#VeganRamadan: Sneak in these healthy truffles with Nouri Health
During Ramadan, one of the largest temptations are sweets. At home, it can be somewhat easier to stick to non-processed sugars by just not having them in the house. Even if others buy them, somehow, willpower is a lot stronger at home.
Outside of home, however, can be a different story. With Ramadan being a month in which making food for others is considered a huge blessing, people gush over to invite others for food. When being at peoples’ houses, saying no to food is often very difficult because in most cases, it’s seen as unappreciative and even disrespectful.
So, Ramadan can be where some health choices lapse – a vegetarian or vegan might eat meat when their uncle puts it on their plate, those going no sugar will find themselves drenching their digestive systems with sweet syrups and those going low on gluten will find someone telling them how upset they would be if they don’t try their pastries.
To make sure eating something, especially as enjoyable as sweets, out of cultural courtesy doesn’t become a habit, healthier alternatives are needed for when cravings come in.
This is where Nouri Health comes in. Vegan, gluten free, truffles that are sweetened with nothing other than dry fruit.
At first, the idea intrigued me, especially as someone who regularly trots around vegan aisles. So when they offered to send The New Arab some samples, I was more than willing to try.
A healthy dessert
The truffles come in a range of flavours: chocolate and hazelnuts, matcha green tea, coconut and chia and a sesame, cardamom and turmeric truffle. What they all had in common was that eating one truffle alone felt rich and indulgent. I didn’t have the urge to eat more than one the way I did with conventional chocolate truffles because one alone constituted a well enough dessert.
“The brand was inspired by the idea that healthy snacks should be equally as delicious as every other snack/treat out there. We found that many healthy treats taste very similar (concentrated with dates and other dry fruits) and leave you searching for something more satisfying with a proper sense of indulgence”, Kalina Halatcheva, Managing Director of Nouri Health told The New Arab.
The fact that they are all vegan and gluten free makes them accessible for most people with intolerances, which means if you’re trying to have an all-inclusive guest for everyone’s dietary needs, these truffles have you covered.
I liked all of the flavours, the coconut and chia was my favourite texture wise because it was more buttery than the other truffles. Chia doesn’t have much of a taste, so if you don’t like coconut, don’t expect much to neutralise its strong taste. As a coconut lover, the flavour was perfect for me.
I expected to like the chocolate and hazelnut one the most, because it makes me nostalgic for Nutella – a spread I used to be addicted to before turning vegan (potential Nutella loving vegans out there, don’t fret. There are so many vegan versions around). While I did love the taste and did taste the chocolate and hazelnut, my favourite one was the one I didn’t expect to like at all: the sesame, cardamom and turmeric truffle that is only currently available in the luxury box.
Before trying it, I was slightly reluctant because I thought it would taste earthy. I should have known better because the moment I took a bite, it tasted very similar to Arabic coffee. This wasn’t accidental according to Kalina, who says nostalgia was an inspirational factor in coming up with these recipes.
“The intention was to induce a sense of familiarity, comfort and indulgence. We wanted to give people the option of enjoying a treat, without compromise in taste, while staying healthy”, she said.
Baby steps for health
Whilst we consistently talk about Ramadan being a time for healthy habits to shine, there are times people tend to lapse even in ways they wouldn’t outside of the holy month. It’s okay.
Not only are we still growing and changing our health habits, but we’re also changing the community around us and we’re learning to navigate around situations in which meat is put on the plate of a vegan by a well-intentioned elder (if you’ve been off meat for a while and are put in such a situation in which you reacted by eating meat, drink peppermint tea to ease with digestion).
If someone has made a choice to be vegan as a moral choice as well as for health, the added guilt of eating meat can also creep up – along with sniggers of people who are just waiting for the vegan to “relapse”. The fact that discussions around veganism in the West aren’t sensitive to cultures that are centred around food doesn’t help much either.
For Nouri, their aim isn’t to turn the Muslim community vegan and gluten free, rather it’s to give everyone a healthy alternative as they progress to becoming a better version of themselves as the discourse around eating outside continues to evolve.
“I am personally a big believer, that if you offer people better options, they are usually open to trying and making a shift towards better eating habits. The awareness is there, we all know we should be mindful about what we are feeding our body with, so I think we are all collectively (as manufactures and consumers) moving into the right, healthier direction”, Kalina said.
“What is important, I think is to educate customers, that it is ok not to stick 100% of the time to the healthy eating plan. Lapsing at times does not mean failing altogether. If you are committed to a healthy lifestyle (part of which is healthy eating), you will be making more often than not the right food choices.”