FebFast: Creating Healthy Alternatives
March 13, 2014
By Ciara Polonsky
FebFast: Creating Healthy Alternatives
I'll admit, chocolate was always my kryptonite. So when I decided to participate in FebFast last month, and go totally sugar free, alcohol free and caffeine free, I knew it was going to be a challenge.

But I realised that cutting out the junk leaves room for delicious nutritionally dense foods. There is a rainbow of natural and healthy alternatives waiting to be experienced.

Whatever your sweet of choice might be, take a moment to ask yourself the following question. Is the temporary rush of a processed sugar fix worth it?

With that in mind, here are my tips for surviving FebFast and beyond without sugar, alcohol and caffeine and still enjoy the good things in life.

How can I replace chocolate?

If you really crave that chocolate fix, cacao is the non-processed pure form of cocoa and a natural stimulant.

Look for raw organic cacao powder. The powder can be added into smoothies, baking or sprinkled over breakfast or any healthy treat.

Cacao also comes in the form of cacao nibs, which are great combined with goji berries, nuts and seeds for a power packed energy boost. While goijs are relatively high in natural sugars, they are a great source of antioxidants.

How can I replace ice cream?

Frozen fruits such as berries, bananas or mangos make great sorbets.

Combine chia seeds with coconut milk or almond milk at a ratio of 2:1. Allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes and stir to create a gel. Add frozen fruit and mix with a hand held blender. Freeze until solid, adding crushed nuts or cacao nibs as desired.

How can I replace potato chips?

Simple, thinly slice root vegetables such as beetroot, sweet potato or carrot, or if you want a real treat try kale leaves. (They taste like popcorn).

Place the vegetables onto a tray, lightly coat the vegies in coconut oil and season with Himalayan salt and spices to your desired taste.

Bake at 180°C for 10-15 minutes.

How can I replace alcohol or soft drink?

Use mineral or coconut water as a base, and then jazz it up with lemon, ginger, cucumber or watermelon.

There's usually a large array of coconut waters in health food stores, some in the supermarkets, cafes and it is even beginning to appear in bars and clubs. Be prepared and take some with you if you're going to socialise, so you don't feel like you're missing out.

How can I get the most out of breakfast?

Getting your breakfast right is essential, as it provides you with a kick start to your metabolism and can govern the rest of your day.

Everybody is different, it is important that you experiment and find what works for you.

Personally, I love acai, a high-energy berry from the Amazon that is great in smoothies or as a replacement for milk or yoghurt.

The brand Amazonia produces fair trade organic frozen puree blocks of acai that can be blended with any of the following ingredients for an energising start to the day; organic frozen berries, banana, maca powder, cacao powder, organic apple or pear juice.

Main improvements you can expect
  • Skin

  • It might take your skin a little time of adjusting while it is being given a chance to release the toxins that may have built up in your system over time. So be patient, it will pass. Keep drinking plenty of water. Before long, your skin will be clearer.

  • Sleep

  • You should fall asleep more easily, not wake up as much through the night and wake up feeling more refreshed.

  • Energy

  • Fuelling yourself with sugary snacks sends you on a physical and emotional rollercoaster because of the way it affects the levels of sugar in the blood. As your body is levelling out, you might feel a bit flatter than usual, because you're going through a withdrawal, but you'll bounce back.

  • Weight loss
Excess sugar gets stored as fat, so depending on your original diet, weight and state of health, you may experience a degree of weight loss. Even if you are underweight, replacing sugar and saturated fat with whole foods should help you replace body fat with lean body mass and restore your body to a healthy weight.

Ciara Polonsky holds a Bachelor of Health Science and Nutritional Medicine. She likes to get creative with whole and super foods in the kitchen, and has a confessed love of fitness and Pilates especially. You can contact her via email at ci_polo@hotmail.com.
"Reducing your intake of sugar, saturated fats, alcohol and caffeine can help improve your skin, help you get to sleep, increase your energy and help stabilise your weight."