One of my challenges in losing weight is battling my tendencies to get more food for each point in the Weight Watchers food plan. Those zero-point foods become more attractive, and that’s the way WW intended it to be. If we focus on lean proteins and fresh fruits and vegetables, we will become healthier and lose weight.
However, a problem arises when we start manipulating foods with artificial flavorings and sweeteners in order to stretch out those WW points. When we start doing that, we aren’t learning to be satisfied with smaller portions, and we aren’t learning to rely on whole, natural foods.
A few days ago I bought a diet lemonade (sweetened with Splenda) from Chick Fil A. Within a little while I had a headache. I’ve noticed that several times recently – a headache and usually stomach upset not long after drinking or eating something with artificial sweeteners. Yesterday I made a dozen muffins using a sugar-free cake mix as the base. “Sugar-free” typically means “sweetened with artificial sweetener,” and that was the case with these muffins. I ate one of the muffins for lunch, and all afternoon I’ve had digestive issues as a result. The rest of the muffins are going in the trash.
When I consider the fact that I started this WW health, fitness, and mindfulness journey in order to become healthier, then I don’t want to eat or drink anything that doesn’t foster that. Every now and then, I will still enjoy a Diet Coke. However, rather than a multiple-times-a-day thing, it is now something I consume maybe two or three times a month. And that is okay for now. I may cut them out entirely at some point.
My mother is 97 years old, and one of the reasons (I believe) that she has led such a long and mostly healthy life is that she sticks to healthy food: lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and whole grain bread. She almost never eats pork, and she has lots of meatless meals.
No major insight for this post – just a reminder to myself of the importance of natural, whole foods. That will continue to be one of my focuses for my daily life.
I saw an ad online for Lakanto Drinking Chocolate. Since I like the Lakanto Monkfruit sweetener, I decided to give it a try. I found it on Amazon and ordered a package. It was delivered this morning. Instead of brewing a cup of herbal tea, I decided to try the drinking chocolate. I made it using boiling water. Made with water, it is 0 points (WW Blue). It is sweet and chocolatey. Too sweet, actually. So I poured it out and decided to try it with unsweetened almond milk instead.
I heated a cup of unsweetened almond milk (1 point per cup – WW Blue) and it was much better. Still super-sweet, though.
I give Lakanto Drinking Chocolate 6 out of 10 stars. It’s good – a little too sweet for me, though. However, for those times I want something chocolatey and sweet, it might just hit the spot.
Now I’m trying to decide if I want to finish my cup of drinking chocolate made with almond milk or brew a cup of herbal tea.
Put all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mix well.
Pour into a loaf pan (5″ x 10″)
Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 45-55 minutes (depending on your oven) or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Cut into 8 equal slices. Each slice is 2 points.
My verdict: It is very moist. It took longer to bake than I thought it would. Let it cool before slicing it. Next time I will decrease the monkfruit sweetener. For me, it was a little too sweet. The bananas and applesauce have natural sweetness. So a full cup of additional sweetener is too much. If I wanted to go all natural and add regular sugar to this recipe instead of the monkfruit sweetener, it would add 3 points to each slice (1/2 cup sugar = 24 points).
When I got home from an appointment earlier today, I wanted a latte or macchiato; I needed an early afternoon energy boost. I started to make a caramel macchiato but then noticed that the jar of sugar-free caramel had “Refrigerate after opening” on it. It has been sitting next to my espresso machine for a couple months. I tossed it in the trash.
With no caramel (except full sugar – which would add 6 points for 2 tablespoons – and I would want more than 2 tablespoons!), I decided to go with a latte instead.
I got a large glass and filled it with ice. Then I poured 4 ounces of espresso over the ice. And since I REALLY like my coffee drinks sweet, and since I had just bought a bag of golden monkfruit sweetener, I added 1 1/2 Tablespoons of it to my latte. I finished filling up the glass with unsweetened vanilla almond milk, and stirred it.
The golden monkfruit sweetener is a brown sugar replacement. So it gave the latte a caramel-y flavor – which I loved.
Weight Watchers points? The only ingredient with points is the almond milk – and it’s 1 point for 1 cup. I used less than a cup, but will count a full point anyway. It is delicious! Just imagine: a large coffee drink for 1 point! I will be making these more often!
My experiment today was to make chocolate muffins without a sugar free cake mix as the base. I wanted to develop my own recipe. It sounded so simple. However, I found that I greatly over-estimated my creative baking skills. It was such a disaster that I won’t even list the recipe, but here are the ingredients I used:
They looked so nice in the pan and cooked up beautifully. I couldn’t wait to taste them.
I took one bite of the warm muffin – and promptly spit it out into a napkin! There was no sweetness at all – it actually kinda set my teeth on edge. All 12 muffins (minus that one bite) went right into the “chicken bowl” that we keep in the kitchen for scraps to feed the chickens.
I decided to give it another try immediately. I decided to add some monkfruit sweetener, vanilla extract, and a little Fage nonfat Greek yogurt. Surely those additions would make the muffins wonderful – or at least palatable.
So I made a second batch with those modifications. Again, I was eager to try them out. They looked and smelled wonderful. This time I got 2-3 bites down before tossing all the rest into the chicken bowl. The second batch didn’t set my teeth on edge, but they simply didn’t taste good. Sigh.
I have to say – those sugar-free cake mixes are looking a lot more appealing at this point! I’ve run out of muffin-making steam for today, but maybe tomorrow I will be go back to the original sugar-free cake mix chocolate muffin recipe!
In all the WW groups I’ve joined on Facebook, I have heard a LOT about 2-Ingredient dough. So I decided to try it out.
It is simply equal parts self-rising flour and nonfat Greek yogurt. However, people kept mentioning that the dough is very sticky and that it works better to have a little less yogurt. Here is what I did:
3 cups self-rising flour (37 points) I made sure to be accurate with this measurement so I could figure the WW points. Set aside about 1/4 cup to use later.
2 1/2 cups Fage nonfat Greek Yogurt (0 points)
Mix the 2 3/4 cups flour with the yogurt in a bowl.. Turn out on a pastry board/sheet or on a piece of parchment paper. Knead briefly – using the 1/4 cup flour you set aside to add, as needed, to get it to a smooth ball. Cut into 16 equal pieces. I used a pastry cutter to cut the dough ball in half – then cut each half in half, etc.
Shape each piece into a ball.
I took some of the balls and rolled them out long and thin, sprayed with butter-flavored Pam, and then generously sprinkled cinnamon on them. Then I rolled them up (like a cinnamon roll), pressed them down, poked a hole in the middle. Voila! Cinnamon bagels.
Some I left plain, and others I sprayed with butter-flavored Pam and sprinkled “Everything but the Bagel” seasoning on them.
They turned out pretty good. They’re a little tangy, thanks to the yogurt. The only points come from the flour. So 37 total points divided by 16 is equal to about 2.3 points each. So one rounds off to 2 points, but two of them round off to 5 points.
I tried both the cinnamon and the “everything but the bagel” – and the cinnamon won, hands down. Spread a little “Simply Fruit” spread on it – and yummy!
I saw a recipe today for a zero-point cheesecake. I read over the directions and decided to make it. Of course, I made my own changes to it. The only artificial sweetener I use is Stevia. I use only Stevia because I have grown Stevia in my garden before. It’s in the mint family. I’ve chewed on the leaves – and they’re unbelievably sweet! So at least the origin of Stevia sweetener is natural. I know they add artificial stuff to get it into a powdered form. Still, it’s better than sweeteners that are completely concocted in chemistry labs.
I also added an additional egg – to make 4 altogether. The reason I did that is to make the batter thicker and for it to have more substance when it is chilled.
Since I had a big juicy lime in the refrigerator, I decided to make this first one a lime cheesecake.
How did it turn out? This cheesecake is delicious! I have to admit that I couldn’t wait the recommended two hours for it to cool. So my husband and I split a slice of warm cheesecake. It makes 8 generous servings. I used a large deep dish pie plate that I had. Next time I will use a regular pie plate.
Next time I plan on making a marble cheesecake. Once the batter is in the pan and before I bake it, I will drizzle some sugar-free Hershey syrup on it, and then use a spoon to swirl it through the batter. I will measure the syrup first to be sure and get an exact count of points. The chocolate syrup will probably make the slices 1 point each instead 0 points.
The only ingredient with points in the recipe below is the sugar-free pudding mix. It is 3 points per box. So there are three points in the entire cheesecake. Technically, that would be 0 points per slice if you make 8 slices. If you eat more than one slice, I’d count 1 point.
I saw another recipe on Facebook and decided to try it. Sugar Free Banana Muffins. It would be banana bread if you put it in a loaf pan instead of muffin tins. I wasn’t terribly impressed with them – although when they were warm and right out of the oven, they were pretty good. But they’re also on the dry side – just a little – which is not how muffins should be.
The base is a sugar free yellow cake mix. Then use very ripe bananas, eggs, and sugar-free chocolate chips.
I like these baking chips. It comes out to just a few chips per muffin. So I chopped them in order to spread out the chocolatey goodness more.
The muffins turned out more cakey than I prefer. I’m going to add some unsweetened applesauce next time to try to change the consistency and moistness.