The Sweet Meadow

food

Product Spotlight: Grain-Free Granola

foodAishe Besim
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We've been serving up our grain-free granola dish since we started the cafe almost a year ago. I wanted to offer a breakfast option that would appeal to the paleo and low-carb/high fat way of eating (even if personally I eat the opposite!).

Enter the star of the show - granola from The Belle General Bakehouse. I discovered this granola on my first visit to Byron Bay a few months before I opened the business, and quickly became obsessed with it. The girls at The Belle General bake this granola in-house at their cafe in Ballina, NSW, and use mostly local ingredients. Full of nuts and seeds, we like to serve our granola with almond milk. Almonds are one of the only alkalising nuts and a great source of vitamin E, the major antioxidant in human epidermal tissue, which create smoothness and suppleness to our skin. 

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The granola also has chia seeds, which contain the all-important essential omega 3 and 6 oils. They have twice the protein concentration of other seeds and are easily digestible in their whole form. We serve our granola with coconut yoghurt, a great source of probiotics that will help maintain a healthy stomach environment to aid in digestion and gut heatlh.

You can also sprinkle the granola on your oats, smoothie bowl, yoghurt or savoury muffins for an added protein and fibre hit. 500g bags of the granola are available at our cafe for $24, although we tend to sell out quicker than we can order it in (I always joke that the The Belle General crew are on "Byron time"). Alternatively, you can purchase other sizes directly from The Belle General's online store here

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Wild Orange Cacao Crunch

recipes, food, essential oilsAishe Besim
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Orange and chocolate are a classic match (hello, Jaffas!), and this granola recipe delivers on both counts. 

Full of wholesome ingredients like almonds, buckwheat and dates, the addition of wild orange essential oil is two-fold. Wild orange is known to aid in digestion, while aromatically, it is calming and uplifting to the mind and body. It is known as the 'Oil of Abundance', assisting individuals to foster creativity and inspire an abundant mindset. 

If stored in an airtight container, this mix can last up to a month. 

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WILD ORANGE CACAO CRUNCH
VEGAN | GLUTEN FREE

INGREDIENTS
1 cup Loving Earth caramelised buckinis
1/2 cup raw almonds, chopped
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1/4 cup raw cacao powder
6 medjool dates
2 tablespoons rice malt syrup
2 tablespoons coconut oil
Pinch of pink salt
3-4 drops of doTERRA wild orange essential oil (learn how to purchase these oils here)

METHOD
1. Preheat the oven to 120 degrees Celcius. Line a baking sheet with paper and set aside.
2. Blitz the almonds and buckinis in a food processor until crumbly. 
3. Meanwhile, use a small handheld processor to mix together the dates, rice malt syrup, and coconut oil until smooth. Add a few drops of essential oil into this 'wet' mix to flavour the granola. 
4. Combine the dry mix with the wet mix in a large bowl (hands work best for this to make sure the sweetener is combined well with the dry mix). 
5. Pour mixture onto the baking tray and drizzle with a little coconut oil & rice malt syrup.
6. Bake for around 45 minutes - check midway through and give the granola mix a turn.
7. Once cooked through and crisp, remove from oven and allow to cool before eating.
8. Use as topping on a smoothie bowl (brownie points if you post it on Instagram), oats, or chia pudding, or eat alone as a snack with some fruit. 

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Healthy eating starts at home

food, kidsAishe Besim
Every kid in every school no matter their background, deserves to learn the basics about food - where it comes from, how to cook it and how it affects their bodies. These life skills are as important as reading and writing, but they’ve been lost over the past few generations. We need to bring them back and bring up our kids to be streetwise about food.
— Jamie Oliver

I was reading an article online recently about the alarming rate of childhood obesity in Australia. A recent study has revealed that one in five Australian are obese before they have even started school. Seriously! No wonder Australia is one of the fattest countries on earth.

It gets worse as we get older. 70% of Australians are overweight or obese and 60% of deaths in Australia are diet related, but as Jamie Oliver says, "...no one fucking talks about it."

Lots of kids eat at The Sweet Meadow with their families and it's something I personally love to see. In one of the first books I ever read about veganism the author, Doug Graham, was writing about why a plant-based diet full of foods in their whole, natural state is the ideal way we should be eating. He wrote, "Put the child in a room with a lamb and a banana. Sit back and watch to see which he plays with and which he eats."

Renowned chef and author Stephanie Alexander's philosophy is that there is no such thing as special food for children: if food is good, everyone will enjoy it regardless of age. This is why it disappoints me when I see families come in, look at our menu and say, "I'd be happy to eat here with my partner/mum/girlfriends but my kids just want bacon and eggs." Or, "don't you just have a normal chocolate milkshake?" or worse, "can we just get some hot chips for the little ones?"

Ugh! I feel like screaming! Eggs are high in dietary cholesterol, and bacon is packed with sodium (i.e. salt) and saturated fat. Generally "normal" chocolate milkshakes use the flavoured syrup (as in, artificial colours, preservatives and sugar), and while hot chips are technically vegan, deep frying with vegetable oils releases toxic chemicals linked to cancer and other diseases.

I am a huge believer that our diet directly impacts our health and this is no different for children. Several studies have indicated that artificial food additives (colours, preservatives and flavour enhancers found in confectionary, soft drink, cordial, flavoured milk, cakes and biscuits) can cause hyperactivity and behavioural issues in children. 

I think people need to avoid using these kinds of foods as "treats" for kids and instead offer experiences (playing outside, creating a garden, spending time with their friends, being around animals). Our early memories of food are powerful and can stay with us for life, so start at the beginning. Get kids connected to the soil and connected to growing their own food and watch how their world changes. 

Image via  The Modern Mummy
Eliza in the garden after sprinkling some coffee grounds from The Sweet Meadow on the soil. Thanks for the image  Stacey . 

Eliza in the garden after sprinkling some coffee grounds from The Sweet Meadow on the soil. Thanks for the image Stacey