Healthy eating: Susan Jane White on sorting out your sugar habit
Sort out your sugar habit, says Susan Jane White, with cinnamon, banana and walnut ice cream -- it's guilt-free
Cinnamon has long been touted as a diabetic's best friend. This sweet, mellow spice has been shown to assist with the metabolisation of glucose.
In fact, a teaspoon a day can help regulate blood-sugar levels in type two diabetics. Ongoing research from the United States Department of Agriculture's Human Nutrition Research Centre looks exciting for cinnamon. This is because it contains a compound that mimics insulin in the bloodstream. What a clever little spice.
Try it in porridge and you won't miss sugar. There's sufficient sweetness and excitement for the taste buds that it is possible to forget entirely about your sugar habit. This is especially good news for weight-watching damsels and candida dieters. Furthermore, candida patients will be happy to learn of particular phytochemicals in cinnamon called eugenol and geraniol. These chaps fight the overgrowth of yeast in the system -- doctor's speak for thrush.
Of course, traditionally cinnamon was believed to also help with nausea and stomach ulcers. Could this be attributed to its comforting and sweet tones, rather than to its physiological effects? The powerful force of mind over matter perhaps? And granny's apple pie?
There's only one way to find out. Cinnamon ice cream with a hangover. And today's probably a good day.
Cinnamon, Banana & Walnut Ice Cream
My husband never suspected this was dairy-free, let alone free from added sugar and guilt. Had I told him, perhaps his spoon would never have ventured in. It was loved, revered and annihilated in one blissful binge.
The key to its success lies in using chilled, full-fat coconut milk. Go for the organic variety, as I've noticed others are packed with preservatives and chemical stabilisers that turn the ice cream a dodgy tinge of purple. You can find exquisite Californian walnuts in Lidl stores around the country. That is, provided you don't live near me, as I pillage their stocks.
A top idea is to chill your serving bowls in the freezer beforehand. I use tiny glass preserving jars so that everyone has a pot to themselves.
Serves 3-4, depending on mood and the weather.
You will need:
1 can chilled full-fat coconut milk
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon powder
Handful of walnuts
Peel and chop each banana into many chunks. Try using black-skinned bananas which are ultra ripe and much sweeter. Place the chunks on a bread board covered with baking parchment, making sure the banana pieces are not touching each other. Freeze for 60 minutes, then transfer to a freezer bag. This is to prevent the banana sticking together and wearing down your food processor or patience later.
When an ice cream craving hits, take the chilled can of coconut milk from the fridge and blend in a food processor with your frozen bananas, maple syrup and cinnamon. Process in bursts at first until the bananas soften, then continuously until they develop a creamy consistency.
Decorate with crushed walnuts and more maple syrup if you fancy. Use raw agave nectar from Natasha's Living Food if you suffer from diabetes. Please don't use artificial sweeteners!
Devour immediately, and finish every last slurp because it tends not to refreeze once made. Oh well.