With Summer fast approaching, most people naturally start focusing on "cleansing" and being more mindful of what they eat – basically preparing for the hot weather. We all want to look good frolicking down a beach after all! But of course, the moment we tell ourselves that we are off sugar, we begin to uncontrollably crave the sweet stuff.
The physical craving of sugar is said to last for about two weeks... then the emotional cravings kick in. Comfort foods and sweets are oftentimes seen as guilty pleasures – when you're happy or sad – allowing you to 'treat' yourself to make you feel better. But nowadays, there are tons of feel-good, healthy recipes to help satisfy your sweet tooth without making you feel like you've fallen off the wagon.
Taking control in the kitchen and preparing your favourite sweet treat yourself can be very gratifying as you get to choose exactly what goes into the recipe, and then into your tummy.
If you're a brownie fan, but looking for something with a spin, here's a delicious and nutritious recipe inspired by one particular ingredient. The recipe below is not gluten-free, although it can easily be made so. For this particular base, there is a flour mix of half Barley (contains gluten) and half Buckwheat (gluten-free).
Benefits of carbohydrates to the body
It's ironic that most people are afraid of carbohydrates’ bad reputation when they are packed full important nutrients the body needs.
Barley does contain gluten and is therefore not suitable for gluten sensitivities, but if you can consume this grain, it contains incredible nutritional properties. Barley is one of the oldest grains, going back to medieval times and contains impressive amounts of selenium, copper, B vitamins, Chromium (deficient in most commercial grains) which are important for regulating blood sugar. It also contains magnesium and niacin (B3) – key to binding with chromium – and has an amazing amount of fibre that has been linked to lowering cholesterol and helping with diabetes (1).
Buckwheat flour is, on the other hand, completely suitable for those on a gluten-free diet and also contains amazing nutrients. High in fibre and antioxidants rutin, tannins and catechin, it's no wonder people claim Buckwheat a superfood! It's also rich in Manganese, Magnesium, Zinc and Iron.
Benefits of superfoods
This recipe also contains some special ingredients – superfoods:
1. Raw cacao
Raw cacao has been included in the list of superfoods for a while, and for good reason. Cacao has the highest antioxidants content between all fruits known to man, and also contains high amounts of magnesium, iron and it has been linked to feel-good hormones such as serotonin, tryptophan, tyrosine and phenylethylamine (2).
2. Beetroot powder
This is the new kid on the block in the superfood department. Beetroot is an antioxidant powerhouse and contains Vitamins A, B6 and C, magnesium, iron, folate, potassium, iron, calcium, proteins, and soluble fiber. Beetroot is helpful for symptoms of chronic fatigue, to help the liver and blood cleanse and also to manage and rid the body of xenoestrogen in women (3).
3. Chia seeds
Chia seeds are a fabulous egg replacement and are definitively key to this recipe. Also high in fibre, they come with a great amount of protein, omega 3, iron and calcium. Yep, rich in calcium too, so no need for dairy.
4. Coconut oil
Coconut oil is always a great replacement for butter as it is thick and creamy and contains health benefits too. Even though there's not much of it in this recipe, it's good to know that this oil helps the brain and helps to reduce inflammation in the body (4).
Healthy dairy-free brownie recipe no sugar
Beetroot Brownies Ingredients:
• 3 Tbsp chia seeds and 10 Tbsp of warm water (may need to add more to make the consistency egg like as the seeds expand)
• 125ml coconut oil
• 4 Tbsp Maple syrup
• 50g cacao powder
• 20g Beetroot powder
• 100g Buckwheat flour
• 100g Barley flour
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 1 Tbsp vanilla essence
• 60g chopped roasted hazelnuts
• 2 cups oat milk (may need to add more if needed)
• Preheat the oven at 180º C.
• Add warm water to flax seeds and keep it aside.
• Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl (flour, cacao, beetroot and baking powder). Mix well.
• Combine the wet ingredients in another bowl (flax seeds+water, coconut oil, vanilla extract and maple syrup. Mix well.
• Combine the dry and wet ingredients and mix well. Add oat milk as needed. Then blend in nuts.
• Pour the mixture into a baking pan with baking paper and bake at 180º C for about 30 minutes.
To save these helpful tips, Pin This!
1. Diabetes UK: https://www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/enjoy-food/eating-with-diabetes/managing-other-medical-conditions/cholesterol-and-diabetes
2. US National Library of Medicine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2841576/
3. National Institutes of Health: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5020246/
4. Harvard Health Publishing: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/cracking-the-coconut-oil-craze-2017041011513