Having given up sugar for a whole month, Food Columnist Maddy Walters shares her final thoughts on whether it’s worth doing and gives us an amazing recipe for Vegan Pecan Banana Shortbread….
While most people this Monday (the 1st) were tackling a month’s worth of facial hair growth or looking forward to their first advent calendar chocolate, I was, with trembling fingers, reaching out to my neglected honey pot, putting it on my porridge for the first time in 30 days. Oh how I’ve missed it.
Of course, the big experiment, the whole point of giving up sugar for a month was to see if I could change the way sugar tastes to me. Honey (which is, I can confirm, delicious) is not real sugar; I’m talking the white powdery stuff. So I took myself off to The Imperial– ignoring the fact that I do actually have an assignment due tomorrow- oops- and ordered the sugaryist thing I could think of, the warm chocolate fudge cake. Clocking in at 850 calories, its like looking into the face of obesity.
Ok, it was delicious. There is no denying a combination of chocolate, ice cream and cake is pretty much a match made in heaven. The idea that sugar doesn’t taste as good after a month’s abstinence is just not true; it tastes just as good as it used to. But, and it’s a very important but, I felt so sick after. Beyond sick, I had to go lie down for a while. My heart had palpitations, I had a headache and the rest of the day my energy had a real slump. And now I get it, it’s not the taste of sugar that changes, it’s the way our bodies deal with it.
It’s just not worth it, non-refined sugar tastes just as good. The honey this morning was delicious and it didn’t make me feel like I was going to die. So yes, I’ve done it, and now I understand. I think you can only truly realise how much of a poison sugar is when your body gets used to not having it. The fact that such a ubiquitous substance could have that kind of effect is a little scary; there is a lot of awareness for the negative aspects of too much caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, but I bet very few people see sugar as a drug in a similar way.
Don’t get me wrong; giving up sugar this November was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Its in so many foods and drinks, hides under so many names. But I’m so glad I did. Its given me an appreciation for the substance, made me realise that I actually don’t need it, that having honey or coconut sugar instead would taste better and be more than enough to satisfy my cravings. I also can’t help but see sugar as out-dated now, too. There are so many alternatives that are so much better for us, but for some reason we’ve been woefully slow to realise their potential.
[divider]Vegan Banana Pecan Shortbread[/divider]
So, it’s December now! Bring on Christmas.
To get us all excited, how about some vegan banana pecan shortbread? This recipe is from a great food blog called Minimalist Baker (great if your interested in simple, easy and fast but special diet friendly food and treats!), but I’ve changed the sugar for coconut sugar or honey- will taste just as delicious, I promise!
The recipe should make around 30 cookies.
What you’ll need:
1 cup (209g) coconut oil
1 small, ripe banana, mashed
¾ cup (150g) coconut sugar or honey
2 ½ cups (280g) all purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup pecan nuts, finely chopped
¼ tsp cinnamon (optional)
What to do:
- Mix oil, banana and sugar.
- Add salt and vanilla and combine.
- Next add flour.
- Then add pecans.
5. Place mixture on baking parchment and roll into a log-shape, around 2 inched wide
6. Place in freezer for 15 mins and preheat oven to 180oc.
7. Unroll paper and slice cookies into around ½ inch slices with a sharp knife, if its too hard let is rest for a few mins, if not hard enough return to over for a little bit longer!
8.Place onto baking parchment-lined tray and bake for 18-22 mins, until light golden brown. They wont spread much so don’t worry about packing them close together!
Maddy Walters, Food Columnistbookmark me