Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sweet Dreams are made of these ........

I've recently finished reading "Sweet Dreams - The Story of Green & Black's"  written by it's creators Craig Sams & Josephine Fairly.  For those of you who live in a bubble - Green & Black's was the first organic, fair trade chocolate ever produced that actually tasted luxurious and delicious.  Their 70% dark chocolate is one of the few treats I allow myself - very little sugar in it and choc full of very important minerals & antioxidants!  I find historical stories or biographies very interesting, but downright fascinating when it's about something or someone I'm very familiar with.  Craig was actually one of the first organic pioneers in the 70s in Britain to bring no sugar, fully organic products to supermarket's shelves, and then married a clever journo, Jo, and together created a product that took the world by storm. 

Of course they're quite ancient now ;-0  but as they readily admit - "still well preserved"!   Towards the back of the book they both personally comment on how they 'keep going' and I found I related uncannily to certain ideas Craig espoused:

"For me breakfast is the most important meal of the day - to skip .  If I eat an evening meal and don't eat again until the following early afternoon then I've given my digestion sixteen hours of peace.  What's more, when you don't eat breakfast your body's blood sugar reserves are depleted  and so it can only get more from one place: your fat reserves.  It's the principle of the Atkins diet without the meat.  Getting exercise in the morning, before your first meal of the day, helps accelerate the process.  I also keep sugar consumption as low as possible - excess sugar turns to fat.  I weigh myself every day and will eat less and exercise more if I'm gaining weight."

I felt like cheering - someone else who saw the benefit to not eating breakfast, knows sugar is dangerous and weighs themself religiously to monitor their excercise/eating behaviours.  It was very encouraging and has actually given me the impetus to try and reform a few niggling issues!

Coffee is one of the few things I treat myself with - first thing in the morning (after gym), a nice foamy flat white, a sprinkle of coconut palm sugar - mmmmm.......liquid gold!  However, I'm not stupid - it's definitely NOT the best time to have it, especially if I'm trying to rest my digestive system by not eating breakfast.  It's actually a massive kick to the kidneys and not a great supportive thing to do to help my body get wired for another day ...... *sigh*. I don't have an issue with coffee as such - it's the lessor evil in my books, IF it's only a cup a day, AND (as I've been discovering) if you have it organic (coffee is one of the most heavily sprayed crops) and without the sugar and milk.  WITHOUT SUGAR AND MILK - EEEK!    Yes, apparently they can make it more poisonous than the coffee itself is.  So, I am attempting to wean myself off the sugar  and milk and discover the beauty of espresso.  So far so good, it took 2 weeks to get rid of the sugar (albeit the small 1/2 tsp it was) and I have cut my milk to a 1/3 of what it was (in a flat white anyway).  I love the fact that a good bean, freshly ground, and well brewed is actually quite sweet without adding sugar, and is also quite creamy (without the milk) if the temp and extraction of the coffee machine is spot on.  We pride ourselves on the coffees we produce in our in-built machine and it is one of the few luxuries we enjoy - my husband is the supremo barista and I love that it's his little baby!

So, the other issue is timing.  I find coffee filling which is why I love having it first thing in the morning as it gives me a feeling of fulness which can actually last quite a while.  However, I could get the same feeling from a fresh juice pumped full of fruits, greens and my mineral supplement.  So, I am going to try to get a bit more of a juice/smoothee thing happening in the morning - no dairy, no coconut or nuts, no sweeteners, just fruit/veges/water & maybe a little spice.  I'm also doing it for the kids.  I love the idea of giving them a "shot" of super-power juice first thing in the morning.  I actually saw a family on "Celebrity Wife Swap" who gave their 2 pre-schoolers a big cup of vitamin-charged fruit smoothees for their breakfasts - awesome!  And, if maybe it helps put my coffee off till mid-morning or even early afternoon - that would just be AMAZING!  I'm not gonna beat myself up about it though.  I don't do guilt well, and it really can be a pleasurable experience having a smooth java with my hubby over the craziness of breakfast with 4 kids - it's one of the few glimpses we get of each other and to check what the day holds. 

Mmmmm......creamy espresso with my kinda Banana Cake!

And now, to go with that cup of coffee (early afternoon of course) - a gorgeous grain-free, very low sugar, dairy-free BANANA CAKE (thanks to ):

3/4 cup coconut flour (I would even use a little less, maybe 2/3 cup)
1/4 cup any seed/nut meal (I used almond meal)
1/4 cup unsweetened dessicated or shredded coconut
2 tbsp arrowroot powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4  tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
5 eggs
2 lge very ripe bananas
1/4 cup raw honey/agave (this amount is optional, if yr bananas are really ripe, you will not need much sweetener at all!)
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup coconut oil
a sprinkle of 70% cacao dark choc chunks.

Mix all the dry ingredients together and then in a separate bowl lightly beat the eggs, add the mashed bananas, sweetener, vanilla and coconut oil.  Pour over dry ingreds and combine well.  Sprinkle in choc bits and pour into greased loaf tin.  Bake in mod oven for 30 - 40 mins, keeping a close eye on it so that it doesn't overcook and dry out.



  1. RE: Green and Black....they really made headway when they re-branded the packaging and it's often talked about in marketing circles. should try a Turkish coffee, which infused with the most delicious spices and is thick and syrupy - no sugar or milk needed.

  2. Looking forward to trying out your banana cake recipe, keep up the good work!

  3. Susan - I hope you enjoy reading the G & B book, they do talk about the re-branding in it too. You'd need a stove-top coffee maker to do the Turkish coffee wouldn't you? Have really discovered I like the taste of unadulterated coffee! Wendy, I have some banana bread in my freezer for when next you come to visit.

  4. Yes, good reminder that I should look after my poor old kidneys. Keep on building up the stack of evidence for a common sense approach to coffee avoidance. I support your no brekky rule. As soon as I pop something in my mouth in the morning, I just have to keep eating, whereas if I avoid it until lunch, that is when I am actually hungry. Also, I had to transition into strenuous exercise when I hadn't had breakfast - felt very light-headed for the first week or so. Now I can do an earlyish session but not so energetic as it heads towards 10:30/11am.

  5. Just finished reading "Fit for Life" Vik - amazing book and can't wait to blog about it. All about Natural Hygiene and heaps more common sense stuff about only fruit before lunch ..... stay tuned!