October 02, 2011

Grain-free, sugar-free breakfast muffins

I don't usually get excited about any new "diets" that pop up in the media - there were Atkins and South Beach, now there are Paleo, Dukan, Alkaline and of course the most miraculous fad diets such as the grapefruit diet, cabbage soup diet and the baby food diet. There is a difference, of course, between following a certain diet as part of a healthy lifestyle, and a fad that is supposed to last only a few days and shed all those extra kilos away.

In the past I've been experimenting with some dietary changes (like gluten-free and dairy-free) to see if they make a difference in my or my partner's health. In general, however, we both like to think that moderation is the key and a balanced, healthy diet is part of our lifestyle, along with exercise and getting enough sleep.

When I read Sarah Wilson's new e-book "I Quit Sugar", I started thinking about how much sugar I consume daily. Judging by the amount of baking I do, it may seem like I consume a lot, but in actual fact my diet is fairly low-sugar and has been this way for many years. I haven't been using "white", processed sugar in baking for quite a while now, but raw sugar, coconut sugar, agave and honey are all still sugars and count towards the daily sugar consumption. My biggest source for sugar (fructose) has been fruit and this is something I have been wanting to cut back for a while now.

Inspired by Sarah's book I have decided to see how I can benefit from a sugar-free diet. In my daily life this means eating less fruit (1-2 pieces a day) and baking sugar-free treats. These grain-free rhubarb muffins are by no mean pretty, but nevertheless make a lovely breakfast treat. Rhubarb has a low fructose content, but is perfectly sweet when baked, and warm spices make these muffins complete. Enjoyed with a cup of spiced herbal tea they are a perfect guilt-free treat.

Grain-free, sugar-free breakfast muffins
(makes 8-10)
(recipe adapted from "I Quit Sugar" by Sarah Wilson)

175g hazelnut meal
85g almonds, chopped
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
2 large eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons milk/nut milk/coconut milk
200g rhubarb, washed and chopped in 1 cm pieces

1. Preheat oven to 170C and prepare a 10-cup muffin tin. 

2. Combine the hazelnut meal, almonds, baking powder and soda, salt and spices in a bowl. 

3. Whisk together the eggs, oil and milk and add this to the dry ingredients.

4. Fold through the rhubarb.

5. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cups and bake for 20-30 minutes or until the muffins feel firm to touch. Leave to cool on a wire rack before serving. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze.

And if you want to go sugar-free...

Start by analysing your daily sugar consumption: Do you add sugar to your tea/coffee? Do you drink soft drinks? Eat sweets or chocolate? How much sugar is in your breakfast cereal/muesli/yoghurt?

Get in the habit of swapping your daily snacks to sugar-free ones: Try home-made vegetable chips (kale is great), nuts or home-made treats like these muffins.

Try mineral water (or tap water!) or herbal teas instead of sugary drinks. Roasted dandelion tea is a delicious option. Add ground cinnamon and enjoy with home-made rice or nut milk.

Read more... "Is Sugar Toxic?" - NY Times article
                     "I Quit Sugar" - Sarah Wilson

Buy Sarah's Book: 
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