Here in the Illawarra, we are in the middle of a "real-food revolution".
Many people are turning their backs of pre-prepared, packaged foods in favour of getting back into their kitchen to create wholesome, real food for themselves and their families.
Inspired by the countless "home cook turns celebrity" shows and documentaries focusing on the nasties hidden in packaged foods (think That Sugar Film, Cereal Killers etc), we are being driven back into the kitchen in droves. And isn't it fantastic?
I love that more and more I am hearing conversations over the lunchroom table about what healthy meals people cooked for dinner last night, or what wholesome treats they have made for their kids' lunchboxes.
I love that quinoa and kale are now common known ingredients to many, and people no longer think of sauerkraut as that odd-smelling accompaniment to pork knuckle found only at Bavarian beer cafes, and only devoured after countless steins of golden ale.
There is a real pride in people returning to creating home-cooked meals and realising that the kitchen is not just another room of the house, it is actually the heart of a healthy home. It is our power room, where we fuel up for our busy lives.
So good news, people: In order to support locals in reclaiming their kitchen, Flame Tree Community Co-Op and Life Wellness Co. have combined forces to create a series of whole-food-inspired workshops over the coming months. These are aimed at providing simple advice on how we can incorporate real, clean foods back into our daily diets.
The workshops are being run within the Co-Op store, with participants receiving advice on how to move away from packaged, processed food items in their kitchens and replace them with "real food" wholesome ingredients, live cooking demonstrations and sampling of the food made in the workshops, as well as access to heaps of whole-food-inspired recipes and the opportunity to shop in the Co-Op after the workshops to stock up on essential ingredients.
Workshop topics include the following:
- Real Food Treats, which provides advice on simple and seriously tasty sweet treats free from gluten, refined sugars, additives and preservatives;
- Real Food Pantry, which outlines simple measures to transition to a whole-food kitchen and demonstrates how easy it is to cook with whole-food ingredients with some quick and easy recipe ideas for family meals;
- Food Is Thy Medicine, which looks at achieving better digestion and gut health through making probiotic foods such as sauerkraut and keffir, as well as education on how to eliminate common digestion saboteurs in modern-day diets;
- Fuel 4 Kids (my personal favourite), which provides lunchbox ideas and family-meal options targeting child nutrition.
So for those who are part of the revolution, or for those looking for inspiration on how to get on board, why not check them out?
Here is a sample recipe from the Real Food Treats workshop - super simple and super delicious.
Stephanie Meades is a lifestyle, food and wellness coach. For more wholefood recipes, visit Flame Tree Co-Op, Thirroul.
- 1.5 cups of almond meal
- 3/4 cup fine desiccated (unsweetened) coconut
- 2 tbsp coconut flour
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar (optional)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla powder (or natural vanilla extract)
- 1/2 cup macadamia nuts (chopped)
- 120 g coconut oil (melted)
- 2 eggs
Combine almond meal, coconut, coconut sugar, flour and vanilla powder in a large mixing bowl.
Using a blender, whiz the eggs and melted coconut oil together, but take care not to add the eggs to super-hot coconut oil as they will scramble.
Pour creamy mixture into dry ingredients and mix well.
Using a teaspoon, scoop spoonfuls of the mixture onto a lined baking tray. Shape into small balls and press down to flatten slightly. Repeat until all the mixture is used. You can top with extra macadamia nuts if you want them even nuttier.
Bake at 180 degrees (fan-forced) for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Allow them to cool fully before devouring as they become super crunchy on the outside as they cool, remaining soft inside. Delish!