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Ultimate Baker releases sugar substitute for diabetics

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Ultimate Baker has released a new naturally-coloured xylitol sugar substitute created specifically for the diabetic market.



Ultimate Baker Xylitol is made purely with natural ingredients from fruit and vegetables, and the company claims that xylitol almost perfectly mimics the natural sweetness of sugar, while having 40% fewer calories.

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Xylitol carries a glycaemia index rating of 7, compared to the 60–70 rating carried by normal sugar, and this means that xylitol does not spike blood sugar or insulin.

Figures provided by the company claim that approximately 100 people in the US suffer from diabetes or prediabetes, and this has made the development of products tailored to diabetics crucial.

Sue-Ellen Cutler, vice-president of new product development at Ultimate Baker said: “Our goal is to create high quality products that are both visually appealing while free of the harmful synthetics and preservatives which are dominant across the baking industry.

“Xylitol is a product we’re just as proud to serve our families as we would all of our customers.”

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Food & Cuisine

Signs that your eating habits need to change

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Poor skin

The skin is the largest organ of the body and it offers much needed visual insight into what is going on with the body’s health.



For those who suffer with acne, eczema, psoriasis, dry skin or premature ageing, these are all signs that their diet might not be optimal. 

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‘In particular, acne, eczema and other inflammatory skin conditions have been associated with an imbalance of gut bacteria leading to “leaky gut”,’ they said.

What is leaky gut? 

Leaky gut, also known as increased intestinal permeability, is a digestive condition in which bacteria and toxins are able to ‘leak’ through the intestinal wall.

‘A variety of nutrients, derived from eating a balanced whole foods diet are important for skin health.’

It is important that people have a diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids from oily fish and flax seeds, along with vitamins A, E, C and zinc.

Changing one’s diet can drastically improve the skin but this can take three months or more so people need to be patient with dietary changes.

Low energy

Although carbohydrates and fats are primary fuels for making energy, the health expert said micronutrients such as magnesium, B vitamins, iron, copper and sulphur are also an important part of the process.

Unfortunately diets that aren’t rich in these often lead to low energy levels. 

Anaemia, which is caused by a deficiency in iron, B12 or folate (B9), can also cause tiredness, as can poor thyroid function, which relies on nutrients such as iodine and selenium. 

‘Many people are also self-sabotaging their energy levels by relying on stimulants such as caffeine and sugar to get them through the day,’ they said.

 ‘However, this can have a negative impact on sleep and blood sugar balance, leading to peaks and troughs in energy throughout the day.

‘Switching to complex carbs and ensuring good quality protein each time you eat to stabilise blood sugars and reducing caffeine is therefore recommended.’

Fat accumulation around the middle

Everyone’s body is different and due to genetics people store fat in different areas.

According to the health expert storage of fat around the stomach (known as visceral adipose tissue) has been consistently shown to be a risk factor for cardiovascular and metabolic diseases and other health issues.

‘The most likely cause for VAT is a diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates, with excessive stomach fat being a tell-tale sign of insulin resistance, where the body becomes less able to utilise glucose for energy production and so instead stores it as fat,’ they said.

‘If you tend to have an apple body shape, then changing your diet and engaging in regular physical exercise is particularly important.’ 

Digestive Issues

The health expert said some of the most obvious signs someone’s diet needs changing is when they’re faced with digestive issues such as constipation, diarrhoea and bloating, which indicate the gut isn’t happy.

Eliminating processed foods and switching to a whole foods diet is likely to improve many people’s digestion due to the increase in fibre from fruit and vegetables.

Others may need to remove foods such as gluten, wheat or dairy from their diet for a period of time.

Improving the balance of bacteria in the gut by eating fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir and live yoghurt can benefit digestive conditions.

Alternatively people can take a live bacteria supplement, such as Lepicol ($17/£13), a three in one combination of gentle psyllium husk fibre which contributes to the maintenance of normal bowel transit.

Low mood and anxiety

Mental health is a complex issue that often involves a variety of factors but diet and lifestyle choices are being shown to play an important role.

‘Nutritional psychiatry is increasingly being used alongside conventional therapies for conditions such as anxiety and depression,’ they said.

‘A Mediterranean style diet, high in colourful fruit and vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and olive oil, with moderate amounts of fish and seafood, has been shown to be particularly effective.’

Poor Immunity

The health expert explained that recurring infections, such as colds, UTIs, thrush and fungal nail infections, are a sign that the body isn’t getting enough nutrients.

This is a sign that the immune system isn’t receiving enough support from the diet and that people need to increase their intake of zinc, selenium, iron, copper, vitamins A, C, E, and B6 and folate.

‘Focus on getting lots of colourful fruit and vegetables and good quality protein such as organic meat, fish, eggs, beans, nuts and legumes as these provide the building blocks and co-factors for immune cells,’ they said.

It’s also best to steer clear of processed foods, simple sugars and refined carbohydrates, known to feed unwanted bacteria and yeast in the gut.

Instead include prebiotic foods such as slightly under-ripe bananas, Jerusalem artichokes, leeks, onions, garlic, oats and asparagus.

Hormonal issues

Diets high in sugars and refined carbs are likely to exacerbate hormonal issues such as period pain, menopause, endometriosis and fertility troubles.

‘Supporting healthy blood sugar balance is therefore a crucial step in regulating hormones, as is working on body composition to reduce excess fat cells, which produce their own oestrogens,’ they said.

They recommend increasing the intake of nutrients to help support healthy oestrogen detoxification.

This can be done by eating folate from leafy green vegetables and glucosinolates from broccoli, cauliflower, kale and Brussels sprouts.

‘Dietary phytoestrogens found in flaxseeds, traditionally fermented soybean products and legumes can also be particularly useful for modulating oestrogen levels,’ they said.

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Food & Cuisine

Easy Desserts You Can Make In Few Minutes

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For those who look forward to dessert after dinner every single night, you need these recipes in your life.

There are options here for everyone — healthy, gluten free, vegan — but the recurring theme is ‘no-bake and quick’ because ain’t nobody got time for baking and faffing about when your favourite TV show is ongoing. 

From peanut butter brownie bars and banana split smoothie, to easy fudge and chocolate s’mores mug cake, here are some easy, delicious desserts for all us feeling lazy after a busy day.

  • EASY SALTED OAT FUDGE 

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This delicious fudge recipe is healthier than most and lighter, too, thanks to oat flour! It tastes like a cross between fudge and no-bake cookies. Feel free to play with the mix-ins to suit your preferences.

INGREDIENTS

  • ¾ cup creamy unsalted almond butter or peanut butter
  • ¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ⅓ cup maple syrup or honey
  • 4 tablespoons butter, sliced into small cubes, or ¼ cup melted coconut oil
  • ¾ teaspoon salt (scale back, to taste, if your nut butter is salted)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 ¾ cups oats ground into flour, see step 1
  • 1 cup whole pecans or other nuts
  • Optional: Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling on top
  1. Prep work: Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut two strips of parchment paper to fit across the interior of an 8 to 9-inch square baker. Criss-cross the papers at the bottom of the baker and fold the ends up the sides of the baker (see photos). If you need to make your own oat flour, blend 1 and ¾ cups oats in a blender or food processor until ground into a fine flour.
  2. Toast the nuts: Arrange the nuts in a single layer on a small, rimmed baking sheet (I used parchment paper for easy clean-up). Bake for 7 to 10 minutes, until fragrant (7 minutes for thinner/smaller/chopped nuts and about 10 for whole pecans). If you’re using large nuts like pecans, transfer them to a cutting board and chop them into small pieces with a chef’s knife.
  3. Make the fudge: In a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed pot, combine the nut butter, chocolate chips, sweetener, butter, salt and cinnamon. Warm the pot over medium heat, stirring often, until the mixture is melted throughout. Remove the pot from heat.
  4. Stir the vanilla extract into the pot, followed by the oat flour and finally, the chopped pecans. The mixture will have thickened up at this point, so you might have to put some muscle into it to mix in those pecans. You can do it!
  5. Carefully dump the fudge mixture into your lined square baker. Use the back of a sturdy mixing spoon to push the mixture across the baker so it’s roughly evenly distributed. Cover the bottom side of a thick, heavy-bottomed drinking glass or mason jar with parchment paper and press it down on the fudge repeatedly until the fudge is evenly packed. If you’re finishing the fudge with flaky sea salt, lightly sprinkle some on top now and gently press it into place with the bottom of your parchment-covered glass.
  6. Cover and freeze the fudge for 30 to 45 minutes, until it’s firm to the touch and no longer shiny in the middle. If you’re not in a hurry, you can refrigerate the fudge for a couple of hours or longer.
  7. Use a chef’s knife to slice the fudge into 1 ¼-inch wide columns and rows. Fudge will keep well for a couple of days at room temperature, or for a few weeks in the freezer, sealed in an air-tight freezer bag.

Note: MAKE IT DAIRY FREE AND VEGAN: Use dairy-free chocolate chips and coconut oil in place of the butter.

MAKE IT GLUTEN FREE: Use certified gluten-free oat flour or oats.

2. Two-layer no-bake peanut butter brownie bars

If you’re equally obsessed with peanut butter and brownies, try these no-bake dessert bars with a brownie crust and a peanut butter top. This treat is considered more healthy than your regular brownie.

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Ingredients

Brownie Layer

  • 1 cup raw walnuts
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • ~ 1 cup dates, pitted (medjool or deglet noor)
  • 1/4 cup semisweet or dark chocolate chips (non-dairy for vegan)
  • 1/2 cup + 1 Tbsps unsweetened cocoa or raw cacao powder
  • pinch sea salt

Peanut Butter Layer

  • 1/2 cup pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • 1 cup roasted salted peanuts (if unsalted, add salt to taste)
  • 1/2 cup natural salted peanut butter (if unsalted, add salt to taste)

Instructions

  1. To make the brownie layer, pulse dates in the food processor until small bits remain. Remove from processor and set aside in a small bowl. Add walnuts, almonds, chocolate chips and cocoa powder in the processor and pulse until well combined. Then, while the processor is running, drop small bits of the dates in until a dough is formed. It should begin to ball up at some point. If it remains too dry, add a couple more whole (pitted) dates until a dough is achieved.
  2. Press into an 8×8 pan (or one of similar size) lined with parchment or plastic wrap. This makes it easier to lift out and cut.
  3. Press until flat using your hands or a spatula. Pop in the freezer.
  4. To make peanut butter layer, process dates until small bits remain. Remove and set aside in a bowl. Then add raw almonds and peanuts and pulse until small bits remain. Add back in peanut butter and the dates and process until well combined. Press on top of brownie layer until smooth. Using plastic wrap or parchment can help get it completely flat.
  5. Freeze for at least 15 minutes before removing from pan and cutting. Cut into about 20 squares (I cut mine too big and would prefer smaller bites). Store in an airtight container to keep fresh. I keep mine in the freezer so they stay fresh for weeks.

Notes

*Nutrition information is a rough estimate for 1 bar

Nutrition Per Serving (1 of 20)

  • Calories: 204
  • Fat: 13g
  • Sodium: 80mg
  • Carbohydrates: 17g
  • Fiber: 3.5g
  • Sugar: 10g
  • Protein: 6.8g

3. Five-minute chocolate fudge s’mores mug cake

If you find mug cakes a bit plain, give this recipe a go — imagine a biscuit base, rich chocolate fudge cake filling and a golden marshmallow topping. And you can make it in under five minutes.

smoresmug-1

  • 2-3 tablespoons graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (mine was dark cocoa, hence the dark color)
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 ounces milk chocolate (chopped or morsels)
  • marshmallow fluff, cream or actual marshmallows

Instructions

  1. Combine 3 tablespoons butter and 1 ounce of chocolate in a small bowl, then melt in the microwave for 20-30 seconds. Set aside.
  2. In another bowl, combine remaining melted butter with 2-3 tablespoons of graham cracker crumbs and stir until moistened. Press graham crumbs into the bottom of your mug.
  3. In a bowl. whisk egg, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add in flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa, stir until a thick batter forms. Stream in melted butter and chocolate, mixing to combine. Fold in remaining chocolate chips. Add half of the mixture on top of the graham crust, then throw on a scoop of marshmallow fluff/cream or a few marshmallows. Add remaining batter on top, then pop in the microwave for 1 minute and 20 seconds to almost 2 minutes.
  4. Remove and top with additional marshmallow if desired. You can pop it back in the microwave for 5-10 seconds to make them melty, or pop them directly under the broiler for about 10 seconds to toast if desired. You can also use a kitchen torch if you have one. Sprinkle with graham crumbs!

Notes

If you don’t have whole wheat pastry flour, you can use all-purpose. I would not recommend using regular whole wheat. Additionally, I have made this by substituting coconut butter for the full amount of butter. It was just as delicious, albeit slightly drier. You cannot taste coconut at all. Finally, take into account the power of your microwave. Mine has a mind of it’s own and is insanely powerful, so I cooked this on 80% power. Judge accordingly and add/subtract a few minutes of cooking if you know your’s is wonky too.

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4. Three-ingredient no-churn chocolate ice cream

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Keen for ice cream? This healthy version uses frozen bananas, almond butter and cacao powder to create a smooth, creamy and sweet ice cream — without dairy or refined sugar.

Ingredients

  • 2-3 medium bananas, frozen and chopped
  • 1-2 tbsp almond butter can substitute for any nut or seed butter
  • 1-2 tbsp cocoa powder

Instructions

For the soft serve ice cream version-

  1. In a high-speed blender or food processor, add your frozen bananas and blend for 10 seconds to lightly break apart. Add your almond butter and cocoa powder and blend until just blended. Transfer to a bowl and enjoy soft serve style. 

    For the hard scoop ice cream version-

    1. Place a small loaf pan in the freezer.

    2. In a high-speed blender or food processor, add your frozen bananas and blend for 10 seconds to lightly break apart. Add your almond butter and cocoa powder and blend until all ingredients are just blended. 
    3. Transfer chocolate ice cream to the loaf pan. To ensure it doesn’t become too icy, lightly mix your ice cream ever 20-30 minutes for the first hour.

    4. Thaw for 10-15 minutes before eating. Lightly wet an ice cream scoop before scooping the ice cream into a bowl.   

      Note

      For a sweeter ice cream, feel free to add 1 tablespoon of maple syrup, agave nectar or coconut syrup.

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