Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Cooking without sugar

As some of my readers might remember, I had a cholesterol test a few months ago which showed that the level was much too high and the doc wanted me to start taking statins to bring it down. I very nicely refused and said that I would like to try and bring it down to an acceptable level another way and heard from a friend that her doctor told her she had a number of patients who had been able to do that by quitting sugar. My friend had also brought down her own cholesterol level dramatically after six months of giving up sugar. 

So I thought I would give it a try for six months also and then have another test done. That is due in August so not long to go now. I think the hardest part of lowering sugar intake was giving up sugar in my coffee but I am now used to the taste. I am quite pleased that I am no longer tempted to buy muesli bars even if they are from Weight Watchers as I knew they weren't a terribly wholesome food but I really am not a fan of baking a lot of cakes and biscuits these days so didn't really bother until the weather cooled down and I started getting the munchies in the afternoon. 

I did try a couple of the I Quit Sugar recipes and quite like the taste of Rice Malt Syrup which is used a lot in Sarah Wilson's recipes.  However, David Gillespie who wrote Sweet Poison seems to prefer to replace sugar with dextrose which is used in home brew and is available in some supermarkets and also Big W where I bought mine. 

 I recently borrowed his book The Sweet Poison Quit Plan Cookbook so that I could try out some of his recipes. There are a lot of cakes and dessert recipes in this book and of course, they need to be eaten in moderation but for those who want to take the plunge and reduce their sugar intake, there are certainly some delicious looking recipes in this book. 

 Pavlova with Berries and Passionfruit ~ a dessert to keep in mind for Christmas...

Passionfruit Tartlets


 Another yummy looking Christmas recipe!...

...and Banana Bread. 

I wanted to experiment with using dextrose in my cooking so thought I would give the Banana Bread a try. Here is my version:

Banana Bread

1 1/4 cups Rye flour
1 cup dextrose
1 teaspoon  bicarb soda
2 eggs
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 mashed bananas
80 -100 grams ground almonds

Preheat the oven to 170 degreesC and line a loaf tin with baking paper.

Beat the dextrose, oil, vanilla and eggs until light and creamy then fold in the dry ingredients and combine. Add banana and almonds or whatever nuts you prefer and pour into loaf tin.

Bake until cooked when testing with a skewer which was about 45 minutes in my oven but I have been warned to keep an eye on whatever you are cooking which has dextrose in it as it can burn. I didn't have any trouble with that though. After cooling turn the bread out onto a wire rack to cool down completely before slicing and serving with butter. 

You can freeze this bread for a month or so but ours never made it to the freezer ;-) The menfolk  thought it tasted quite delicious and was a nice snack during this cold weather we are having. 

It has even been cold up in Mt.Isa and, as you can see, little Isaiah is all rugged up. A friend from church made him a patchwork quilt which was such a lovely gift...

...and obviously he is very happy with it! His Nanna did start cutting out squares to make him a rag quilt so that he could have one like his big sisters have....

...but his won't be pink of course! Hopefully it will be finished by the time he starts school. LOL!


  1. Chel,

    We decided not to eat sugar two years ago and haven't missed it. (We do eat sugar when we're visiting and we have an occasional treat containing sugar when dining out.) I've tried lots of the I Quit Sugar recipes but haven't got David Gillespie's book. Perhaps I should look out for it! We use rice malt syrup and have substituted it for sugar in some of our old recipes. It's good in scones! I hope your cholesterol level is back to an acceptable level next time you have a test.

    1. Sue there are heaps of recipes on the I Quit Sugar site but not so many on David Gillespie's unless you become a member. I keep an eye out for his book in the Op Shops.

  2. Nanna Chel, this is interesting. Like Sue, I've often used Rice Malt Syrup, and it's good. Dextrose I haven't had. Must give it a try. Do you find being sugar free makes you feel different? I know gluten free has done that for us. Love, Mimi xxx

    1. Actually Mimi, now that I come to think of it I do have more energy as I always used to feel tired. I just bought a small bag of Dextrose from Big W to give it a try. I couldn't find it in Woolies or Coles but the home brew places would stock it.

  3. i don't bother with much fuss on the cholesterol roller coaster, we are meant to have it, mind you some of us do eat excessively & some doctors get obsessed with giving out the statin drugs which are worse for you than the cholesterol! also eggs are good at bringing down the cholesterol too.
    i gave up sugar but replaced it with honey, now i have a little back in my diet as i buy a homemade worstershire sauce from one of our stalls at our markets. doctors cause too many to worry over something that is supposed to be.
    that banana loaf looks good too
    thanx for sharing

    1. Yes a lot of people have said that, Selina. I know the doc was worried about a stroke that was why she mentioned statins.

  4. We have experimented with a lot of different sugars since hubby is diabetic with a sweet tooth.(!?) If you can find it - coconut sugar is another that is a 'simple' sugar and easy to digest. Do watch your blood sugar as you experiment with these. Some can cause spikes in blood sugar. Dextrose is one of those that diabetics carry around to bring their sugar up quickly if they have a blood sugar drop. It really does depend on the individual, I have always had low cholesterol and had a heart attack 5 years ago, My grandmothers cholesterol was over 300 and she died at 102, never a heart issue till she was 99! Don't think it hurts to cut our sugar intake though and that is a good thing, I am so impressed that you have done so well!

    1. That is interesting about diabetics carrying around Dextrose, Kathy. I think the idea is not to eat too much of this sort of food at once anyway and is meant to be an infrequent treat. I think I prefer the Rice Malt Syrup but it is good to have a couple of choices.

  5. You've done very well to stick to your plan, won't it be interesting to see the test results?

    1. Thanks Kelly. It certainly will be interesting. If anyone was wanting to lose weight it just happens when you give up sugar. This was unintentional in my case.

  6. Isaiah looks so big now! I cant believe it! He is lovely.
    I have known people to reduce cholesterol by reducing carbs... which is kind of the same thing.
    Like Kathy I have know people with ridiculously high cholesterol or in my Nans case a sweet tooth that lived long and healthy lives... so I think they honestly done know. My husband is on Statins which I am suspicious are a waste of time but I stay out of it lol I will be interested to hear your blood test results. I you can avoid drugs then that is a wonderful thing that is for sure. Not to mention the money you will save as well!
    It has been really cold and stormy here. Good crafting and cooking weather. With love,

    1. Annabel, Isaiah is already in demand amongst the ladies at church as they all want to hold him as he is such a cherry little bub and always has a smile on his face. He is certainly Mr.Personality Plus and so cuddly. I do miss him terribly but try not to think about it too much or it becomes too painful. Really, I have no intention of going on the Statins so hopefully I won't have any problems in the future. A stroke is not something on my wish list.

  7. Have you noticed how i am mysteriously missing from the comments section, when you are talking about diets.???

  8. Although I couldn't quit sugar, I found that by making everything I can from scratch I know how much we are consuming. It's the hidden sugars that concern me.

    1. The hidden sugar is the problem, Wendy. Especially in breakfast cereals and processed food geared for children. Most people don't realise and it was a bit of a shock to me to find out about it to be honest.

  9. Thank you for sharing what you have learned Nanna Chel.

    As Wendy said, with most things made from scratch we are able to control the sugar intake. I do swap sugar for organic honey or rice malt syrup in some recipes.

    Everything in moderation is the key. Animal products are the main culprit of cholesterol, so cutting back on those as well as sugar should definitely bring your levels down. Hubby has the hereditary cholesterol, and has trouble keeping it down as he likes all the stuff he shouldn't lol. He doesn't take statins all the time, and he gets his levels checked regularly. They are not sky high, just up above the recommended level. I will be interested in my cholesterol reading now that I am not consuming meat or dairy, I will be taking a test very soon. It was up a little last time, two years ago...


  10. I had the same thing happen to me Chel last year; high cholesterol caused by over indulgence of sugar - I have a very sweet tooth. I cut out all sugar, cold turkey and had my levels down to one acceptable to the GP in 3 months. Now I need to do that again, Xmas derailed me and although I've cut down a lot, I still have binges, which isn't great. For me, it's either all or nothing. Cheers

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