The cost of living sugar free

I hadn’t intended to write much about sugar free life after Christmas but it seems that even when I feel like a bit of a pro, now on my third month, there are trials along the way.

There are many pros to going sugar free: initial weight loss, keeping that weight off, skin slightly better, fewer sugar cravings, exciting new recipes to try, slightly better understanding of food, and eating a better diet (more fruit, veg, nuts, whole grains).

There are a few cons, too: people look at you as if you’re mad when you tell them, feeling rather glum going round the supermarket longing to find something remotely exciting yet sugar free, wondering what on earth you’re going to eat if you go out, and a food bill increase.

Going sugar free doesn’t have to be more expensive. Maybe it should be cheaper because you’re buying fresh ingredients and making things yourself. I’ve just got caught up in trying new, exciting recipes which require coconut oil, nuts, dates and maple syrup.

Some of these recipes have actually been such a delight in times of glumness. In particular, these sweet potato brownies which I made at the weekend incorporating a few of the tips mentioned in the comments (bake the sweet potatoes, use a bit more cocoa powder). They are so yummy. So very, very yummy. Hubby said he understands how they would taste wonderful if you’re not eating sugar, but that they’re not as good as my normal, sugar-filled brownies. I’m thinking of trying these chilli and beetroot brownies for when my parents visit this weekend (slightly in love with Deliciously Ella’s blog at the moment).

I’ve really enjoyed trying new recipes but I’ve decided I need to scale back a bit and find cheaper alternatives. Such as:

Coconut Oil
Nice but pricey. And used in a lot of sugar free recipes.
 I’m going to cook less recipes using it, and use half coconut oil and half olive oil or butter where it is called for to try to keep the cost down.

Dates
Sticky. Yummy. Expensive. Half and half with dried figs perhaps?

Nuts
These lovely little things are a great source of protein. You would think I ate loads of them when I was vegetarian. You’d be wrong! It’s not that I didn’t like them, I just didn’t eat them much. My sister loved peanut butter when we were growing up but I only became interested in it after I had our son, probably because peanuts were off the menu when I was pregnant (due to brother-in-law’s allergy). Now I love eating nuts but they are another pricey item. Eating less of them and shopping around is the only thing I can think of for this one.

Maple syrup
Get my sister to bring the proper Canadian stuff back every time she visits. Also try using less or sub with honey. I’m going to try making maple syrup-free granola this weekend as I don’t think it makes much difference to the mix.

Other expensive things I’ve bought include quinoa and avocados. I’m also buying seeds! Shopping on the market, if you can, for fruit and veg is a great option. A lot of it is cheaper than the supermarket and in some instances you get more of a sense of seasonal veg.

I think the answer generally is to eat expensive stuff less often. Obvious, I know. But at least this pack of quinoa is being used, unlike the pack I bought years ago that I had to throw away having only used once.

On the eating out thing, it’s not really that difficult. So long as you avoid the fruit juices, cakes and desserts there can be a bit of leeway with the main. For example, I’ve said before that if I’m at a friend’s in the week with our son and we stay for lunch, I’ll eat shop-bought bread. Last night I ate haggis at a friend’s house. I have no idea if it had even a teaspoon of sugar in it. And when I go out for a meal with hubby on Monday night at Los Rancheros in Bromley, I will eat whatever I fancy! The sugar free life isn’t so glum after all.

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