Sugar does indeed make life sweeter in many ways and can certainly help the medicine go down after a particularly fraught day. Sugar has become intricately wound up into our lives in all sorts of ways; who would have a wedding, birthday or christening without a sugary cake confection? Conversely a bit of a sugar hit certainly helps when we’re feeling a bit down or in need of an energy boost. Is there anything wrong with this? Of course not; I love a piece of cake as much as the next person. Concern over our sugar habits only becomes apparent when we compare our sugar use historically. The use of sugar has been recorded as far back as 1100 in Britain and it was known as White Gold because it was so expensive. These days sugar is relatively cheap and the confectionery giants show no hesitation in loading up chocolate bars and biscuits with the cheap white stuff thus satisfying society’s increasingly sweet tooth and their profit margins. It’s not just the confectionery companies that use sugar; it can be found in vast quantities in so called healthy foods like yoghurt and muesli bars. Sugar is no longer a treat; it’s the norm. And that’s the problem.
I recently went to the River Cottage Autumn Fayre in Devon, England.
I got to meet the man himself, Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall and I tried to persuade him to bring River Cottage to New Zealand (he was definitely tempted!)…
and I visited the Yurt where Dream Thyme Remedies demonstrated how to use comfrey and nettles in a muscle rub and I attended a very interesting talk about chocolate from Chococo. Chococo are one of the many small chocolate companies that are springing up all over the place who are striving to make good quality, fairtrade chocolate without preservatives and with a lot less sugar than the big commercial giants. They rely on quality chocolate and less sugar. Yes they are more expensive but isn’t that what a treat should be? Something that we can’t have everyday? Something to look forward to? Something that isn’t the norm?
So next time you consider a treat try to Think Outside the (chocolate) Box. We’re well into Spring here in New Zealand and the treats are growing quietly and speedily in a vege bed or farm shop near you; think strawberries, sugar snap peas and cherry tomatoes or fresh avocado spread on crackers with mozzarella and tomato. Not as quick as ripping open a chocolate bar I agree but I think as a society we have got so spoilt with our demand for instant gratification that we’re in danger of losing out on the simple pleasures in life that may require a bit of effort but are worth it and a lot healthier too. Try these ideas on your kids; you might be surprised when a small bowl of easy-to-eat- veg and cut up fruit disappears in minutes. Or, if your little ones are anything like my Figlets (who are cookie monsters) then you may want to try this sugar free cookie recipe from Sugar free Kids. They are crumbly little bites of delicious-ness…..with no added sugar. Bit Spooky I know…..but give it a try.
1/2 cup dates
1/2 dessicated coconut
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup almonds
3 Tablespoons of butter or Coconut oil (I used coconut oil and it worked really well)
Juice of a small orange
Process the dates, dessicated coconut, oats and almonds to crumbs.
Then add the butter (or coconut oil) and orange juice and process again. Roll mixture into small balls and place on a lined baking sheets.
Squash each little ball with a fork and bake at 170c for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.
A pretty healthy snack disguised as a naughty little biscuit; what’s not to like?