Health Food Focus: Coconut Sugar!

My once loved white sugar substitute agave has been receiving quite a bit of negative press recently (mostly because of its 90% fructose level). Confused and left doubting agaves’ previously praised heath benefits, I embarked on a mission to find a healthier and less controversial sweetener alternative. The search led me to the discovery of my ‘sweet’ little new friend, coconut sugar!

What it is:

Coconut sugar is drawn from the sap of the coconut
 palm tree buds. It is similar in taste and color to brown sugar, with a slight caramel flavor.

Health Benefits:

Coconut sugar contains less than 9 percent fructose. It has a considerably lower glycemic index (35) than agave (42), honey (55), and cane sugar (68), thus helping to stabilize glucose levels. Coconut sugar can also do a lot more than just add sweetness to your morning coffee! It’s loaded with minerals, such as potassium, magnesium, zinc, iron, and B vitamins.

Ways to Incorporate into Your Diet:

Coconut sugar can be used as a substitute for white sugar in baking or dessert recipes or anything else you’d use sugar for!

Where to Find it & Cost:

Coconut sugar can be found at most health food shops. I use the Loving Earth brand, which costs around $7.50 for 300g.

Recipe Idea:

These cookies are to die for! They are quick, easy to make and require minimal cleaning (just what I like!). They are perfect for a picnic or to accompany a cup of tea. Just try not to eat all the mixture before the cookies make it to the oven 😛

Coconut Date Cookies

Makes 6-8 cookies


♥ 1 cup pitted dates (soaked for approx 5 mins to soften then drain)
♥ 1/3 cup rolled oats
♥ 1/2 cup shredded coconut
♥ 1 tsp baking powder
♥ 1 TBS vanilla
♥ 1-3 TBS coconut sugar (depending on how sweet you want them)
♥ 1 TBS coconut oil
♥ 1/4 cup coconut milk or choice of milk (use nut milk for vegan cookies!)


♥ Preheat oven to 170*C (fan forced).

♥ Put all ingredients in a food processor and blend well until there are no large date pieces.

♥ Portion mixture into equal sized balls, place on greased cookie sheet, and flatten with the back of a spoon/spatula.

♥ Bake for 12-15 minutes on 170 degrees.

♥ Remove from oven and cool on cookie rack.

♥ Store cookies in the refrigerator.

YUM! Do you like the sound of these healthy cookies?! Let us know 🙂

Article by Kavisha, self confessed ‘health foodie’ who believes a little dessert is good for the soul. She is currently studying for her Master of Wellness at RMIT University and blogs at Style My Coconut.

Be well,


Beauty and Wellbeing Routine: Lisa Gawned, Yoga Teacher and Owner of Mukha Yoga Mats.


First up, briefly tell us a little bit about yourself!

My name is Lisa Gawned Founder/Owner Sevenergy Yoga Centre and Mukha natural yoga mats.

Being a fourth generation Western Australian woman, I know how harsh the Australian environment can be on our skin. So over the years I’ve learnt that we actually have products in our household that are just as, if not better, than what we pay top dollar for in retail stores.

Olive oil.


Tell us about your daily beauty routine.

I have very sensitive skin and find natural products mainly out of my kitchen work best for me, with exception to a good sun block…

Mornings start with a good splash of cold water, adding a tiny bit of olive oil (avoiding eyes) massaged in, followed with my favourite sunblock Rationale face SPF 30+, it’s the best! I never get burnt and my skin loves it!!

In the evening I cleanse with Almond meal and enough water to make a creamy paste to gently massage the day away, followed by a good rinse and a dab of witch hazel all over my face. I finish with a drop of olive oil into the palm of my hands rubbed together to create heat before massaging in an upward direction…bliss!


What’s the one treatment you can’t live without and your favourite place to have it done?

This treatment I have used for years and find it leaves my skin feeling as soft as baby’s, fresh and with a beautiful glow for a few days.

I wash my face with almond meal and water. Dab on milk of magnesia with a cotton bud (only available on eBay UK) over my face and neck, leave to dry for few minutes, rinse off. Warm a generous amount of olive oil and massage into face and neck with upward strokes. Allow the oil to stay on for five minutes. Then remove excess oil with ice cold witch hazel on a cotton bud. Great treatment also for the top of dry hands.

Who do you trust with your hair in Perth, and why?

I’m a qualified Hairdresser so I cut and colour my own hair, how? Easy for a hairdresser, except the back, so I just get who ever is around to check the back and snip any stray bits off for me… the colour I use is Henna Moon from (Manna Wholefoods South Fremantle) for my greys!! Weekly treatment to soften and add shine is Coconut Oil left on for about an hour, then shampooed out.

Favourite budget / at home beauty treatment.

I have noticed as I’m getting older I’m getting larger pores on my face, so I’ve found using egg whites and honey once a week really helps..

I use one egg white beaten until stiff and add one tsp of honey and continue to beat until stiff . I then smother the mixture all over my face and neck. Sit back for about five minutes then rinse off. Finish with witch hazel lotion and olive oil.


Your Three absolutely cannot live without, favourite products.

1. Red Island Australian cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
2. Bartholomews Meadery Honey, Denmark WA
3. Food Source Organic virgin coconut oil (treatment for the hair)

Do you have any any secret tips you use to keep looking/feeling great?

Regular yoga classes, even one class a week for me is like an internal massage and a spring clean for my whole being. Followed with a little meditation. Even five minutes a day if I’m time poor. I close my eyes and observe my breath at the entrance of my nostrils. I find this most beneficial if I need to offload a stressful day.

Peninsula Hot Springs… bliss!


What beauty treatment / wellbeing activity would you love to try but haven’t yet due to time, money, scared etc?

I would love to experience a few days at the Peninsula Hot Springs in Victoria that would be the ultimate! Ahhh… even one day there!

Loving Earth Coconut Chocolate Butter (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) starting at $8.95


Describe a typical day of eating for you.

Well I’m not a brekky person, but I understand it’s the most important meal of the day, so I start with Isowhey complete powder my favourite (vanilla) mixed with the beautiful WA farmed fresh milk to make a frothy milkshake, followed with a big tablespoon of Loving Earth raw organic coconut chocolate butter. Yummy!!

I am a pescetarian so lunch varies depending where I am, but generally sushi if I’m out and about or a home made wrap with salad and tuna when I’m home

Depending on the season from a salad and fish to curry veg, beans and legumes or pot of in season veggie soup.

Before bed I have an herb tea with a tsp of Black Chia (Nature First). These little black seeds are rich in protein and fibre and work wonders on the bowels and seem to settle my tummy!


Describe your fitness routine.

Daily yoga practice from around fifteen minutes and up depending on my other commitments. Also attending one yoga class a week is important and beneficial for me. Gym once or twice a week and kayaking once a week pending weather.


Do you take part in any alternate therapy or supplement? If so, discuss.

Favourite all rounder is Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar a tablespoon daily mixed with water. Bragg I find is the best brand as I believe it’s unfiltered, unheated and unpasteurized. I have read that we are meant to be 80% alkaline and 20% acidic, so this is suggested to be the winning formula to achieve this. My colleague who is a naturopath is always impressed with how alkalized I am when she does my PH test.

Also, one of my favourite people to visit regularly is Acupuncturist Dr Zhou Mi in Canning Vale. I always leave feeling good; he has amazing energy and knowledge.


How do you like to relax what are your favourite ways to de-stress?

Burn three drops of lavender, sweet orange and marjoram oil in a burner, run a bath adding Epsom salts with tea candles all around while listening to some beautiful soft chanting music as I gaze into the flame of one of the candles becoming aware of my breath. Being completely present until I retreat straight to bed.

Thanks Lisa! I hope you enjoyed reading about her unique routine, please leave any questions and comments below 🙂

Be well,