I received Davina’s 5 Weeks to Sugar-Free last week. My mum very kindly bought it and had it sent to me! I think she was feeling a bit sorry for me because of my ear infection, and receiving it definitely cheered me up a bit.
You may have noticed that Davina is getting everywhere to advertise her new book. She was in last week’s Waitrose Weekend newspaper and it turns out she was approached to try going sugar-free. What’s great is she seems to want to stick at it!
The first part of the book is approachable and realistic. Davina writes about how she used to be a sugar addict (I can relate to that) and how ditching it has changed her (I can relate to that, too). She’s honest that her kids are allowed to eat sugar sometimes because they’re kids and there’s nothing wrong with the occasional treat.
Davina also absolutely advocates a healthy diet. She encourages eating whole grains rather than white pasta, bread and rice. I switched us to brown pasta and rice years ago and I’m trying to make at least one loaf of wholemeal bread a week, and the other is usually a 50/50 loaf. Thankfully this means I have a whole load of different flours in the cupboard which has proved useful for some of Davina’s recipes. There’s also a bit of science in the book about the effects of sugar and a long list of the different names for it when it’s found in food!
The bulk of the book is recipes. Many of the recipes are savoury recipes which do not necessarily contain sugar anyway. Davina helpfully explains that this is to encourage us to eat more whole foods and fresh vegetables. She has some helpful accompaniment recipes such as mayonnaise and tomato ketchup.
When it comes to the sweet recipes, they require a lot of maple syrup and honey. Clearly cake isn’t cake if it isn’t sweet. I think the fact that they contain so much of things which are expensive means we are more likely to bake them only for special occasions. And that’s a good thing! All credit to her for getting sugar free banoffee pie in there.
Somewhat surprisingly I have only tried out 3 recipes so far:
Home made granola
I have already commented on this. I’ve made it twice now as it easily lasts two weeks with a few breakfasts of somethings else in between. The second time I made it I used half coconut oil and half butter because coconut oil is expensive. I love that you can basically add any nuts and seeds to it then add fresh fruit when you eat it for breakfast. I’m sure this is the case with any granola but it’s a revelation to me!
American-style fluffy pancakes
Hubby said these were better than the normal pancakes I make, and they were made with wholewheat spelt flour! They took slightly longer than normal to make but were really filling and I ended up putting the leftover pancakes in the freezer for another breakfast.
Pork, bean and sweet potato chilli
We had people coming over for dinner on Wednesday night so I thought I’d try Davina’s pork chilli. I’ve never bought pork mince before but it was pretty cheap, much to my delight. The recipe states cooking the chilli on the hob but Davina mentions that she cooks it in her Aga. So I popped it in the slow cooker on low for 7 hours! It was very nice, served with brown rice, grated cheese, soured cream and tortilla chips (turns out these are sugar free but I got carried away and ate loads of them).
At the back of the book there is a 5 week plan to help you go sugar-free. I went cold turkey but I imagine that sounds pretty daunting to some people so this might be a helpful plan to some.
The only downside is that I was fooled by Davina’s inclusion of bacon in her recipes. It seems streaky bacon is sugar free but the good stuff i.e. back bacon contains sugar. Sad times at the supermarket. Oh and I’d love to know where she gets sugar free beef and vegetable stock, and sugar free wholemeal bagels! I’m also yet to find 100% dark chocolate which she says is available in supermarkets.
To sum up, I’m really pleased I have the book. It’s an interesting read and there are some lovely recipes to try (hash browns, chicken noodle soup, fish patties, homemade baked beans, digestive biscuits, fruit tea bread to name a few). If you are concerned about the amount of sugar you eat, want to investigate a bit more or try a few new healthy recipes, buy the book!