Sundried ambassador Anne Iarchy is a personal trainer and nutritionist. She shares with us her deliciously healthy sugar-free banana loaf recipe.
Truly sugar-free banana cake
A few weeks ago, I was working at the Woburn Tri for Life, and at the end of a very successful day, we had masses of bananas left. After eating a banana a day for a few days, the rest of the bananas I took home were a little too ripe to my taste (I do like them just yellow from green), so I decided to bake a banana loaf.
I have two recipes, one with sugar and butter, one with coconut oil and dates, but I really wanted one with no sugar at all. After all, ripe bananas are very sweet. I did some research on the internet, and I was really surprised to see how many recipes came up “pretending” they were sugar-free, but just swapping the sugar to honey, maple syrup, or agave syrup and other sweeteners.
Although honey is healthier than sugar (and that depends on the amount of processing of the honey), it has the same effect on blood sugar levels and insulin release than sugar.
Here is my truly sugar-free banana loaf recipe which still tastes amazing and is much healthier than any other you will find.
- 6-7 overripe bananas, previously frozen and defrosted
- 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups of gluten-free self raising flour (this is what I used but regular self-raising flour will work fine too)
- 2/3 cup of walnut pieces
- Preheat oven to 190C (Gas Mark 5)
- Lightly grease an 8x4" cake tin
- In a bowl, mash the bananas, then whisk in the eggs, vanilla and coconut oil, until properly mixed.
- Slowly add the flour bit by bit and stir well with a spoon.
- Stir in the walnuts.
- Pour your mixture into the tin, then decorate with some walnuts if you want to.
- Put in the oven to bake for approx 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Cool before slicing.
- The cake came out moist and it was definitely sweet enough.
- A slice of the cake makes a lovely healthy snack.
- It keeps well for 4-5 days covered in foil.
If you have bad skin, it can really affect your confidence and make you feel like you need to do something about it. There are unlimited beauty products and brands out there that promise clear skin through a skincare routine, but in reality no matter what beauty products you use, achieving radiant, glowing skin really is down to diet and lifestyle. We take a look at the best food fixes for bad skin and what you should eat in order to improve your appearance naturally.
Matcha Green Tea
Drinking 10 cups of green tea a day definitely isn't realistic for everyone. It can have a bitter taste and will leave you running to the restroom every 5 minutes. However, a scoop of matcha green tea powder has all the same health benefits in one convenient shot, plus you're getting the whole leaf and all its added benefits. I add it to my daily homemade protein smoothie for a quick energy boost and vitamin top-up. Matcha green tea contains 137 times more antioxidants than regularly brewed green tea and these are great for eliminating free radicals in the body. Why's this great for your skin? It reduces the signs of ageing and will leave your skin looking radiant and glowing. It also contains high levels of selenium, which protects your skin cells from natural damage and also reduces the appearance of wrinkles.
If any food deserves the label 'superfood' it's spinach. Spinach is rich in indol-3-carbinol which stimulates enzymes in the liver to boost your body's natural detoxifying process. It is also proven to balance your hormones which can reduce bloating in the face as well as improving the appearance of acne.
Raspberries have anti-inflammatory properties which can reduce the appearance of swelling in tired, fatigued skin. They are rich in both Vitamin C and Vitamin E which can enhance the skin's appearance as well as reducing the effects of ageing.
Green tea is a type of tea that originated in China but now has spread and is enjoyed all over the world. Known for its health benefits, people will drink green tea to aid weight loss, boost their metabolism, and improve their general health. While drinking endless cups of your regular builder’s tea is not very good for your health, you can drink up to 10 cups of green tea a day and reap the benefits! So, what are the benefits of drinking green tea?
Is green tea good for your health?
Green tea is full of antioxidants which are fantastic for our health. There are many things in the fitness world that claim to be great for you but are actually just a gimmick, however antioxidants are proven to be good for us. Oxidisation is a natural process that happens to everything in nature (think rust). It is this process that causes us to age and the oxidisation of our cells can lead to ill health. By consuming antioxidants in our diet through superfoods like blueberries and green tea, you can slow down the ageing process and improve your health.
The tea leaves used to make green tea don’t go through the same oxidisation process used to make oolong and black tea which is why it is considered a superfood. Green tea contains many vitamins and minerals such as B vitamins, folate (naturally occurring folic acid), manganese, potassium, magnesium, caffeine and other antioxidants, notably catechins. All of this goodness will give you benefits such as improved mood, clearer skin, and a faster metabolism.
What if I don’t like green tea?
Green tea can be a little bitter when drunk on its own and its taste is not for everyone! The health benefits are so good that even if you don’t like drinking green tea, it’s still worth trying to get it into your diet somehow. Matcha green tea powder is a food supplement that you can put in smoothies or juices to still get all the benefits. One scoop of matcha green tea powder is the equivalent of drinking 10 cups of green tea! Matcha is a finely ground powder of green tea which is specially grown to promote the production of caffeine and theanine which can calm your mood when consumed. Matcha is now a widely recognised superfood and health food product and is used in everything from ice cream to confectionery.
Chances are you have a rough idea what the Atkins diet is, and now you're hearing people talk about being on a 'keto' diet. But what does it mean? Is it an effective way of losing weight or just another fad diet?
What can you eat on a ketogenic diet?
The ketogenic diet is an extreme low carb diet plan which aims to aid weight loss through achieving a state called 'ketosis'. When your body is in a state of ketosis, it burns fat as fuel instead of carbohydrate and the theory is that this is a good way to drop body fat. However, it is an extremely complicated and scientific process and must be followed very strictly for it to work.
With regards to what you can eat, the keto diet is strictly high fat, low carb. To be more specific, nearly no carbs at all. As soon as you slip and eat a small amount of carbohydrates, your body will snap out of ketosis and you will pile on weight due to your body storing the carbs. Ketosis is a state our body adapts to naturally when food supplies are low; it is a form of starvation mode. Whenever the body is in starvation mode, it naturally wants to hold on to as much energy as possible because it thinks there's a low food supply. So if you slip up or eat a snack, you'll hold on to it more so than if you were not following a keto diet.
A typical keto meal plan will consist of eggs, bacon and other fatty meats, double cream and other high fat dairy, and vegetables. You strictly cannot eat any sugar so that means no fruit or junk food, no starch so no potatoes, beans, or legumes, and no grains so no bread or cereals. It is a ridiculously tough 'diet' to stick to and it is advised that you should employ the help of a trained physician or medical professional as it is so complicated. This is not a diet to be taken lightly and it is strongly recommended not to follow it if you have not done proper research first.
Is the ketogenic diet safe?
The ketogenic diet was actually originally created as a way of controlling and treating epilepsy, and diet regimens like this have been used for hundreds of years. When modern treatments and anti-epileptic drugs became more widely available in the early 20th century, the use of extreme fasting diets declined. However, people began adopting this regimen for weight loss and interest has spiked in recent years, especially following the fame of the notorious Atkins diet.
There are a lot of negative side effects to being in a state of ketosis. Most infamously is the bad breath you will suffer. You will also suffer from increased urination as ketosis is a natural diuretic and this will also lead to suffering from an extremely dry mouth. It is also highly likely that you'll suffer from the 'keto flu' which has symptoms including headaches, nausea, fatigue, and cramping. As the ketogenic diet employs a lot of fasting, be prepared to be very hungry a lot of the time too!
In answer to the question, "is it safe?" the answer is only if it is followed properly. Any type of fasting or extreme change in diet should be monitored by a healthcare professional otherwise it could be potentially dangerous. If you still want to try this diet after reading the above, make sure you do your research first and are fully prepared.
How many carbs can you eat and still be in ketosis?
If you limit your carbohydrate intake severely by eating less than 15g per day, you will enter ketosis more quickly. You can eat up to 25g of carbs per day and still be in ketosis. Any more than this and you risk snapping back and storing fat. Your total carbohydrate intake should be no more than 5% of your total daily calories. You should have 75% fat and 25% protein. This is really not a recommendable ratio of macros and you should proceed with extreme caution.
The paleo diet is one which causes a fair bit of controversy in the fitness world. However, at the heart of this regime is a fantastic ethos. The purpose of the paleo diet is not to consume any processed foods, thereby supposedly only eating things that a caveman or cavewoman would have eaten. Some people may argue that there are various fruits and nuts that cave people would not have had access to, but this is beyond the point.
The goal is to avoid all processed and packaged foods, especially refined sugars and carbohydrates. To this end, the paleo diet is a very beneficial one and these spiced paleo blondies are absolutely delicious! They do not contain any unnatural ingredients; everything used to make them can be sourced from nature. Why not have a try of the recipe and let us know what you think?
In this recipe, we used Natvia as a natural sweetener. Some artificial sweeteners on the market, such as those which are made from aspartame, can be very bad for your health and we would argue that it is always better to consume natural food products than artificial chemicals.
Why not have a try of the recipe and let us know what you think?
Spiced Paleo Blondies Recipe
- 2/3 cup almond butter/smooth peanut butter
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tbsps honey
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp Natvia natural sweetener
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- In a large bowl, whisk the nut butter until smooth and creamy.
- Mix in the eggs, honey, and Natvia sweetener.
- Add the salt, baking soda, and cinnamon.
- Mix well until all ingredients are combined.
- Transfer the batter into a brownie tin lined with baking parchment.
- Bake at 325F/160C/Gas Mark 3 for 12-15 minutes.
- Serve and enjoy!