Chapter 1 - Raising Kids
25 years ago our son was a mere tyke. We had to watch what we fed him. Too much sugar and he would be like a bee in a bottle - up one wall, across the ceiling and down the other side. Back then they called it hyperactive. It wasn’t yet all the rage to turn kids into zombies with mind altering psych drugs because the parents didn’t... ...oh, don’t get me started on THAT one!
I can distinctly recall going through the supermarket with my wife Julie, looking earnestly for foods that had no sugar, artificial colourings, flavours and preservatives added to them. We got to the end of the grocery aisles and there was scant all in the shopping trolley! That week we lived on fruit, veges and meat/chicken/fish.
Of course these days it’s even more diabolical what you have to be alert for on food labels, MSG in its many guises, genetically modified foods and all sorts of manufactured sugar substitutes and other unnatural additives that who knows what the long term effect is on a body.
Sorry, we do know. The average weight is going up, the health level is going down, people are working longer and getting sicker. I happen to think that’s going the wrong way up a dead end alley.
Anyway, Healthelicious is my attempt to do something about producing a product to help reverse that trend.
Chapter 2 - Fruit and Nut Smoothie
A programmer from South Africa stayed with me for some time a few years ago. He was in the habit of having a fruit smoothie for breakfast and I took up the practice from there.
Once every three or four weeks I prepare enough to last me that long.
I start the night before by putting into a large mixing bowl a cup of chia seeds in two cups of filtered water and into another bowl, 40-70 grams of nuts that need to be soaked to remove their enzyme blockers (almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, pecans and walnuts).
The next morning I empty out the water in which the nuts were soaking then rinse them twice, again in filtered water. I add 40-50 grams of nuts that do not need to be soaked - brazils, macadamias, pine nuts and pistachios - two apples, pears, peaches, kiwi fruit, bananas and some frozen berries, maca and cacao powder to the blender, cover with apple juice and blend.
When done it fills 20 or more large (250 ml) glasses. One goes down the hatch with a handful of vitamins for breakfast, one goes in the fridge for the following morning and the others into the freezer because if left in the fridge, sometimes it would tingle on the tongue on day four. Each day when I pull one out of the fridge for breakfast I just make sure to pull one from the freezer and put it in the fridge for the next day.
Chapter 3 - Apple Pie
I don’t recall how or why I became the dessert chef at home. Maybe it has something to do with having a sweet tooth. But the apple pie is always a hit.
I formerly put a piece of pastry into whatever sized baking tray that is required and put it into a medium oven for fifteen minutes while I am getting the rest of the ingredients together and prepared. This ensures we don’t have a soggy base.
These days I am most likely to put 200 grams of almond or hazelnut meal, 200 grams of buckwheat or quinoa flour with 300 grams of butter into a bowl and make the pastry with that.
Next I open an 825 gram can of apricots in juice and drain the juice.
Then I empty the contents of an 825 gram can of unsweetened pie apples to a mixing bowl, add some cinnamon, a generous helping (two handfuls) of sultanas or incas (South American raisin type dried fruit), some crushed pecans and stir. As well as adding a strudel like touch, the sultanas/incas soak up some of the apple and apricot juice so it’s less wet.
When the pastry base is starting to rise I whip it out of the oven, tip the apple/sultana/cinnamon/nut mix into it, add five strategically placed cloves, then tip the apricots on top and round off with a generous sprinkling of frozen berries. Put the next sheet of pastry on top with a sprinkle of nutmeg and back in the oven for an hour.
Chapter 4 - Fruit Cake
When one of my daughters was about to be married we said to the groom to be, “We’re doing all this organising for my daughter, is there anything special you’d like?”
The groom replied, “You know what I’d really like?”
“What?” I asked.
“An old fashioned fruit cake, with marzipan icing.”
“It shall be done!” I said.
So Julie went looking for a wedding cake shop. Finally found one, ordered a cake, bought a rice custard and left. When she opened the rice custard to eat it there was a layer of mould on the top!
Needless to say, Julie returned the rice custard and cancelled the wedding cake order.
She came home and said to me, “It’s less than a week to the wedding, what are we going to do?”
I said, “I’ll make it then. Get me a cake tin and a recipe.”
So Julie brought home a large cake tin and a recipe from the Womens Weeky Celebrations cookbook.
Well. I over cooked it by 100 degrees for an hour longer than I should have. It turned out as black as the ace of spades and as hard as bell metal!
No time left to cook another. We needed to decorate it and you know you cannot ice a hot cake.
I turned it on it’s side, took the bread knife and sawed of the top. (It didn’t quite need the circular saw!)
Iced, it went over a treat and was a great hit.
After that I started making fruit cakes for my family and software clients for Christmas.
Chapter 5 - Food Bars
My youngest daughter, Cadienne, affectionately calls me a “health nut”. (Seems if you exercise, take vitamins and eat well you’re entitled to that mantle.)
Cadienne is mostly a vegetarian and in 2008 was working unusual hours. She was provided an evening meal but if it was a lamb stew it went over like a lead balloon. She would go buy a Mars Bar instead.
I thought, “I can do better than that!” I took it on myself to do something about this so I started experimenting with different ingredients I had around the kitchen with the intention of creating a really healthy meal replacement/snack.
I started with coconut, sesame and sunflower seeds, cashew and macadamia nuts, apricots and raisins, cinnamon, nutmeg, cacao and maca powder and bound it together with honey. You’ll laugh at this. I added some water to the first batch, thinking it would otherwise be too dry, but it needed Viagra after that :-) so I dropped the water from the next batch and replaced half the honey with Tahini.
Cadienne then started telling others about it and pretty soon I was making quite a few kilos of this raw, health food bar each week. Her friends told me they got more energy from my food bar than they did their normal diet. I thought, “How come a software developer can make a food that gives people more energy than their normal diet?” And then, “If they can feel that much better from eating just what I had in the cupboard, how good could I make it if I REALLY tried?”
So I went to the site from where I purchased the Maca, Cacao and Gojis, http://www.raw-chocolate.net/, spent a couple of grand and got a whole bunch of other ingredients and created a maxi nutrient version of the bar that had 36 ingredients.
The result of asking that question is the present range of 8 raw, healthy food bars, 11 protein/nutrition powders and 17 tasty snacks. Check out the ingredients I use. You will be staggered at the health benefits my ingredients confer and pleasantly surprised by what I leave out.
The results to date from the people eating it have ranged from filling and energising to nothing short of spectacular.
Some people notice an immediate improvement in their energy levels and a fair percentage find when they eat a bar or two a day they sleep better at night - me included! So I have reaped a personal benefit out of the whole exercise.
One night I had a call from someone for whom my wife does the books. He’s been having the bars for a while now. He said,“I don’t feel much different when I have the bar but when I don’t, I don’t sleep well.”
I said,“I’ll send some around with Julie.”
He said,“No. I’ll come round and get them now!”
The next day I had a call from about the 6th person who has handled his sleep problem with the bars and he said he gave one to his coach who also slept very well after having one. So they are pretty consistently resolving sleeping problems and I am keen to test how general is this effect.
Several people swear by them for keeping their energy levels up or boosting them when they are low.
One consumer of the bars has a day job where he works physically as well as a night job that requires he climb a few flights of stairs quite often. Some days he does not get a chance to have a proper meal between his day and evening jobs. He was in the habit of grabbing a chicken burger. The next day his body did not have the energy level he needed to do his job and of an evening, going up the stairs was a real chore.
My daughter suggested he try some of my food bars and he now has one or two every day. In his words, “I eat a bar and 10 minutes later I’m belting up the stairs two at a time.”
I have been too busy to add all the testimonials I receive but I was editing this page so here is one I received this week (July 2014).
Thought it was about time I shared some of experiences during my Healthelicious Bar and Slice challenge.
I began slowly with the bars in the order you suggested and will attempt to talk about some of the more interesting results and experiences.
On the taste side, I found them all mostly to be quite palatable. The hardest one for me to eat was definitely the Thin & Satisfied. I found it a little nasty to eat but the peppery taste and smooth consistency just made it edible for me. On the up side, I had half the bar at 10am at work and it kept me awake all day, even on the train trip home where without fail, I always fall asleep! I however had so much energy I found it hard to wind down that night. It’s a dangerously energetic bar indeed.
I also found the Bug Out Bar to be quite strong but palatable. All the other bars were pretty easy to eat and tasted fine.
I ate the bars in halves for breakfast and found I went a good 3 hours before I felt hungry. This was great as previous to this I found I would eat breakfast and be hungry very soon after. In fact I found I would eat more and more just to stop feeling hungry. After finishing the bars, I have been taking half a Nutrition Booster Bar daily at breakfast and as with the other bars feel full and satisfied. I also find that my muscles have energy. This is most noticeable walking up and down the 48 stairs at the railway station daily and when I go to the gym after work after being awake for 15 hours. Previous to Healthelicious, I could feel my muscles always feeling empty and constantly feeling hungry no matter what I ate.
Can you tell I am loving the bars? I have more energy and it’s awesome. I love that the nutrients I was obviously lacking could be squished so beautifully into a ’super bar’.
Love your work Tom!
As for the slices, they were all wonderful. Yum. They did taste super sweet after eating the bars for a couple of weeks though. I am pretty sure my kids loved them too as some mysteriously went missing from the fridge, never to be seen again! They ate my Choc Chip Slice that I had been saving until the end... ...oh well, at least they were healthy.... :-(
Anyway Tom, I really do feel a positive energy boost from eating these bars. I just couldn’t seem to get it from even the ’good’ food I was eating. My body feels energised and this is a wonderful feeling especially since I don’t tend to get a lot of sleep (not through from lack of trying).
Anyway... ...Wow! Thanks for sharing Tom.
And what I DON’T put in my products is as important as what I do include:
|No artificial colours|
|No artificial fragrances|
|No artificial sweeteners|
|No cane sugar|
|No flavour enhancers|
|No detectable gluten|
|No added preservatives|
|No high fructose corn syrup|