How to treat yourself and stay healthy this year

We’re all in need of a little indulgence come winter time. But if you’re constantly bombarded with opportunities to ‘treat yourself’, yet want to avoid eating too much rubbish, Christmas and New Year can be incredibly stressful.

When I studied nutrition at Edge Hill University I learned so much about our amazing bodies and what they need to stay well. One of my second year modules was Entrepreneurship were you had to come up with a business idea which had health benefits and in this module Fascinated by this, was when I set up Soulvegan Bakery I became determined to include as many deliciously nutritious ingredients as I could, dispelling the myth that cakes and treats can’t also be healthy. I am a huge advocate of a balanced, healthy diet and believe that we can and should treat ourselves regularly – especially if we’re indulging in tasty, nourishing alternatives.

It’s my passion to bake delicious, healthy treats that absolutely everyone can enjoy. I think it’s terribly sad that people still feel the definition of ‘healthy’ amounts to a miserable existence munching on celery. So many are amazed that you can include ‘healthy’ and ‘cake’ in the same sentence – but you absolutely can!

In this blog I share just a few of the tasty, nutritious features of my lovely bakes and explain how the ingredients I have chosen (or chosen to leave out) can help you to look and feel better about indulging this winter (and all year round!)

Free from gluten and yeast

Absolutely all of my bakes are 100% gluten-free, made without wheat and yeast. Although medically the jury is still out on whether gluten intolerance can be classified as a condition, it’s almost certain that many people struggle to digest it in its modern format. Numbers of people reporting gluten intolerance, IBS and gluten allergies rise year on year (pardon the pun!)

Several sources cite processed gluten as an inflammatory ingredient, which causes gut upsets, poor digestion and increased sensitivity to autoimmune conditions.

Whether you’re coeliac, gluten intolerant or avoid it for health reasons, you can enjoy all of our yummy cakes safe in the knowledge that they are made in a completely gluten-free environment. Some people see ‘gluten free’ as a negative – assuming the bakes will be heavy, doughy, ‘not as good’. In fact, it all comes down to technique – my special flour blend ensures a deliciously light, spongey texture.

When I started baking I felt it would be much better to simply leave gluten off the table – ensuring more people could enjoy my cakes and creations. And why not, since there’s no difference in the taste and texture?

Full of fibre

Fibre is one of the key nutrients often missing from conventional ‘junk food’ – but it’s essential for a healthy, happy gut. Soulvegan cakes are packed with fibre – thanks to the addition of the small (yet mighty) chia seed. Chia seeds are an excellent source of several essential nutrients including omega-3 fatty acids, iron and calcium. They are also rich in antioxidants. As our bakes are 100% plant-based (more on that in a second!) we use chia seeds instead of eggs to bind the batter together. You probably won’t be able to see or taste them – but they’re one of our most important ingredients!

Always 100% plant-based

I have been a passionate vegan for over 8 years now. When I started Soulvegan Bakery I noticed a huge gap in the market for wholesome vegan bakes. Since then veganism has taken off in a huge way, which is excellent news of course!

My cruelty-free, compassionate lifestyle fuels everything I do and I am a totally vegan business with genuine intentions – which is why you’ll never, ever find animal products in any of my bakes.

If you’re not vegan you might be wondering what this has to do with your health. The short answer is that an increasing number of health professionals and scientists are denouncing the so-called ‘benefits’ of dairy, and sharing the ways in which consuming animal products has a negative impact on our health. After all, milk is growth fluid for baby cows…and is not fit for human consumption. Much of what we believe about dairy (high in calcium, good for bones, good for growing children) is propaganda used to market it to families many years ago. The same goes for eggs, along with meat and fish.

The benefits of a balanced plant-based diet include glowing skin, healthier hair and nails, better gut health, increased energy levels and better brain function, along with decreased risk of heart disease and stroke.

Soulvegan cakes are made with pure, naturally sourced, plant-based ingredients – free from animal products of any kind, and most importantly free from suffering.

For more on this I’d recommend watching What The Health, Gamechangers and Cowspiracy for more information on this if it interests you. If you’re curious about veganism or would like to try but don’t know where to start, check out my Veganuary blog here!

No refined sugar

Sugar is another common staple in sweet treats. Most people know that sugar is bad for us – but the average person still consumes far too much of it. It’s easy to see why when you consider that most commercial sweet treats, like fancy lattes, cookies and cakes can contain over twice the recommended daily amount of sugar!

Refined white sugar has absolutely no nutritional value whatsoever – but overconsumption comes with multiple drawbacks. Studies show that eating too much sugar can lead to increased risk of Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease and stroke, not to mention tooth decay.

We use a variety of different unrefined, natural sugar substitutes in our bakes, including coconut sugar, date syrup and maple syrup. As a result the overall sugar content is lower, and you can enjoy some added benefits such as fibre, nutrients and minerals.

Right now we have a fabulous Introductory Offer on our Bronut and Brownie boxes! Enjoy 20% off with code VEGANUARY2020

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