3 tablespoons sesame seeds (toast on a tray in the oven at 180 degrees celsius for five minutes beforehand)

1. Chop the fruit up finely (or use a food processor)

finely chopped fig, apricot, dates

2. Shape the fruit into balls using your hands. Mine were ping pong ball sized.
3. Roll them in the sesame seeds. This helps to prevent them sticking to each other and adds a wonderful crunch.


  1. Very good. This is my favorite food.

  2. I'm really enjoying eating this type of food. It's early days yet, but I'm hoping that I'll be able to carry on with it indefinitely and see the improvements in my general health! Do you have any particular favourite health foods/recipes?