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Crumbly Oatmeal Coconut Bars

Crumbly Oatmeal Coconut Bars

‘Sugar’ – The sweetest poison of all; and how to kick the habit!

Is there ever anything else in the news?  Sugar, Sugar, Sugar.   There is enough sugar in food to rot the tusks off an elephant and some of the powdered sweeteners on the market not only blow your head off (well mine anyway) they are so intense and leave such a ‘bitter’ after taste.

Wouldn’t it be nice therefore,  if logic and common sense ruled our food choices?  We could simply do the research, think things through and get on with eating healthy food and enjoy every minute of it.  Trust me, Bill and I spend a lot of our time ‘researching’ the TRUTH and ignore the bogus ‘research’ done by scientists who work for the food industry.  At the end of the day, it’s really about who do you listen to and where do you place your faith.

Some people say to us, oh! but I read this article and it states this…….. and I found this study and it states that……..and someone recently told me that they found a study claiming that meat eaters were healthier than vegetarians, and on and on and on it goes.  This is where ‘mass confusion’ reigns.  All I can say is believe in who you believe in and the work that they do to educate and promote, not only better health for humans, but for environmental health.

Following chefs who promote meat, dairy and sugar has been off my radar since day one.  The cooking shows on television have become something of a ‘spectator sport’ and instead of contributing towards health they promote nutritional nightmares.  In the past month we have seen so many clients for health counselling with so many serious illness’s, cancer, diabetes, diverticulitis, heart disease,  (all dietary related).  If you cherish your health and that of your families, adopt a wholefoods plant based diet, that is where the TRUE research lies showing amazing results and reversal of so many diseases.  I am so fortunate to have such great ‘allies’ who support my efforts, all of them the most prominent Doctors in the States, all doing amazing work sharing and promoting the way forward for health is a wholefoods plant based diet.  Everyone of them have agreed to be interviewed by me for my impending T.V. Series.

th choc chipsI receive emails from so many people who lose faith in their ability to change their eating habits because they feel helpless when cravings set in.   They ask me to help them because they are self confessed ‘sugar addicts’.   Sugar is in fact one of the most common food addictions and one of the most damaging of all the cravings.   Learn why by reading my ‘ Freedom from Cravings’  e book on my website, it is filled with great insight that will make complete sense to you.  Here is a short article on sugar that I wrote for one of the health magazines recently.  I hope you find this helpful in your quest for a more balanced way of eating and explaining an easier route to help you move towards (in my book) the only sensible and healthy way to enjoy the sweetness of deliciously prepared desserts.

A first start to kicking sugar habits is to read labels.  Starting with the most prominent ingredient by weight, anything ending is ‘ose’ is a sugar. Also look for the number of times different sugars appear in the ingredient list.  Often a product will contain sugars under three or four different names.

Glucose           = Essential element in the human bloodstream

Dextrose         = Derived synthetically from starch

Fructose          = Fruit sugar

Maltose           = Malt sugar

Lactose           = Milk sugar

Sucrose           = Refined sugar made from sugar cane and sugar beet

The body runs on Glucose, without it we die. The way in which our blood sugar is taken in via our food can affect our overall health with dramatic consequences.

MR103-Malt-Syrup-Barley-01_largeThe most beneficial way to take in sugars is in the form of “Complex Carbohydrate”, these are the natural sugars that are contained in many vegetables and whole grains. These sugars are digested and absorbed slowly into the body and can be used when needed and stored easily. When sugars are consumed in vegetables, whole grains or fruit the nutrients needed to complement the sugars are in the food. When the sugars are refined and isolated from the whole food problems arise.

thWhite Sugar and Brown Sugar are commonly used and are the most damaging to health. Together with processed Fructose (often referred to as High Fructose Corn Syrup) these simple sugars are absorbed quickly and tend to cause a rapid rise in blood sugar levels that are a shock to the system. It is accurate to say that refined sugars have a negative nutritional impact on the body. Since they do not have the essential vitamins, minerals and buffering agents needed for their use they must leach these elements from the body’s stores. After you eat sugar you are less nutritionally healthy than you were before you ate it.

Raw sugar cane contains 14 per cent sucrose is chemically processed to produce white sugar.  It takes 3 feet of cane to produce 1 teaspoon of white sugar.  In the sugar making process, crushed cane or sliced beet is flushed with water to extract syrup that is heated until the sugar begins to crystallize.  Then it is spun in a centrifuge to separate the crystals from the liquid called molasses.  The sugar crystals are clarified with lime or phosphoric acid, and then bone-black (charred beef bones or animal charcoal from the blood of slaughtered animals) is used to filter or purify the table sugar that is boiled and bleached to whiten and remove calcium and magnesium salts.  Everything is removed expect for the sucrose.

MR101-Malt-Syrup-Rice-01_largeThe best sources for sugars are in the form of Complex Carbohydrate found in natural whole foods. The more refined the sugar the more damaging to health. Common refined sugars are listed on food labels as Sucrose, Glucose, Dextrose, Fructose, Maltose and Lactose – for the best health they should all be avoided.

Naturally processed Rice or Barley Malt are the best choices for sweeteners (25% glucose) because of their increased mineral and vitamin content. Maple Syrup can sometimes be used (55% glucose) for special occasions.  My friends at Clearspring Foods make the best rice and barley malt syrups on the market.  Their commitment to organic produce and their care of the environment makes me love them even more.   I have tried other rice malt syrup brands and my recipes have tasted completely different but (not in a good way).

Clearspring malt syrups have a rich, mellow taste, and a milder sweetness than that of sugar, honey or maple syrup. As a result they are less likely to overpower the taste of other foods and can be used to sweeten hot drinks and baked foods, as well as toppings for cakes, pancakes and desserts.  Rice malt syrup has a subtle caramel flavour similar to butterscotch, which adds sweetness to your recipe with a subtle flavour.  Barley malt syrup has a deep, rich, complex flavour like molasses and is stickier than rice malt syrup, great for use as a binder, so ideal for making muesli bars and popcorn clusters.

Honey is often touted as a good source of sugar. Bees make honey by ingesting nectar from flowers and then regurgitating it, often this process is done several times. The sugars in honey can vary depending on source but an average is 38% fructose, 31% glucose, 7% maltose and 1% sucrose. As you can see the sugar content is quite high (the bee has done the processing).

Stevia (the latest darling in disguising sugar) is an intensely sweet herb.   The leaves are ground and powdered for use.

Even though Stevia has no calories one teaspoon is equal to THREE cups of sugar in terms of sweetness, which means it is very hard to control the sweetness level and as my work is about getting folks taste buds to come back to life with natural sweet foods then I would not recommend Stevia.  Trust me, I have tried them all and my choice for what I use and teach others to use works.   When you consistently eat simple sugars and even the many other forms of sugar on the market you lose the ability to taste more complex sugars.

You can have your cake and eat it! – Eat simple, taste more, and enjoy my delicious coconut bars.

Crumbly Oatmeal Coconut Bars

Base

1½ cup rolled oats (gluten free if required)

2 tbsp organic sunflower oil

¼ cup Clearspring rice malt syrup

Topping

1 cup dairy free naturally sweetened choc chips

½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts

1 cup organic unsweetened shredded coconut

¼ cup Clearspring barley malt syrup

1 tbsp organic vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 150/300deg. For the base, combine oatmeal, rice malt syrup and oil together, mix well. Press mixture evenly over bottom of a lightly oiled 8 inch square baking pan.

Stir together the topping ingredients; chocolate chips, nuts, coconut, barley malt syrup and vanilla extract. Mix well and spread evenly over oatmeal crust.

Place in the middle of the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let stand until cool. Flip over onto a work surface, give a little tap or two and release from the baking pan. Cut into bite size bars.

In good health

marlene-signature

4 Comments

  1. Hi Marlene. This recipe looks lovely! In the instructions you list different sweeteners than in the ingredient list. Does it matter if it’s rice or maple syrup in the crust or barley or rice syrup in the topping? I am so glad I found your website a few months ago. You are very inspiring. I wish you and Bill taught more in the U.S. :) Much love, Teresa

    • Thanks Teresa for flagging that up, you are spot on, originally I used maple syrup in both and sections of the recipe and then Clearspring (amazing food company) used it on their site so changed to rice and barley malt syrups but made not only one but two typos….. tut tut, I need staff, always too much to do ha ha… hope to meet you next time we are teaching in the U.S. Love Marlene xx

  2. Hi, Lots of great information. Thank you. You mention naturally sweetened chocolate chips. I have not found any. Could you please explain naturally sweetened and recommend a couple of brands. Would you consider coconut sugar as healthy and naturally sweetened?. Thank you.

    • I use Sunspire choc chips sweetened with barley malt – I have never tried coconut sugar but it does retain quite a bit of the nutrients found in the coconut palm. There isn’t a lot of data on this, but according to the Phillipine Department of Agriculture, coconut sugar contains several nutrients. Most notable of these are the minerals Iron, Zinc, Calcium and Potassium, along with some short chain fatty acids, polyphenols and antioxidants that may also provide some health benefits.
      It also contains a fibbers called Inulin, which may slow glucose absorption,
      Coconut sugar is very high in calories (same as regular sugar) – Hope that helps, enjoy the recipe.

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