low sugar lifestyle reviews

Low sugar lifestyle product reviews: July/Aug 2016

See below the video for timestamps so you can skip to different products and get more information on each one.

Enjoy!

Timestamps & links

00:28 Egg snack pots

Pick them up in on the go sections at many of the major shops and supermarkets e.g. Sainsburys and Pret A Manger

01:07 Dr Kargs Wholegrain Organic Emmental crispbreads

Get them in Sainsburys, Tesco, Ocado.

02:00 Twinings liquorice tea

Also check out my review of Pukka Detox tea

2:45 Choc Chick chocolate making kit

Also check out my video review of Sweet Freedom

5:48 Rebel Kitchen coconut water

7: 44 Oatly Oat Drink and Provamel Cashew Milk

Please do comment below with any thoughts or other products you’d like me to review.

i-quit-sugar-program-sarah-wilson

Sarah Wilson I Quit Sugar online program review: Is it right for you?

Are you thinking about enrolling on the IQS8W Program?

Curious to know what’s included, what works and if the program is a good fit for you?

Here I lay out a comprehensive I Quit Sugar review, specifically the 8 week online programme.

I'll share my own experience from when I did it; what the benefits are of this particular sugar detox programme and outline what considerations you need to make before signing up.

I quit sugar for life

The rise of the sugar detox

So I think it’s fair to say sugar detox programmes are on the up!

Now that sugar is well known for being dietary culprit No. 1 and it's ill effects are understood, understandably many people are wanting to significantly reduce the amount they’re eating - quickly and with some sort of guidance. 

Once you have that penny drop realisation that you’re eating a heck of a lot more sugar that you thought and you know your sweet tooth is playing on you in less desirable ways, you start looking at your options.

Should you go cold turkey or reduce gradually? Should you consider natural sugars like fruit? Should you use other sugar substitutes?

honey-sugar-substitutes

About the I Quit Sugar 8W Programme

The I Quit Sugar online programme provides an answer to these and came off the back of Sarah Wilson’s hugely successful I Quit Sugar & I Quit Sugar Cookbooks.

I have followed Sarah and I Quit Sugar for nearly 4 years now and their work is fantastic. It educates, inspires and champions lower sugar living in a non dogmatic approach. I’m a huge, huge fan having most of the books and cooking many of the recipes regularly.

The online programme gives you full meal plans, recipes, e-mail support and community via a forum and social media.

What are my loves?

  • Practical recipes & meal plans
  • Organisational tips
  • E-mail information
  • Social media community
  • Enough time to change habits

Recipes & meal plans

Quite frankly, the simple, delicious IQS recipes are everyday easy and busy-fitting. You get exclusive access to 93 recipes that aren’t on the free blog website and each week your recipes are cleverly organised into a food waste optimised meal plan and shopping list. If you value your time and want the hassle taken out of healthy meal planning or want a new injection of recipe ideas, this is a huge benefit.

Organisational Tips

The programme encourages you to have a Sunday cook up preparation session where you make things like pureed pumpkin mash or prepare your eggs so that you save food prep time in the week.

I learnt a ton of new things via this part of the programme that I still do today. ​

Even if you don’t follow the meal plans exactly (I tend not to do this), but you use the programme to learn and test out all the new healthy organisation tips, this is of great value to someone who is quite new into cooking lots of sugar-free meals at home and just needs to get a bit more organised.

butternutsquash-mash

E-mail information

The weekly e-mails keep you engaged with much wider information on tips to reduce cravings, theories on changing habits and some great background reading to get you nicely up to sugar speed.

Social media community

Whilst they have a very active forum, I actually think the social media community is the most valuable whilst on the programme. It’s super easy to search the #IQS8WP hashtag and engage with everyone else who is preparing and eating the same dinner as you. It incentivises you to make an effort with food presentation which makes you enjoy the food more and it’s super fun to have a programme so interactive.

Enough time to change habits

I really love that the IQS8WP is a full 8 weeks long. This is super important where it moves away from a quick fix diet and really helps you transition into a low sugar lifestyle. The programme takes you through a few weeks where fruit is limited but then re-introduces this in the last few weeks as it does with rice malt syrup (the sugar substitute of choice).

Improvements

As far as it exists as a ‘sugar detox’ programme (I will explain my views on this later), I really do feel like the IQS team have it covered.

Only slight improvements that could be made that I have come across reading other reviews could be the fact it’s not as couple or family friendly or low income adapted where it requires you to cook in bulk and have access to a lot of freezer space. But I think if anything learning the techniques will actually help you save money in the long run.

Obviously the programme doesn't deep dive as much into mindset, emotional eating and binge eating which can all be ​important factors in a successful transition. I don't think they can include everything though and I think IQS is wise just sticking to doing the programme as well as they do.  

i-quit-sugar-8-week-programme

My experience on the programme

I actually did the programme when it first came out back in 2013 and each round they improve so I know it's way more advanced for these current rounds. 

I wasn’t coming into it a huge sugar fiend as I had already lowered the sugar in my diet and previously had completed the same format through Sarah’s original I Quit Sugar book.

However, I was keen to get the extra recipes, learn new organisational tips and inject some new inspiration for planning out my meals. I saw it as a bit of a refresher and obviously I was curious too!

Things to consider before signing up

This is IMPORTANT! :)

Before deciding to enrol on the IQS8WP it’s worth you really understanding the nature of your own relationship with sugar and exactly where you are.

I say this because I’ve seen first hand that a programme like this can work absolute wonders for some and do the opposite to others. The IQS programme delivers amazing value but only if you’re at the right place for it.

Things to note are:

  • It is a diet
  • It will make you think about food more (and assign attention bandwidth to it)
  • It somewhat removes your inclination to intuitively eat for yourself
  • It can excaberate all or nothing mindset patterns or binge eating behaviour

Although touted as a lifestyle, the actual 8 weeks are putting restrictions and eliciting a form of control over what you eat - so it is a diet. 

However that doesn't mean to say you can't transition what you learn into a lifestyle afterwards - and many do. It's just accepting initially that this is a diet and understanding the implications of that. 

Like with any diet, you will on a day to day basis become more conscious of what you eat. You are likely to think about food more, even think about sugar more (very likely at the start) and naturally assign your attention to eating according to the plan and rules rather than what feels more intuitively right for you and your body/hunger that day. 

This can be a good thing if you were previously unaware of sugar; your bad habits or sweet cravings were getting the better of you; and you know a bit of structure will get you into a healthy gear and teach you loads about yourself.

I personally embrace a intuitive eating and a long term no-diet approach, but for sugar with it's certain 'addictive' qualities, I fully appreciate the value in a structured programme (or sugar detox) to help someone tame down their cravings and recalibrate their sweet tastebuds for a period of time.

If I didn't believe this, I wouldn't be reviewing this programme!

HOWEVER, a sugar detox is not so good if you’ve been on loads of diets before (especially sugar related ones); you have strong all or nothing mindset patterns; and you judge yourself heavily if you don’t stick to things.

If you recognise any form of binge pattern behaviour in yourself, I ask you take some serious consideration on your motivations before enrolling.

A great idea would be to take my Sugar Addiction Quiz and Test to help you get a handle of what’s really going on and if you’re still not sure about the IQS8WP and if it’s right for you right now then just drop me an e-mail.

Is it worth the £80 (or $150)?

This is down to you, your income level, your current ‘improvement’ priorities and what you value e.g. accountability, creative meal plans etc. 

The IQS8WP is pricer than a standard sugar detox programme - you can of course always get the book to DIY it, or find another cheaper programme (although most are a lot shorter).

But if you know you will find significant value in the fact it’s 8 weeks, the community aspect, the organisation-optimised meal plans and the weekly structure, it’s probably is worth the money (relative income level depending).

It’s great if you can look at what you spend elsewhere and make a budget reallocation e.g. cut one night of drinking wine, stop the PM cake run and give up a clothes shopping trip for a month or two. Calculate how much you spend on chocolate in 8 weeks and it might even cover it!

I’ve recently decided I want to do more yoga in London (read EXPENSIVE!) so I’m trying to work out a wine-yoga trade off that I’m happy with so that I can make this happen a bit more (note, I’m by no means trading all the wine...just cutting out a little excess!).

I’ve also just had an ex-client e-mail me to say his blood tests have all dramatically in the past year since his sugar change and he’s reduced his risk of serious liver disease and gout significantly.

An investment in your health like this can pay off more than you even anticipate and help you be a healthier happier Mum, friend, employee etc. for years to come.

IQS 8-Week Program

In summary

So there you have it, my review of the queen of all sugar detoxes - the I Quit Sugar 8 Week Program.

To round up, really understand the unique value points of the the IQS8WP - the community, the organisational element and the length of support - and weigh this up with what you’re looking for.

Make sure you consider your current relationship with food and sugar before you enrol. The programme and quality of material in my opinion is nothing short of excellent and it will only be ineffective if you’re not in the right place for it.

Please do my quiz and test and if you're still not sure comment below. 

The next round starts on the 9th June 2016 and registrations close on the 7th June.

You can sign up here.

If you do enrol, GOOD LUCK - I’d love you to keep in touch and let me know how you go!

Laura xx

Note: I am a proud IQS affiliate and do get a kickback if you enrol via one of my links (thanks if you do!). I only share stuff of great value and share my honest opinion to help you make the best choices for YOU. As I said, feel free to e-mail me if you’re feeling super stuck on if to go for it!

sugarfree-product-reviews

Low sugar lifestyle product reviews (including Nakd bars!!)

 

Nakd bars – Read Are Nakd bars good for you and you might also find Dates: Good sugar substitute or sugar bomb? helpful too.

Madecasse Madagascar 80% dark chocolate which you can buy in Waitrose for £2.99. Also check out my other video on the sugar in different %’s of dark chocolate.

Check out Nothing But Mange Tout & Red Pepper Snacks.

I know what I say in the video around natural sugars is confusing so read more about what you need to know about fructose here.

Aduna World Moringa Powder. Buy in Holland & Barratt for £7.99

Lindwood Milled Flaxseed with Bio Cultures & Vitamin D £5.79 I like the vitamin D one as it’s something many are deficient in and with the bio cultures you get your bang for your buck with this I feel!

Biona Organic Cuisine Milk & Odourless which you can purchase from Ocado for £4.79 here.

Merchant Gormet quinoa £1.99

Mind Over Medicine by Lissa Rankin, M.D Buy from Amazon here for £7.79 on Kindle

That’s it phew! Any other products you’d like me to honestly review or try please let me know in a comment below.

 

Laura xx

 

mylk-courgette-porridge

Review: Rebel Kitchen Mylks

I don’t know about everywhere else in in the world, but it seems London is going a bit health crazy at the moment. On the weekend I found myself at the trendy Good Life Eatery with a Matcha unsweetened almond milk latte! It was delightfully un-sweet and a far cry from the Starbucks Chai Tea Lattes I used to be a bit obsessed with…
matcha-greentea-latte

With everyone all of a sudden looking for sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free and the rest of it, there are of course a number products entering the picture.

Recently I was kindly offered to be sent some Rebel Kitchen Mylks and thought I would do a bit of a review/write up on these as they seem to be the ‘in vogue’ product of the moment.

rebel-kitchen-alldrinks
Now before saying ‘yes’ to getting sent this pretty little parcel, I was actually aware of their ingredients because I’d already checked them out a while back. I knew they were relatively high in natural sugars of the date variety (my former fructose obsession), but because I now can have some natural sugar in my diet without fantising daily about carrot cake (i.e. I have control), I was curious to see what all the ‘Mylk’ fuss was about.
mylk-ingredients

Dairy-free but not sugar-free

I think the most important thing to point out with these drinks is that although refined sugar-free, these ‘Mylks’ are still relatively high in natural sugars and it’s important to be aware of that. Most of them have 7.4g per 100ml and with a larger carton containing 330ml, that’s just over 24g per one.
mylk-nutritional-info

Now although that is quite high for a drink, some of that sugar is likely coming from coconut milk and actually they don’t taste overly sickly sweet which means they are probably not as high in fructose as you might think (I have a highly sensitised sweet palette to determine this). It is quite hard to work out exactly how much fructose are in these so I’m afraid my tastebuds are the best test I can offer right now.

I also have to admit, they’re rather delicious. Dangerously delicious even – you could easily knock back that 24g bottle in one swoop, but you can also make the handy screw-top cartons stretch for 2-3 portions which helps. All of the flavours are slightly different, but they all have this satisfying earthy flavour and are super refreshing when served very cold. If you miss certain flavours like artificial banana or chocolate orange, you can get your natural sweet milk fix here for sure. Whilst quite high in sugar, they’re a much better option than those Weetabix drinks I’ve seen advertised on every other billboard around London!

What I think is good is that they are a drink option that’s not water and that is naturally sweet rather than refined sweet. Apart from some coconut water brands, there really aren’t much other low or natural sugar options on the drinks front so I appreciate the choice they give people.

How to use

Because of the sugar content, I wouldn’t recommend grabbing these as a regular ‘healthy’ drink because, like dates did for me a while back, the date syrup in these might make you fancy sweet a little bit more than you’d like, thus not moving you towards that place of control. Of course, for those who are dairy-free who want chocolate milk in their life, they’re a godsend, but if you’re not dairy-free, then the fact they’re dairy-free isn’t really doing much for you in terms of health benefit, if you get what I mean?

If you’re trying to keep control on your sugar cravings, try by all means, but treat them as a treat like other sweet things. I made these last a few weeks and picked my moments carefully. They served as something nice to have when I was slightly hungover after my birthday night – a whole lot healthier than a very sugary juice or fizzy drink which I know many people resort to on a hangover. I also took one of the smaller ones (200ml) in my bag as a post workout refuel and on other days I just decided I would indulge a little. I was just mindful when doing so.

I do also think you can also use them cleverly to naturally sweeten things. I used half a carton (165ml, 12g sugar) to add natural sweetness to some courgette porridge and it was delicious. I also used half a carton one day to sweeten a green smoothie instead of fruit.

Again, this is your call depending on how much control you feel over your cravings but I hope this review was helpful. They are delicious and are much healthier than other drinks, but just be aware of the total natural sugar content per carton.

Have you tried the Rebel Kitchen Mylks? What did you think? Would love to hear your thoughts and if you feel you can have them in a craving controlled lower sugar diet?

IMG_5135

Review: Lizi’s Low Sugar Granola (video)

Before you watch the video I just want to say I kept saying Lindsey instead of Lizi (Very sorry Lizi’s Granola for this!). I always manage to do something when it comes to video blogging (one time I created my own word ‘diabesity’ without realising!)

You can buy Lizi’s Low Sugar from their website here for £3.75 a bag. I’ve also seen it’s now stocked in As Nature Intended stores.

Also watch my video on Goji berries here

IMG_5135

IMG_5130

My protein collage

Foodstuff review: Beef jerky, cashew butter & dried coconut!

As I bumble my way through my low sugar lifestyle, it’s nice to keep it fresh and try various products that might enhance the experience. After all, variety is the spice of life eh? Over the past month I’ve been trying some new products and so this post consists of a few reviews that you might be interested in trying at some point too.

Just to be clear, these products were sent to me for free. Whilst this a nice perk of blogging there are in fact quite a few products I turn down.  I am super selective about what I review and I am completely honest in my views on things. The other day I was asked if I wanted to review a range of ‘healthy’ cereals that were packed full of sugar. Er, no.

Saying that I have reviewed Nakd bars which I don’t eat regularly, but the review serves a purpose and is very useful if you’re a sucker for squidgy condensed dried fruit in a bar (like I was). Definitely read that one if you haven’t already.

Anyway, onto the reviews…

I was sent these products by www.myprotein.com , a sports nutrition website which sells lots of different health-sport related products online. There were all sorts of energy bars, gels etc. that were not for me (because they contain sugar) but alas I did find some snacks I hadn’t tried before that fitted with requirements, so here they are…

A giant tub of cashew butter

cashew butter

I’ve written about my love of almond butter before but I had never tried cashew butter which is strange because I love cashew nuts. Safe to say this stuff is delicious, almost dangerously so. It’s a great source of fat and protein.  I’ve been drizzling it over my buckwheat (or sometimes just normal) porridge, adding a tablespoon to a smoothie and I also even made these low sugar grain free sweet potato & cashew cakes with it.

A handy trick if you’re suffering post meal sweet cravings is to get a teaspoon of this, sprinkle on some cacao nibs and have it with a cup of tea. It’s a fructose-free treat but feels super indulgent. Make sure you savour every creamy morsel that goes in your mouth!

A 1kg tub is £10.99 , which I feel is quite a good price. Previously I was paying £4 a time for a diddley little 170g almond butter that wouldn’t last very long. Cashew butter…I say thumbs up and give it a go :)

Update: I just want to add that this cashew butter does contain 4% of organic sunflower oil. Now I on the whole try to avoid vegetable oils like sunflower as they are generally overly processed and somewhat ‘toxic’. However, avoiding them completely in life is extremely hard and when it comes to finding a tasty sugar-free foodstuff that you can experiment with, I was prepared to let the small amount of oil here off the hook. It depends where you sit on this.

Dried Coconut

Now I’m sorry, but I forgot to take a picture of this before I ate the whole pack which was slightly irresponsible of me! That shows how much I did in fact enjoy this unusual form of coconut. I recommend coconut flakes and pieces as a sweet-tasting fructose-free substitute, but I have never had this somewhat in-between form. Think thicker than a flake, but not a chunk.

I can conclude that the result is a very satisfying snack or semi-sweet fix, especially if you’re at war with a late night or post meal craving. Yes they are high fat, and somewhat addictive in their own right (if you like coconut a lot), so you do need to exercise control over portions as it’s easy to just pick from the bag. However, I would buy another bag of dried coconut for sure, even if they are £7.99 a pop (note: a bag goes a long way and lasts well).

Beef Jerky & Bitlong

Beef jerky

Now I had never tried this before and I was curious. It’s never really appealed to me and I’m not a massive red meat eater to be honest. Myprotein.com kindly sent me loads of the stuff, in a variety of flavours (Original, smoked, cajun & Teryaki). Now the good thing about beef jerky as a snack is it a mega source of protein and will do a very good job of steadying the blood sugar and keeping you full. The packets are very handy for taking to work or out and about snacking too. This stuff is so substantial I couldn’t eat a whole packet. A pack gives you a whopping 25g of protein in 139 calories which is serious muscle building stuff.

However, these products do contain sugar and other ingredients which don’t quite align to my ‘clean eating’ philosophy. The sugar isn’t loads, we’re talking just 1.7g per 100g which is very little and isn’t going to drive some mental cravings, but it’s important to point out as it is added sugar.  I’d still classify them as a ‘savoury’ snack and in my opinion they’re far healthier than a Special K bar, but personally I’m still not a raving beef jerky fan and won’t be eating this regularly.

Saying that,  I was popular in the pub when I whipped out a packet one evening amongst after work drinks for my colleagues to try – healthier than crisps that’s for sure! My brother was also delighted at them so maybe this is a good option for the sugar-addicted meat lovers out there.

So there’s my lowdown on some new foods that have made their debut in my kitchen the past few months. Have you tried any of them? Have nut butters or coconut flakes helped you overcome cravings in the past? And finally, what do you think of beef jerky? Is it a love hate Marmite type thing?!

Laura x

Me sarah wilson

Sarah Wilson I Quit Sugar for Life Book review

So a few weeks ago I was very honoured to meet the wonderful Sarah Wilson at her London I Quit Sugar for Life book review. I was in awe, I was a little starstruck and I’m delighted to share my thoughts on her book with you after utterly devouring it.

Me sarah wilson

Firstly, Sarah has been an incredible inspiration for me over the past 18 months in a number of ways. She’s certainly helped me along my own sugar-free journey with delicious recipes and great tips, but she’s also been a role model for me in helping me develop Happy Sugar Habits and pursuing this as a line of work I can dedicate myself to in a bid to spread a message I really believe in and live by. She’s continued to motivate me to inspire others with my own story and speak out in my own way about something (sugar & sugar ‘addiction’) that gets a fair bit of pushback at times.

 I Quit Sugar for Life

So what do I think of the book? Well, I quite simply love it. It’s pitched as ‘Your fad-free wholefoods wellness code’ and that’s really what it is. It’s a health bible that can support a balanced and super nutritious healthy lifestyle rather than a regimented totally ‘sugar-free’ diet – which I certainly don’t live these days.

What do I particularly love?

Tips & tricks for everyone – even if you’re not sugar-free or don’t want to go sugar-free, there’s enough other health busting knowledge in this book to make some very positive changes that will help you keep full, keep nourished and keep happy. I don’t think anyone can do any harm adding more green to their diet right?

A focus on leftovers and efficiency – Admittedly I’m a bit (probably an understatement) particular about this too. I have been known to eat some very strange things just because I’m trying to eat things up. Sarah provides some very very clever ideas to help you do your part on reducing food waste which I love. Herbs frozen in stock cubes ready to use…genius!

Simple recipes – Whilst the occasional recipe does have an ingredients list that’s rather long (there’s a layer cake recipe that would take me a whole weekend), most of the recipes are with fewer ingredients and with less ‘faff’ than many other recipe books. This makes sugar-free living accessible to many and practical. Some of the ingredients are a bit specialist, where you can’t find it all in your local Tesco. However, the specialist ingredients are used throughout the book so you’re going to use it up if you cook the recipes often.

Sarah wilson signed book (please re-size)

Things to note

Sarah doesn’t really align to vegan and is quite strong on her view on the nutritional benefit of animal protein. She actually answered this question directly at the book launch. Similarly like me, she is also fine with dairy (make sure it’s good quality and full fat!). I think this is a personal thing for everyone, but important to be aware of before you buy (in case you’re intolerant or very anti-animal products).

If you’re a fish lover rather than a meat lover like me, there aren’t loads of fish recipes. Just something I noticed because salmon, which is one of my favourite foods, doesn’t feature much.

There’s quite a heavy use of rice malt syrup in the ‘sweet recipes’. Because rice malt syrup is so low in fructose, you have to use quite a bit of it. I don’t like to rely or swing too heavily when it comes to one sugar substitute (read why here). I imagine I’ll mix these recipes up a bit with other substitutes or keep them for every now and then rather than weekly.

Note: If you’re churning through rice malt syrup like no tomorrow thinking all the recipes are ‘healthy’ then I would say it’s time to check in where you are with cravings etc. As Sarah does re-iterate, it’s important to note that the ‘sweet’ recipes are still a treat. In that sense I think it’s also OK to have coconut sugar, raw honey and higher fructose things like bananas on occasion too, but just to not go mental and to make sure you feel in control with it all.

Overall

Many of Sarah’s principles I completely and utterly align with – maximising nutrition, saving waste, cooking efficiently, eating protein & fat with all meals and having fun with it. There are some things I do a bit differently, so I pick what I like and blend it into my very own ‘wellness code’. I’m pretty sure that’s what Sarah wants you to do with this book.

The recipes, pictures, writing style, structure and layout of the book are for me also what makes this such a beautiful health resource. It’s a pleasure to browse through, it makes you excited about health and it inspires you to get in the kitchen cooking up you own wholefood world of goodness. It makes it all fun and pretty – thank you Sarah!

I’d strongly recommend I Quit Sugar for Life and Sarah’s other books for anyone looking to start out in the world of sugar-free. You can also read my similar reviews of her 8-week programme book and her chocolate cookbook.

Where to buy them?

All the ebook versions can be bought on the I Quit Sugar website and downloaded instantly. You can buy the print versions of I Quit Sugar (£7.00 + delivery) and I Quit Sugar for Life (£10.00 +delivery) both on Amazon.

Sarah wilson books banner

Note: I am an affiliate of Sarah’s so I do get a little something when you click these links which helps me bring more Happy Sugar Habits stuff to you!

Competition

I quit sugar for life

Sarah has kindly donated three printed books as a giveaway. If you’d like to be in with a chance of winning, just comment below and tell me about where you are with sugar at the moment (I will reply to everyone!). For extra entries you can like the Happy Sugar Habits Facebook page and/or tweet the following:

I just entered the Happy Sugar Habits competition with @lauraj_thomas to win a copy of @_sarahwilson_ #IQSforlife http://happysugarhabits.com/?p=3169

WIN a copy of @_sarahwilson_ #IQSforlife with the Happy Sugar Habits competition @lauraj_thomas. Enter here http://happysugarhabits.com/?p=3169

Competition closes on the 26th May 2014 and winners will be chosen at random. Good luck!

Aside from the competition, have any of you already got the book? What do you think of Sarah Wilson and the IQS books? Leave a comment and let me know :)

Laura x

Advances-in-sugar-free-snacking-laura-thomas-happy-sugar-habits

Advances in sugar-free snacking

I’m impressed. I’ve just walked out of Pret A Manger and was in awe of the latest sugar-free goodies to feast my eyes. So I’d thought I’d write about the advances in sugar-free snacking I’ve noticed today and highlight some of my favourite picks, explaining why.

I think someone is listening!

It seems that things are starting to change when it comes to out and about sugar-free snacking . I’m increasingly noticing ‘sugar-free’ products or low sugar options. Whilst you still need to be cautious of ‘sugar-free’ as a health claim (read here for why), the range of things I can actually buy and eat these days when out seems to be increasing (hooray!). This is mostly down to shifting demand, where our choices as a consumer drive sales and profits which eventually speak to the people at the top. If you’ve been avoiding sugary shop bought affair for a while, take pride in the fact it’s working!

Advances-in-sugar-free-snacking-laura-thomas-happy-sugar-habits

Practical sugar-free snacking

I remember when I put together my low-sugar snack guide in 2012, I walked into Pret A Manager and found hardly anything that I could go for. It was quite depressing at the time. There were nuts and maybe a bag of popcorn, but that was it. Fast forward 18 months and they’ve bought out this cute little range of snack tubs, kale chips and cold savoury soups.

Which products did I like?

Egg and spinach protein pot – Great as a snack or for breakfast on the go. A cheap option too at £1.50 as I know a round in Pret can suddenly add up.

Crayfish & quinoa protein pot – With over 15g of protein, this will keep you mega full as a snack!

A salmon based snack pot – Can’t find it on the website but it was there! Let me know if you find this one.

Kale chips – why buy normal crisps when you have such a tasty healthy option?

Garden pea & mint soup – I love cold soups. You could also check out my easy cucumber and avocado number to make at home.

Pret also have a pretty hefty range of salads are aren’t afraid to add a good portion of avocado to some of them (a super filling fat source) e.g. this crayfish & avocado number.

The salads are colourful (which means nutritionally dense), many have a decent amount of protein (for a shop bought salad at least) and from the ones I’ve tried, they’re pretty tasty. Obviously watch out for sugary dressings, but since they come separately, you can leave these off your salad or just use a smaller portion.

Watch out for this

I did also notice that Pret had some green juices in stock. I had a major success in New York discovering a fab low sugar green juice and so I assumed these were going to be similar…

Being suddenly in a major rush (after spending too long taking flipping pictures – typical me!), I grabbed one that seemed to have mostly greens with a view to trying it out. However, upon my first thirsty sip, I knew straight away this was a sugar bomb. The green colour is deceiving with these juices. This seemingly virtuous ‘Green Goodness’ was predominantly an apple juice (over 60%) with some added extras (cucumber, spinach etc. in smaller proportions). With over 40g of sugar per bottle, despite being ‘natural’, this was not my cup of tea and was way too sugary.

A green juice is of course loads better than a coke and many other drinks. So for those needing more greens in their life (Mum are you reading?) it’s a healthy swap. However, for those who are trying to get a handle on cravings and keep an eye on total fructose, just be aware of ‘Green Goodness’ type juices because they’re not quite as ‘Good’ as they seem.

Anyway, I guess it goes to say, well done Pret. These new products were nice to see and made me very happy one fine Thursday. I know buying on the go can be notoriously hard on low sugar-diet and it’s great to see things developing to give us more delicious & tasty options.

Have you spotted some good low sugar snacks out and about? Would you try any of these Pret options? Ever been a little bit mislead by a ‘green juice’ like me? Would love to hear from you so please share your thoughts.

teasmall

Handy tea themed gifts ideas & reviews

With Secret Santa’s going off all over the place and Christmas fever taking over, there are sugary themed presents everywhere yes, but there are also some sugar-friendly presents too…. including festive ‘tea’ sets and unusual flavours to balance things out a little.

I’d thought I’d compile a mini tea review list as an alternative source of sugar-free gifts. I’m quite a fan of tea in all its forms. Tea was a pivotal part of my sugar-free journey and I enjoy trying and testing new ones (officially a tea geek if they exist).

So here are some sugar-friendly teas I’ve tried recently that could work as gifts or stocking fillers

Teapigs Popcorn tea

Popcorn? Tea? Oh yes. This I think is a cool stocking filler just because of the novelty. This Teapigs Popcorn tea smells somewhat like popcorn, but in my opinion it doesn’t really taste like it. I can sense what’s it trying to do. Like fruity teas the smell is different to the taste. It doesn’t blow my mind but I found this grew on me the more I had it. The flavour comes out as quite a light refreshing green tea and nowhere near as bitter as when you leave a green tea bag in a long time.

Teapigs popcorn tea review

Pukka exquisite collection

Now I’m a sucker for a pretty tin, so I ‘ooohed’ at this before I even tried what was inside the Pukka exquisite collection. The first tea is the Pukka peppermint & licorice which is insanely sweet. When I first tried it it was so sweet that I actually thought there might be sugar in the tea bag (there isn’t, don’t worry). This tea is seriously good if you or the person you’re buying for is looking for a sweet post meal craving buster. The other ‘Love’ tea is a calming chamomile blend. I’m not a massive camomile fan myself, but as I said, I like the tin!

Pukka exquisite tea review

Honeybush rose petal tea

Just one to add because it’s really unusual. Honeybush is known as the ‘wellness tea’ because it’s got a number of medicinal properties that are good for you. It’s a bit different because it’s a sweet tasting floral tea. The smell somewhat resembles my Grandmas’s pot pourri mixed with honey, but the taste is delicate, naturally sweet and at the same time refreshing. It’s really nice and I was kindly sent some of this to try, just so I became of Honeybush. It could be the new tea trend but I haven’t found any over here in the UK yet so keep an eye out otherwise you can get it send over from Honeybush Health if you want to go very unusual in your tea themed gift.

Pukka Original Chai tea

I’m a big big fan of chai tea especially at Christmas. I have traditionally bought Twinings Chai tea so I’d thought I’d try another. This Pukka Original Chai tea is different, it’s lighter and so weaker if you have it with milk like I do. It’s a lot spicier than the Twinings Chai tea with more of a kick thanks to the ginger and cardamom. I add extra cinnamon and nutmeg on top to spice it up even more. Even if you don’t like this one, there’s another two to try in the range; Green Chai and Vanilla Chai.

Pukka chai tea review

Other sweetish teas I’ve got on my wishlist (let’s see if my Mum reads this!). You could put these on yours too…

Clipper after mints review

Other random tea gifts I’ve come across:

  • I’ve had many incidents with bashing open my tea strainer so this floating one could solve some issues there.

  • Twinings always have a great selection of tea gifts with super pretty boxes and tins that are good for secret Santa presents

  • You could get a ‘TEA REVIVES YOU’ tea themed tea towel. Just saying!

ttrevives-ia9ed7133198c805b62defc3fc2f68691

 

Right I’m thoroughly tea-ed out here. Any other teas that you’re loving at the moment or have on your list? What non-sugary food/drink presents have you seen out and about that are a good alternative?