As health and wellness continues to sweep the globe, more and more people are waking up to the realisation that good taste doesn’t always equate to good health. When it comes to the disparity between flavour and nutrition, no other ingredient is guiltier than sugar. This glittery compound has sometimes been likened to cocaine in regard to its addiction potential, much to the chagrin of those with a sweet tooth and pastry chef. However, there are those who have chosen to make a stand.
Bakening is a bakery founded on the principles of using real food to uphold and support good health. This enterprising business, founded by Ning, shows that you don’t need to resort to bad habits to make your food taste good! All of Bakening’s pastries are paleo/primal and vegetarian-friendly, while also being free from refined/artificial sugar, gluten, dairy, grains, soy, additives, gyms, colourings and preservatives.
While Bakening’s position on sugar is not surprising given its roots in healthy nutrition, its stance stands in stark contrast to its environment. The prevalence of sugar is especially evident in examples of modern Asian cuisine, such as pad thai, mee siam and honey pork ribs. Statistics from the Health Promotion Board put sweet drinks, sauces and desserts as the main contributors (90 percent) of an average Singaporean’s sugar intake.
For those who have led a lifestyle filled with instances of unrestrained sugar consumption, obesity and diabetes are perhaps the two most common wake-up calls. For Ning, the sound of her bugle came when she was diagnosed with having hormonal imbalances. Two years of drug-induced treatments and trips to the doctor did little to yield any positive results. However, things changed for the better when Ning picked up The Hormone Cure by Dr. Sara Gottfried.
“It was such a huge wake up call for me. Two years of medication could not hold a candle to [just] one month of good nutrition. That book was written based on research and it inspired me to read up on science-backed articles instead of mass media articles.”
This revelation influenced Ning to adopt the Paleo diet, a change which eventually extended to her way of doing business. Instead of using refined sugar, Bakening relies on whole dates and other fruits to supply the sweetness that their pastries have become known for. The natural fibre content and nutritional profile of these ingredients provides the body with what it needs to function, encouraging satiety instead of addiction. As a testament to Bakening’s resolve, even Ning’s favourite recipe – the one for Apple Pan – is made with wholesome ingredients, bereft of even the slightest trace of added fat or sugar.
Making smart decisions when it comes to your health is never easy but leaving it all to chance is a gambit that not even the most daring of card sharks will play. As Ning speaks about the origin her business’s name, perhaps her intentions are the most heartfelt of all. “Bakening stands for ‘Nourishing, Awakening’. Whether you choose to go Paleo or follow any other diets, or whether you even choose to make your health a priority at all, I hope to have awakened you to make conscious, informed choices.”