Sugar Class today with Davina Sandground

powerbar An inspiring group joined Davina Sandground of Nutrition Groove and I today for a Sugar Workshop.  Davina talked about what sugar does to our bodies, hidden sugar in foods, sugar addiction and strategies to reduce sugar in our diets.  I cooked foods based on Davina's recommendations–– high protein low sugar breakfasts, bitter deep green leafy vegetables that actually help quell sugar cravings, low sugar snacks that fuel you between meals and a couple recipes using sweet vegetables that can also help curb sugar urges.

Below are recipes of what we cooked and ate.


This keeps for a couple weeks if you store it in an airtight container.

quinoa, 3 cups cooked, coconut flakes unsweetened, 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds1/2 cup brown sesame seeds, 1/4 cup hemp seeds, 1/2 cup ground chia seeds, 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts, 3/4  cups sunflower seeds, 1/4 cup coconut oil, 2 tablespoons salt

Combine all ingredients on a sheet tray and place in 105 degree oven.  Stir every couple hours until dry, about 6 hours.  Serve with almond milk.


1/2 teaspoons coconut oil, 1 cup chopped bok choy, 2/3 cup edamame, 1/2 cup cooked black or brown rice, 1 tablespoon brown sesame seeds,  1 teaspoon rice vinegar (not seasoned), salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

  1. Heat a heavy bottom skillet over medium heat.  Add coconut oil and bok choy and cook stirring often for 1 minute.
  2. Add the edamame, rice and sesame seeds.  Cook stirring often until thoroughly heated, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add sesame, vinegar, salt and pepper and serve immediately.


Serves 4, Prep Time: 5 minutes, Total Time: 5 minutes

4 cups finely chopped kale, ½ cup rough chopped basil, 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice, 2 teaspoons olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste, 1 avocado diced

In a large bowl combine the kale, basil, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs. Mix thoroughly using your fingers to make sure kale is completely coated. You can make it up to this point cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Before serving add avocado and toss lightly.


It is hard to find a protein bar that has more grams of protein than sugar.  This one has twice as many grams of protein than sugar.  In class I used 85% chocolate which for me is perfect but if you want more sweetness try a 70% or 75% chocolate.

1 cups oats, 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, 1/4 cup almond butter, 2 tablespoonscoconut butter melted, 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, 1/4 cup roughly chopped cashew, 1/4 cup sunflower seeds,  1/2 teaspoon sea salt, 3 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate 70%- 85%

  1. In a food processor place the oats, cocoa powder, peanut butter, coconut butter, water, pumpkin seeds, cashews and sunflower seeds and salt.
  2. Process until thoroughly combined and it sticks together in a ball.  Add the chopped chocolate and mix until just combined.
  3. Roll into logs with a 1 1/2 inch diameter.  Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate.  Slice servings off with a sharp knife as needed.  Or slice and bake in a 350 degree oven until the outside is crispy, about 15 minutes.


This is my go to snack.  I make it with tahini, almond butter, peanut butter…

2 tablespoons nut butter or tahini, 1 teaspoon cider vinegar, 1/4 teaspoontamari, water, sliced cucumber or carrot or sweet pepper

In a small bowl combine the nut butter, vinegar and tamari.  Add enough water until mixture is smooth but still thick, about 1 tablespoon.

Serve with the vegetables.

SLAW Serves 4

1 cup shredded cabbage, 1 bulb fennel shredded, 1 beet peeled and shredded, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 tablespoon cider vinegar, salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

  1. In a small bowl combine oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.
  2. In a large bowl place beets, fennel and cabbage.  Toss thoroughly with vinegar mixture.
  3. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.


3 cups peeled and rough chopped carrots, 1/4 cup roughly chopped cashews, 1 large or 2 small leaves of sage, 1/4 teaspoon salt, Freshly ground black pepper to taste

  1. In a large pot place carrots, cashews and sage.  Add 4 cups water and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook until carrots are tender, about 7 minutes.
  2. Place carrot mixture, salt and pepper in a high speed blender and process until very smooth, about 1 minute.
  3. Serve hot or cold.  If the soup is too thick add a few tablespoons of water.

Links to two previous sugar workshops with additional recipes:

Heart Healthy Class with Davina Sandground

IMG_0587 Davina Sandground and I taught another workshop at her house today, Heart Health.   Much of the class concentrated on the importance of including and excluding certain foods in your diet for optimum heart health.  We prepared and ate several simple recipes full of heart healthy foods.

Beet and Celery Juice (about 1/4 beet to 3/4 celery)

Pomegranate and Quinoa Salad (In a large bowl combine 2 cups cooked quinoa, 1 cup pomegranate seeds, 1 cup finely chopped parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.  Serve room temperature or chilled.)

Roasted Sweet Potato with Avocado and Chive (Heat oven to 375 degrees, slice sweet potatoes into rounds 1/8″ thick and season with grape seed oil, salt and pepper.  Place potato on a sheet tray and roast until tender, approximately 7 minutes.  Remove from oven and serve tossed with sliced avocado and chopped chives.)

Kidney Beans Braised with Leeks and Celery Root (Heat oven to 375 degrees, in a large bowl combine 2 cups cooked kidney beans, 1 cup finely shaved leeks, 1 cup shredded celery root, 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.  Place in a skillet, cover and bake for 1 hour.)

Salmon Baked in Paper with Cabbage, Beets, Fennel and Carrot (Heat oven to 375 degrees, in a large bowl combine 1 cup shaved cabbage, 1 cup shaved beets, 1 cup fennel and 1 cup shaved carrots.  Dress with 2 teaspoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons cider vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside.  Season the salmon with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Place in parchment paper and make an envelope.  Place on a sheet tray and bake until flakey but still bright orange in the middle, about 5 minutes.  Serve salmon hot, room temperature or chilled over the vegetables.)

Roasted Broccoli with Shallot and Toasted Flax Seeds (In a large bowl combine 4 cups finely chopped broccoli, 1 cup roasted shallot chopped, 3 tablespoons toasted ground flax seeds, 2 teaspoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately or cover, refrigerate and serve chilled.)

Frozen Banana with Cocoa Powder and Toasted Walnuts (In a food processor combine 2 bananas sliced and frozen, 1 tablespoon cocoa powder.  Pulse on and off until mixture is creamy.  Serve immediately topped with chopped toasted walnuts.)

Heart Healthy Class with Davina Sandground

01SidracookbookPhoto Erik Johnson Davina and I did another nutrition workshop on Friday.  The format was a bit different than previous classes.  Previously we have done a cooking demonstration in conjunction with a lecture– this time Davina gave an eloquent and informative talk about heart health exposing common beliefs about cholesterol as myths and  explaining the importance of including and excluding certain foods in your diet for a healthy heart.  We prepared a lunch filled with heart healthy foods.

We are doing another session of the class again on Saturday November 16– Let me know if you would like to join.

LUNCH- recipes below

Starters: Beet and Celery Juice, Pomegranate and Quinoa Salad with Curly Parsley, Roasted Sweet Potato with Avocado and Chive, Sardine on Walnut Cracker with Lemon and Flat Leaf Parsley, Roasted Broccoli and Shallot

Main: Wild Salmon with Kidney Beans, Basil, Spinach, Black Rice and Sorrel

Dessert: Banana Cake with Chocolate Ganache, Coconut Cream, Walnuts and Almonds




Beet and Celery Juice (about 1/4 beet to 3/4 celery)

Pomegranate and Quinoa Salad (2 cups pomegranate, seeds from 1 pomegranate, 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste)

Roasted Sweet Potato with Avocado and Chive (Heat oven to 375 degrees, slice sweet potatoes into rounds 1/8" thick and season with grape seed oil, salt and pepper.  Place potato on a sheet tray and roast until tender, approximately 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and serve topped with a small slice of avocado and chopped chives)

Sardine on Walnut Cracker with Lemon and Parsley (Cracker: 1 cup finely pureed walnut, 1/2 teaspoon yeast fresh or dried dissolved in 3 tablespoons water,  1/2 teaspoon salt, pinch of sugar, 1/3 cup spelt flour– combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and knead until thoroughly incorporated. Place dough on a piece of parchment paper and roll till paper thin.  Bake in a 350 degree oven until golden brown.  Once cool break crackers into sardine sized pieces. Sardines: Season with salt and pepper.  Heat a heavy bottom skillet over high heat.  Lightly coat the pan with grape seed oil.  Place sardines in the hot skillet and cook until skin is crispy, approximately 2 minutes.  turn sardines over and cook until the other side is crispy approximately 2 more minutes.  squeeze a little lemon on top, finish with chopped parsley and place on a cracker)

Roasted Broccoli with Shallots (Peel shallots to remove skin.  Coat with grapeseed oil and roast in a 375 oven until tender and browned.  Cut broccoli into small florets, remove the stalk, peel stalks and cut into rounds about 1/4 inch thick.  Season broccoli with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast in 375 degree oven until tender and the edges are slightly browned.)


Wild Salmon with Three Beans, Spinach and Black Rice

Salmon:  wild salmon, grapeseed oil, salt and pepper

Pat the fish dry with a paper towel and then score the fish skin.  Do this by making a row of x's across the skin being careful not to cut into the flesh.  This will ensure that the fish will not curl up and will cook evenly.  Season the fish with salt and pepper.  Heat a heavy bottom skillet over high heat and add enough grape seed oil to just coat the bottom of the pan.  Place the salmon skin side down and cook until the skin is crispy and brown, approximately three minutes.  Flip the fish and cook the other side and cook for approximately three additional minutes.  Take care not to overcook!  The fish should still be pink in the middle.  Also remember that the fish will continue cooking a bit even after you remove it from the heat.

Three Beans:  tomato, olive oil, salt, pepper, beans, basil

We used kidney beans, red lentils, giant white lima beans and local tomatoes.  If using a variety of beans you must cook each individually since they each cook for a different amount of time.  A quicker version would be to use BPA free canned beans and tomatoes.

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Cut tomatoes in half and season with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Place cut side down on a sheet tray and cook until skin becomes loose from the tomatoes.  Remove from oven, let cool and remove the skin.  In a large bowl mix the beans, tomatoes and add fresh basil. Add additional olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.  This can be reheated but is also delicious at room temperature.

Black Rice: forbidden black rice, water, salt, pepper

In a heavy bottom pot with a tight fitting lid add 1 cup black rice and 1 3/4 cups water.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for 45 minutes.  Turn off heat but leave lid on for an additional 10 minutes.  Fluff rice with a fork and season with salt and pepper.

Spinach with Roasted Garlic: garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, spinach

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Separate the whole heads of garlic into individual cloves leaving the papery covering intact.  Lightly coat the garlic with olive oil and place in oven until the cloves are soft to the touch, approximately 15 minutes.  Remove the garlic from the oven, let cool and remove the skin.  Look for a sprout running through the clove, cut the clove in half lengthwise and remove the sprout with your fingers or a small knife.  Some garlic will not have a visible sprout so this last step may not be necessary.  Roughly chop garlic.

Place spinach on a sheet tray and season with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Mix with your hands and incorporate the chopped garlic.  Place in oven for approximately two minutes.  Remove when the spinach around the edges of the pan is cooked.  Stir the spinach thoroughly.  The heat from the spinach that is cooked will cook the remaining spinach on the pan.


Banana Cake with Chocolate Ganache, Nuts and Coconut Cream

Banana Cake:  2 ripe bananas pureed in a food processor, 1/4 cup whole grain flour, 3/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil, 2 tablespoons water

Combine all ingredients until just thoroughly incorporated, take care not to over mix.  Cook in individual silicon molds or in cupcake pans.  For the class I served very small portions- yielding approximately 12 individual cakes from this recipe.  Bake in a 350 degree oven until a toothpick tests clean.  This will take approximately 10-20 minutes depending on the size of the individual cakes.

Chocolate Ganache: 1/4 cup almond milk, 4 ounces 87% dark chocolate cut into small pieces,  1 tablespoon maple syrup

In a small pot bring almond milk to a boil.  Turn off heat and mix in chocolate and maple syrup.  If made in advance store in the refrigerator and reheat over a water bath when ready to use.

Coconut Cream: 1 can coconut milk, inside of two vanilla beans

Refrigerate can of coconut milk for at least a couple hours.  Open can without turning it over.  With a spoon scoop the top thick part of the coconut milk into a bowl and discard the watery part on the bottom.  To remove seeds from a vanilla bean using kitchen tongs run the bean through the flame from your stove several times.  Place bean on a cutting board and with a sharp knife gently split bean from top to bottom.  With the sharp knife scrape the inside of the bean to remove the seeds.  Thoroughly combine the coconut and the vanilla.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Walnuts and Almonds: roughly chop

To assemble: Top cooled cakes with ganache and sprinkle with chopped nuts and serve with coconut cream.