THE HEALTHY SUGAR HIGH. //​

-SANDRA WANG

 

If you’ve got a sweet tooth like me, constantly on the go and no time to bake your own healthy treats, read on. Here are the top places you can go around the City to savour and embrace your sweet cravings - guilt-free. 

NOJO (Shoreditch/ Old Street)

 Nojo specialises in gluten-free and refined sugar-free crepes, using all-natural and locally sourced ingredients that come with superior tastes. Nono uses a high quality buckwheat flour blend and coconut sugar (so NONE of the nasty, blood sugar-raising stuff usually associated with gluten-free and sugar-free products), and there are also dairy-free and vegan options to cater to people with different food intolerances. 

 

ABOUT: the owner herself is gluten-intolerant and doesn't take refined sugar; she had struggled to find foods on-the-go that cater to her dietary requirement and hence decided to open this shop. With the owner walking in the same shoes with you, you can be assured to be well fed in terms of food quality, taste and its healthiness.  

What Nojo offers: sweet crepes; savoury crepes; chocolate truffles; cakes; shakes

 

TOP PICKS:
1. Chocolate Banana Crepe (with whipped cream and hazelnuts) - it’s like having a banana chocolate cream dessert. One bite and you would start to wonder why you have ever settled for those gluten and sugar-loaded crepes in the past! 

P.S. for people who are dairy-free, you have the option to substitute whipped cream with coconut cream (which is even better).

 

2. Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese Crepe - packed with 36g of protein per crepe and rich in B vitamins with lots of lettuces. Talked about a balanced meal with your 5-a-day! But most importantly, the taste is unbelievably scrumptious!

 

3. Chocolate truffles - luscious, period. When you taste something this good, any words of description seem redundant. You have got to try one to see what I mean.  

 

LOCATION:

It’s right inside Old Street station - you can’t miss it!

 

Bonus feature:

  1. For office workers around the City and Shoreditch area, Nojo is partnered with Deliveroo and Quiqup, so you can just sit back and indulge without even stepping out of your office!

  2. Nojo offers loyalty programme - buy 8 crepes and get 1 free! Remember to request a loyalty card from them when you make a purchase.

 

Romeo’s Sugar Free Bakery [Highbury and Islington]

Think you have to give up banoffee pie, sweet tarts, cheesecake, brownie and savoury quiche, pizza, sausage rolls because you are trying to eat clean? Think again. Romeo's has all those in stock for you to savour, and more - absolutely guilt-free of course! They use a flour blend of buckwheat flour, Brown rice flour and quinoa, organic maple syrup and coconut sugar to sweeten the cakes (so absolutely nothing nasty). Now you can have all your cakes and pizzas without any fat stored on your hard-earned physique. 

Some of their cheesecakes, brownies and quiches have a special dairy-free/vegan version, ask for it.

ABOUT: EVERYTHING in this bakery is gluten-free and refined sugar free.
Savoury products: breads, croissants, quiches, pizzas, sausage rolls

Sweet products: brownies, cheesecakes, sponge cakes, tarts, banoffee pie, Mille Feuille (Napoleon)

Drinks: hot chocolate, coffees, teas, fresh-pressed green juice 

 

TOP PICKS: I especially like their Mille Feuille and hot chocolate, which is made with organic milk (or you can ask for coconut milk/almond milk if you are dairy-free) and real melted dark chocolate, not the sugar-loaded chocolate powder kind of crap. Rich and luscious!

LOCATION: It’s right opposite Islington Town Hall. The stations nearby are Highbury and Islington & Angel. 

 

Bonus Features: 

  1. Romeo does lunchtime special between 12-2pm, where you get to choose 3 different kinds of salad to go with your guilt-free quiche.

  2. Romeo is also partnered with Deliveroo and Quiqup - delivered right to your desk, never feel deprived again.

  3. What I usually do is buy 15-20 cakes to go when I visit, then freeze them on the day. Great for those days when I have excessive sweet cravings or when I have friends coming over. :) Simply defrost them 2-3 hours before you are ready to serve. The taste remains constant, amazingly.

 

PLANET ORGANIC (DEVONSHIRE SQUARE)

So this one is a no-brainer, literally 2 minutes’ walk from 1Rebel’s St Mary Axe studio. The question is: what to get? With so many products on offer, how do you know which ones to get that actually taste good? When it comes to scrutinising the foods and ingredients I put into my body, I am a little bit OCD. Think of me as your guinea pig who has the tasting for you, and below are the ones that passed my stringent test, both in terms of the quality and healthiness of ingredients, as well as the delectability.  

 

TOP PICKS: 

  1. Mr. Prempy’s: I first came across Mr. Prempy’s cakes in a chocolate show, and had fallen in love with their cakes since. All of their cakes and chocolate bars are raw and free from gluten, refined sugar, eggs and dairy. Every ingredient they use is certified organic by the Soil Association, and everything is made from scratch, with fresh fruits zested and pressed by hand. They even make their own chocolate from scratch. Hazlitt cake: think about Ferrero Rocher, but the taste of Hazlitt far surpasses that! Ma's bar and Snacker bar: imitation of Mars bar and Snickers, but far better in taste and packed with goodness! Once you try these, you would never go back to the sugar-loaded Mars and Snickers bars. 

  2. Pollen & Grace Banana Bread: This is by far the best Paleo banana bread I’ve tasted (apart from my own baked version). Really moist, soft and fluffy with simple, honest and good quality ingredients. However, if you are watching your calorie intake, you might want to halve it for one serving.  

  3. Rebel Kitchen Chocolate Mylk: This is something I can’t go without on a daily basis. Made with only spring water, organic coconut milk, organic date nectar and organic cacao, nothing else! It’s free from gluten, refined sugar and dairy with no additives or preservatives. They have also other flavours like banana, chia, orange chocolate and coffee; but my favourite remains to be the original chocolate mylk.  

  4. Booja Booja Ice Cream: Organic dairy-free and refined sugar free ice cream made with cashew nuts. But trust me, you won’t even notice any hint of cashew nuts if no one tells you about that. It’s ridiculously smooth and rich, for me, I would say it’s even better than those Cornish ice cream! My favourite flavour is Hunky Punky chocolate - a great theme for Halloween huh?

BOROUGH MARKET

WOKIT
WOKIT does healthy customised Chinese stir-fry using all locally sourced ingredients and fresh organic vegetables direct from Ted’s veg. It offers carrot spirals, courgette spirals and cauliflower rice as a base if you don't want the usual rice and noodles, perfect for people who are on low carb/watching their carb intake/don't want insulin spike, etc. Plus, they give you a tremendous amount of vegetables free of charge even if you don’t purchase any add-ons. All the sauces are marked to cater to specific intolerances (gluten-free for example). 

TOP PICKS: I usually get ‘Pure Pot’ with spiralised courgette, salmon and miso-coriander sauce, and it is divine! The portion is very generous and filling. If you feel like a larger portion, it’s only 50p extra!

LOCATION: Borough Market, 3 Stoney Street, SE1 9AA (it’s on the main road, right opposite to Ted’s Veg and right next to Neal’s Yard, so you don't have to navigate your way into the mess of the crowds at the market. Open Monday to Saturday till late)

Bonus feature:
a. ask for the loyalty card, buy 9 pots and the 10th pot is on WOKIT.
b. 100% of its profits from sales of ‘One Water’ are donated to fund water projects in Africa

 

Oliveology
Renowned for their superior quality of olive oil and raw Greek honey. The hidden gem in this shop is the Greek yoghurt they source and ship directly from within Greece. A fair warning: once you have the Greek yoghurt, there’s no turning back - at this point, all the other Greek yoghurt you’ve had will taste like absolute rubbish.

Another new kid on the block you must try is the Greek Halva - it’s a traditional Spartan sweets, but the Oliveology version is completely gluten-free and refined sugar free! Made with sesame seeds, Greek honey, cacao and dark chocolate, nothing else. It’s like a slightly firmer version of chocolate fudge cake that just melts in your mouth 

TOP PICKS: I usually have this Greek yoghurt drizzled with Oliveology’s raw Greek honey (usually wild flower or vanilla fir) and top it with some of their raw pistachio nuts for breakfast or as a snack - heaven in Olympus.