Tamara Bennett has been a nutritionist for over 20 years. After completing her MSc in Nutrition in the early 90's at the renowned Kings College London, she now operates a nutritional consultancy based in Devon. Tamara is highly dedicated and passionate about her work. This is evident through the various voluntary posts she has undertaken offering her services to children's charities in Africa. Combined with prestigious roles such as Nutritional Consultant to the United States Marine Corps and Senior Nutritionist at Lambert's healthcare, Tamara is clearly an expert in her field. I'm privileged to say she is a fan of Cookie-Mix and I'm delighted that she has found time in her busy schedule to write this wonderful review.
There are few products on the market that ‘tick all the boxes’ when it comes to being delicious, nutrient dense and responsibly sourced; Cookie-Mix ticks all these boxes, with the ingredients coming from unprocessed or minimally processed whole foods combined in an indulgent combination.
Health enthusiasts, athletes, ‘clean eaters’ and families trying to instill good eating behaviours and choices all seek out foods that are nutritious, delicious and convenient: Cookie-Mix provides these in good measure.
Like many of the best products out there, Cookie-Mix was primarily inspired and produced to improve health (NOT for commercial interest); however when something is formulated for health but tastes this good, it would be daft and nonsensical not to make it available to a wider consumer audience.
Formulated with a passion to support health, Cookie-Mix contains a variety of nuts, seeds, dried fruits and a generous dose of finest dark Belgian chocolate chunks (‘fairly-traded’ of course) – to add a little more indulgence.
Cookie-Mix is free of wheat, dairy, eggs and soy allergens though does contain ALMONDS, CASHEWS and OATS.
In light of our need (and Government recommendations) to reduce the intake of “added sugars”, it is always exciting to discover products that offer us healthier alternatives to high street confectionary and the over refined cakes and biscuits found along supermarket isles. Cookie-Mix offers exactly this is in a convenient and delicious way.
The EU directive guidelines on food labelling set out strict conditions whereby products may only display nutritional claims if significant or high levels of a nutrient are present. Cookie-Mix is able to confidently boast high levels (over 30% of RI) of Iron, Fibre, Omega 3, Vitamin E, Magnesium, Potassium, Copper, Zinc, Phosphorus, Biotin and Manganese. Additionally, it contains significant levels (over 15% of RI) of Protein, Selenium, B Vitamins and Chloride.
Cookie-Mix may appear to have a relatively high sugar content, however the sugars within are NATURAL or, as in the case of the dark chocolate, comes alongside a cornucopia of other essential nutrients and not simply providing ‘empty calories’. On the contrary:
Dates are the predominant source of sweetness in Cookie-Mix, providing 89% of the sugar. Dates have been enjoyed for millennia as a natural sweetener. The huge advantage of using dates, as the primary sweetener in this wholesome recipe, is that the fruit sugars are accompanied by an impressive list of essential vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre and other phytonutrients including polyphenols (flavonoids) which, amongst other health benefits, have ANTIOXIDANT properties. One of the dominant polyphenols is Tannin which also offers anti-infective and anti-inflammatory properties which have been exploited, for centuries, by ancient ‘practitioners’ in countries that cultivate dates. In addition to polyphenols, the dietary fibre in the dates serve to ensure good bowel function and provide our gut bacteria with a substrate to encourage a favourable microbiota (an organism of beneficial bacteria which supports our overall health on many levels). Thus not only do the dates, in Cookie-Mix, provide natural sugars to satisfy our pleasure of sweetness, they also provide a myriad of other nutrients that benefit our health.
The combination of ingredients within Cookie-Mix provide a favourable fatty-acid profile with a healthy combination of the Omega 3, 6 and 9’s - all of which offer our cells anti-inflammatory benefits and are fundamental for cell membrane integrity, not to mention hormone balance, skin health and heart health. Most importantly, and a priority for anyone interested in eating to protect their health, Cookie-Mix is free of ‘trans fats’.
The nuts and seeds, in particular, are highly nutritious with numerous health benefits. Nuts and seeds are on every nutritionists’ list of favourites: they truly are natures little ‘power houses’ of nutrition. Though relatively high in oil, these are desirable sources of oil. Nut and seed oils are widely acknowledged to provide heart protective poly- and monounsaturated oils. In addition, nuts and seeds provide non-inflammatory plant protein as well as numerous other vitamins and minerals, including a notable supply of magnesium which is a key mineral required by our body for cell renewal, muscle and nerve contraction, energy production and bone structure.
The indulgent addition of ‘fairly-traded’ dark chocolate may add to the fat content of the recipe, but this is counterbalanced with the fact that the dark chocolate (with a content of greater than 72% cocoa) is nutrient-rich and provides a significant antioxidant punch. Antioxidants come in numerous guises and provide our body cells with vital protection from oxidative damage (this damage is unavoidably triggered by a myriad of factors in our daily lifestyles – and we must try our utmost to eat foods that counteract this ongoing cellular destruction).
Each Cookie-Mix cookie delivers a useful contribution of Selenium (10% of the Recommended Intake- RI); a key mineral involved in many enzyme processes in the body including thyroid function and potent antioxidant agents such as Glutathione Peroxidase. This particular enzyme is responsible for mopping-up ‘free radicals’ which would otherwise contribute to cell (and tissue) damage, leading to aging and the degenerative processes associated with aging, including cancers.
The Cookie-Mix dough, whether eaten raw or cooked, provides useful amounts of Iron (12% of RI per cookie, 37% per 100g). Iron is an essential mineral involved in blood formation and function, as well as supporting our immune system. Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies amongst vegetarians and athletes – and prevention of deficiency is far better than suffering its debilitating symptoms.
One Cookie-Mix cookie provides over 25% of the Recommended Daily Intake for Vitamin E – a very potent antioxidant nutrient and one that also supports normal growth and development. Important for young and old alike, as our body is replacing and renewing our cells all day and every day throughout our lives. Vitamin E is also known for its importance in heart health, immune function and the vitality of our skin. The nuts and seeds are the primary source of Vitamin E in Cookie-Mix and what more indulgent way to source a quarter of your days requirement of Vitamin E than by eating a delicious Cookie-Mix cookie.Each nutrient rich cookie will also pack-in over 25% of the RI for manganese – a lesser known micromineral, essential for bone metabolism and bone structure as well as healthy functioning of the thyroid gland, sex hormone production, blood sugar regulation and the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates. Not only these, but manganese also provides part of the chemical structure of manganese Super Oxide Dismutase – which is a very important antioxidant that helps our body neutralize the naturally occurring, but damaging, free radicals that would otherwise contribute to aging and degenerative processes within our bodys cells and tissues.
One Cookie-Mix cookie also delivers 10% of our daily requirement for Zinc a mineral that is required for over 300 enzymes within the body; especially important for the proper functioning of the immune system and for regulating cell production, particularly the making of proteins for muscle cells, blood cells, skin cells etc. Every cell in the body requires protein, so Zinc is another fundamentally important mineral in all cells and many, many body processes.
It is important to remember that no one nutrient, be it vitamin, mineral or phytonutrient, works in isolation and no single nutrient has a singular role. Nutrients work together, in synergy. They compliment one-another, they can re-cycle one-another. They work in synchronization. That is why it is important to eat a broad variety of foods and to make those foods we choose to eat as near to nature, and as minimally processed, and as nutrient dense as is possible. We all need to ensure that our body receives a broad spectrum of all the essential nutrients that it requires to function and perform optimally.
Because food is one of life’s pleasures, it is important to find foods that we both enjoy eating and can be confident that it is delivering good nutrition in every mouthful. Cookie-Mix can be enjoyed regularly, with consumer confidence that you are not just having a delicious snack but that you are also NOURISHING your body with a wholesome combination of natures best, nutrient dense, unadulterated ingredients.
Tamara Bennett Nutritionist (Qualified and registered) MSc KCL, RNutr, AMRSPH.