I don’t know about you but I’m a little jaded this January reading constantly about detoxes, diets, new work out regimes and seeing that somewhat smug hashtag #cleanliving that seems to go with everything posted. January is the time to re-evaluate and we all need to address the excesses of the holiday season but I must say, if I read one more, I might choke on my kale crisps! I welcome more the messages sent out during this week as part of National Obesity Week (12-19th Jan 2015) that are more measured and less strident.
But January for most (sorry Aussie and southern hemisphere followers) is cold and often very dreary and then followed by that little mean month of February. So whilst I am loving my new spiraliser Xmas gift (encouraging me to cut down on the carbs); my liver is grateful for the no alcohol regime; and I am eating more healthily – I am enjoying more the opportunity to be kind to myself. I’m giving myself full permission to go to bed earlier; turn down social occasions if I want or need to; take some extra time out to go for a swim or leisurely walk; and pamper myself with a home-based or spa experience to lift my spirits. Like the dog in the pic above I’m also cosying on up to the fire since like most WLS I don’t have as much insulation as I once had to keep out the winter chills.
I have also been indulging in some extra reading – some light, some serious and some cookery book based. One of the books I was sent to review is Davina McCall’s ‘5 Weeks To Sugar-Free’. First impressions are good – it has so many recipes that I would enjoy and some that are not too different from the ones I post here. Many are reduced fat, reduced sugar and high fibre. Many have a good protein content too for satiety and would suit WLS patients. My only small gripe is the use of honey instead of sugar in the recipes and the book title. I consider honey, although natural, a sugar too, and it can still prove problematic for bariatric patients. The title might be better if it implied reduced added-sugar or no-added sugar rather than sugar-free. That said, it would be easy to replace the honey in the recipes with either your own chosen sweetener of choice very easily and the title does signal that sugar is kicked into touch as much as possible!
I made the Fruit Tea Loaf over the weekend and replaced the maple syrup (another sugar in my view) with Sweet Freedom sweetener but could just as easily have used an artificial sweetener or something like agave nectar. I also didn’t use spelt flour but just ordinary wholemeal flour. Both worked well. I didn’t find the sugars (from the dried fruit) problematic with a small slice. I think you could also add a scoop of your own favourite protein powder to the flour to get some additional protein. It isn’t a ground-breaking recipe (I’ve seen a variation and made many others that are similar) but it’s reliable. It’s just the thing to slice thinly and curl up next to the fire to eat without the fear that your resolutions have gone off the rails. The recipe is below and I hope to try the Pork, Bean and Sweet Potato Chilli from the book for tonight’s supper. Make it, enjoy a slice and be kind to yourself!
FRUIT TEA BREAD
350 g/21/3 cups mixed dried fruit
200 ml/1 cup freshly brewed tea
50 ml/1/4 cup maple syrup or other chosen sweetener ( I used Sweet Freedom)
250 g/21/2 cups wholemeal spelt flour or wholemeal wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground mixed spice
2 eggs, beaten
1. Put the dried fruit in a bowl and pour over the tea and maple syrup or sweetener. Cover and leave to soak for at least 4 hours or overnight.
2. Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F/gas 4. Line a 1 kg/2 lb loaf tin with baking parchment.
3. Sift the flour into a bowl and stir in the baking powder and mixed spice. Add the fruit and any juices with the eggs and mix thoroughly. Spoon into the prepared tin and level the top.
4.. Bake in the oven for abut 1 hour. Remove, leave to stand for 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
5. Serve sliced and spread with a little butter if liked and tolerated. Store in an airtight tin.
WLS PORTION: 1/2-1
V suitable for Vegetarians
CALORIES PER PORTION: 178
Recipe courtesy of DAVINA’S FIVE WEEKS TO SUGAR-FREE by Davina McCall
Published by Orion Books as a trade paperback and eBook, priced £16.99/£8.99.
For further information, please go to www.orionbooks.co.uk
Photography: Andrew Hayes-Watkins
Main image courtesy of The White Company