Candice Van Eeden reviews Bali Nutra Coconut Syrup

Can coconut syrup really be the healthy sugar substitute we have all been waiting for?

As a holistic nutritional practitioner, I spend much of my time helping people of all ages to find a way to improve their diets. This does not mean completely cutting out all those tasty morsels that everyone likes to indulge in, once in a while, but simply finding a balance in what you have on your plate. When Mario from Bali Nutra asked me to review their coconut syrup, a refined sugar substitute, I jumped at the chance – and I have to say that I was not disappointed with what I discovered.

I have plenty of first-hand experience of working with people who have become victims of high sugar diets. Many of us are unwittingly ingesting far too much processed sugar, even in what we consider to be healthy foods, and it is this regular overloading of refined sugar that can cause significant health problems over time. This is one of the reasons why, I am so keen to investigate healthier substitutes that people can use to replace refined sugar in their diets.

Coconut Syrup Claims – Reviewed
I’ve explored many alternative sweeteners over the years, so I approached Bali Nutra Coconut Syrup as I have learned to approach all the others – with a healthy air of scepticism.

These are the syrup’s professed benefits:
• 100% organic and natural with no preservatives or artificial sweeteners.
• Environmentally friendly production credentials.
• Ideal for diabetics as it’s a low Glycaemic product.
• More nutritious than other sweeteners.
• Rich in antioxidants.
• Packed full of health promoting vitamins and minerals.

Bali Nutra claim that their product is gluten free, GMO free and fat free. Now this is a long list of supposed positives. But, I have done my research and I have to say that I have not found anything in my investigation that conflicts with their claims.

Firstly it is entirely natural, made with a raw antioxidant, free from preservatives and potentially harmful GM processes. Bali Nutra Coconut Syrup is produced on small family-owned farms in Bali where pesticides are not used and the palm trees are responsibly tapped for their sweet sap. I am told that this practice has been going on for generations on the island. As no chemicals or pesticides are used on the trees, and the sap collection does not harm them, it has got to be one of the most environmentally friendly cottage industry sugar production methods I’ve ever seen. The collected sap is heated to prepare it for bottling and, well, that’s it! One super-sweet healthy alternative to refined sugar – from tree to table in fewer steps than any other sweetener I know.

Enough of the online research, and one-to-one interviewing, and onto my area of expertise – let’s dive into the details of what makes Bali Nutra coconut syrup such a nourishing, healthy, tasty choice.

Super Sweet but Easy on your Blood Sugar Levels
I was particularly intrigued by Bali Nutra’s claims that their product could be enjoyed by those with diabetes. Now, everyone knows that those with diabetes need to carefully control their diets to manage their condition. One part of this is to consider the glycaemic index of different foods. Low GI diets can be a suitable option for diabetics, as this type of meal plan can help to keep blood sugar levels more stable than eating lots of high GI foods. Essentially, this low GI diet helps remove the peaks and troughs that refined sugars create.

One major benefit of Bali Nutra coconut syrup is that it has a low glycaemic index (GI) of ± 35. When compared with the rating of brown sugar (64), white sugar (60) and even honey (58-83) you can see the significant difference between these popular sweeteners and coconut syrup. In fact a medium sized orange, a large carrot or a small box of raisins all have a higher GI than coconut syrup.

It’s my opinion, therefore, that coconut syrup could potentially form part of a low GI diet, when regulated properly against other foods and factors.

Cutting down on sugar, is not merely something which people with health issues should be thinking about. Indeed, eating foods which are lower in sugar can help to prevent a whole host of health problems associated with refined sugars. These include tooth decay, high blood pressure, obesity (something of a growing problem here in the UK and across the globe) and the development of diabetes in the first place. Some have gone further and suggested that refined sugar is, in effect, toxic to our systems.

Full of Vitamins and Minerals
Bali Nutra coconut syrup is also packed full of important vitamins and minerals. The liquid is a rich source of potassium, which helps maintain healthy blood pressure levels. It contains high levels of magnesium, which promotes healthy bones, and also zinc and vitamin C which boost the immune system. Bali Nutra coconut syrup is also a fantastic source of iron which aids the development of new red blood cells. The syrup also includes Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B6. These each have individual, as well as collective, health benefits including supporting healthy digestion and encouraging healthy blood flow and oxygen levels. These high vitamin concentrations promote healthy skin, bones, eyes and teeth as well as maintaining strong muscle movement and a healthy nervous system.

My Opinion
I think you’ve probably already guessed which way I’m leaning on this one. It’s pure, it’s healthier on your body, it’s kinder on the environment and it tastes glorious, so I know that I for one will be adding it to my weekly shop.

Vegan Nutty Chocolate Squares Recipe from BigCityDreamer made with Coconut Syrup

This wonderful recipe was created by the super talented BigCityDreamer aka @fresheather ! It’s a definite to try out yourself in the kitchen and is a great example of what delicious goodies you can make with a few splashes of our delicious coconut syrup!

Base Layer:
3/4 cup ground pecan nuts (or 3/4 cup coconut flour – although it is a bit too dry with this)
2 tbsp cacao (or cocoa)
3 – 4 tbsp Bali Nutra coconut syrup
1 tbsp coconut oil, melted (I use Coconut Merchant)

Combine all ingredients until they clump together (you can do this by hand). Press into a small lined square baking tray – the smaller the tray, the thicker the layers!

………

Middle Layer:
1/2 cup crunchy PB (or almond butter… or hazelnut butter… any nut butter)!
3 tbsp Bali Nutra coconut syrup
1 tbsp coconut oil, melted

Mix PB, syrup and oil until combined. Spread on top of base layer. Put in the fridge or freezer while you’re making the next layer.

………

Topping:
1/4 cup cacao powder (I use Bioglan)
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
3 tbsp Bali Nutra coconut syrup

Mix the cacao, melted coconut oil and coconut syrup together until you have a smooth, melted chocolate consitency (have to admit, I ate quite a bit of this part before it made it into the baking tray)! Pour on top of the middle layer and spread evenly with a spatula (bang the base of the tray on the worktop a few times to make the top smooth and even).

Set in the fridge for 30 mins and you’re good to go! It tastes amazing after the chocolate has just set and the rest is still melty! Cut into squares and store in the fridge!

Win a Bali Nutra and Rude Health Hamper!

We have teamed up with our friends at Rude Health and are offering you the chance to win a gorgeous hamper full of healthy and delicious goodies. The hamper includes two bottles of Bali Nutra coconut syrup, the entire of Rude Health’s sprouted range along with some of their delicious porridge!

Remember to share this competition with your friends and family for another chance to win this amazing prize!

Enter Below:

Boost Protein Very Berry Smoothie

Ingredients

1 banana
Handful of blueberries, strawberries, blackberries

1 tblsp Bali Nutra coconut syrup
1 tsp protein powder (as per required)
1 cup spring water

 

Method

1. Blend to desired consistency and enjoy.

TIPS: It helps if you add the water at the start of the blend and more towards the end to match consistency as preferred.
Step 1. Pour half a cup of Spring water in a pint sized glass.
Step 2. Mix in protein powder in same pint sized glass.
Step 3. Add Chopped Banana
Step 4. Add All Berries
Step 5. Add Bali Nutra Coconut Syrup
Step 6. Pour into Blender and Mix It Up!
Step 7. Turn Blender off and taste and add more water or Coconut Syrup to your own taste.

You have now reached Seven Heaven, All Natural!

Bali Nutra “Nutella” Recipe

Bali Nutra HQ want to celebrate the national holiday that is World Nutella Day! We are sharing with you our favourite VEGAN, REFINED SUGAR FREE and GUILT FREE, hazelnut and chocolate spread recipe. It is both easy and delicious and lets you enjoy the praline goodness of our favourite spread, without the naughtiness.

Our delicious praline spread is full of antioxidants and vitamins, unlike the famous spread itself which is full of palm oil (70% saturated fat) and is 55% processed sugar. Using Bali Nutra coconut syrup instead of refined sugar keeps your dish ethically sourced and gives it a low GI, making it suitable for diabetics!

 

Bali Nutra Praline Spread

(makes one jar)

2.5 cups of Organic Raw Hazelnuts (available from your local healthstore)

2 tsp Organic Vanilla Extract

1/3 cup Raw Cacao Powder

1/3 cup Bali Nutra coconut syrup

2 tblsp Organic Coconut Oil

2/3 cup Almond Milk

 

Method

Place raw hazelnuts to roast on a baking tray in an oven preheated to 200c/gas mark 6. Roast for approximately 10 minutes. Allow to cool then remove skins of hazelnuts by rubbing in palms of hands until they fall off. It doesn’t matter if all of the skin doesn’t come off. Add all of the ingredients and the Bali Nutra into your blender, adding the hazelnuts last. Pulse this mixture, stopping now and again to check if you need to add more almond milk to make it smooth and creamy. Store in an airtight glass container and enjoy as you would it’s sugary friend!

New Year Detox: Why you Should make the change for life, not just January!

So many of us will be entering 2015 with many goals and ambitions on how to live healthier lifestyles. Dry January is a popular choice, a whole month without alcohol – oh, what a party pooper you are! However, a close second is cutting out all those processed sugary guilty pleasures. How to manage daily sugarless coffee and tea in-take? What about my delicious sweet home baked cakes? Not to forget that Pancake tuesday is only around the corner! Though detox January may be a one month goal bearable enough to not go stir crazy, Bali Nutra Coconut Syrup is an ingredient changer for life! The perfect sweetener to replace all those sugary desires. 100% natural, rich and smokey in flavour – Our coconut nectar is the ideal substitute to replace sugar in whatever drink or dish, sweet or savoury. When a product is as versatile as Bali Nutra Coconut Syrup, its a no brainer – make the healthy change for life, not just January!

Bali Nutra makes Guilt Free Cinnamon Chocolates with Xochi Balfour

Friend of Bali Nutra, accomplished chef and blogger from The Naturalista, Xochi Balfour has created a delicious and moreish chocolate recipe using natural and guilt free ingredients. They would make an excellent after dinner treat with coffee, a gift or just a way to satisfy that chocolate craving without breaking your diet.

The goji berries are high in Vitamin C, the Bali Nutra coconut syrup is high in amino acids, iron and magnesium, and the cinnamon is supposed to help combat high blood pressure. These chocolates are not only guilt-free but good for you! Never feel guilty for your sweet tooth again with these beauties…..

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Ingredients

1 cup organic cacao butter (you can substitute coconut oil if you don’t have but they will have to be kept in the fridge)

1/2 cup cacao powder

1/3 cup Bali Nutra coconut syrup

1/2 tsp cinnamon plus more to dust

A big handful of goji berries

A good sprinkling of dessicated coconut

A pinch of sea salt

In a bain marie, gently melt the cacao butter (not over 43 degrees Celsius – it melts at around 35) and stir in the cacao powder and Bali Nutra coconut syrup once it has all melted.

While this is happening, place a goji berry or two in each chocolate mould, (or if you don’t have any – an ice tray will do – you can pour the mixture onto a baking tray lined with parchment, sprinkle with berries and coconut and break it up for brittle).

When everything is well mixed and dissolved, remove from the heat.

Pour into the moulds or onto the parchment, sprinkle with coconut and place in the fridge or freezer for 20 minutes or so to set.

Dust with cinnamon before eating.

Check out more of Xochi’s recipes on her website or find her on Twitter or Instagram.

Festive Recipe: Bali Nutra Mince Pies

Mince Pies – For when the weather outside is frightful, and the fire is so delightful! Bali Nutra’s mince pies recipe is a low GI, vegetarian, gluten free and refined sugar free festive extravaganza! We suggest serving your Mince Pies hot with a dollop of coconut cream, some Greek yogurt or some homemade frozen yogurt. All of us here at Bali Nutra absolutely love Christmas, but we want to help you do it the healthy way. Christmas has always been a time for feasting – and here at Bali Nutra we encourage responsible feasting!! Remember that you can always doctor this recipe to make it work for you – try swapping the margarine for coconut oil for a vegan taste explosion!

 

Bali Nutra Mince Pies

Makes 6

Cooking time: 1hr

Mincemeat

1 Cooking Apple

50g Sultanas

50g Dried Cranberries

1/2 tsp Cinnamon

1/4 tsp Nutmeg

1/2 Orange (zest)

150ml Apple Juice

1.5 tbsp Bali Nutra

Slice apples (with skins) into very small squares, put into saucepan with the rest of the ingredients and simmer (with lid on) until apple has broken down into a pulp (may take stirring).

Now your mincemeat is ready to use. You can freeze it for later use or use immediately.

Short Crust Pastry

120g Plain Flour (Gluten Free can be used)

60g butter/margarine/coconut oil (solid)

1.5 tbsp Bali Nutra

1.5 tbsp Cold Water

Cut fat into small cubes and place in flour, rub into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in Bali Nutra then add cold water (enough that it combines and makes a dough). When dough is formed place in fridge for 15 minutes wrapped in clingfilm to rest. After the 15 minutes rest, roll dough on floured surface with rolling pin until around 0.5cm thick. Cut out circles to line your greased muffin tray. Place tbsp of mincemeat (or enough to fill three quarters of pastry case in each pastry case. Then top with either another circle or a star or similar shape.

Glaze with milk/egg wash or coconut milk etc.

Cook for 15 minutes at 200c until browned and pastry is cooked through.

Bali Nutra Mince Pies with Homemade Bali Nutra Mince Meat
Bali Nutra Mince Pies with Homemade Bali Nutra Mince Meat

Serve hot with a sprinkling of dessicated coconut ‘snow’.

Bali Nutra Coconut Syrup at The Cereal Killer Cafe Launch

All of us at Bali Nutra had been counting down the days until the 10th of December – the launch of highly anticipated cereal only cafe in Brick Lane. Cereal Killer Cafe was the brainchild of twins Gary and Alan Keery, who decided to bring their retro and colourful creation to life with a bang. It was with excitement that we were given the chance to be involved in this awesome adventure with them.

Although many think of Cereal and think of breakfast sugar rushes and highly additive filled lucky charms cereal, The Cereal Killer Cafe also offer a healthy option for those with the inclination. Cereal Killer Cafe has a large range of healthy (but delicious) cereals including some gorgeous creations from our friends at Rude Health. We decided that we could be a great healthy option for their sugar counter, where we now have our shiny bottles pride of place.

So if you are in the area, pop in! They have an incredible range of cereals – whether you’re on a treat day, or just fancy a bowl of Rude Health’s nutritious grains with a lashing of Bali Nutra.

Bali Nutra Coconut Syrup features at Cereal Killer Cafe launch
Bali Nutra Coconut Syrup features at Cereal Killer Cafe launch

In Gary’s own words Bali Nutra coconut syrup has “a good flavour to it” and he likes a drop or two in his coffee.

Gary and Alan have done an amazing job of decorating the cafe, with original drawings of Tony the Tiger and many old toys from cereal boxes adorning the walls. Their eclectic jumble of retro snippets and memorabilia make the cafe somewhere to be transported back to the 80s and 90s. The speakers play music to transport you to your more youthful days and the staff are friendly and helpful.

We can’t recommend this place enough. It has something for everyone.

Festive Recipe: Bali Nutra Gingerbread Cookies

It’s nearing Christmas and here at Bali Nutra HQ we’re trying out lots of delicious festive recipes to spice up our menus. One of our Christmas favourites is homemade Gingerbread, and this Bali Nutra recipe with our delicious coconut syrup is the perfect healthy alternative. It’s quick to make and you can style your Gingerbread however you like, plain, dipped in chocolate or even as a cute little Gingerbread house! However you want to make this recipe work for you – it does. We made our recipe with coconut oil because we love the taste, and it’s much better for you than butter, but you can do it the way you like it.

 

 

Bali Nutra Gingerbread

Serves 12

Cooking Time – 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 0.5 cup of Bali Nutra Coconut Syrup
  • 1 tbsp of Coconut Oil or Butter
  • 2 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 4 tsp of ground ginger
  • 1.5 cups of Gluten Free / All Purpose Flour
  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder

Method

  1. In a saucepan melt the butter/coconut oil and Bali Nutra over low heat. Mix in spices and remove from heat and let cool.
  2. Sift half the flour into a bowl. Make a well in centre and add the Bali Nutra mixture, egg yolk and baking powder (dissolved in some boiling water). Mix thoroughly. Add the extra flour and knead to make a firm dough that doesn’t stick to the sides of the bowl.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180°c (350°F)
  4. Use a rolling pin on a floured surface to roll out the dough to around 0.5cm thick. Cut out desired shapes and place them on a greased and floured baking sheet. Bake on the top shelf of the oven for around 10 minutes (or until the Gingerbread cookies are slightly golden in colour).