My Story

Tool for health - sweet like candi

I started my business, Sweet Like Candi, a little over a year ago because I saw the need for delicious gluten free and sugar free treats.

I have had an interesting health and food journey – in my eyes, both food and health are inexorably linked. I am a firm believer that you are what you eat.

I suffered in excess of eight years of my life with intestinal ulcers, bloating, insomnia, brain fog, mood swings and a number of other uncomfortable and painful symptoms, until I was lead to a Homeopath, (after all a doctor could prescribe to me were anti-depressants, which I refused to take).

Months of elimination tests culminated in some blood tests that stated that I had intolerances to gluten, dairy, eggs, yeast and garlic.

Knowledge is power, and I equipped myself with as much information as I could on the subject. At first, I was immensely overwhelmed because when reading food labels, it became apparent that these items were in the majority of store bought and ready-made foods.

This sparked my passion for cooking because I realized that the only way that I was going to be able to eat anything, was to make it myself.

Baking became my biggest challenge as I was determined to bake without the likes of flour, eggs, milk, sugar and yeast. I realized that baking was a science, and the only way to bake without an ingredient was to figure out what the ingredient actually did, in order to replace it.

I did extensive research, wrote articles, experimented for hours on end, forced my friends to be my guinea pigs, and eventually I started a blog about my food journey because I reasoned that there must be other people out there in the same position as me.

Six years ago, it wasn’t an easy task to eat out at restaurants, if you had allergies or intolerances. Trying to explain what I wanted to eat became a five day game, because I would forget to mention no basting on my steak or no dressing on my salad, and landed up sending my food back more often than not. My friends, I’m sure, dreaded going out with me. So, I was faced with a choice, stay at home or just not be strict when going out and suffer the consequences. I still wanted a social life, so I chose the latter, which became a bit of a downward spiral as one cheat lead to another, and one compromise led to another until eventually I was not healing myself.

I landed up at an Iridologist who looked into my eye and summed up my health woes in one word – Candida. Candida is a yeast infection. The organism Candida Albicans is already present in our bodies, such as the mouth and gut, in order for us to function correctly. Factors such as stress, poor diet, a compromised immune system, extended use of antibiotics, alcohol and birth control pills can cause it to grow out of control.

In my case, the Candida was the worst he had seen. It was in every organ of my body and he said that if I continued the way I was going, I might not be able to fall pregnant. And thus started my new blog, and my new food journey, Sweet Like Candida.

This blog is just focused on eliminating gluten and sugar – and I thought how amazing it was to be able to bake with eggs and dairy again.

I started finding ways to replace the sugar and gluten, making my own gluten free flour mixes and I even made a few cakes using beans. I pushed the boundaries with ingredients, much like I had done before.

But, even though I now had a new eating plan, I wasn’t feeling healthy and I still wasn’t losing the fat roll around my middle – a sure fire sign that I was insulin resistant.

Around this time, my step mom found out that she had Type 2 Diabetes. Her health journey led her to Tim Noakes, The Real Meal Revolution and Banting, which in a nut shell is about eating real food and avoiding anything processed and ready-made. In an ironic twist of fate, it seemed like my food journey had come full circle.

I devoured the Real Meal Revolution book from cover to cover and became excited when it mentioned reversing Candida, which had by now become my life’s mission.

The main aim with Candida is to starve it of all sugar, and foods which convert into sugar, which it feeds on – thus Banting is the perfect diet for me.

When I learned about the phenomenon of hidden carbs in foods, it was like a light bulb went on in my head; it made complete sense to me, because although I wasn’t eating gluten or sugar, per se, I was still eating rice and potatoes and some fruits and vegetables, which all, because of their hidden carbs, converted into sugar in the body, fueling my Candida.

The book made me feel like someone understood where I was coming from, and how I still absolutely needed my food to taste delicious and that I didn’t want to feel deprived because I was eliminating certain things from my diet.

The huge amount of fat did cause me to panic at first because all my life I had been taught that fat was bad and unhealthy. But, with the constant repetition from my step mom that fats are good and carbs and hidden carbs are the enemy, my mind began to shift as I tested it out and began to see the results in myself.

I no longer experienced the yo-yo effect with my weight – losing it and then putting it back on. The bloating stopped and so did the mind fog and mood swings. I had so much energy, with no more tired slumps or lethargy. I was happier than I had felt in forever and I just wanted to share my good fortune with the world, and so began my new task, with my new business – Sweet Like Candi.

Sweet Like Candi specializes in cakes, desserts and savoury items for all occasions. Some examples include: cauliflower pizza bases, bread, truffle squares and a variety of cakes and cupcakes. Only the best ingredients are used: free range eggs; grass fed butter, cream and yoghurt; organic chocolate, cocoa and coconut oil; vanilla extract (to name a few).

The reason I choose to use xylitol in my baking is because it does not convert into sugar in the body like other sweeteners such as fructose, honey, coconut sugar and agave – although these are all seen as natural, they have the same effect on the body as sugar. Xylitol also has proven anti-fungal properties, inhibits Candida yeast and reduces tooth decay. (Although it is not safe for dogs and may have a laxative effect in some people.)

All of my products are Banting, low carb, Diabetic friendly, grain free, sugar free – as well as dairy and egg free (where applicable).

Children’s diets have become very important to me – I feel that the sooner we start, not only feeding them better, but educating them on the foods that they consume, the better they will feel and the better equipped they will be to fight, and even prevent, health issues in the future. I am constantly creating treats and snacks that are delicious, healthy and kid approved.

I am excited about a healthy future. All it takes is a choice and the want to live a happy, fulfilled life.

Creamy Roasted Garlic Macadamia “Polenta” with Sundried Tomato Jam

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My phone rang, it was ZZ2 with an unexpected delivery. In my line of work, I receive deliveries all the time, but this was no ordinary delivery – it was the ZZ2 Mouthwatering Box!

I raced downstairs to collect my bounty of some of South Africa’s best produce. The box popped with delicious colour; I spied tomatoes in a multitude of shapes and hues; from large “every day” tomatoes, to tomatoes with beautiful names such as Romanita, Bacio, Rigoletta and Sante, but what peaked my fancy the most were the sundried tomatoes! The box also included onions, garlic, avos and even a nifty avo tool!

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I was beyond excited to get cooking! How could I not be with such fantastic ingredients?

I wanted to create something that would celebrate these ingredients, and my mind went straight to Italy. It must have been the exotic tomato names! But also because Italians are known for celebrating food in every sense of the word.

Winter is here, and to me, there is nothing more comforting than a bowl of creamy polenta. Since polenta is a grain and I am Banting, I decided to create my own “polenta”. I wanted something with a neutral colour, I first thought of coconut, but it has quite a sweet taste, and then I went to almond, but it was still not quite right. I settled on Macadamia flour because of its earthiness, which would go perfectly with this dish. But, if you would like to recreate this dish at home, please feel free to use almond flour or polenta 🙂

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With the box of deliciousness, ZZ2 had asked us to create a dish that would hero two or more of the ingredients. I chose the garlic, Bacio vine tomatoes and of course, the sundried tomatoes.

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Creamy Roasted Garlic Macadamia “Polenta” with Sundried Tomato Jam, Roasted Tomatoes, Mushroom, Rocket and Macadamia Nut Oil

(Serves 2)

Ingredients:

Macadamia Polenta:
1 cup macadamia nut flour
1 – 11/2 cups water
1/2 tsp Oryx desert salt (or similar)
1/4 – 1/2 cup cream (or more water)
1 knob butter
handful grated white cheese (parmesan, pecorino or cheddar)
1 head ZZ2 garlic, broken into cloves

Sundried Tomato Jam:
1/2 cup ZZ2 sundried tomatoes
water
pinch chilli flakes *optional
fresh thyme
pinch of xylitol *optional
salt and pepper to taste

Other:
2 large brown mushrooms
ZZ2 Bacio vine tomatoes
rocket
cheese shavings
macadamia nut oil or olive oil

Method:

This is a multi-tasking kind of recipe. You can move onto the next process, while the previous element is cooking, or you can follow the recipe step-by-step – it’s up to you.

Heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius
Place garlic cloves on an oven tray, skin still on, and roast until soft and “squishy” and when they can slide easily out of the skins (the kitchen will start to smell amazing at this point)
While that is happening, put sundried tomatoes into a pan and just cover with water to allow them to re-hydrate for a few minutes. Bring water to the boil once the tomatoes are plump
Add in the rest of the ingredients and reduce down until you have a jam-like consistency
Mash 1 clove of roasted garlic into the jam and leave on low heat, while you get on with the rest of the processes
Taste as you go. I chose the sundried tomatoes because they are packed full of flavour. You are looking for a punchy jam that zings with flavour
Add macadamia nut flour, salt and 1 cup of water to a saucepan and stir with a whisk to smooth out the lumps
Cook on medium heat until it forms a porridge-like consistency and the flour has cooked out and the liquid has been absorbed – reduce the heat to a simmer here (you may need to keep adding some liquid until you are happy with the consistency). Stir with the whisk every now and again. It will take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the type of macadamia nut flour you use
Mash about 6 cloves of roasted garlic and stir into your “polenta” – this should provide a beautiful, yet subtle garlic flavour
Stir some cream, butter and cheese into the “polenta”. You should have something that is smooth, creamy and a little runny in consistency
Add salt and pepper to taste and keep on low heat until ready to serve
Place the mushrooms and vine tomatoes on a baking tray. Season your mushrooms with salt and pepper and drizzle them, as well as the vine tomatoes, with macadamia nut oil or olive oil
Roast until the tomato skins are wrinkled and the mushrooms have started to change colour and release their juices

To plate, place some “polenta” into a bowl or onto a plate, top with the tomato jam and slices of mushroom and the rest of the ingredients. Drizzle with a little macadamia nut oil or olive oil, finish off with a few shavings of cheese.

And there you have the perfect Winter warmer, using some of the best ingredients South Africa has to offer.

To win your very own Mouthwatering Box, an avo tool and a Checkers voucher worth R1000, tell ZZ2 what you’d create with this same box of ingredients by leaving your entry as a comment on their Facebook Page here. Good luck 🙂

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Sun Butter – The Best Thing on Sliced (Low Carb) Bread

Sun butter

I’m going to be honest hear and tell you that I have never been much of a fan of peanut butter. *Gasp* (I know, right?) Peanut butter is one of those things you either love or you hate – there is not much space for in between.

I think I am not a fan because it never made me feel good when eating it.

BUT, I must tell you that I simply LOVE sun butter – isn’t it such an amazing name? Sunshine in a bottle, sunshine on toast, sunshine in my life… And that’s exactly how I feel when I eat it, with a spoon straight from the bottle, or smothered on some homemade seed loaf, thick with butter…. YUM!

And it’s really easy to make. YAY!

Sun Butter (Makes 250 mls)

Ingredients:

2 cups sunflower seeds
3/4 tsp sea salt
1 Tbs xylitol
2 tsp coconut oil

Method:

Heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius
Toast sunflower seeds on a baking tray in the oven until golden brown (about 5 – 6 minutes)
Transfer seeds to a food processor and add salt
Grind the seeds in the processor for about 15 – 20 minutes, stopping every 2 minutes to scrape down the sides
Add the Xylitol and coconut oil after about 10 minutes
It takes a while for the sunflower seeds to release their oils. You are looking for a creamy consistency, so don’t stop until you have achieved this
The seeds will first break down and look like powder and then they will start to bind together to form a paste – keep blending until it has become smooth, creamy and easy to spread
Store the sun butter in a sterilised glass container in the fridge – because the sun butter is made with coconut oil, you may need to bring it to room temperature before using
Serve on low carb bread or toast, with green apple slices, or eat straight from the jar, like I do 🙂

 

Quick Aubergine “Pizza” Slices

Quick Aubergine "Pizza" Slices

Cooking low carb can be time consuming. Sometimes when the hunger-monkeys are knocking on the door, something cheesy, delicious and super fast to make is the only answer.

When browsing through the supermarket shelves, as I do, for fun 😉 I found this awesome product by Granoro – a Napoletana sauce made with all natural ingredients, and it’s yummy too! If you don’t have this on hand, you can make a quick tomato sauce using good quality tinned tomatoes.

Quick Aubergine “Pizza” Slices (makes 5 – 8 slices)

Ingredients:

1 aubergine, cut into slices, lengthways
1 clove garlic
Olive oil for brushing onto the aubergine slices
1/2 bottle of Granoro Napoletana Sauce (185g) or homemade tomato sauce
100g grated mozzarella cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh thyme or basil
Optional chilli flakes

Method:

Heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius
Brush olive oil onto aubergine slices
Rub the slices with garlic
Grill the aubergine slices for 5 to 10 minutes, until a knife inserts easily
Smother slices with Napoletana Sauce
Sprinkle with fresh thyme or basil, and chilli, if desired
Cover with grated cheese
And salt and pepper to taste
Grill in oven for 5 minutes until cheese has melted and turned golden
Serve as a quick snack, or with a salad, as a delicious lunch or light meal

Low Carb Cauli-Roti

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I just love curry.

Making curry is one of my most favourite and relaxing things to do. Building up the flavours as I go along and creating the perfect balance of sweet, salty, and spicy, to me, is an almost spiritual creative-release. Not only because of the intricate layering of flavours, and the intoxicating aromas, but because with each chop of the blade and sprinkle of spice, I allow my mind to wander, peacefully, to uncharted territories.

Something as beautiful as the perfect curry, dolloped with a cooling mound of thick yoghurt and fresh sprigs of tangy coriander, deserves the perfect accompaniment – whether you are mopping up the juices or wanting to house the curry in a “bread-like” cocoon, for the ultimate spicy sandwich.

Once again, the versatile cauliflower allows for such an accompaniment – the low carb cauli-roti!

Low Carb Cauli-Roti (Makes 2)

Ingredients:

1 Cup Cooked “Cauli Snow”
1 Large Egg
2 Tbs Psyllium Husks
2 Tbs Coconut Flour
½ tsp Salt
½ tsp Cumin Seeds

 Method:

To make “cauli snow”: Cook cauliflower florets until soft; pulse in a magimix until fine; transfer mixture to a tea towel, wrap tightly and squeeze out all the liquid.
Transfer “cauli snow” back to magimix, add all ingredients, except the cumin seeds, and mix until dough-like.
Add cumin seeds and mix into a “dough ball”.
Divide dough in half and roll each piece between two sheets of baking paper, dusted with coconut flour.
Cut out a round shape by placing a side plate on top of the rolled out dough and tracing around it.
Place roti into a hot, dry pan and cook on either side until golden brown.
Serve with filling of your choice.

New Year’s Resolutions and a Detox-Boosting Juice

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The first week of a new year has already flown by and with that the grip of new year’s resolutions could be loosening…

Promises of “getting fitter”, “losing weight”, “detoxing from the festive indulgence” already fading into the background of stress-filled excuses.

Isn’t is amazing how easily we can fall back into old habits and let all of our good intentions fall by the wayside?

This year, to try and prevent this, I’ve decided to make a visualization board depicting all of my goals for the year, and putting it in the best place for maximum bombardment of my positive intentions.

One of the most common sentiments for starting a new year, and one that I’m sure we’ve all uttered at least once in our lives, is wanting to “detox after the festive madness”.

Last week I watched the documentary “Hungry for Change”, which resonated with me deeply and reiterated much of what I already knew. Like most things in life, it came at the perfect time and reminded me that every positive change we wish for ourselves can only become possible with self love.

Unfortunately, there is no quick detox fix. We can’t take a pill, or drink a magic potion, to reset our body back to normal. All we can do is take it one day at a time.

Let’s decide that today is the day that we are going to start treating our bodies with kindness and, with love, fill them with foods that will help support the body’s natural detox process so that over time we will have a healthy vessel to allow us to become the best versions of ourselves.

As I mentioned above, we know that old habits are hard to break, so if you find yourself falling back into the old trap of bad behaviour, don’t beat yourself up about it. Just be aware of it and promise to try a bit harder the next day. Treat yourself like you’d like others to treat you and eventually that kindness you are giving yourself will make way for self love.

To break old thought patterns, we need to replace them with positive ones – so, a possible idea would be to write a mantra and stick it to your bathroom mirror, which will be visible every day. In “Hungry for Change” they mention that it takes 30 days to break an old belief, the mantra that was suggested was, “I accept myself unconditionally right now” – this means that you accept yourself warts and all and although you are not perfect, you appreciate that you are taking the small steps each day to becoming the person you want to be.

I think it’s important to pat yourself on the back for how far you’ve come and not dwell on how far you still have to go. Every victory, no matter how big or small, should be celebrated.

I wish you an amazing 2015 and here’s to a year of self discovery and self love <3.

Juicing is a wonderful way of extracting as much of the goodness from foods as possible. What better way to start the day than a nutrient packed juice with your morning mantra?

This year my focus is on: a healthy mind, body and soul.

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Here is my recipe for a Detox-Boosting Juice (Makes 250 mls)

Ingredients:

1/3 large cucumber
1 large celery stalk (including leaves)
2 baby fennel bulbs and stalks
1/2 green apple
1 bunch parsley
1 bunch coriander
1 bunch mint
1 thumb-sized knob ginger
*optional squeeze lemon juice and 2 tbs Chia seeds

Combine all ingredients in a juicer to create a delicious and refreshing morning booster. Chia seeds become gel-like, which is great for digestion as the gel helps sweep out the digestive tract.

All of the ingredients above have been carefully selected for their health benefits including: rehydration, toxin flushing, digestion support, Diabetes prevention, Cancer fighting, brain and heart health and mood boosting