Eating healthily is a topic that constantly graces our TV screens, newspapers and magazines. However, the concept of ‘healthy eating’ is very rarely understood properly. It gets tedious when we’re told that something is good for us one minute and bad for us the next, but healthy eating shouldn’t be all about following what the media tells us. Many people obsess over meaningless numbers on a packet when what we should be focussing on are the ingredients in our foods. A chocolate bar may be less calorific than an avocado but is nutritionally far inferior. Rather than listening to others dictate what foods we should eat, we should be listening to our own bodies as each individual has different needs.
Over the Easter break I’ve become intrigued by food, cooking and healthy eating, realising that you can still feel indulged, full and content without damaging your health. I’ve become especially excited about the raw food craze and the idea that we can heal our bodies through the power of food alone. There are many blogs on the Internet that plug the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and eating wholesome food.
I particularly recommend following Madeline Shaw, Natasha Corrett and Deliciously Ella who all live by the raw food mantra. They create space for sweet and indulgent foods as part of a healthy eating regime: something very important for those who, like me, have an insatiable sweet tooth.
Having been inspired, I tried out a recipe for some ‘not so naughty’ but ‘oh so yummy’ chocolate brownies. They melt in your mouth and are made from all natural ingredients so you don’t have to feel guilty whilst indulging in them. In fact, they’re probably doing you some good! The recipe uses 100% raw cacao powder but you could easily use a good quality cocoa powder. Raw cacao is bursting with anti-oxidants, and as it’s not heated to high temperatures all the good nutrients remain packed inside. The chia seeds, dates and tahini are also full of beneficial vitamins and the high fibre content of these brownies ensures that you’ll stay fuller for longer.
100g dates, soaked in warm water for about 20 minutes
2 tbsp chia seeds, soaked in 6tbsp of cold water until the water has been absorbed
1 tbsp of vanilla extract
4 tbsp rice milk (normal milk will do)
70g tahini, or any nut butter
45g coconut oil, melted
30g rice flour
50g raw cacao powder (I used Green and Black’s cocoa)
50g agave nectar (find in health shops)
30g maple syrup
1/2 tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt
Tip: You could add some sultanas or raisins if you wanted your brownies to have a more fruity edge or even some walnuts to add that extra crunch!
1. Pre-heat the oven to 175°C. Line a baking tin with baking parchment or grease with butter.
2. Soak the dates and chia seeds separately for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, weigh out the other ingredients.
3. When they have been soaked, place the dates, coconut oil, tahini, rice milk, agave, maple syrup and vanilla essence into a blender and mix until smooth.
4. Add the blended ingredients to a bowl with the flour, salt, baking powder, cacao/cocoa, and the soaked chia seeds. Mix until the ingredients are all combined.
5. Transfer the mixture to the baking tray or dish and cook for about 20 minutes.
6. After leaving to cool, cut your brownies into squares and enjoy!