Sweet little mystery – Sarah Wilson’s ‘I Quit Sugar’ Cookbook

I have a confession to make. My name’s Melissa and I’m a sweet tooth. I always look at the dessert menu first in a restaurant, and I am a self-confessed, card-carrying chocoholic. And I love a drink. Or three.

But I am also an avid fan of Sarah Wilson and have been following her blog for some time. I love her positive, honest messages, and the whimsical, beautiful imagery of her posts. I watched with interest months ago as she invited countless people to follow her ‘I Quit Sugar’ program via Twitter and Facebook. It was like a science experiment that I was observing, waiting to see what happened. And what happened was people started raving about how delicious everything was and how they lost weight and felt amazing and wait…did I mention they GAVE UP SUGAR? Wahhhhh….

I didn’t wanting to have to commit to anything as drastic as cutting sugar out of my diet forever because quite obviously I WOULD DIE, but it had sparked my interest enough to give it a bit of a crack. I wanted to try and incorporate some Sarah’s ideas into my daily life, slowly and gently – after all, my New Year’s resolution this year was to stop eating processed foods, which I’ve been doing (mostly) quite well with.

When Sarah announced the ‘I Quit Sugar’ cookbook I was super excited, and as soon as it was available I printed it all off, as well as using the handy tool on the PDF version to create a shopping list, and got in the kitchen with my pile of new supplies, alongside some of my staples, like coconut oil, LSA, and chia seeds.

I went straight to the sweet section of the book, and started with the choc berry mud, made using frozen berries, ice cubes, avocado, spinach and raw cacao powder and a tiny bit of stevia powder all whizzed together in the blender. The first spoonful was a shock, as clearly my tastebuds were expecting something super-sweet and went into cardiac arrest, but after that it was just plain delicious, very smooth and creamy.

The second little treat I whipped up was for breakfast, using almond milk, chia seeds and some cinnamon. I also added some vanilla, and some raw cacao powder again, because the chocolate taste makes it feel a bit naughty and the end result is something like ridiculously satisfying adult Coco Pops but with NO SUGAR. This is my new work desk-breakfast for ever. Until I try one of Sarah’s other recipes for something else as easy and delicious anyway.

Next was the recipe for chocolate nut balls (are you sensing a theme yet?): I used a mix of walnuts, cashews and almonds, crushed in the food processor, and mixed with butter, coconut oil, almond spread, LSA, shredded cocunut, raw cacao powder (obviously I am going to have to start buying this in 10kg bags) vanilla and cinnamon. After a spell in the fridge, these little babies come out tasting like nutty chocolate crackles. The 7 year old has 2 of them in his lunchbox today and he’s pretty excited about it.

I also took the pumpkin porridge breakfast recipe and turned it into dinner, using pumpkin puree, coconut milk, some galangal, lemongrass, chilli, kaffir lime leaves, fish sauce and lime juice and stirring through some cooked quinoa. This was sensational.

This entire experiment has let me experience the true flavours of all the ingredients I’m cooking with, without having everything tinted with a sugary glow. It’s made me think alot more about how much sugar is in just about everything we eat. And best of all it’s given me a huge range of super-healthy options for making snacks at home out of ingredients I now have as standard in my pantry, and every single bite is doing my body the world of good. You’ve got to be happy with that!