Inspired by Hemsley & Hemsley this recipe is vegan friendly and has no refined sugar. It’s also the simplest thing to make and turns out nice and chewy and completely delicious!
- 440g ground almonds
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp allspice
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- Pinch of sea salt
- 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 80g dark chocolate pieces / cacao nibs (the darker the better!)
- 80g whole pecans roughly chopped
- 4 tbs of maple syrup
- 5 tbs of rice malt syrup
Mix in a big bowl the almonds, spices, salt, bicarbonate of soda, dark chocolate and pecans. Stir in the syrups and shape into flat cookie like pieces. The dough won’t be too wet so if you need to add a little more syrup for it to stay together then do. Bake in a preheated over (175 degrees C) for 12 minutes – they should look slightly brown at the edges but very soft in the middle – be careful when placing them onto a wire rack to cool!
A while ago when I was really struggling with exhaustion I went to T2 and asked them for a tea that would give me energy and a boost but without the caffeine crash that comes with coffee. They suggested Matcha Green Tea. Matcha green tea can come in tea bags but the best way to drink it is in a powdered form as then you are drinking the actual leaf and effectively consuming a whole food.
5 Reasons Why….
- Matcha Green Tea is full of antioxidants – as you know from my other posts, antioxidants are clever things that help us fight the free radicals that cause cancer and help slow down wrinkles. Matcha green tea contains a very powerful and potent antioxidant – epigallocatechin gallate (ECGG).
- Matcha Green Tea gives you an energy boost – it has caffeine in which acts as a stimulant but without the highs and lows that coffee gives you. The caffeine binds with the phytonutrients in the tea which slows the body’s absorption of the caffeine giving you a gradual release of energy.
- Matcha Green Tea has a relaxing effect whilst keeping us mentally alert – Green tea has been shown to reduce anxiety and stress due to the presence of L-theanine. This amino acid stimulates the production of alpha brain waves which creates not only a relaxing effect but improves our memory, focus and concentration.
- Matcha Green Tea has been shown to lower bad cholesterol – the ECGGs decrease our low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels – the this in turn helps protect us from cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes.
- Matcha Green Tea helps prevent obesity – the caffeine and ECGG combined increases energy expenditure. They also have a thermogenic effect which causes an increase in the body’s ability to metabolise fats and use them for energy.
Simply add half a teaspoon of Matcha to boiling water and stir!
Check out my recipe for a Matcha Latte here.
I used to be a milk chocolate girl all the way but when I was told I had bacteria growing in my stomach (SIBO) causing all sorts of problems and that I should try and avoid sugar I was completely gutted. However my dietician told me that I could eat dark chocolate (ideally above 75% cocoa.) Having not been the biggest fan of dark chocolate I have to say I am totally converted. I would choose dark chocolate every time now.
5 reasons why….
- Dark chocolate helps prevent cardiovascular disease – it is naturally rich in flavonoids which are thought to lower blood pressure. It may reduce the risk of athereosclerosis by keeping the arteries flexible and preventing plaque formation in your arteries. Dark chocolate helps lower bad cholestorol (LDLs) and increase the good cholestorol (HDL). Good all round for our hearts.
- Dark chocolate contains a ton of antioxidants – antioxidants are so important as they look after cell membranes, protect DNA, fight the free radicals that may cause cancer and they also slow down those wrinkles.
- Dark chocolate enhances your mood – by tasting great! It also improves the blood flow to the brain and contains numerous chemicals that act as a stimulant and have a positive effect on our moods. Phenylethylamine encourages the brain to release endorphins and makes us feel more lively!
- Dark chocolate is rich in vitamins and minerals – magnesium (healthy bones and teeth), calcium (healthy bones), iron (protects against anaemia), riboflavin (helps metabolise fats and protein), copper (keeps immune system healthy), potassium (healthy function of all cells), phosphorous (healthy bones), sulphur (healthy joints, nails, hair and skin) and vitamin C (helps heal wounds).
- Dark chocolate has a low Glycemic Index – which means that it’s a great snack as it won’t cause big spikes in blood sugar levels. You will feel fuller and satisfied for longer as it is a slower burning energy source.
Once again remember that balance is key and eating a ton of chocolate is not going to be great for you as ultimately it is a fat! Everything in moderation! The best way to get the benefits of dark chocolate into your diet would be to use raw cacao powder. This is the purest way of eating cacao and the most nutritious way to get all these wonderful little antioxidants into your belly!
For a yummy cacao smoothie simply whizz up 1 banana, a tablespoon of cacao powder, ¼ of a courgette, and almond milk to the consistency you like.
People have been very skeptical about coconut oil due to its high calorie count and the fact that it is a saturated fat. However studies are now showing that not only are saturated fats not as bad for us as we once thought, but that coconut oil is immediately converted into energy rather than stored as fat.
- Coconut oil is great to cook with – it has a high smoking point and is the least vulnerable oil to oxidation and free radicals which means that it is the safest for cooking at higher temperatures.
- Coconut oil can help fight infections – including: viruses, bacteria, fungal infections, parasites, dental decay and can help stop the development of Alzheimers. The free fatty acids FFA give coconut oil this medicinal effect – 50 percent of the fatty acid content is lauric acid which is converted into monolaurin which is an antiviral.
- Coconut oil has a detoxifying effect – it can stimulate the immune system and help the body get rid of any stored toxins and germs.
- Coconut oil can help you lose weight. This is for 2 reasons:
- Coconut oil can help you burn more fat. The medium-chain triglycerides in coconut oil can increase energy expenditure and boost metabolism compared to the same amount of calories from longer chain fats (found in most oils, dairy and meat.)
- Coconut oil reduces your appetite. This could be related to the way these fats are metabolized. The ketone bodies, which the liver produces when you eat coconut oil, can have a powerful appetite reducing effect.
- Coconut oil can reduce the risk of heart disease – it is true that trans fats and long chain fatty acids found in saturated fats can be a cause of arteriosclerosis, however this is not the case for the medium chain fatty acids found in coconut oil. Unlike many other saturated fats, the medium chain fatty acids of coconut oil reduce the risk of clot formation and therefore reduce the risk of heart disease.
However, it is important to remember that everything should be eaten in moderation and my suggestion would be to swap your cooking oil with virgin (make sure its virgin) coconut oil when you can!