Moving into the field of Nutrition and Health Coaching, despite my formal education (advanced Diploma), I am maintaining my quiet revolutionary stance! The benefits of pleasure will never be far from my mind when I help you to find ways of enjoying food and eating, enjoying movement and exercise, enjoying work and rest, but that also support your wellbeing and health.
Remember the Galaxy chocolate add, where the woman creates a beautiful moment in which to enjoy her chocolate mindfully? Well, top of my list of nourishing recipes (to support the individual changes I will suggest to you) will be versions of the things you love to love in those Galaxy moments.
So a favourite is adapted from one of my course tutors, Ciara Beauge’s recipe. These easy little fancies can be adapted to include anything you love.
Essentially low in sugar, you get to decide how low by the choice of cocoa percentage chocolate you use and what you add to it. Of course the darker the chocolate, the lower it will be in sugar, but it also may be less palatable to you, and you may find you want to add more sugary elements like dates or the crystallised ginger etc. So experiment, and find your Goldilocks version: just right.
These rich bites will be, in themselves, a macro-balanced snack. This means they contain our main essential nutrients of protein, good fats, and complex carbs. This should mean that they mind your blood sugar levels and avoid the spike and crash that a well-known fruit and nut bar would deliver. Looking after blood sugar stability is one of the most important elements of a lifestyle that supports our health in every moment (helping us reduce the frequency of hot flushes, aiding sleep, helping maintain a stable weight, supporting mood etc), but also going forward into our later life in terms of our health.
More than that they are rich in many essentials that are so important in mid-life and beyond, such as magnesium, potassium, B vitamins, omegas 6 & 3, fibre, antioxidants etc, many of which are known to benefit heart health, brain health, bone health and so much more. Nerdy article on nuts here! Easy to read article on nuts here!
The changes I made were to use some 70% dark chocolate, but also some low GI chocolate by Dr Coy’s (link to their website here). This brand specialises in using inulin*, for sweetness without the blood sugar spike of normal sugar. Inulin, as with most fibre, may also help feed the gut microbiome.
The original recipe has whole pumpkin seeds, which I have used in the past, but the recipe below uses nuts instead (I just didn’t have any pumpkin seeds when I decided to experiment!). If you’re allergic to nuts, you could use seeds and a seed butter instead. Pumpkin seeds are high in calcium, B2 and Folate, among many other things, which makes them an ideal ingredient for perimenopausal health.
I used almond butter, also high in calcium, chopped walnuts, high in omega 3, and chopped brazils, high in selenium, all important micro-nutrients in midlife and beyond.
I chose crystallised ginger for a little kick, instead of the original option of raisins or chopped dates, but play with the recipe yourself each time. Dried fruits are high calcium and antioxidants, whereas ginger is lovely to aid digestion.
My major tweak was adding some light miso.
Fermented foods are great for our gut, and miso is made from soya beans which contain phytoestrogens which have a weak oestrogenic effect in the body which some women find helps with some perimenopause symptoms. It also contains fabulous Folic acid, vitamin E and K, and some of the B vitamins.
*Any time you consume a new food, use it sparingly until you see if your body is ok with it. You can do a little research on inulin here.
100g any dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa, or darker depending on your preference)
1 tablespoon almond butter (or peanut, or any seed butter, though I prefer a crunchy version, a smooth one may make a more elegant result)
1 dessertspoon light miso paste
1 tablespoon chopped brazils
1 tablespoons chopped walnuts
6 chunks crystallised ginger, chopped (or handful goji berries, or raisins or chopped dates)
There are many optional alternatives/extras: dessicated coconut, pumpkin, sunflower or poppy seeds, chopped figs, prunes or cranberries. broken up oatcakes or low-sugar granola. Get creative!
Melt the chocolate in a bain Marie (a bowl over simmering water).
Add the nut butter and miso and stir until combined.
Remove from the heat and stir in your dry ingredients.
Shape with 2 teaspoons into rough balls about the size of cherries.
Refrigerate on a plate until they are firm enough to handle and pop in a box. Keep refrigerated. Enjoy with a cuppa. They should keep for a week to 10 days.
If you would like help to adjust your lifestyle in easy, sustainable ways that still allow you to thoroughly enjoy life, but perhaps help with issues such as low energy, achiness, weight changes, sleep, fitness and more, click to discover how join me in my Nutrition and Health Programme. Specialising in mid-life and beyond, I do also work with women and men of any age.