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.

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…..

wpid-2014-12-23-12.26.17-3.jpg

 

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.