No sugar November, no problem

  • Just right: hot chocolate gets more tempting in cooler temperatures. Catherine Burns’s recipe uses a plant-based milk

    Just right: hot chocolate gets more tempting in cooler temperatures. Catherine Burns’s recipe uses a plant-based milk

Super Granny has landed and harmony reigns. I keep coming home to perfectly folded piles of laundry, reorganised cupboards, clean floors and well-behaved children.

Yesterday, she completely dismantled the vacuum cleaner.

I have no idea if we’ll get it together again but I’m sure we’ll feel confident after a hefty gin and tonic. There is a somewhat alarming, permanently raised eyebrow and a domestic to-do list as long as my arm.

I know I’m lucky — and the trickle-down effect is definitely in play. I’m cleaning things as I go and putting things away properly (versus shoving them in a cupboard) most of the time … mostly!

Often it just takes one person with better habits around you to help you improve your own.

I had a message today from one of our Beat the Couch crew who is away on holiday.

She has taken her running shoes and is getting it done via the podcasts. She’s inspired by her coaches — one in particular — and that’s what’s driving the change in her behaviour.

The thing is, now she’s running (even on holiday), she’s inspiring her daughter too.

They’re going out together and training before the day really gets going. So the trickle-down effect is in full swing.

Similarly, years ago, I remember one of my clients saying, “Because of you my mum in Wales is eating quinoa”.

She was strictly a meat and potatoes lady before that, so quinoa was a pretty huge milestone. She’s probably sprouting lentils and fermenting kefir by now.

With this in mind, we’re getting ready for No Sugar November at Natural HQ.

The idea is to get as many people reducing their sugar intake as possible, certainly to within recommended guidelines and ideally, to even lower than that. We have a seminar at the office on Tuesday next week (6.30pm) designed to help people understand why we’re in such a crisis mode when it comes to the white stuff.

We’ll go through the mechanisms of cravings but we’re going to spend the most time sharing real-life, practical, affordable solutions. It’s free for members and just $25 for non-members.

By joining in, you’ll reduce your sugar intake massively and hopefully inspire others to do the same.

The more of us that are in it together, the better. So sign up online at and let’s get started! Pre-registration is essential.

In the meantime, I’m sharing a hot chocolate recipe with you. The weather’s just started getting chilly and this is Chloe’s favourite thing to curl up with on the sofa.

Sometimes we cheat and just heat up a chocolate almond milk from the grocery store, but the sugar content is huge.

I rolled out this recipe again this week and got the big thumbs-up. I’m not sure why we ever slipped, but that’s life I guess. You may have heard that chocolate is rich in antioxidants. Cacao (minimally processed cocoa powder) certainly is, but combining it with dairy runs the risk of inhibiting antioxidant absorption.

Choosing a plant-based milk works really well and of all of them, cashew and coconut milks are probably the most creamy.

The recipe includes vanilla and cinnamon, both of which add flavour and make it a little more sweet.

Cinnamon is actually pretty good for improving blood sugar balance, although you’d probably need a bigger, more consistent dose to see a clinical difference.

You can add Stevia drops for extra sweetness or, if that won’t fly, a little maple syrup. You won’t need as much as you think because of the spices.

If you do add it and if this recipe becomes a regular one for you, gradually reduce the amount of maple syrup you add, letting your taste buds adjust over time.

This will be especially effective if you’re also reducing sugar in other areas of your diet.

It is hard to find things naturally sweet if you’re constantly overstimulating your taste buds with refined options.

For more recipes such as this and others that are sugar-free, join me for No Sugar November!

Details at

Antioxidant rich hot chocolate

Ingredients (per person)

1 cup unsweetened almond, cashew, coconut or flax milk

½ tbs cacao powder

1 tsp extra virgin coconut oil (optional)

¼ tsp cinnamon

Few drops vanilla essence

1 tsp maple syrup or a few drops of stevia


1, Put the coconut oil in a pan over a medium heat and allow to melt.

2, Add the rest of the ingredients and whisk until well combined.

3, Heat through until hot but not boiling.

Catherine Burns is a fully qualified nutritional therapist trained by the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in the UK. For details:, 236-7511 or, on Facebook, Natural Nutrition Bermuda

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Published Oct 29, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated Oct 26, 2018 at 8:16 am)

No sugar November, no problem

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