Wednesday, January 20, 2016

"Cut The Sugar" and Get Healthy - Great New Recipes

Cut The Sugar by Ella Leche
Do you ever just get hankering for something sweet? It can be overwhelming, can't it? For me it's usually chocolate. Just down the hall from my office is a vending machine. Sometimes I'll get up and begin the short walk but I'll stop short. I realize that eating too much sugar is associated with all sorts of conditions. Like diabetes, weight gain, heart disease, fatigue, depression and autoimmune disease.

I'm always trying to improve my health and eat better. One of the reasons that I can abstain from visiting the vending machine is because of a book that I read,“Cut the Sugar: You’re Sweet enough Cookbook” by Ella Leche.

Leche began having health problems and eventually was diagnosed with the same
disease that I have - myasthenia gravis. Readers of this blog know that it is a chronic neuromuscular disease that causes weakness of the muscles. There is no cure but it can be controlled in most people through medications, diet and supplements.

Leche decided to tackle her condition head-on. Her regular diet consisted of meat, wheat, dairy, eggs and sugar. She made a conscious decision to make some huge changes in her eating habits, focusing on lots of vegetables and eliminating refined sugar from her diet. “Now I can happily say that my life is back to normal,” she writes in the introduction of her book. That's the part that caught my attention.

For me, Leche’s story was inspiring. And her recipes sound really healthy and delicious. I haven't tried them all but one that I found exceptional is an easy-to-prepare snack. It's a treat that I can bring to work and I'm no longer tempted by the vending machine down the hall.

These Raw Cranberry-Chocolate Protein Balls taste a lot like protein bars and are easy to make.

1 ½ cups raw walnuts

1 cup raw pecans

½ cup naturally sweetened dried cranberries

5 Medjool dates, pitted

¼ cup raw cacao powder

1 to 2 tablespoons chocolate or vanilla protein powder

1 to 2 teaspoons water

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 drops liquid stevia

Process all of the ingredients in a food processor until a dough forms.

Turn off the food processor, remove the blade and roll a teaspoon of the dough in the palms of your hands into a ball. Repeat with all the dough. That’s it! Enjoy between meals or after a workout. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

And here's my instant review: First, they are easy to make. That's important to me. A friend tried them and agreed with me that they taste similar to pricey nutty-chocolate protein bars.

They’re full of healthy fats from the nuts and cocoa, and the protein powder is satisfying and stops the craving for more sweets.

From the book: “Cut the Sugar: You’re Sweet Enough Cookbook” by Ella Leche; 212 pages, Published by Andrew McMell Publishing, 2015. Available now at

What you get: This collection features a wide assortment of creative recipes: Tex-Mex Quinoa-Sweet Potato Boats to Creamy Avocado Cucumber Rolls to Chickpea Crepes with Smashed Chickpea Filling to Cinnamon-Rooibos Cake. The desserts and sweet snacks are made with natural forms of sugar, so if you have a sweet tooth, you’ll find lots of options to choose from.

In her own words: “My focus is on fresh vegetables and fruits, healthy fats, healthy proteins, and low-glycemic whole grains and carbohydrates. Most of all, these recipes are all free of refined sugar and use the best natural sweeteners that are more nourishing to your health. … My food philosophy is about enjoying delicious, nourishing foods and not feeling deprived. Experiencing the power of nourishing food firsthand is so inspiring. When you eat well, you feel well. Simple as that.”

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