DOING THINGS THE NATVIA WAY

The craze for sugar free products is more prominent than ever! As companies like Natvia  provide ‘sweet’ alternatives for the weight conscious, diabetic and fructose intolerant, it is clear that this phenomenon is here to stay. To celebrate the release of the new ‘Icing and Baking’ range at Natvia, Felicity Curtain  and I were invited to a one off master class to learn how to use their product. The class was held in Melbourne Central at Sheryl’s beautiful cupcake haven, ‘ Cupcake Central’’. This very aptly named store offers a range of mind-blowing vegan, gluten free and dairy free cupcakes. I highly recommend going there… right now! Sheryl has pioneered the very first range of Natvia cupcakes on the market. Also present was Co-Founder of Natvia, Samuel Tow, who enjoyed assisting in the taste testing as much as the rest of us.

We were lucky enough to eat bake chocolate muffins with Natvia’s new products, ‘Natvia Baking’ and ‘Natvia Icing’. The muffins turned out exceptionally delicious and along the way, Sheryl made sure to teach us some tricks of the trade on how to cook with Natvia. For example, if you require your recipe to rise, 2-3 tablespoons of an acidic ingredient such as baking powder can help with the process.

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The class was a really great way of learning a bit more about Natvia and how they came about. I especially liked the fact that Samuel Tow was first inspired to make Natvia when his wife was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. It was also interesting to learn how Natvia is made. Samuel explained that the product uses a combination of the young part of the stevia plant and ErythrItol (a sugar alcohol) to create a sweet characteristic similar to that of sugar, but without the bitter after taste that many artificial sweeteners have. This is actually a great point to make! Natvia is one of the only sweeteners I have come across that resembles and tastes very similar to sugar.

As Natvia uses erythritol, it has a minimal effect on blood glucose levels, which can be helpful for people with diabetes. However beware, eating too much Erythritol can potentially result in a laxative effect. So remember not to overdo it!

I was really impressed by the professionalism of the whole event. From the honest and openness of Samuel Tow to the great cooking advice provided by Sheryl, it was a very enjoyable experience.

Although Natvia is a great alternative to sugar, I am not necessarily suggesting that sugar should be neglected altogether. Sugar is an important ingredient in a number of recipes and instead should be consumed in moderation to maintain a balanced and healthy diet. However, products like Natvia can play an extremely beneficial role in particular situations. For people looking to lose weight, suffering from one or more diet related diseases such as diabetes, or for those who require a fructose friendly alternative, Natvia is worth giving a try.

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Mastering the Art of Granola-ing

This week I made granola and I am very happy with how it turned out. I could easily go on about the trials of my granola wars for hours, it is so difficult to find one that is not loaded with sugar and nasties that just don’t belong! Alas, I went on a search to make my own minus all the rift raft that comes with it! It is fair to say that I am officially obsessed with this oaty combination. Not only do oats have an amazing flavour, they also have a nutrient profile that gives any foodie a great big grin. 

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At heart, I am quite old fashioned with my oats, but lately I have been trying to push the boundaries with different mixes and blends. Currently, I am loving baked oats. That half crunchy, half oozy mix of oaty goodness gets me every time and I’ll be sure to post on that some day very soon. But for today, we’re talking granola.

Now, before I go into the recipe (which I will, I promise), I want to give oats their time to shine, simply because they deserve it. Firstly, oats help contribute a significant amount of fibre to your diet. Fibre is responsible for helping to lower blood cholesterol levels as well as keep our digestive system nice and healthy. Dietary fibre can also help make you feel full faster and for longer. This can help with any cravings or overeating tendencies and can also help reduce weight gain or maintain weight. Oats also contain an abundance of antioxidants, which form vitamin E and Tocopherols, helping to lower blood cholesterol levels.

A recommended serve of oats, according to the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating is 1/3 a cup. Pair this with a piece of fruit and some low fat milk or yoghurt and you will be flying through the morning with one happy stomach!

Now to the recipe! This recipe draws on inspiration from a number of trials (and errors) to find the perfect granola. I hope you like it as much as I do. This is my fail proof granola recipe. I promise you will never look back.

Cinnamon and Coffee Granola.

3 cups oats

6 mejooled dates, roughly chopped

1/3 cup sunflower/poppy/pumpkin seed mix

3 tablespoons sultanas

1 espresso shot (if using instant, use 1 teaspoon of instant and 30mls water)

1/3 cup honey

¼ cup vegetable oil

1 egg white

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 tsp sea salt

Preheat oven to 180C.

Line a large baking tray with baking paper.

In a large bowl place oats, chopped dates, seed mix and sultanas. Mix until well combined.

Poor the espresso shot into the dry ingredients. If using instant poor over until the mix is lightly covered. Add the honey, oil and egg white and mix until all of the dry mixture is damp from the wet ingredients.

Add the cinnamon and salt and give the mixture one last mix and making sure all ingredients are nice and wet.

Place the mixture onto the baking tray, make sure to separate the oats so they make a nice, thin layer.

Put the mixture into the oven and let the amazing smell take over the whole house. Cook for 20-25 minutes. 

Once you take the mixture out of the oven let it rest for 5 minutes and then you are free to serve! I like putting mine with caramelized banana, figs and yoghurt! Or even better I gave some to a friend this morning an

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