Pana Chocolate Bars

The bar that started it all.

The bar that started it all.

Let’s be honest… the one thing that scared me the most about starting a healthier lifestyle was the thought of giving up chocolate.

I’ve always been a ‘sweet tooth’ type of girl – at parties I would go straight for the lollies and cakes instead of the potato chips and party pies – and while I definitely didn’t eat chocolate on a regular basis, I would occasionally get cravings for it (strong ones!). So the thought of having to deny myself those cravings… well, I knew it was going to be a legitimate struggle.

And then, (cue joyous music) I discovered Pana.

Pana Chocolate is raw, organic and handmade in Melbourne. It’s also gluten free, refined sugar free, soy free, low GI and vegan. It is a literal answer to my prayers and music to my ears – zero exaggeration.

Made with the purest of ingredients such as raw cacao and coconut oil, it’s the same indulgent treat I’ve always loved, but with real health benefits and no icky feelings afterwards. And dare I say it; I actually think it tastes better! Yes, it’s super rich (because cacao is chocolate at its purest form), but if you like dark chocolate then it’s not too far of a stretch. Other raw chocolate I’ve tried has been more bitter and almost chalky or dry, but Pana truly melts in your mouth! In my opinion, it doesn’t taste like it’s good for you, meaning it fully satisfies all cravings.

The chocolate comes in a number of different flavours: Raw Cacao, Cinnamon, Fig + Wild Orange, Mint, Coconut + Goji, Nuts, Sour Cherry + Vanilla, Orange, Rose, and Eighty (which is 80% cacao). According to founder and creator Pana Barbounis, Coconut + Goji is their most popular variation – it was also the bar that started my personal love affair with the brand! Since then I’ve tried Fig + Wild Orange, Orange (not much difference between those two), Mint, and Sour Cherry + Vanilla… all of which I seriously adore. From what I can tell, you really can’t go wrong with Pana.

The bars can be bought from most health food stores and the Pana website for $6.50, but if you’re lucky you may find some on sale (heads up for Melbournites – the discount health shop on Swanston St. sells them for $4.95!).

If you’ve never heard of Pana before… you’re welcome! Now you can go get your chocolate fix – and actually feel good about it!

— Daisy xx

Sour Cherry + Vanilla.

Sour Cherry + Vanilla.

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Mint – just like a choc-mint ice cream.

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Tropicana Smoothie & The Smoothie Hunter

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Ever wonder how to add the perfect nutritional boost to your breakfast? Now more than ever there are so many super foods and breakfast boosters available to us that it can be hard to know which ones to use and how much!

I recently discovered The Smoothie Hunter on Instagram, and Verity (founder and owner) was kind enough to send me a sample of her product for review.

The Smoothie Hunter is a 100% natural product containing psyllium husk, chia seeds, milled linseed and rice bran. This means that it’s a great source of fibre, protein, omega-3 and calcium… not to mention, vegan and gluten free! You can add it to your smoothies (as the name suggests) or sprinkle it on your breakfast for the perfectly balanced nutritional energy boost. All this goodness comes in a cute resealable paper bag – quick and effortless for a meal in a hurry!

The prices are quite reasonable – $6.95 for 70g, $14.95 for 250g and $25.95 for 500g. The product tastes great on its own but is relatively unnoticeable when blended with something else. Plus it makes smoothies extra thick, which I personally love! I highly recommend The Smoothie Hunter if you’re looking for a superfood that doesn’t make you gag, break your budget or require any extra thought.

The first smoothie I made with The Smoothie Hunter was banana, mango and coconut – and it was pure bliss! Slightly sweet, refreshing and reminiscent of a tropical island, it was exactly what I needed after a long day at work.

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Tropicana Smoothie

Ingredients:
(makes 1)

– 1/2 c. frozen banana pieces
– 1 c. frozen mango pieces
– 2 tbsp. coconut yogurt
– 2 tbsp. The Smoothie Hunter
– 1 tbsp. desiccated coconut
– 1 1/4 c. cold water *

Method:
1. blend all ingredients together, slowly adding water until the smoothie reaches your desired consistency
2. serve cold with sliced banana, flaked coconut and crunchy granola!

* Note: this amount creates a fairly thick smoothie (I ate mine with a spoon!). If you want something thinner, I would try 1 1/2 to 2 cups instead. Alternatively, if you wanted to use the recipe for ice cream, use only 1/2 to 2/3 cups.

You can find The Smoothie Hunter on thesmoothiehunter.bigcartel.com and on Instagram @thesmoothiehunter.

Enjoy!

— Daisy xx

Banana-Berry Protein Smoothie with Granola

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This smoothie is the perfect post-workout breakfast! Not only does it taste ridiculously good, but it’s filled with nutrients to replenish your body.

Before going vegan, I never bought into protein powders because I knew I could easily get protein from natural whole foods. While you can still get protein from a plant-based vegan diet, I think it’s beneficial to have a quick source of protein if you work out frequently.

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After doing my research and spending some serious quality time in the protein aisle of my health food store, I chose to go with the pure pea protein isolate from Protein Supplies Australia. Not only is it vegan, but it’s also gluten free, non-GMO, low GI and has no additives! They also make a rice protein isolate, and sell vanilla and chocolate variations of both proteins (made with natural flavours and stevia). But the best part? You can buy all this goodness for a price that is actually reasonable! I only paid $39.95 for 1kg of pure protein, while many brands charge more than that for 500g of protein and nasty additives! Needless to say, I think I’ve found my perfect protein match.

Granola

Ingredients:
(serves 1)

– 1/3 c. almond milk pulp* (dehydrated in the oven)
– 1/3 c. plain organic multi-puffs
– 1/4 c. cacao nibs
– 2 tbsp. Loving Earth caramelised buckinis
– 2 tsp. cinnamon
– 1/4 tsp. vanilla powder
– 1 heaped tbsp. coconut oil (solid)
– 1 tbsp. sweetener (rice malt/pure maple syrup)

Method:
1. preheat oven to 150C
2. melt coconut oil and honey (separately)
3. mix dry ingredients in a bowl
4. add coconut oil and honey, then mix
5. spread on a lined tray and bake for 20 minutes or until browned
6. make your smoothie while you wait!

*Note: if you don’t have almond milk pulp, you could use gluten-free rolled oats instead.

Banana-Berry Smoothie

Ingredients:
(serves 1)

– 1/2 a large banana
– 2 tbsp. pure strawberry compote (or 3 fresh strawberries)
– 1/3 c. frozen blueberries
– 3 frozen banana chunks
– 1 tsp. mesquite powder
– 1 heaped tbsp. protein powder
– 2 tbsp. psyllium husk
– 1 c. almond milk

Method:
1. blend together banana, berries and milk
2. add dry ingredients and blend again until smooth
3. serve with the other 1/2 banana sliced and granola

Enjoy!

— Daisy xx