This September we’re talking all things sugar free, and to kick off we’ve been catching up with low sugar gurus – the Sugar Free Siblings. The sisters from Scotland are the latest pair to boot the sweet stuff and blog about it too. Have a read of our little interview below and make sure you check out their website for recipes, advice and much more.
We love all your recipes on your website. They always look so nourishing and of course they’re sugar free. Have you both always been into cooking?
Yes, BIG time! Before time immemorial we’d be outside at home, in the shed, whisking together the most extraordinary concoctions mostly consisting of; mud, sticks, grass and a lot of swamp water – making all kinds of delicacies for our poor parents!
Then when we left school we each did a cookery course for a month, just to learn the basics, and straight after that – combined with endless years of waitressing – it kind of turned into our summer job. Feeding people beautifully presented, uber nourishing and most importantly YUMMY food is literally our favourite thing in the world.
Our approach is about getting involved with local markets, looking for veg boxes and seasonal food, plus smelling food and experimenting with different flavours. It truly is one of the most gratifying acts in life. Friends around the table, candles burning, the wind blowing through the kitchen, a glass of red in hand and some music bopping in the background; add to the mix some food and boom shakalaka – you’ve got yourself a very happy bunch of customers.
When did you start to become more aware about how much of a baddie sugar is?
Given our foodie upbringing we’ve always been up for learning from new chefs, bloggers, cookery styles and following what’s #trending. So in that respect it was kind of a natural progression. We both had a number of not very nice health issues growing up, a combination of severe allergies and IBS and in our early/mid 20’s we’d both started experimenting with limiting certain food groups to see if we had any major health intolerances. Yet, this didn’t lead to much.
Then, I (Charlotte) gave Diana a copy of I Quit Sugar by Sarah Wilson for Christmas. This became the cooking bible for the next few weeks, only we were so hooked on how the food made us feel that it just stayed on our kitchen table, for months – and actually it still hasn’t left (3 years later!). We’ve just upgraded to the latest book ‘Simplicious’, that is of course when we’re not inventing our own recipes, which is pretty regularly.
So yeah, giving up sugar took such a burden off our digestive system, our immune system and our bodies that we’ve just decided to stick with it.
How did the Sugar Free Siblings begin/what inspired you to start blogging about sugar?
We both just got a little addicted to working out what to have instead of sugar, learning where sugar was hidden, why it was in SO many freakin’ products. They fill every shelf in every supermarket, petrol station and cinema and it extends shelf life like there’s no tomorrow – it’s as if there’s no down side?! From cutting down on added sugar, we found a whole new appreciation and love for fruit (and just real food in general) and came up with so many different recipes that we just had to share them! Lots of which don’t necessarily contain sugar in the first place, but even the simple things like dressings and mayos are preserved with sugar. One again we just wanted to provide a platform where people could consult in order to make their own super delicious, epic and awesome varieties of mayo.
Butttttt quick interjection here – we aren’t trying to preach that 1 and all should go sugar free. That’s a little freaky (like us) and not always that easy. We’re just trying to spread a little awareness of how easy it is to rack up your daily intake of ‘free sugars’ (i.e. the added sucrose (glucose/fructose combos), juices and syrups that are out there). They are everywhere – and we’ve got a cheeky article here where you can read a little more about the sneaky substance.
What’s the number one book you’d recommend to someone starting out on their sugar free journey?
As mentioned above, Sarah Wilson, the brains behind ‘I Quit Sugar’, and her team have published multiple books and have a massive blog full of useful titbits and insights into a very sugary (free) world. They are all Aussie based, so are apparently about 7 years ahead of the UK when it comes to ‘health trends’. But the realisation of just how much sugar people are consuming (above the WHO’s recommendation of limiting your intake to 10%, and ideally 5%, of our overall energy intake) is spreading further, meaning that we think this health ‘trend’ is here to stay.
What’s your favourite sugar free pudding recipe?
Di: Easy, the Chia Brownie – they are so creamy, coconutty and chocolatey all at the same time. Oh gosh, I’m salivating just thinking about them!
Charlotte: Froyo for shizzle. It’s literally just yogurt and frozen fruit which makes it super easy to make. Is slightly different each time and is the perfect base for lots of toppings like toasted coconut chips, nut nutters, buckwheat sprouts, flaxseed and of course our SFS Granola…
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