Sugar Free

Ellactiva Collagen Chews

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Our mothers have always encouraged us to take our vitamins, and here at The Amazing Blog, we take that advice very seriously! We recently came across, Ellactiva, a UK based company who provide Collagen Soft Chews that are easy to take on-the-go. These chews are boosted with 2.5g of bioactive collagen peptides, improving your skin from the inside, and making it feel as smooth as ever, in just four weeks.

With three different flavours (blended with minerals and vitamins), the Collagen Soft Chews not only make you look great, but you will also feel healthier. They give you all the energy you need from within, strengthening your immune system, and improving your bone health simultaneously. Additionally, the three different flavours provide benefits that go beyond skin depth.

The first, Collagen & Energy, contain bioactive collagen peptides that help improve the skin's structure and elasticity. They also include high levels of vitamin C and chromium picolinate, which maximise collagen synthesis, as well as prebiotic fibre and resistant starch, reducing hunger cravings and supporting energy release. What makes these chews even more irresistible, is that they come in a sugar-free orange flavour, to enhance our taste buds and boost our energy levels at the same time.

The second superpower is the Collagen & Healthy Bones pack, which comes in a sugar-free caramel cream flavour. With a base of bioactive collagen peptides, they help to give a younger look to our work loaded faces. Additionally, vitamin C maximises collagen synthesis, and with the help of calcium and vitamin D, we are packed with all the good stuff and are ready to take on the day.

The last powerhouse is the Collagen & Immunity package that helps to maintain the skin’s structural integrity and firmness, due to its blend of bioactive collagen peptides and prebiotic fibre. With the aid of zinc, selenium and vitamin C, our immune system gets the boost it needs to keep us healthy and fit, even on the coldest of days in the UK. The best part? These chews have a fruity blackcurrant flavour.

The elegant and light packaging makes it easy to take your vitamins on the go, helping you to live a healthier and more balanced lifestyle. The collagen infused chews give us back what we have lost over the years, allowing our skin and bones to strengthen, reversing the degenerating collagen process. If you want to take your mother's advice seriously, and treat yourself to some vitamins, then the three packages (including 60 sugar-free soft chews) can be purchased here from £29.99.

Friday Favourites: Healthier Sweet Snacks

Snacking, often the cause of many a failed healthy eating attempt, is something we can't live without at The Amazing Blog. Fortunately, the expansion of the health food market has unearthed a vast selection of new and healthier alternatives, so we can snack healthily, without cutting out our favourite snacking foods. Below are a few of our latest discoveries, which have encouraged us to snack more mindfully in recent months!

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Firstly, we came across The Nu Company, a German brand, with the vision of providing cutting-edge health products, that don't cut out flavour. As a company, they aim to change our perceptions, not only about healthier foods but also about the way in which we consume. This includes the desire to enable large-scale reforestation, planting a tree for every product sold. While eating their raw cacao bars, we have already helped to plant eight trees - what better way to help the environment?

Made only from "ingredients you are able to pronounce", these raw cacao bars come in a variety of different flavours that do not contain artificial additives. Instead, each bar contains raw cacao, hemp seeds, coconut blossom nectar, almonds, lucuma and acerola - flavoured with natural flavourings for a delicious pop of Espresso, Barberry, Hazlenut and Coconut. This combination of natural and organic ingredients provides a vast array of health benefits, from adding plant-based protein, to providing a new method of incorporating your daily vitamins and minerals. They also contain omega-3-fatty-acids, and we can confirm that the Espresso bar proved popular on a Monday morning! The Nu Company endeavour to push environmental awareness further - their bars are wrapped in home-compostable foil and are encased in recyclable cardboard boxes, ensuring their packaging is plastic free. What more could you ask from a chocolatey snack? To try a Nu+cao bar for yourself, purchase from a wholesaler (The Health Store, Tree of Life or CLF) or click here to order a 40g bar for £2.79.

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For a non-chocolate based sweet treat, we came across Abakus, founded by Helen Wang, who wanted to introduce the lesser know Jujube Fruit into the UK market. If you're unsure of what Jujube is, then you're not alone - perhaps it is fair to insinuate it as the forgotten member of the date family! That said, we didn't know what we were missing, and the naturally sweet and caramel like flavour has encouraged us to become more adventurous with our snacking.

Jujube has a host of health benefits, it is packed with nutrients and essential amino acids, and is a known adaptogen (proven to help the body adapt to stress). We tried three different variations of Jujube fruit, the first being the original Red Dates. Pitted and dried, they work well as a snack on their own, but we also found them equally delicious when added to our favourite brownie recipes - not so healthy but they say it’s all about balance! They have a chewy texture, and like all of the products in the Abakus range, are gluten and dairy free, and count as one of your five a day. Secondly, we tried the Crunchy Crisps, which, as the name suggests, are sliced into smaller pieces, giving them a crunchy yet chewy texture. These proved delicious when sprinkled over porridge, adding a bit of texture to our regular oats.

Finally, we also tried the Red Dates Stuffed with Almonds, perfect for a post-workout snack thanks to the additional energy and healthy fats of almonds. As with the other variations, these Jujube pieces are vegan, paleo, sugar and sulphate free, making them an excellent snack for anyone with a sweet tooth. To try Jujube Fruit for yourself, visit the Abakus website (here), where you can purchase a range of different multipacks from £13.00.

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Thirdly we came across Elements for Life, a brand founded by husband and wife, Dan and Paula Knowlson. After embarking on a health, nutrition and diet journey, through which they discovered raw chocolate, Paula suggested making their own, and the rest is history! What has emerged is a company that is committed to creating products suitable for a wide range of people, with products suitable for vegans, diabetics and coeliacs, as well as those with lactose intolerances. This popularity is proven through the recent celebration of their 8th birthday, and so we couldn’t wait to try their offerings.

We tried their Yummy Scrummy Raw Chocolate Brownie, a delectable and rich product made with Criollo raw cacao, dates, walnuts, raisins, goji berries, brazil nuts and fruit extracts. These ingredients not only taste scrumptious, but they are free from refined sugar, dairy, gluten and soya, meaning we can indulge in a chocolately afternoon treat without feeling too guilty. We found that the use of goji berries provides a welcome pop of flavour to lift the rich nature of cacao, and it’s safe to say that these brownies didn’t last long in the office. To try a Yummy Scrummy Raw Chocolate Brownie for £2.79 per bar, click here

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If you’re more of a pudding lover, then Pudology may well be the brand for you. Founder Lucy Wager took to the kitchen after realising there were few puddings suitable for her dairy and egg intolerance. This emerged a brand that is vegan, suitable for coeliacs and free from gluten and wheat. The real winner here is the creamy and decedant consistency of the puddings, often expected to be lacking in vegan desserts.

Pudology offer a range of seven puddings, we tried their Bannoffee Puds previously, and were excited to try the newly launched ‘Skinny’ versions: Skinny Chocolate and Raspberry Puds and Skinny Lemon and Yuzu Puds, which contain under 60 calories. The Skinny Chocolate and Raspberry Puds contain coconut cream, dark chocolate and raspberry compote, which together give a hit of intense chocolate while remaining light with the zing of fruit - a classic flavour combination that is most certainly a winner here. What’s better, is that despite the creamy texture, the calorific content is much lower than other chocolate puddings. The Lemon and Yuzu Puds were lighter and fruitier, ideal for people with less of a love for chocolate. That said, they proved equally popular with the biggest chocolate fiends at The Amazing Blog. We loved the use of yuzu, which adds a grapefruit like zing without an overly tangy aftertaste, and again were pleased to discover the low calorie content. To purchase two Chocolate Orange Puds for £2.25, click here, or for the Lemon and Yuzu Puds for £2.25 click here.

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Last, but not least, we were fortunate to try Nibble Protein Bites once again. Founder Erin Moroney formulated a range of high protein snacks after discovering a distinct lack of low sugar snacks on the market. We tried Nibble Protein’s offerings last year (see here), and as avid runners at The Amazing Blog, we were keen to find more protein snacks that do not contain counterproductive added sugars. All ingredients in Nibble Protein Bites are dairy, gluten and soy free, instead favouring pea protein and dried plum purée for natural fibre and antioxidants.

Firstly we tried the classic flavour combo of Choc Orange Brownie, made with dark chocolate chips and packed with natural orange flavouring. These scrumptious nibbles contain coconut nectar and gluten-free oats, providing a low GI and fibre simultaneously. They were certainly a welcome treat to power us through our to-do lists. Equally delicious, the Choc Walnut Brownie was a hit with the nut lovers of the office. We particularly enjoyed the pop of vanilla and found this flavour a perfect mid-morning snack to accompany a coffee (or two!) Finally, we tried the Mint Choc Brownie flavour which was subsequently our favourite. Made with cacao nibs and enriched with peppermint oil, we found it hard to believe that these decadant packets could be regarded as ‘healthy’.

To add some scrumptious protein into your diet, visit the Nibble Protein Bites website where you can purchase a 12 pack of your favourite flavour for £16.00

As you can see, swapping to healthier snacks doesn’t always call for bland and boring choices. We hope to have opened your eyes to a new way of adding sweetness to your diet, we are certainly loving it!

Friday Favourites - Healthy Living Cookbooks

Here at The Amazing Blog, we do our best to live the healthiest lifestyles possible. Since a large part of doing so involves our eating habits, it’s important to fuel your body with nutritious foods. We have chosen our favourite healthy eating cookbooks from Ryland Peters & Small so you can join us on the journey of healthy eating.

When you eat fermented foods, you help to increase the health of your digestive and immune systems. With the help of the Fermented Foods for Vitality and Health cookbook by Dunja Gulin, you can learn how to incorporate more of these types of foods into your daily diet to benefit your body from the inside out. These types of food contain healthy probiotics, boost your energy and improve the natural radiance of your complexion. You most likely have enjoyed a few fermented foods in your lifetime, such as pickled cucumbers or sauerkraut. The book is divided into various sections so you can make foods according to the meal you’re preparing, such as breakfast, lunch and dinner, side salads and snacks, breads, sweets and drinks. Each recipe includes beautiful food photographs taken by Toby Scott, all of the proper ingredients and a small introduction of the recipe with its health benefits included. Our favourite recipes from the book are the Beet and Quinoa bowl, Vegan Greek Salad with Tofu Feta and the Probiotic Pumpkin Popsicles. Pick up your own copy here for £14.99.

Models and celebrities alike have been seen professing their love for kale and healthy eating on social media recently, so it’s no surprise that green drinks have been all the rage as part of this movement. With so many different bases to choose from – spinach, kale, basil, parsley and mint to name a few – there are endless possibilities for juice and smoothie creations. To get us started on our own green drinks, we got the Green Drinks recipe book by Nicola Graimes for inspiration and ideas for our juicing adventures. The book features smoothies, juices, shakes and lemonades including the benefits of greens, plus additional fruits and vegetables for extra flavour and taste. The beginning section even includes information about green superfood powders which can be added to smoothies and juices for added nutrients, including spirulina, chlorella and wheatgrass. The rest of the book is divided into sections of smoothie and juice recipes based on your health concerns or needs, such as detoxifiers, weight loss aiders, energisers and beauty boosters. A few of our favourite drink recipes from the book were the Super Green Detox, Mint Lemonade, Skin Detox, Green Goddess and Basil Limeade. We’ve never been so happy to have our greens! Pick up the book here for £9.99.

Paleo is the newest fad in healthful dieting, and a great way to get started is with Plant-Based Paleo by Jenna Zoe. She is the founder of Foods to Love, an online health food supplier specializing in products free from wheat, gluten, refined sugar, dairy and eggs. She believes that fresh plant foods – fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds – are the optimal health foods. This book is a must-read for those who want to understand the paleo approach to living and eating healthy. The book is full of great recipes featuring vibrant and colourful photos by Clare Winfield. The beginning of the book features an incredibly helpful list of essential ingredients, including chia seeds, spirulina, and coconut oil. The book features recipes for every meal, and with so many pages of recipes, you won’t know where to start. We loved trying the Green-A-Colada recipe, since it was healthy and yummy. Check out the book for yourself here and get it for £14.99.

We all love our sweet treats, but many people have been concerned about the health hazards of white sugar. Thankfully, there are many natural alternatives to sugar that are much better for our bodies. Sugar-Free Snacks & Treats by Ryland Peters & Small is full of recipes you can enjoy without worrying about the negative health effects associated with white sugar. The natural alternatives to sugar the book recommends include agave syrup, xylitol, coconut palm sugar, dark chocolate, brown rice syrup and honey. Even though alternative sweeteners have been criticized for not being as healthy as they claim, when eaten in moderation they are far better for your health than traditional sugar. It’s important to remember that a treat is a treat! The book offers loads of recipes, including everything from salsa to mini doughnuts. Everyone is sure to find something delightful to suit their taste. We can’t wait to try these sweet and savoury recipes! Pick up your own copy here for £14.99.

 

Cavalier Chocolates

As bikini season fast approaches, here at The Amazing Blog we’ve been drinking litres of water, eating copious amounts of fruit, and taking any opportunity to get to the gym (some more than others… shhh!). But as anyone dieting will know, healthy eating is sometimes the last thing on your mind, and sometimes you just want a bit of chocolate! But hold on, don’t run to the shop! We’ve found a brilliant alternative to the regular chocolate you find at the supermarket and it’s sugar-free Cavalier chocolates.

Now don’t be turned off by the sugar free aspect, because these delicious treats are made with Stevia, that all-natural sugar substitute that everyone’s raving about these days! For those of you that haven’t heard of it, Stevia is a 100% natural sweetener that has been used for centuries, and is naturally about 300 times sweeter than ordinary sugar – yes, you read that right, 300 times! Unlike the artificial sweeteners you can buy in the shops, Stevia is healthier for you as it’s natural and has no calories. Cavalier chocolates have over 20 flavours and there’s absolutely no added artificial sugar in them. Whilst most sugar-free snacks lack flavour, Cavalier chocolates taste just as, if not more, luxurious than most chocolates you can buy today. Cavalier is a family run business that has been creating their scrumptious chocolates since 1996, and has been dedicated to using the healthiest natural ingredients – so you don’t have to worry about putting any nasty artificial ingredients in your body. Their products contain natural antioxidants, fibres, vitamin E, magnesium, zinc and iron – and you certainly can't say the same for that Twix you were about to eat?! With flavours ranging from mango raspberry, orange, flax seed, caramel, praline and more, there’s an indulgent treat for everyone, and starting at just £0.99 they’re not going to hurt your purse either!

Whether you’re looking for a guilt-free treat to squeeze into your bikini or just a healthier option to snack on during the day, check out Cavalier chocolates.

COYO Yoghurt

Ever since arriving in London from the United States, I have found myself experimenting with different foods. Certain foods and brands that are popular here, I had never previously heard of back home. Yoghurt was one of the foods that I noticed differed between the two countries. Over the past few years, yoghurt had become a staple of my diet and I often enjoyed it with my cereal or oatmeal in the morning. I sometimes even used it as a dip for my fruits and vegetables. I've missed some of the brands of yoghurts I've grown accustomed to at home… but that was until my colleagues here at The Amazing Blog introduced me to COYO Coconut Milk Yoghurt. As soon as I tried COYO Coconut Milk Yoghurt, I was immediately hooked! My sudden love for this new type of yoghurt only increased as I learned about its health benefits. Not only is COYO sugar free, but also dairy free, soya free, gluten and lactose free. It is the first of its kind and you will definitely not be able to find anything like it! However, these benefits of the yoghurt detract absolutely nothing from its taste. It contains a refreshing coconut flavor that is creamy and very light. As soon as I finished it, I found myself yearning for more. The immense amount of flavor made me feel as if I were treating myself to a dessert rather than a healthy yoghurt. This yoghurt can be used the exact same way as normal yoghurt and is available in a few flavours: natural, mixed berry, and pineapple. The universal love of this product is evident by the fact that it was entered for the Free From Food Awards in 2012.

Similarly to myself, COYO is a recent introduction to the UK. It originated in Australia, but nutritionist Bethany Eaton has brought it to the UK and I could not be happier than my time here has coincided with the arrival of this delicious yoghurt. I will be sure to stop into Planet Organic or a John Lewis Food Hall to stock up on as much COYO Coconut Milk Yoghurt as I can before I head back to the United States. I am jealous of all you Londoners who not only have this yoghurt readily available to you but will be around for the launch of the COYO Ice Cream this summer!