We all know that too much sugar in your diet can lead to an increase in weight, but how exactly does sugar affect the skin?
Does it really cause premature ageing, acne and redness?
The answer is YES
Refined sugars cause our insulin levels to spike, which in turn triggers an inflammatory response in the body. Inflammation in the body produces certain enzymes. The nasty ones actually break down the skin’s collagen and elastin, leading to a reduction in the firmness and elasticity of the skin. In other words: wrinkles!
If you are constantly triggering this response you will develop “Chronic Inflammation” and this exacerbates skin conditions such as rosacea and acne, particularly as it suppresses the immune system, leading to a decreased ability to fight off infection. This also contributes to many other skin diseases such as eczema and psoriasis.
Too much sugar can also increase the amount of testosterone in the body, which increases oil production and pore size, two of the most common and disliked skin issues.
Read more about the effects of sugar on your skin in our article Sugar, Your Skin and Acne.
So, be mindful of just how much sugar you are consuming, both in food and drink, and yes, snacks count! Think about your skin especially if you’d really like to change it.
Meg, whose entire family of 6 eat sugar free (mainly) has collated a few of hers and her children’s favourite sugar free recipes for you. Not only are these recipes delicious, they are actually nourishing and – as a bonus are good for your skin! Crazy, right?
Seed and Nut Bread
By Peter Evans | Time 65mins | Serves 6
- 3 tablespoons sunflower seeds (activated if possible), chopped, plus 1 tablespoon extra for sprinkling
- 3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds (activated if possible) chopped, plus 1 tablespoon extra, for sprinkling
- 1 tablespoon black or white chia seeds, plus 1 tablespoon extra, for sprinkling
- 50 g (1/3 cup) almonds (activated if possible, chopped)
- 150 g (1½ cups) almond meal
- 3 tablespoons LSA (lindseed, sunflower and almond mix)
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 2 tablespoons coconut flour
- 6 free-range organic eggs
- 1 tablespoon honey (optional)
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 4 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 160°C. Grease a 20 cm x 10 cm loaf tin and line the base and sides with baking paper.
- Mix the sunflower, pumpkin and chia seeds in a large bowl. Stir through the almonds, almond meal, LSA, bicarb and coconut flour.
- Add the eggs, honey (if using), vinegar, coconut oil and salt and mix well to combine. The mixture will resemble a batter rather than a dough.
- Pour the dough into the prepared loaf tin and smooth out evenly with a spatula. Sprinkle the extra seeds on top.
- Bake for 45–50 minutes, or until golden and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. You will need to do the skewer test because this bread is much more dense than regular bread and won’t sound hollow when you tap it. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin before turning out.
You can store this bread in the fridge for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Chicken, Sweet Potato and Coconut Stew
By Amy Dong | Time 1 hr | Serves 8
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 tbs paprika
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground tumeric
- 1/4 tsp cayenne (less if you’re sensitive to spice)
- 3 tbs coconut oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- 8 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
- 1 can (425g) diced tomatoes and their juices
- 1/2 cup unsweetened, whole coconut milk from a can (shake well)
- 2 cups regular chicken broth
- 450g sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 900g boneless skinless chicken thighs, towel-dried and cut into bite size pieces
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- chopped cashews
- unsweetened coconut flakes (garnishes highly recommended for texture and depth of flavor)
- In a bowl, combine all ingredients of Spice Mixture together until well incorporated. Set aside.
- In a Dutch Oven or large/heavy pot, add 2 tbs coconut oil and heat until hot. Add onions and cook/stir over medium heat until softened, 4 minutes. Add ginger and garlic, continuing to stir another 2 minutes. Add the Spice Mixture that was set aside. Stir well for 1 minute.
- Add tomatoes plus their juices and coconut milk. Stir frequently 2-3 minutes. Add broth and 1/2 tsp kosher salt. Bring to a simmer for 10 minutes. Add sweet potatoes, stirring occasionally; cook until tender, 20 minutes. Taste stew; if needed, add more kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Meanwhile (while stew is cooking) heat 1 tbs coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Sprinkle chicken with 1/2 tsp kosher salt and 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper. Place chicken in a single layer in saucepan and let brown for 4 minutes on first side. Flip with tongs for 3 minutes of browning on second side. Do this in 2 batches if needed to avoid overcrowding (if crowded, chicken won’t brown.) Add browned chicken to the hot stew; stir to combine.
- Serve stew with garnishes, over rice or just as is.
Vanilla Bean Chia Pudding
By Davida Lederle | Time 5 mins | Serves 4
- 2 cups non-dairy milk (almond or coconut preferred)
- 1/2 cup chia seeds
- 1 vanilla bean, scraped
- 1-2 tbsp maple syrup (if desired)
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir well.
- Cover bowl or place in an airtight container or mason jar and store overnight in the fridge or for at least 8 hours.
Healthy Raspberry and Coconut Slice
By Georgia Harding | Time 45 min | Serves 12 slices
- 100 ml (½ cup) coconut oil, melted
- 115 grams (⅓ cup) honey or rice malt syrup
- 125 grams (1¼ cup) almond meal (see below for nut-free)
- 140 grams (2 cups) desiccated coconut
- 1 free-range or organic egg, beaten
- 100 grams (1 cup) frozen raspberries, defrosted
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 140 grams (2 cups) shredded coconut
- 1 free range or organic egg white
- 2 tablespoons honey or rice malt syrup
- Preheat the oven to 180℃.
- Line a 20 – 30cm baking pan with baking paper.
- Make the base by mixing all of the ingredients together until well combined. Thermomix 10-15 secs speed 4.
- Press into the baking tray to form an even layer (used the back of a large, wet spoon). Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden and set. Set aside to cool.
- For the raspberry layer mash the raspberries roughly and mix through the chia. Set aside.
- For the coconut topping, combine the egg white and sweetener by whisking with a fork. Mix in the shredded coconut.
- Now assemble by spreading the raspberries over the base and top with the coconut mixture.
- Pop under a grill for a couple of minutes, watching it carefully so it doesn’t burn.
- Chill in the fridge to fully set, then cut into squares.
Store airtight in the fridge or freezer. I hope you enjoy this yummy slice.
Gluten-free Choose the almond meal option or gluten-free flour option (above).
Fructose friendly Choose Rice malt syrup as your sweetener.
…….AND SIMPLY ENJOY ……..
Let us know below if you have any favorite sugar free recipes or if you enjoyed trying any of Megs.
Still not sure?
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