There was a time, many years ago, when I could eat whatever I liked and never gain an ounce of fat. Those days are long gone. Nowadays, although I never actually go on diets, nor entirely cut anything out, I am very conscious of what I eat, knowing the effect that things like processed foods, gluten and sugar have on my body.
Over the past year or so, when not attempting to dine at every single restaurant in HK, I have been trying to eat healthily at home. One of the hardest things to avoid is snacks – delicious cakes, cookies and chocolates, all loaded with processed sugar and gluten. Not all delicious snacks need be bad for you, however, and this is what Olivia Isabelle is trying to prove with her brand new company, Munch.
Olivia, who I met through my Crossfit gym, is a Hong Kong girl who has always had a passion for food. She was introduced to the Paleo diet during her time at university in Canada and, despite being initially sceptical, has never looked back. Coming back to Hong Kong, however, Olivia noticed a distinct lack of Paleo food options, particularly sweets, and thus decided to start baking her own Paleo treats. Initially, it was just Olivia and her friends who got to enjoy these treats, before she realised that actually there is a whole market out there hungry for Paleo snacks, and from there Munch was born.
Munch offers three categories of treats – muffins, cookies and protein energy balls – all of which are 100% Paleo, meaning gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free and basically guilt-free.
Before all you cynics stop reading and think that without sugar, dairy or flour a muffin can never be delicious, hear me out, for I too used to be a cynic. These muffins, which come in four flavours (apple cinnamon, cherry chocolate, pumpkin chocolate chip and banana nut chocolate chip – my favourite), are so moist and springy that it’s hard to believe they’re not bad for you.
The cookies – choose either cherry chocolate chip or double chocolate – still have that all-important slightly chewy consistency that makes a cookie a cookie. I’m generally not a fan of fruit and chocolate (except banana), but the cherry chocolate chip cookies – especially if heated up for a few seconds before eating – were pretty amazing.
For anyone looking for a post-workout snack, the protein energy balls (choose fig fudge, cinnamon roll, double chocolate or chocolate chip cookie dough) are delicious. They are nutrient-rich and each contain 5 grams of protein – plus they’re seriously tasty. Perhaps owing to my slight obsession with cinnamon (seriously, I would sprinkle it on everything if I could), the cinnamon rolls were by far my favourite.
It’s really refreshing to see the true passion behind Munch, whereby although the products may not have the ingredients we generally associate with sweet treats, they certainly aren’t lacking in flavour. You still get that happy glow after eating a Munch muffin that you would after eating one that contains the equivalent of five teaspoons of sugar… I’ll just let you stew on that for a minute.
Prices range from $110 for 6 protein balls to $300 for 12 muffins; this is less than what you’d spend on an order of cupcakes, and much better for you! To place an order, visit the Munch website. I know that that’s what I’ll be doing whenever I’m trying to be good but just can’t resist a sweet treat…