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?

 

lindts-excellence-chilli-dark-chocolate

Review time: Dark chocolate brands

A little while ago I did a sugar comparison on dark chocolate brands to help you get an idea for those that are high and those that are low when it comes to sugar content.

I advocate dark chocolate as a lower sugar option in a number of instances e.g. better than a sugary low fat yoghurt, better than a Special K bar and better than a 100 calorie milk chocolate bar. However, as my previous post demonstrated, not all dark chocolate is equal.

I really used dark chocolate to help me transition from my post meal sweet fix for a period of time and I still dabble every now and then if I really fancy it. There are a world of brands and varieties out there. I can’t review them that fast because I simply don’t eat it often enough!

Nevertheless, here are some reviews on many of those that I compared and a few that have made it into my home!

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Willie’s Cacao Venezuelan Gold 72%

I ended up with this chocolate because I mentioned to my mum I wanted to try their 100% cacao block, and she was on the lookout for it as a present. I wanted the block because it’s good for grating and using in recipes. However, my mum found they had run out of it, and not wanting to disappoint, she picked me up a different one from the same brand.

This Venezuelan Gold 72% is about as sweet as I can tolerate – I don’t like to go below 72% cocoa solids these days (oh how things have changed!). This bar has quite a distinct unusual nutty flavour – sometimes I think I really like it, sometimes I’m not sure. It comes wrapped as two big thick squares, so it’s not great for breaking off and eating (I like thin and snappy) but it is superb for grating though. Try it grated over full fat natural yoghurt and frozen berries for a tasty, sugar sensible dessert.

Green & Blacks organic 85% (&75%)

This is a classic and the 70% is usually pretty widely available here in the UK at a reasonable price in most supermarkets and shops. A smooth texture and lovely taste, it’s quality dark chocolate.

I prefer the 85% as it’s a bit lower in sugar, but the 70% variety can come in a really cute little bar.  This is great for those that struggle to stop at one or two squares and need a bit of forced portion control…and it’s just so cute!

Lovechock

12% sugar (coconut nectar – so one of the healthiest forms of sugar)

80% cocoa solids

Dairy & gluten free

100% raw

OK, I was given a Lovechock bar  to try at a show I attended. It’s really really nice, so much so that I found I got ‘I could easily eat the whole bar’ syndrome. I don’t usually get this so I wonder if this has something to do with the different ingredients or if it’s just way up there in terms of taste. They also gave me an orange and goji berry one, which again was totally delicious, but a little higher in sugar and it put me on the border of being in sugar control!

If you want to try, you need to buy online, I found Detox Your World sells it for £2.78

lindts-excellence-chilli-dark-chocolatedark-chocolate-nero-and-bianco-fairtrade-and-organic

Lindt Excellence 90%

This is dark. It’s for the hardcore dark chocolatiers. It’s the lowest in sugar content, so it’s more bitter than sweet. I love this chocolate now, but I expect if you gave it to your Dairy Milk sugar-loving friend, they would screw up their face like they’d eaten a sour grape and say ‘That’s not chocolate.’ Try it and let me know how you get on!

It’s definitely one to work towards and if you can grow to like it as much as I do, then you can satisfy your chocolate fix with practically no sugar…result!

Nero & Bianco

I picked this up in my office canteen one day. I have to say I’m not a massive fan. It’s quite sickly sweet and doesn’t feel as good quality as other brands. I still have half a bar of it leftover that I haven’t touched. Enough said.

Lindt Excellence Chilli

This is so unusual and I love the chilli-choc combination. It’s a nice smooth texture with a great velvety kick afterwards.

However, despite being ‘dark’, it’s nearly 50% sugar, so beware. Don’t go eating this thinking you’re being dark chocolate virtuous, because I’d count it more towards the regular chocolate camp.

It was largely my dark chocolate of choice for a while, but as I became aware and I moved to the darker end of the scale it edged down the ranks. As my tastebuds continue to get used to a life less sweet, I probably won’t buy it again or at least for a while.

What other dark chocolate brands have you found and would like to share? I will continue to try some new ones over the next few months.

 

Thai-Italian-Seed-Stacked

Sugar-free snack review: Seeds Stacked

Last week someone commented on my Munchy Seeds Chilli Mix post and it reminded me I had another similar style product review I wanted to share with you. It’s always good to know about the new latest snacks on the block that keep you away from tempting sugary granola bars.

Seeds are an awesome sugar-free snack. You’ve got protein, good healthy fat and depending on the seed, a whole host of nutrients including:

  • zinc (think good skin)

  • iron

  • omega 3 fatty acids

  • selenium (immune system)

  • vitamin E (keeping cells strong)

  • phosphorus

As I said, I’ve already reviewed Munchy Seeds Chilli Mix, which were the first ones I found with a handy sized packet and an interesting flavour to spice things up a bit. Since then, I’ve also discovered the Seed Stacked brand, which I first picked up at The Vitality Show.

Seed Stacked come in two flavours: Thai and Italian.

Thai-Italian-Seed-StackedSeed-Stacked-in-Bowl-Thai-Italian

Thai

  • 20.4g protein per 100g

  • 12.4g sugar per 100g (less if you remove mango)

The thai flavour seeds have the spicy kick I really like and this is probably my favourite of the two. The packet is mostly sunflower and sesame seeds with a few pumpkin seeds sprinkled about.

However, if you look at the ingredients you will notice the word sugar! In the packet there seems to be the odd random chunk of mango which has been dried with added sugar. I don’t think it adds anything to the snack so ultimately  just remove the mango bits and you’ve got a really good sugar-free snack on your hands.

Italian 

  • 22.6g protein per 100g

  • 10.g sugar per 100g

Next up we have the Italian flavour. This is ridiculously nice sprinkled over a goats cheese and roasted vegetable salad. Again, there are these sun dried tomato bits which taste sweet to me, but there are quite a few and I’m not so obsessive that I will sit and pick them out. The number of ingredients on both of these packets is a bit more to my liking (think processed over clean eating), but they are great convenience fodder when you’re super busy.

So in summary, these aren’t sugar perfect, but they are a great savoury snack alternative. Really handy to add extra protein, healthy fat and explosive flavour to a lacking salad or as a grab and go snack.

You can buy Seed Stacked online in packs of 12 for £12 with free delivery or you can pick them up in Asda.

Anyone tried these and want to share their view? What do you think of the sugary mango chunks!?

I quit sugar chocolate cookbook review

Review: Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar Chocolate Cookbook

Love chocolate? Attempting to get on the low sugar train? These two things don’t tend to go hand in hand, do they? Fear not my chocoholic friend, help is at hand. Sarah Wilson has gone and made a completely sugar-free (and fructose-free) Chocolate Cookbook. I’ve purchased, read and road tested a recipe. So it’s only fair that I share my thoughts……

The book in a nutshell

  • A whopping 89 pages!
  • 74 recipes, although some are variations taken from other Sarah Wilson I Quit Sugar books.
  • Lots of extra and detailed information on things like the difference between cocoa and raw cacao.
  • Pictures, prettiness and pure salivating material.

I quit sugar chocolate cookbook review

My favourite bits

  • Substitution is easy (& encouraged). I don’t often have all of the random ingredients, and I like the fact that Sarah appreciates this and offers practical substitution options.
  • Sarah emphasises that these are treats and because they still taste sweet, they’re not appropriate whilst you’re on a formal sugar detox. I am in complete agreement, so this is possibly a better buy later on in your sugar-free journey.
  • Some combinations are brilliant. They’re creative and unusual, and I am thankful that they have been discovered!
  • Apparently you can have some of these chocolatey things for breakfast. Coco Pops you’d better watch out!

Sarah Wilson I quit sugar chocolate cookbook review

Know this

  • Recipes are generally made sweet tasting with rice malt syrup, stevia and coconut, so you’ll have to perhaps buy a few things. I will also add that fruit does not feature in any of the recipes.
  • Lots of the recipes involve coconut oil or butter so you will certainly need to get over any fat fear (if it’s still lurking).
  • Some recipes are what I would deem a bit ‘faffy’, but others are super easy and quick, so simple souls like me are well catered for.

I quit sugar chocolate cookbook reviewAll in all, I think it’s a good shout, especially if you’re at the point of being more or less safely off sugar, and you’re looking for a dessert alternative to natural yoghurt. You can buy and instantly download the Chocolate Cookbook for $16 which worked out just over £10. Some of these recipes are also great if you’re a serial baker or you want to impress some guests without a complete sugar blowout.

Here’s a picture of me with my adapted version of the Sweet Potato Fudge. I used walnuts and I didn’t add enough cocoa (whoops!). But they still turned out well and tasted mighty fine, hence the Happy Sugar Habits smile…

 I quit sugar chocolate cookbook review

Note: If you decide you want to purchase and you click through one of my links, I am an affiliate for Sarah and I get a small thank you. I’ve given my honest opinion on the book and am purely reviewing it because I genuinely think it’s good stuff for those on a sugar-free journey. All proceeds go to support the continuation of this blog. 

Any other good sugar-free resources you know about? Feel free to comment and by doing so you’ll be sharing the love with all who read this post.

Nakd cereal bars review

Review: Nakd cereal bars

Now I was in a quandary when Natural Balance Foods wanted to send me some of their Nakd cereal bars to review. I actually had to sleep on it. Why? Because at one point, these little bad boys fed my sugar addiction. They are not the most sugar saintly thing on the planet. Would it be right to review on my blog? And could I live in peace with a whole box of them in the house?

I thought about those who actually might be reading the post, and I figured I could put together quite an insightful piece on these. It could help those at different points of their sugar-free journey, in different ways. So here’s a review; a handy comparison on a sugar front (they sent me every flavour); and my opinion on when I think eating these is most appropriate.

Nakd cereal bar review: The good and bad

Nakd cereal bars review

One for the chocoholics!

Cereal bars were my thing. I was at the forefront of trying the latest one. They were the supposedly ‘healthy’ way to cure my sweet fix. About 2 years ago I discovered Nakd and I liked them a lot, for the following reasons:

  • Made with 100% natural ingredients i.e. not overly processed
  • Contain mainly just fruits and nuts. Not refined sticky rice puffs like other cereal bars
  • They are pretty substantial and do fill a gap
  • They have a little protein from the nuts
  • They taste delicious (I LOVED the cocoa orange one)

However, on a sugar front they are not so great, due to the following:

  • Most bars are made with dates and raisins. Nearly all of them are made with approximately 50% dates and then another 10-15% raisins on top.
  • Dates and raisins are two of the highest and most concentrated forms of sugar (and fructose) around. Some would even compare them to sweets.
  • They are big portions. 35g in a packet equals more sugar in one go (hard to not eat the whole thing)

How much sugar?

On average we’re talking 14-15g sugar per bar. This is near enough 4 teaspoons which is quite a lot in one hit. I’d say I eat 25g of natural sugar a day now, so it’s a big proportion of that. I found the average cereal bar, for example a Special K, usually was around 7g, so these are over double that. Natural sugars yes, but high in sugar nonetheless.

Nakd cereal bars review

Artistic shot of Nakd bars on my laptop!

Here’s a list of the lowest to highest sugar content by flavour:

  • Ginger Bread 11g
  • Pecan Pie 12g
  • Cashew Cookie 14g
  • Cocoa Orange 14g
  • Cocoa Delight 15g
  • Cocoa Mint 15g
  • Berry Delight 16g
  • Caffe Mocha 17g
  • Rhubarb & Custard 18g

The lower sugar ones are my favourite anyway and the Rhubarb & Custard tastes a bit chemical-like, so that makes picking easy in my eyes.

When to eat these?

So the question is, when are these appropriate? Here’s my view:

1. As a ‘better’ substitute/h4>
If you’ve decided you’re going to eat something sweet and are about to reach for a chocolate bar, a flapjack or a full on dessert, these are a better substitute. They were a definite ‘bridge’ for me in terms of switching bad foods to ‘better’ foods. However, now I would have a square of dark chocolate over one of these, and some greek yoghurt over that. I believe somewhat in a progressive journey.

2. When hungover

I’m most likely to have one of these when I’ve indulged on alcohol the night before. I’ve written about alcohol and blood sugar before, where you might find your body is craving energy while it processes the booze. One of these cereal bars can provide that sugar hit in a more natural way than a bottle of Lucozade if you’re on the go, and are desperately feeling awful.

In summary…

I’m hoping this post has been helpful to you wherever you are on your low sugar journey. I do think Nakd bars have a lot of sugar and they certainly aren’t something I’d advise to eat if you’re actively looking to cut down. They are a big NO for those on my Mentor Me Off Sugar programme and not something I eat regularly these days.

However, I appreciate, everyone is different and at varying stages of lowering sugar, so really, it’s your call. Some are mighty tasty and they are a lot ‘better’ than other sweet things. At least now you can save yourself some sugar credits by opting for the lower sugar ginger bread flavour and you’re fully aware of how much sugar you’re putting away when eating one.

I can’t believe I managed to sit with these on my desk and not eat all morning. A good sign I must have eaten a decent enough protein filled breakfast, and that I’m ‘safe’ from falling back to old ways.

If this has been useful please share, like, comment or wave ;)

What do you think of Nakd bars? I would really love to hear your thoughts on these….favourite flavour, when you eat them etc.