Is that a hair in your bread? Probably!

baked avocado eggs

I’m working from home today, so I woke up thinking I might go out for a quick breakfast at our favourite greasy spoon. I figured eggs and bacon are sugar free, right?

While still lying in bed, I started Googling, and it turns out that sugar is used in most bacons as part of the curing process. Ok, so bacon is out. What about toast?

I knew most breads contain sugar, but then I wondered optimistically if rye bread might be sugar-free. Of course, as I expected, it’s not.

I decided to give up on going out for breakfast since I’d been lying in bed for too long anyway, but then I came across a disturbing fact. Did you know that commercial breads contain HUMAN HAIR? And if it’s not human hair, it’s duck feathers! I don’t know what you think, but I think that’s pretty revolting too!

If you thought that yoga mat Subway bread was disgusting, then this might just have you giving up commercial bread forever. Have you ever noticed L-Cysteine in an ingredients list? I have, but I never actually looked into what it was. The truth could make me puke:

L-Cysteine – an amino acid used to prolong shelf-life in products such as commercial bread – can be found in duck and chicken feathers and cow horns, but most that’s used in food comes from human hair. It has been reported that most of the hair used to make L-Cysteine comes from China, where it’s gathered from barbershops and hair salons. [The Guardian]

It’s gross enough when I find one of my own foot-long hairs in my food, but the fact that the food industry thinks this is acceptable pisses me off. Stop messing with our food!

Hey, an added benefit of avoiding sugar is avoiding some of these other gross ingredients since I’m sticking almost entirely to fresh, whole foods. Do you eat commercial bread? Go check the label for me, and let me know if it contains this yucky ingredient!

Want to know more? Check out these 10 gross ingredients you didn’t know were in your food :(

Ready to go hair-free? None of these breakfast options contain human hair!

I just created a Facebook page for Home at Six, so head on over and ‘like’ it! Thanks all for reading and supporting me with this blogging project!

Mushroom Kale Spring Rolls | Beauty Detox Challenge

kale mushroom spring rolls

This week’s Beauty Detox assignment was to create a variation of Kimberly Snyder’s Warm Kale and Mushroom Beauty Salad. I made my salad over the weekend and then I used the leftovers in spring rolls for dinner last night. I didn’t photograph my salad on its own, so here I’m sharing my Kale and Mushroom Spring Rolls. I enjoyed them with a bowl of miso soup and a small salad topped with sauerkraut and black sesame seeds. So my entry for this week’s challenge is a salad in a spring roll, ok? Yeah, let’s go with that!

I recently made spring rolls and cooked them with a quick shallow fry. They tasted great but a couple didn’t hold together that well and I thought they might have soaked up a bit too much oil. This time around, I baked them in the oven and it was a lot easier that having to stand over the stove while avoiding getting burned by hot oil.

baked spring rolls

I sautéed my vegetables first since they were originally made for the salad, but another option is to coat the raw veg with a tablespoon of oil before wrapping. That might increase the bake time a bit.

Usually in a stir-fry salad like this, I would add some tamari. But since it’s Sugar-Free September, I’ve been avoiding most sauces. To give this salad flavour, I loaded on the spices, and the flavours worked really well in my spring roll version, too.

Mushroom Kale Spring Rolls
 
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Author:
Recipe type: vegan, vegetarian
Serves: 2-3
Ingredients
  • 6 rice paper wrappers
  • 2 tbs coconut oil
  • 4 cups chopped kale
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1" ginger root, minced
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced carrot
  • ¼ cup chopped zucchini
  • ¼ cup chopped broccoli
  • ¼ onion, chopped
  • ¼ tsp crushed chili pepper flakes
  • ¼ tsp chili powder
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Place a wire baking rack over a parchment lined baking sheet and brush with small amount of oil
  3. Heat 1 tbs oil over medium heat
  4. Add mushrooms, kale and onion and sautee for 3 minutes
  5. Add remaining vegetables, garlic, ginger and spices
  6. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, until kale is softened and onions are translucent
  7. Working one at a time, prepare rice wrappers by placing in a shallow dish with warm water for 30 seconds
  8. Transfer to a clear surface and place ½ cup vegetables in centre
  9. Fold over sides and roll, placing seam side down on baking rack
  10. Brush each roll with remaining oil
  11. Bake on rack over sheet for 20-30 minutes

kale mushroom spring rolls

 

Make sure to check out Kimberly’s warm kale and mushroom salad. And for my other Beauty Detox assignments, click here.

Healthy sugar-free apple muffins

breakfast

Two sugar-free weeks down! Woohoo! I’m halfway through Sugar-Free September and I’m feeling great. Although I haven’t felt very deprived at all, I’ve actually lost 4 pounds without even trying. I didn’t think I was eating that much sugar, so it’s pretty crazy that cutting it out has helped me drop a bit of extra weight. I’m not even sure what the biggest change in my diet has been. Other than avoiding store-bought salad dressing and steering clear of the candy aisle, I don’t feel like I’m missing all that much.

sugar free healthy muffins

But I guess usually I would have eaten a few store-bought baked goods, and I would have probably eaten out at a restaurant 2 or 3 times. Maybe some all-you-can-eat sushi or thin-crust pizza. There might have been a bowl of ice cream, maybe a few handfuls of chips. Definitely a chocolate bar. Then there would have been that drizzle of maple syrup on my granola and those extra bananas in my morning smoothies. Even a pumpkin spice latte.

I guess that all does add up!

Having cut all those things out, what has my typical day looked like? Thinking back to the last two weeks, here’s a sample of my recent meals:

Breakfast: low-sugar green smoothie

Snack: a piece of fruit (apple, grapefruit, peach)

Lunch: large salad of kale or mixed greens, lots of veg and topped with a sweet potato quinoa patty, avocado, or grilled chicken

Snack: salted nori or blueberries

Dinner: pasta primavera or a big bowl of spaghetti squash or a millet bowl

Late-Night Snack: sugar-free granola with almond milk, raspberries and cocoa nibs or chopped veggies and hummus or chia pudding with chocolate coconut mousse or a slice of sugar-free peach pie

Eating like this has left me feeling light, but energized. I’ll admit though, I have been fantasizing about the Nutella crepes I’m going to be enjoying next month while in Paris!

While I definitely won’t be avoiding sugar for ever, I am realizing that there are lots of places I can cut it out. Like these super easy healthy sugar-free apple muffins, which are perfect for ushering in the cooler fall weather with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg. Unsweetened apple sauce and a flax egg make for this easy muffin recipe that is vegan and contains absolutely zero added sugars.

I went with a pared down version, but these muffins are the perfect base for loads of fun mix-ins. Go crazy with blueberries, raisins or chocolate chips or add a smear of sugar-free chia jam and you won’t be missing any of the sugar or eggs at all.

basic muffin recipe

Healthy sugar-free apple muffins
 
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Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: healthy, vegan, muffins, sugar-free, gluten-free
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 1 egg: use flax egg for vegan option (3 tbs warm water + 1 tbs ground flax seed)
  • 2 tbs coconut oil
  • ½ vanilla extract
  • 1.5 cups unsweetened apple sauce
  • 2 cups gluten-free flour
  • 1 cup gluten-free oatmeal
  • 1 large apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. In a small bowl, mix ground flax with water and set aside to thicken for 2-3 minutes
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine coconut oil, vanilla, apple sauce
  4. Stir in flax egg
  5. Mix well
  6. Add remaining ingredients except apple and mix until smooth
  7. Gently stir in chopped apple
  8. Fill greased muffin tins ⅔ full
  9. Sprinkle small pinch of oatmeal on top
  10. Bake at 375F for 15-20 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean

sugar-free muffins

 

Sugar-Free Basil Peach Pie

basil peach pie | sugar-free!

There are lots of things I can’t eat during Sugar-Free September: chocolate, chewy candies, ice cream, cupcakes, pretty much anything processed like most canned pasta sauces and soups, and nearly everything that comes in a box like cereal and crackers. I definitely can’t eat peach pie and stick to the rules, can I? Of course not. No way, no how!

As you know, I’m not only avoiding refined sugar, but I’m not eating any added sugars at all, which includes stevia and maple syrup. (A peach pie sweetened with maple syrup would be so delicious though!).

So enter this Sugar-Free Basil Peach Pie.

That’s right, 100% free of any added sugars. No added sweeteners, no maple syrup or rice syrup, no stevia or agave, no nothing. Nothing except for some of the biggest peaches I have ever seen. Seriously, these things were massive. And when I saw them sitting, all fuzzy and plump at the farmer’s market, I knew they were aching to make their way into a peach pie.

sugar free basil peach pie

I baked one a couple weeks ago before I embarked on this Sugar-Free September insanity, and we ate it for dessert every night for a week. I missed those days. That flaky, buttery crust. That hot and gooey filling. Those beautifully browned peaches. Mmmmm.

Now, a full week into Sugar-Free September and slices of pie had been replaced by chia pudding, and roasted chickpeas, and handfuls of almond and sunflower seeds and carrot sticks. All great and healthy of course, but they’re not pie. They’re definitely not pie.

So it was decided. Those peaches were coming home with me, and they were going into a pie.

Initially I planned to just make a regular ol’ sugar-filled pie and freeze it, so that I could break it out on October 1st, the moment the clock struck 12:01. But then I thought of how sad that pie would be, fresh out of the oven with no one to eat it, and I decided I’d just go for it. Nope, I wasn’t going to cave to the sugar. If fresh waffles and danishes couldn’t break me, there’s no way pie was gonna do me in. No, I was making a sugar-free peach pie, and that’s all there was to it.

And you know what happened? Peach and basil happened. Soft, flaky crust happened. Sugar-free peach pie happened, and it was glorious.  (more…)

Spicy Indian Roasted Chickpeas

Today marks the completion of week 1 of Sugar-Free September!

Overall, I’ve been feeling great. I’ve managed to avoid all added sugars, mostly by preparing nearly all my meals at home. Fortunately it was one of those rare weeks where we didn’t have some type of birthday/retirement/going away celebration in the office, so I wasn’t faced with too much temptation.

Mike and I visited my sister since she moved away to start grad school (so proud!), but we chose a raw food restaurant that was vegan, gluten- and sugar-free, so it was definitely easier than going to your typical restaurant. I had soft tacos with a walnut ‘meat’ filling. So tasty! We all enjoyed out meals.

jill-laura-guelph

I have been feeling energetic enough for the most part, though both Mike and I had an energy slump one afternoon and we wondered if it was because of the no-sugar thing. We still went for a run later on, so it couldn’t have been that bad!

mike-jill-guelph

I’d say that so far the main benefit I’ve experienced is that I’ve felt great about my food choices all week. In addition to avoiding sugar, I’ve just been trying to make good choices and have been eating heavily plant-based meals. I’ve also been relying on seeds, nuts and nut-butters to keep me full. I definitely do find that I get hungry much more quickly only a couple hours after these sorts of meals, but the good part is that when I get hungry, I can just go eat more of the healthy stuff, but I’m still left feeling light.

spicy roasted chickpeas

My favourite snacks this week have been veggies and hummus, chia pudding and this batch of chickpeas I roasted up. This is basically the crunchy snack version of chana masala. So easy! Just use chickpeas out of the can, toss them in spices and roast.

If you’re not a fan of spicy foods, then try these Rosemary Garlic Roasted Chickpeas.

Click through for the recipe!

(more…)

Miso and Sweet Potato Millet Bowls

sweet potato millet bowls

I love to put together bowls like this for lunch. I enjoy eating meals that have a whole selection of different components. They’re just so much more fun, aren’t they?

This bowl has a base of millet and greens and is topped with roasted sweet potato, fresh cucumber and leftover corn and grilled chicken breast. The best part of this meal is the miso millet.

Don’t you hate when you’re preparing a meal and then you realize that you still need a sauce or dressing? Well, this dish doesn’t need any extra sauces because the millet is cooked in miso, which adds so much flavour and creaminess that you won’t need anything else.

miso millet bowls

Miso and Sweet Potato Millet Bowls
 
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Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 cup millet, uncooked
  • 3.5 cups water
  • 2 tbs miso paste
  • 1 sweet potato, chopped
  • ½ cucumber, quartered
  • 1 green onion, diced
  • 1 cup corn, cooked
  • 1 chicken breast, cooked and sliced
  • 1 tbs coconut oil
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375F
  2. Place chopped sweet potato in a roasting pan and drizzle with oil, and roast for 25 to 30 minutes, until fork tender
  3. Toast the dry millet in a pan over medium heat for 2 minutes
  4. Add water to pan, cover and bring to a boil
  5. Reduce heat and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, until water is absorbed
  6. To serve, place vegetables and chicken over millet and mixed greens and sprinkle with onion

miso millet bowls with sweet potato and corn

On another note, we’re 5 days into Sugar-Free September, and I’m still doing great. I haven’t had any real cravings and haven’t experienced any of the sugar-detox symptoms I’ve heard about. It’s early days yet. Having delicious treats like this Blueberry Chia Parfait are going a long way in helping me stick with it!

Have you cut sugar out at all? Maybe you’ve switched from refined white sugar to maple syrup or stevia? I’d love to hear from those of you who are making some changes towards cutting out the sugar. If you need some more information about going sugar-free, check out these links.

Have a great weekend!

Sweet links for Sugar-Free September

IMG_1232-492x1024

If you’ve gone sugar-free or are still contemplating it, I’ve rounded up some information and motivation to help you get through Sugar-Free September:

Watch this 5 minute video about how sugar affects the brain.

Later, make up some sugar-free snacks and watch Sugar: The Bitter Truth.

Here are 10 disturbing reasons why sugar is bad for you.

Fall is coming! Use your slow cooker to make sugar-free apple butter.

Have you been wondering about how fruits stack up?

If you think organic=healthy then check out these organic products with more sugar than you think!

If you’re cutting out sugar, but turning to Stevia instead, read this.

12 tips for quitting sugar.

The breakdown on all your sweetener options.

I love seeing before-and-afters.

And don’t miss my other posts for Sugar-Free September!

{Photo Source}

Blueberry Chia Parfait with Chocolate Mousse, no dairy or added sugars

blueberry chia parfait

I had some chia seeds soaking overnight, since I knew that after being a couple days into Sugar-Free September, the need for a sweet treat wouldn’t be far off.

Layers of oats, vanilla chia, coconut whipped cream and fresh blueberries combine in this healthy snack that satisfies.

This blueberry chia parfait is a perfect dessert, snack or breakfast and is totally dairy-, gluten- and sugar-free. The added chocolate mousse makes it extra indulgent but the only cost to the velvety cream is a healthy dose of high quality fat.

blueberry chia parfait

Blueberry Chia Parfait with Chocolate Mousse, no dairy or added sugars
 
Prep time
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Try this healthy chia parfait for breakfast or enjoy as dessert. Chia seeds require soaking for at least 30 mins.
Author:
Recipe type: dessert, snack
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • ½ cup chia seeds
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 1 tbs vanilla extract
  • ½ cup gluten-free oats
  • 1 tbs raw cocoa nibs
  • Mousse: Mix ½ cup coconut cream, 1 tbs raw cacao
Instructions
  1. Soak chia seeds in almond milk and vanilla extract overnight or for at least 30 minutes
  2. Layer chia pudding, oats, berries and mousse.
  3. Top with cocoa nibs.

 

blueberry chia pudding

Lemon Basil Spaghetti Squash | Beauty Detox

For this week’s Beauty Detox Assignment, Kimberly Snyder asked us to come up with a recipe using squash. Her recipe for Baked Kabocha Squash with Mushroom Sauce inspired this dish. I looked for the kabocha squash, but it was quite expensive at Whole Foods, so I went with my favourite: spaghetti squash.

Simply tossed with a mix of zucchini, cherry tomatoes and diced onions, the squash was coated in a creamy lemon basil sauce.

Lemon Basil Spaghetti Squash

This dish would be so beautiful served as a Thanksgiving side. Sweet potato instead of zucchini, and quinoa and cranberries with a dash of cinnamon.

In this recipe, hemp seeds and nutritional yeast add a creaminess to the peppery lemon basil sauce. I topped the noodles with a poached egg for a complete dinner meal.

This is another great meal that satisfies while keeping to the Sugar-Free September guidelines.

Lemon Basil Spaghetti Squash
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Vegan, Vegetarian, Pasta
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • ¼ white onion, chopped
  • 6 large basil leaves, chopped coarsely
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 4 poached eggs (optional)
  • Sauce: ¼ cup olive oil, 1 tsp tahini, 1 tsp nutritional yeast, 1 tsp hulled hemp seeds, 2 large basil leaves, 1 tsp rosemary, 1 tsp minced garlic, juice from ½ lemon, ¼ tsp salt, ½ tsp ground pepper, adjust to taste.
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425F
  2. Carefully cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise
  3. Drizzle with olive oil and roast, face up, for 1 hour
  4. Meanwhile, in a blender or food processor combine sauce ingredients and blend until combined
  5. Heat coconut oil over medium heat and sautee zucchini, cherry tomatoes and onion until softened, about 10 minutes
  6. Once cooked, shred squash using two forks
  7. Toss squash with sauce, sauteed veg and chopped fresh basil
  8. Top with poached eggs (optional)

Lemon Basil Spaghetti Squash

Sweet Potato Spinach Quinoa Patties

sweet potato spinach quinoa burgers

I hope everyone is enjoying the remainder of the long weekend, and I hope your Sugar-Free September is off to a great start! A few hours in, and I’m holding strong. I started my day off with a Low-Sugar Green Smoothie and went for an easy run.

For lunch I enjoyed these delicious Sweet Potato Spinach Quinoa Patties over a salad. I made a big batch and will be reaching for these throughout the week. With the quinoa base, they’re filling and there’s so much goodness packed in thanks to sesame seeds, flax and spinach.

sweet potato spinach quinoa burger patties

Whether you’re heading back to school or back to work this week, these patties are great to have made up in the fridge. Warm on a burger bun, stuffed into a pita, or served cold on top of a salad.

Although I’ve fried them in coconut oil, I like them more from the oven.

salad with veggie patties

Sweet Potato Spinach Quinoa Patties
 
Prep time
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Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Vegan, Gluten-Free
Serves: 16
Ingredients
  • 1 medium sweet potato, cubed
  • 3 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • ½ cup gluten-free flour
  • ½ cup sesame seeds, ground
  • 2 tbs flax seeds, ground
  • 3 tbs coconut oil
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, chopped
  • Sauce: ¼ cup tahini, 2 tbs crushed garlic, 2 tsp olive oil, ¼ tsp salt, 2 tsp dried parsley
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F.
  2. Cook 1 cup rinsed and drained quinoa in 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to simmer for 15 minutes, until most of the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and leave covered for an additional 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, boil sweet potatoes until fork tender. Drain and set aside.
  4. In a pan, heat 1 tbs coconut oil over medium heat.
  5. Add onions, spinach and garlic. Cook until spinach is wilted and onions are translucent.
  6. In a food processor, combine cooked quinoa, sweet potatoes, onions, spinach and garlic mixture, ground sesame and flax seeds. Process on low until well combined.
  7. Stir in flour. If your mixture is still very wet, add more flour. Mixture should hold together when squeezed.
  8. Line 2 baking sheets with foil or parchment paper and grease with 1 tbs coconut oil.
  9. Taking ¼ cup-sized portions, form patties ¼" to ½" thick and place on baking sheets.
  10. Bake for 45 minutes, flipping half way.
  11. Combine sauce ingredients in a bowl.
  12. Enjoy in a sandwich or over mixed greens.

vegan-patties

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