As you know, I signed up to 6 weeks with Kezia from Super Naturally Healthy. I’ve wanted to do it for years but have never had the money or more the confidence in myself to spend the money (and not waste the opportunity.) When Kezia brought out her summer programme at an eighth of the price, I decided to just go for it. My parents offered to contribute which was amazing and did more than help with the pennies; it showed they believed I could do it and wouldn’t waste it which is sometimes all I need, a bit of faith! Plus working with a nutritionist on my whole health rather than on fat loss is probably the only type of programme I’ve not tried yet.
It started with 3 weeks of cutting out all dairy, gluten and refined sugars. In general, they are the most inflammatory foods and removing them from my diet forced me to leave out the processed foods too (which contain all of those things.) I was pretty daunted by it to be honest, I kept putting it off and then a week before I had my first consultation with Kezia, I had no choice but to start because I had to have at least a week’s food diary for her to go through and something for us to start with! You know I’m not a fan of cutting everything out in 1 go but when you have a deadline and you want to really take advantage and get the most out of a programme, you just have to go for it! So I really did. And to my humungous surprise, it really wasn’t as hard as I thought. It took lots of effort and a fair amount of time (which actually I’m good at), but took very minimal willpower (which actually I’m usually terrible at).
When I separate my problems with previous diets and meal plans and ‘lifestyle changes’, I’ve never wavered with my effort level or time devotion, but always have with the willpower (see this blog). This time, I thought about what I really enjoyed. Kezia’s introductory book encouraged me to focus on what foods and drinks and supplements I was adding in and to take joy in those things, rather than focus on what was being restricted. For me that was finding fun and new recipes to try, interesting food combinations, the best quality meat I could afford, getting the ‘nice’ leaves (kale) rather than cheapy old tasteless iceberg lettuce and most of all something to satisfy my sweet tooth.
My addiction to sugar was off the scale bad before and honestly taking over my life. Hanger (when you become a raging psychopath because you’re so hungry) and actively trying to avoid it was making me over obsess and almost paranoid. Wild, I know. Hanger is honestly a real thing and it comes from a blood sugar imbalance; as your body crashes, it screams out for food and literally changes your mood. Yeah, so that was what I was most worried about battling. But it never came to that…
I thought about what food and drinks I really enjoy in my day and what I was nervous to take out. For me that’s something sweet after every something savoury (even breakfast, hello breakfast pudding…) and I thought of how I could satisfy those habits without refined sugar. So for breakfast I make sure I go for sweet rather than savoury; granola with coconut yoghurt, blackberries and cashew butter or banana pancakes or apple cinnamon porridge. For lunch I’ll add fruit in to a salad; like pomegranate seeds in a beetroot and feta salad with an orange dressing , or some mango in to a spicy chicken concoction (honestly it works for me). Then I really indulge in my afternoon treat; we invested in a really fancy coffee machine, bought my favourite coffee and I have an oat milk latte with some sort of naturally sweetened home made cake or bought treat. Then after dinner I enjoy my good quality peppermint tea with 2 rows of refined sugar free, dairy free chocolate. The 2 rows is enough, higher percentage cocoa chocolate fills me up quickly and I really don’t feel like scoffing the full bar. I literally did this every day for the first 3 weeks. Its not to say that replacing all refined sugar with natural is the best way to go about things, only that, this has been the easiest, most sustainable way for me to forget my old pals Cadbury, Galaxy and Lindt. I may think about reducing the natural sugars in a while.
Cutting out refined sugar is obviously not required for a healthy diet, I’m only doing it as part of the initial 3 weeks of the programme and because sugar addiction is something I’ve always struggled with.
Would you find cutting out refined sugar daunting? Which part of your daily routine do you wish you could easily change to something you think is healthier? Or are you totally happy with your diet? I’m obviously not a qualified dietician, doctor or nutritionist but I love talking about these things if you would like to bounce ideas off someone.
The best part? Giving myself permission to buy and try all the chocolate!! My absolute dream ‘chore’… so here’s my thoughts…
HEALTHIER CHOCOLATE TREAT REVIEWS
All were bought from Nature’s Larder, Holburn Street, Aberdeen
1 – Tastes like health (rank)
10 – Like Lindt Extra Creamy (the nicest chocolate in all the land according to me March-July 2020)
Ombar Coco Mylk – 55% cacao (the light blue one) /35g
£1.99 on Ombar website
Soya free, oraganic, vegan, dairy free, gluten free, refined sugar free
Its a nice small treat size bar I would say and the serving size is the whole bar – WIN
It comes in a 70g bar and also as a packet of buttons. Dun dun duuuun!
It smells healthy, kind of like coconut oil which makes sense because it has coconut sugar and creamed coconut in it. My fave nutritionist sent me this one so if its recommended by her then it must be the healthier of vegan chocolate. Taste – good actually! Initially it tastes too much of coconut oil but then when you bite in, you get a proper chocolate taste. Its really chocolatey but the after taste is still the coconut oil. I’d buy it though. I think it would hit the spot.
I’d say 6/10
**UPDATE** This is actually the bomb, if you don’t sniff too much first, it really tastes amazing and doesn’t have the after taste, its my Lindt replacement mmmmm, I’d go back to update this to 10/10
Pulsin Raw Salted Caramel Chocolate Brownie –
£1.50 for 4 in Tesco.
Soya free, vegan, dairy free, gluten free, refined sugar free
Nice treat size. I’ve had quite a lot of Pulsin’s products before (they even have a big taster box) and everything’s been nice so I have high hopes. It smells like cheap advent calendar chocolate that’s been in the shop for longer than a year…
Texture is quite dense, not as dry as I initially thought. Pretty tasty but I wouldn’t call it a brownie. I like it but i think I’d prefer it without the salted caramel taste. It has some crunchy biscuity bits in it too which are nice. I’ll still eat the box though, it would be amazing with a coffee along side.
Ombar Salt & Nibs 64% Cacao (the purple one) / 70g
£3.29 on Ombar’s website
Vegan, organic, fair trade, dairy free, gluten free, refined sugar free, soya free
I bought this one because I love crunchy bits in chocolate, like whole nut, dime Cadburys, crunchie chocolate etc. I also love salted chocolate so I’m looking forward to this one.
Its a bigger bar than the other Ombar. Its 70g so not as big as the Cadburys 90g-er which I could easily eat in one go. On the back it says 2 servings. Not bad! Smells like the other Ombar – very much like coconut oil. I presume they use the same base ingredients and then add more or less cacao and other bits. With it having a higher cacao content I’m hoping its even chocolateyier.
Tasting – Oh this one’s goooood! Its rich and chocolatey and a bit salty and I can taste a wee bit vanilla. The tiny bits of cacao nib make it slightly crunchy and its brilliant! The coconut makes it a little sickly but the salt balances it. Yip I’d definitely have this one again.
Pana Macadamia – White Chocolate / 45g
Soya Free, vegan, dairy free, gluten free, refined sugar free, organic, hand made
£3.20 on Pana’s website
I didn’t realise this one was white chocolate. I’m not a huge white chocolate fan, but I love the packaging of Pana chocolate and I love macadamia nuts so can only try it eh?
Its 45g and it says it has 3 servings. When you open it there is only 6 adorable squares so that’s 2 squares a serving. I dunno how much I can trick my mind to feel like that’s a treat. Smells – amazing! It smells very nutty obviously. Its pretty melty on my fingers (not complaining). It says on the packaging ‘wow taste’ and honestly – they weren’t lying. Its soooo nice. If you like white chocolate and nuts this is honestly so nice, I’d even say nicer than actual white chocolate which can be too sickly. LOVE it. Really want to try the other Pana chocolate but may need to wait until pay day. I’d equate it to Hotel Chocolat; not for every day but nice to give as a present. Not cheap at all!
8/10 (because of the price V amount of chocolate)
Vego hazelnut chocolate bar – 150g
Its vegan, gluten free, organic, fair trade, no palm oil (is there usually palm oil in chocolate?) doesn’t mention dairy free but I can’t see dairy on the ingredients list.
It has raw cane sugar which I’ve yet to research. I know its not as bad as refined processed sugar that’s in normal chocolate but I don’t imagine its as good as not having it at all. But then maybe the taste will make up for it.
£19 on Amazon for a pack of 5
This one’s huge, like nearly the size of a Toblerone you’d get at the airport! And nutty so I’m hoping its like Cadburys whole nut. The pieces are ginormous! I imagine you’d have 1 piece at a time.
It doesn’t really smell of anything, just like normal milk chocolate. Texture wise – although a bit less snappy than a cadburys bar it has a normal chocolate texture. Taste is like milka level maybe, its nice, it tastes totally normal chocolate but I think I would prefer a higher cacao content to make it more rich. It tastes very sweet, definitely couldn’t eat more than the 1 massive square.
Tony’s Chocolonely 70% dark chocolate – 180g
It is fair trade, has all the sugar (woops), doesn’t talk about dairy but says ‘may contain gluten, egg, milk’ so definitely the least ‘healthy’.
£3.98 on Tony’s Chocoloney website
I love the packaging for a different reason than Pana – Pana is sophisticated and posh looking. Tony’s is way more Willy Wonka and retro and fun looking. The inside of the packaging tells their mission statement of creating a completely slave free chocolate industry (I feel quite ashamed I never really think about slaves still being used, especially for my food).
Its a big bar, I reckon 2 big greedy sittings or the back says 30g which is 6 servings. There are 7 rows of chocolate so if you were eeking it out then you’d get 7 days oooor you could assign one night to eat the extra row or you could have a wee bit more each night.
It smells like cheaper dark chocolate. Tastes really good and has real bite to it. Because it is actual chocolate with refined sugar. Its just sold in health food shops because its fair trade I think. One of the vegan influencers I follow eats lots of it so I thought it would be certified vegan. It says its Belgian chocolate but they’re registered in Amsterdam? Or is Belgian chocolate a style of making chocolate like Greek yoghurt?
**UPDATE** I’ve now finished the bar and its actually great, I finished it by putting it in some chocolate and banana flapjacks and its reaaaally nice.
Deliciously Ella Double Chocolate Caramel Cups
Vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free, dairy free
£1 or £1.50 in Tesco
These are an absolute delight and my non homemade coffee accompaniment of choice at home. I buy 2 every week (indulgent I know for the price of them) and they’re like wee chocolate tarts and when you take a bite, the caramel oozes out. It really tastes like caramel too. Yuuuu-uuuuum.
They’re also really readily available in Tesco, Asda, Sainsburys, health food shops, Costa Coffee and some Starbucks! So great for me right now. They do an almond butter and salted caramel version too which is really nice but not quite double chocolate nice.
Livia’s Nugglets Raw Cookie Dough / 35g
Vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free, dairy free
£13 for a box of 9 on Livia’s website
You can eat the whole packet of these, they’re most like the wee chocolate covered fudge things in M&S. Tasty but I’m not desperate to get more. Like Deliciously Ella, they’re stocked in the bigger supermarkets and Holland & Barratt.
Livia’s Million Squares
Vegan, gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free
£18 for a box of 12 on Livia’s website
These look ginormous and actually I ate these in 2 sittings. You get 3 squares in the packet and they’re really filling so perfect for a hungry day. The caramel in them isn’t a patch on the caramel in Deliciously Ella’s, it tastes nutty and datey and healthier but that also makes it more filling I suppose. Would rate these but again, I’d still pick the caramel cups over these in the weekly shop.
Booja-Booja Ice cream – Honeycomb Caramel
Vegan, organic, dairy free, gluten free, refined sugar free
£5 in Nature’s Larder shop
This is the same size tub as Ben & Jerry’s and would absolutely be the equivalent. It tastes exactly like a honeycomb ice cream (it literally has pieces of real honeycomb in it) and feels really indulgent. Also, don’t you just love the ‘caramel ice cream bescrunched with honeycomb excitements’? Sounds so fancy! I think it kind of melted on the way home and so when I put it in my freezer and took it out again one night for pudding, it was a bit icey and not as creamy as normal ice cream. Still ABSOLUTELY hits the spot though. I’d love to try the other flavours and recreate my most favourite pudding in the world – ice cream sundae. I’ve only ever seen it in my favourite health food shop but I’m sure you’d get it online.
Deliciously Ella Nut Butter Balls
Vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free, dairy free£1 or £1.50 in Tesco
You get 2 wee balls in this packet, both really nice and the nicest protein type balls I’ve had. Good but nothing ground breaking. Again, you’ll get these in the big supermarkets, health food shops and some coffee chains.