IN THIS ONGOING series, we’ll take a look at interesting products that we think might appeal to our readers. These products may or may not be strictly aimed at vegetarians or vegans but if they’re not, they’ll certainly be suitable for these enlightened folk.
The first Cool Product comes from local purveyor of all things super – Matakana Superfoods. Both of the Doctor Feelgood founders use products from Matakana Superfoods, although truth be told, Gary Steel probably started using them after being browbeaten by me. I’m a huge fan of Maqui Berry powder and Maca Root powder, which go into practically every smoothie I make.
Matakana Superfoods’ Coconut Sugar seems to be too good to be true. It’s said to taste just like sugar but is meant to be guilt free because it has a low Glycemic Index (GI).
This baffled me for a while because coconuts aren’t sweet but apparently the sugar comes from the coconut flower before it forms into the coconut. Nectar is drained from the flower and then dehydrated and crystalized with no processing.
What’s so important about a food’s Glycemic Index? The GI scale is a way to rate the extent to which carbohydrates raise blood sugar levels; it runs from 0 to 100, with 0 being good and 100 being awful.
Foods with the higher GI are digested and absorbed very quickly, which results in major fluctuations in blood sugar and insulin levels. Low-GI foods on the other hand, are digested and absorbed far more slowly, which makes for gradual changes in blood sugar and insulin levels. We’ll cover the Glycemic Index in more detail soon but suffice to say, aim for a low GI carb source over a high GI version every chance you get and you’ll be better off in a number of ways.
So this coconut sugar is low GI (35 compared to around 60-68 for refined white sugar) and it contains vitamins and amino acids, there are no fillers and no additives in there and it’s also sustainably harvested. What then are the odds that it actually tastes good? Pretty darn high let me tell you, because it tastes fabulous, better than white, brown or raw sugar with a sweet nutty flavor that enhances tea and coffee and is magic on my dynamite Simple Weetbix Porridge (recipe coming soon to this very site).
The only problem is the price – I bought a 250 gram pack on special for $8.20, the usual retail is closer to ten dollars. For that kind of money, you can easily pick up around 4Kg of white sugar, but who the heck wants 4kg of that refined poison? You can also get 500 grams of Chelsea’s Low GI cane sugar (GI of 50) for under four bucks, so the Matakana coconut sugar is definitely a premium product. However, given its combination of low GI and great taste, it’s now the main source of sugar at my place. The only time I’ll use normal sugar is when I want a high GI source in a post-workout shake. You can pick up sachets of the coconut sugar if you want to give it a try without going for the full pack – check your local health shop or order online at: www.matakanasuperfoods.com ASHLEY KRAMER