homemade xylitol chocolate (and some Hawaiian vacation pics)

4 squares of chocolate on a small pottery plateThey look pretty don't they. Pretty and delicious? Not quite, but I'll tell you all about it.

Sorry it took me so long to post! I got back last Saturday, did all the unpacking stuff and started a full time job on Monday. I've been part time for a while so it was a bit of a shock as far as time budgeting. Thankfully it was a 4 day week!

As you know, I've been on a sugar holiday (cutting out all sugar but mainly fructose). I've had to come up with ideas for chocolate treats to satisfy cravings. And while my first batches won't win any godiva awards (is there such a thing?), I felt good about eating them. Craig has been less than pleased and says keep trying.
3 squares of chocolate on a wooden cutting board sprinkled with xylitol crystals
Recently, I read Dr. Mercola's The 4 Best, and 3 Worst, Sweeteners to Have in Your Kitchen. You can find it here. Xylitol seemed to have some merit, and it was easy to find at the grocery store. So I thought I might try it.

I picked up one of these silicone molds too. You NEED something like this if you want to make chocolate. They make even bad attempts appealing to eat. Which leads me to this one....
brown silicone chocolate mould held in a handXylitol granules are quite large and they didn't melt. I heated for a long time and finally gave up. I ended up running the mixture through the vitamix to break it down (try washing THAT out of a vitamix). It helped but it was still granular and the little bits didn't distribute well.

It set in the fridge to firm, and while it looked lovely, the taste was strange. Aside from the gritty bits, there is a cooling sensation in your mouth when you eat xylitol. Might be good with mint? Not sure I'll get around to that one...

Fructose holiday- why I'm taking one

Something surprising happened around day 5 of my detox. I stopped craving sweet stuff. Today is the last day of a 12-day detox and while the biggest challenge was eating nothing sweet (including tropical fruit), it was also the most rewarding aspect.

Most of the time I stay away from refined sugar anyway (you won't find me eating cupcakes or jube jubes). But I often sneak it in, in the form of natural sugars: maple syrup, coconut sugar, date caramel, molasses and brown rice syrup. More harmful because they're sneaky. I'll eat natural sugars with reckless abandon, telling myself it's not really all that bad. Of course, a little sugar is fine if you can keep the daily intake low. And that is my issue, I have a little and a little more...it's a slippery slope!

If you know me at all, you'll know I LOVE to research nutrition. I haven't found anything in a long while that piqued my interest the way this video 'Sugar: The Bitter Truth' has. Incredibly worth it to watch!

In this video, and in other info I've found (see links at the end), the culprit when it comes to sugar, is fructose. The ideal fructose consuption per day should be 15-25 grams per person. It adds up quickly amounting to 2 or 3 small pieces of fruit.

Fruit Serving Size Grams of Fructose
Limes1 medium0
Lemons1 medium0.6
Cranberries1 cup0.7
Passion fruit1 medium0.9
Prune1 medium1.2
Apricot1 medium1.3
Guava2 medium2.2
Date (Deglet Noor style)1 medium2.6
Cantaloupe1/8 of med. melon2.8
Raspberries1 cup3.0
Clementine1 medium3.4
Kiwifruit1 medium3.4
Blackberries1 cup3.5
Star fruit1 medium3.6
Cherries, sweet103.8
Strawberries1 cup3.8
Cherries, sour1 cup4.0
Pineapple1 slice
(3.5" x .75")

Grapefruit, pink or red1/2 medium4.3
Fruit Serving Size Grams of Fructose
Boysenberries1 cup4.6
Tangerine/mandarin orange1 medium4.8
Nectarine1 medium5.4
Peach1 medium5.9
Orange (navel) 1 medium6.1
Papaya1/2 medium6.3
Honeydew1/8 of med. melon6.7
Banana1 medium7.1
Blueberries1 cup7.4
Date (Medjool) 1 medium7.7
Apple (composite)1 medium9.5
Persimmon1 medium10.6
Watermelon1/16 med. melon11.3
Pear1 medium11.8
Raisins1/4 cup12.3
Grapes, seedless (green or red)1 cup12.4
Mango1/2 medium16.2
Apricots, dried1 cup16.4
Figs, dried1 cup23.0

We no longer consume anywhere close to 'normal' amounts of fructose. All this sugar is causing havoc on our body, especially the liver. And if you watch the video above, you'll see how this is affecting our waistlines.

fructose overload infographic
Thanks Dr. Mercola for the infographic!

Great articles:

This has inspired me continue to good feelings from the detox, and take a Sugar Holiday, free from fructose. I'm not sure how long I'll be 'vacationing' but I'll let you know how it goes.

What about you? Do you struggle with sugar? What's worked for you?

Spring detox and cheater chocolate

Day 6. The plan allows for lots of variety so if I'm honest, it's not too hard. It's been extremely rewarding and I wanted to share my experiences to this point to keep myself on track and to hopefully inspire you too! If you missed the beginning, here is Part I.

What's been going well?
What's been a challenge?
  • Sweet cravings in the morning, afternoon and evening (haha)
  • Not being prepared with a ready meal or snack
  • Eating different meals than Craig
What have I been eating?

Breakfast is usually steel cut oats with almond milk, cinnamon, hemp hearts, pepitas and applesauce. Or a smoothie of greens, frozen berries, mixed seeds, protein powder, spirulina (superfood for detoxifying).

Lunch has been a tin of tuna or salmon with olive oil and lemon juice and raw veggies. Or homemade turkey soup.

Dinner is veggies and fish lightly fried in coconut oil with brown rice or last night was roasted chicken with salad.

Snacks include cashews, raw veggies, apples, pears, organic popcorn with butter, celery sticks with almond butter, cheater chocolate (see recipe below).

Drinks: Green tea, herbal chai with stevia and almond milk, perrier water with lime.

Ha ha! I found 2 chocolate ideas from Dr. Mercola: "A healthy chocolate snack" and 'healthy chocolate candy'. I sort of combined the two and used what I had on hand to come up with this macaroon type chocolate, aka cheater chocolate. I gave one to Craig last night and he willingly ate another, so it must be alright. They won't be the the most amazing chocolate treat you've had in your lifetime, but they will possibly be the healthiest.

Cheater chocolate for detox
Use organic and raw wherever possible

Yield: 10-13 bites

30 grams butter
30 grams coconut oil
30 grams cocoa butter

If you prefer one fat more than another, you can certainly change up this mix.

2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp cinnamon
Liquid stevia to taste
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

  1. Mix the fats together in a double boiler (I used a metal bowl on a small saucepan). It won't take long to melt. Don't over heat. I remove from heat before fully melted and just stir it until it melts. 
  2. Stir in cocoa powder, cinnamon if using and stevia.
  3. Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes to firm the mixture. Don't leave it in too long or will get hard. You want to be able to stir it.
  4. Add coconut, mix.
  5. Drop by teaspoon on a silpat or piece of parchment paper. Put in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  6. Store them in a container in the fridge or freezer.  

They are tasty and full of good fats. So much so, that I can only eat one or two at a time. If you are trying to cut down or eliminate sugar give them a try.

Spring cleaning for the body- starting a detox

cleanse approved breakfast food, yum

Looking outside today, it's hard to think 'spring'. But even so, I seem to have caught spring fever. I did one of my favourite things in the spring.....going through spring/summer clothes. Not many things I love more than a good purge of ones things. 

My get-rid includes stuff that: 
  • I never wear but keep because I think they'd be great for impromptu picnics or for painting the house 
  • I don't love to wear anymore or
  • is not even pyjama worthy 

That's my clothing detoxed. Pretty easy, but the hard one is diet, and I've been putting it off for a year. But I'm happy to say, today is day 1 of a 12 day detox! I'm soo excited to get some days under my belt and and follow through with it. 

I'm using the Wildrose d-tox. Not totally, because I didn't buy the kit. I've used it before and I find following the foods list does the job. 

They (wildrose people) don't want you eating toxins or foods that contribute to yeast growth. The food chart & pamphlet are available but here's a summary:

Don't eat

Tropical fruit
All sweeteners (sugar, honey, etc) except stevia
Dried fruit
Dairy except butter 
Flour made from grains (almond flour ok)
Processed breakfast cereals

Peanut butter
Grapes or raisins
Raw mushrooms

20% or less of diet
Coffee (drink no more than 2 cups per day)
Black tea
Whole grains
Beef, pork and poultry

80% of diet
Brown rice
Fresh tomatoes

Eat as much as you like

Herbal tea

Other things to try during detox:
Dry brushing before showering
Replace coffee & black tea with green tea and herbal tea
Keep a food log
Eat between 7am and 7pm only

Just had breakfast of steel cut oats (got up at 6:45 to cook them since they take 1/2 hour, yikes gotta plan that better). Doctored them with hemp hearts, chia seeds, pepitas, applesauce and almond milk (almost more topping than oats, yes). Green tea, then mid-morning herbal tea with stevia. Feeling pretty good so far....

Have you done a detox? How did you feel while you were on it?
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