WELL BEING & OTHER STORIES

Recipes, rituals and other stories to realign the body and mind

sugar free

A Note on Fruit

Beauty, Lifestyle, Natural Living, Sweets + Desserts, Vegan, Vegetarian, Wellbeingdanielle coppermanComment
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Fruit causes all kinds of controversy within the wellness industry, and for years and years I was genuinely scared of it. An ex-personal trainer once told me the fruit I was eating was what was prohibiting me from losing weight, and that I should only be eating berries, if anything. That was almost 5 years ago, and it’s only been in the last few months that I’ve finally felt confident enough to bring fruit back into my diet. I’m here to tell you that I not only feel amazing, I’m looking more toned than ever too. Below, I’ve outlined a few pieces of advice that helped to encourage me to incorporate fruit back into my diet, along with a few common misconceptions on fruit and weight management.

1. People think fruit makes you gain weight because it contains sugar. To some extent, this is a valid theory, but the sugar in fruit is not the same as processed or isolated sugars. Fruits contain sugars, sure, but they also contain fibre and all kinds of vitamins and minerals, in balanced and natural amounts; not to mention all the water they also contain. Fruits are created in naturally appropriate proportions, meaning one portion of fruit provides a balanced amount of sugars and other macronutrients. So when you eat fruit, you’re not eating pure sugar like you would be with most processed snacks and sweets.

2. Fruits contain around 60-95% water, and so are some of the most hydrating foods. I truly value hydrating foods, for general wellbeing but also to aid digestion and to reduce fatigue. Staying hydrated fuels most of your internal processes, and also reduces the risk of headaches, stomach aches, constipation and other internal side effects. Whenever I’m abroad in a hot climate, fruit for breakfast is not only one of the most common options, but also the one I naturally crave too. Getting fruits in in the morning will help to keep you hydrated, and will also kick start your digestion not just due to the water content but also the fibre.

Staying hydrated also helps to manage water retention. Eating hydrating fruits alongside drinking plenty of water, I’ve noticed, reduces inflammation and puffiness that I sometimes notice from water retention. I notice within about 1-2 weeks, alongside working out consistently, I feel more toned and have more noticeable definition in my muscles.

The water in fruit also helps to assist the body’s detoxification process, flushing the system and also keeping cells fully functional.

3. Fruits are also super easy to digest, and whist some people think this is a bad thing, it simply means you get the nutrients and goodness in pretty quickly, and it isn’t too taxing on the digestive system. This means you won’t feel sluggish or heavy, or tired, since the energy it takes to digest is saved and can be used elsewhere.

4. Fruits are also low in calories, and previously you’ll have noticed I don’t like to count calories too much, and enjoy high calorie foods such as nuts, seeds and avocados. However, if losing weight is your main goal, thats a different story. You cannot lose weight unless you have a calorie deficiency - meaning you consume less calories than you expend. Fruits are low in calories and so when I have a big job coming up or want to tone up and slim down, I love eating loads of fruits as they keep me full, keep my digestion active, keep my energy levels high and don’t rack up the calories.

5. Pretty much every cell in our body’s run on glucose, which is ultimately sugar. Eating healthy, whole carbohydrates like fruits & vegetables means you’ll likely notice higher energy levels. There’s a few arguments on this matter, as some people like to eat low-carb diets in order to trigger a fat-burning state (when there is no glucose to use for energy, the body turns to fat cells to convert them to energy). This sounds good in theory as people like the thought of our body’s automatically burning fat without us having to think too much about it, but it also takes a lot of consistency (and energy) in order to reach this state. It’s much easier (and more sustainable) to use glucose from healthy carbohydrates for immediate energy.

6. Fruits are full of life, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. These are essential in order for us to thrive, and the wider variety of vitamins and minerals, the less your body will lack in certain things and subsequently, the less random cravings you will experience. Getting enough vitamins, minerals and antioxidants is crucial in order to keep digestion smooth and to keep skin, hair and nails healthy. Not to mention energy levels high and cellular activity operating as it should. When you cut things like fruit out of your diet, you are cutting out so many vital components. Existing solely on fats and proteins will not give your body what it needs, and will not be sustainable over time.

7. Beyond fruit being food and fuel, is is also healing. It is not just a means to and end of hunger, but it can actually prevent and cure disease and discomfort. It is like medicine. Natural, cheap medicine.

I love this article by the Medical Medium, if you want to learn a little more. It discusses when we lost our way in diet, when we began being fed propaganda about food, and when we became scared of it. It also discusses the main benefits of fruit and why it should be such a vital part of our diets.

I hope this has inspired you to rekindle your relationship with fruit. I know it can be intimidating, but after 6 months of unlimited fruits, I am actually slimmer, lighter and more energetic than ever.

Springshine Vegan Lemon Curd Crumble

Dairy Free, Gluten free, Recipe, Seasonal, Spring, Summer, Sugar Free, Sweets + Desserts, Vegan, Vegetariandanielle coppermanComment
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I’ve always been a fan of crumble, and from a young age was obsessed with lemon curd, so I recently thought, why not combine the two and see what happens? The love child of this experiment developed into a beautiful lemon curd crumble; creamy and tart on the bottom, crisp and crunchy on the top. It is the ultimate flavour sensation, with its flavoursome fruit layer coupled with the creamy, coconutty crumble topping.

This recipe is bright in colour and vibrant with flavour, and reminds me of the first sign of sun in the spring, and the warmth and light of the summer. It is light, with sour and acidic notes, whilst also being incredibly refreshing. Using fresh lemons, it contains an abundance of vital vitamins and minerals. Lemon season starts roughly around late winter / early summer, and runs right through to the warmer months, and eating seasonally, you can rest assured you are getting in all the goodness that nature intended for you to have access to at this time of year.

I love serving this warm as a dessert, with either plant-based ice cream (I like soy, coconut or cashew) or homemade vegan cashew cream sauce or custard. You could also use single or double cream or plant-based cream or creme fraiche (I love anything by Oatly). I also love it chilled from the fridge, served with fresh or stewed berries, either as a breakfast, a snack or a chilled dessert.

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Components

For the vegan lemon curd

60g coconut oil, melted
juice and flesh of 4 lemons
zest of 1-2 lemons
100g honey, coconut sugar or other natural sweetener of choice
3-4 tablespoons arrowroot powder*
6 tablespoons soy yoghurt or solid coconut milk from a tin (can replace with other yoghurt of choice such as coconut, oat or almond yoghurt. Those who eat dairy can also use probiotic dairy yoghurt or double cream)

* If you are not vegan, you can use 3 eggs and 2 egg yolks instead of the arrowroot, using the same method as below).

For the topping
100g ground almonds
100g desiccated coconut
2-4 tbs honey
1 tbs coconut sugar
50g coconut oil
20g grated lemon zest

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Method

Preheat the oven to 160c. Lightly grease a heatproof oven dish with coconut oil or line with greaseproof paper.

Start by mixing the topping ingredients in a medium bowl using a wooden spoon, then crumble into breadcrumb-like clumps with your fingers. Place in the freezer to stiffen whilst you prepare the lemon curd layer.

To make the vegan lemon curd layer, measure the lemon juice, lemon zest, lemon flesh (removing the remaining flesh from the lemon skin using a metal spoon and / or your fingers), coconut oil and honey or other sweetener of choice into a medium saucepan over a medium to high heat. Immediately whisk in the arrowroot, adding 2 tablespoons first, then whisking until fully combined, before adding the remaining 1 to 2 tablespoons gradually. If the mixture seems thick enough after 2-3 tablespoons of arrowroot, you don’t need to add the 4th tablespoon. Whisk again to combine thoroughly.

Continue to heat over a medium to high heat, until the mixture begins to thicken and bubble. It should become smooth, quite gloopy and glossy. During one of my test runs, a lot of the oil separated and sat on the surface, but if this happens, simply remove from the heat and whisk vigorously until the mixture comes together smoothly again.

Once the mixture has become thick and smooth, remove from the heat and whisk the mixture a final time to ensure it remains creamy and doesn’t separate.

Now whisk in the soy yoghurt or solid coconut milk (or whichever alternative you might be using), one tablespoon at a time, until smooth.

Pour the mixture into your prepared dish and then cover with the crumble mixture. Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until the crumble begins to brown and crisp.

The Only Dessert You Need This Winter (which could also double up as a nourishing breakfast just FYI)

Recipe, Sweets + Desserts, Vegan, Vegetarian, Winterdanielle coppermanComment
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I grew up adoring rice pudding, but not especially or necessarily the homemade kind. I was ecstatic at just the site of a little blue and yellow Ambrosia rice pudding pot. Wrong, I now know.

This version, you’ll be pleased to know, is not inspired by those but instead came about after I tasted the best rice pudding of my life; made by a patisserie chef at my sister's old place of work, The Quality Chophouse, and pretty much equal parts cream and sugar, whisked to silk with eggs and completed with fresh vanilla seeds.

This variation is, of course, adapted to the distinctive characteristics of my Well Being nutritional principles; free from gluten, dairy and refined sugar, and made with pure and unprocessed ingredients in their most natural forms possible.

This pudding is super rich and creamy, and the warming vanilla lends not only an unbeatable flavour but an aroma like no other; sweet, comforting and calming in some way. I often make this for guests, and then enjoy any leftovers in the morning, either chilled or heated up to breed porridge’s more indulgent cousin. I suggest you do the same.

Components

200g pudding rice (can also use brown or white short grain, or try with quinoa, millet or buckwheat, but be prepared with more liquid, incase needed)
500ml plant-based milk, like almond milk or coconut milk (in a carton)
1 tin tinned coconut milk
1 teaspoons vanilla extract plus 2 fresh vanilla pods (can also use vanilla extract, paste or powder)
4-5 tablespoons coconut sugar (or other natural sweetener of choice)
1 tablespoon coconut oil (or olive oil, avocado oil, flax oil, chia seed oil)
Pinch of salt

Optional
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon maca 
1 teaspoon lucuma
2 tablespoons tocos
Raw choc chunks or cacao powder

Method

To start, measure the pudding rice or other rice or grains of choice into a medium saucepan and cover with your plant-based milk of choice, the tinned coconut milk, salt, vanilla pod seeds (adding the whole stick to stew), vanilla extract, coconut sugar, cinnamon, maca or lucuma (if using) and oil of your choice.

Bring to the boil over a medium to high heat for 5-10 minutes, and then reduce to a simmer for 10-20 minutes. Cooking time will depend on the kind of rice or grain you use. If the mixture becomes too dry before the rice is fully cooked through, add a splash or water. 

When you are happy with the consistency, stir in any of the remaining optional ingredients. I like stirring in raw chocolate chunks for a slightly chocolate variation, but you could also try 1-2 tablespoons cacao powder.

Top with any extra toppings of your choice. I love to heat fresh fruits (usually berries or citrus fruits) in a saucepan with a little lemon juice to stew them, and then pour them on top of the rice pudding. You could also serve with fresh fruit, nuts, seeds, a jam, syrup or homemade sauce (like cacao chocolate sauce or date caramel). I love making this chocolate spread and thinning it with a little boiling water to pour on top.

Serve hot.

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Almond & Adaptogen Ananda Mouthfuls

Dairy Free, Gluten free, Recipe, Snacks, Sugar Free, Sweets + Desserts, Vegan, Vegetariandanielle copperman2 Comments
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I love to make some variation of these simple snacks every few weeks, and they're especially convenient if I am traveling a lot. I love to take them with me for the journey, and if i have the facilities where I am staying abroad, I always make them if I am staying somewhere for a while, as they are super easy to make and provide functional nutrition in an instant. They are high in protein, healthy fats, fibre and essential vitamins and minerals, and are a delicious way to incorporate a dose of your favourite adaptogens and / or tonic herbs if you want other ways to use them. Depending on the adaptogens you use, these mouthfuls have a host of physical and mental health benefits, and the bonus is that they taste like chewy caramels. Enjoy!

Components

50g gluten free oats (or cashews)
50g ground almonds (or whole almonds)
A generous pinch of salt
1 tbs vanilla vegan protein powder (i use The Welle Co or Innermost Health)
1 heaped teaspoon cinnamon
150g medjool or other soft dates (pitted and halved)
1.5 tablespoons coconut oil (soft, or melted)
60g almond butter or cashew butter, or a mixture of both

Optional adaptogens: (use one or several of the following, or add your own preferred adaptogens or tonic herbs)

1/4 teaspoon pearl
1/2 teaspoon ashwaganda
1 tablespoons tocorionels
1 tablespoon cacao
1 teaspoon he shou wu, cordyceps, reishi or chaga

Method

Start by blending the oats, ground or whole almonds, salt, protein powder, cinnamon and adaptogen powder of choice in a food processor, on the highest speed, until they form a fine, flour-like consistency. 

Next, add the dates and then blend again until the mixture becomes doughy and perhaps even forms a large, sticky ball. 

Next, add the coconut oil and the nut butter and blend a final time. The mixture should be smooth, sticky and doughy and may even begin to form a doughy ball. It should not be wet or paste-like. You should be able to handle it with your hands and it should hold together when you press or squeeze it.

Finally, roll the mixture into balls, or form into bars, (using individual moulds or pressing into a dish or loaf tin and then slicing into individual bars once they have set) and store in the fridge or freezer. I keep some in the fridge for an instant snack, and some in the freezer as they will keep for much longer, and take just seconds to thaw.

Salted Peanut version

Components

50g gluten free oats
80g roasted peanuts
Pinch of salt (don't use if your peanuts are already salted)
1 teaspoon vanilla powder or extract, or vegan or whey protein powder
250g medjool dates
50g peanut butter (could also use other nut butter)
1 tablespoon coconut oil, room temp

Optional adaptogens: (use one or several of the following, or add your own preferred adaptogens or tonic herbs)

1/4 teaspoon pearl
1/2 teaspoon ashwaganda
1 tablespoons tocorionels
1 tablespoon cacao
1 teaspoon he shou wu, cordyceps, reishi or chaga

Method

Start by blending the oats, peanuts, protein powder and adaptogen powders of choice in a food processor, on the highest speed, until they form a fine, flour-like consistency. 

Next, add the dates and then blend again until the mixture becomes doughy and perhaps even forms a large, sticky ball. 

Next, add the coconut oil and the nut butter and blend for a final time. The mixture should be smooth, sticky and doughy, and may even begin to form a doughy ball. It should not be wet or paste-like. You should be able to handle it with your hands and it should hold together when you press or squeeze it.

Finally, roll the mixture into balls, or form into bars (using individual moulds or pressing into a dish or loaf tin and then slicing into individual bars once they have set), and store in the fridge or freezer. I keep some in the fridge for an instant snack, and some in the freezer as they will keep for much longer, and take just seconds to thaw.

Cacao version

Components

50g gluten free oats
100g walnuts (can also use almonds or cashews, or a mixture)
4 tablespoons raw cacao powder
1 teaspoon vanilla powder or extract or vegan or whey protein powder
Pinch of salt
250g medjool dates
50g almond butter (can use other nut butter too)
2 tbs coconut oil

Optional adaptogens: (use one or several of the following, or add your own preferred adaptogens or tonic herbs)
1/4 teaspoon pearl
1/2 teaspoon ashwaganda
1 tablespoons tocorionels
1 tablespoon cacao
1 teaspoon he shou wu, cordyceps, reishi or chaga

Method

Start by blending the oats, walnuts or other nuts, protein powder and adaptogen powders of choice in a food processor, on the highest speed, until they form a fine, flour-like consistency. 

Next, add the dates and then blend again until the mixture becomes doughy and perhaps even forms a large, sticky ball. 

Next, add the coconut oil and the nut butter and blend for a final time. The mixture should be smooth, sticky and doughy, and may even begin to form a doughy ball. It should not be wet or paste-like. You should be able to handle it with your hands and it should hold together when you press or squeeze it.

Finally, roll the mixture into balls, or form into bars (using individual moulds or pressing into a dish or loaf tin and then slicing into individual bars once they have set), and store in the fridge or freezer. I keep some in the fridge for an instant snack, and some in the freezer as they will keep for much longer, and take just seconds to thaw.