Motivated by the lack of nutritious snack options available in the Australian marketplace, naturopath and nutritionist Jo Clark had an idea.
Combining her passion for wellness and love of cooking, she decided to create a range of natural cookies that are wholesome yet delicious. Using only the highest quality ingredients and superfoods that are primarily organic, it was determined to prove that healthy didn’t have to mean tasteless.
With a little help and inspiration from her family business Kookas Country Cookies, Kookas Natural Cookies was born. Proudly Australian owned, these guilt free gourmet treats are also 100% Australian made.
We caught up with Jo to find out more.
Who are the team behind Kookas Natural Cookies and what made you launch?
I saw a gap in the market for quality cookies, free from refined flours and sugars, that actually tasted delicious. With a family background in the cookie manufacturing industry, a passion for real food and a naturopathic background I began creating in my kitchen and the ‘guilt free’ Kookas Natural Cookies range was born. My creative brother does all the design-y stuff, my husband keeps an eye on the books and I do the rest. I do also have wonderful help from the social media savvy Nic who is my lifesaver in this department!
As a naturopath, can you tell us about the nutritional benefits of Kookas Natural Cookies?
Where do I start! :)
- All of our natural cookies are egg and dairy free, so perfect for anyone looking to reduce these foods in their diet, or who have allergies or intolerances to them.
- Our orange hazelnut cookie is gluten free. A great snack option for coeliacs and those intolerant or sensitive to gluten. If you are a paleo enthusiast, then these are also perfect for you.
- We use beautiful organic wholemeal spelt flour in our choc goji, oat coconut and raw cacao and macadamia cookies. It is highly nutritive and much gentler on the digestive system than common white refined wheat flour.
- Coconut oil is the good fat of choice in all our cookies. The health enhancing properties this ingredient has for your metabolism, skin, hair and your energy systems are numerous.
- Being a naturopath, using white refined sugar was never an option. We use organic coconut sugar which has a lower glycaemic index and higher mineral content and I believe is much better for your health. Combined with Victorian honey, you are getting the most natural sources of sweetener available.
- Flaxseeds are full of protein, fibre and essential omega 3 fats. We use these in three of our cookies. An awesome addition if you ask me!
- Antioxidant rich organic raw cacao powder, organic raw cacao nibs and goji berries are highlights of two of our superfood cookies- raw cacao and macadamia and the choc goji. Both brilliant if you are looking for a superfood energy boost!
- Nuts are tremendously nourishing and satisfying, so the hazelnut and almond meal in the orange hazelnut cookie make this one very sustaining snack. The macadamias in our raw cacao and macadamia cookie give it an extra nutritional highlight and crunch!
- Oats are loaded with B vitamins and fibre and are one of the best superfoods going around. Our oat coconut cookie is an energy boost in a bite. Balanced by cinnamon your blood sugar levels will thank you.
What was involved in the process of developing and making the range of Kookas Natural Cookies?
Lots of trial and error and it still goes on today! I decided on some key things – they needed to be made from a wholemeal spelt base and I wanted one gluten free cookie that steered clear of nutrient poor refined gluten free flours which are quite commonly used. I wanted to use coconut oil, they were not to contain white sugar and I wanted to include superfoods. I played around in the kitchen for years whilst running my naturopathic clinic, getting married and starting a family. Finally after a few years I was ready to hit the market after finding a contract manufacturer.
Do you have any advice for those suffering from food intolerances like yourself, as to how to maintain a health and nourishing diet?
First point of call would be to get good advice. Don’t try and work it out yourself. You take your car to the mechanic to get it assessed and fixed, you need to do the same for yourself. Go to a naturopath or someone with tools in their toolbox that can help you and your gut. I have done a lot of healing work on my gut. This not only includes physically with nutritional supplements and herbal medicine, as well as western medicine and yes, antibiotics. I have also done a lot of work mentally and emotionally, which effects your gut greatly. Your gut is the core of your health and it is affected by so many things. For example, intestinal parasites that led to a leaky gut may be the cause of your food intolerances, so your gut must be cleared, healed and strengthen. After this you may actually find that you can include some of the foods that you were once reacting too. Know too that it takes time and patience. Remember the 80:20 rule. I am all about trying to establish balance once your health is pretty much spot on and you are not suffering anymore. I do not deprive myself. It is not worth it. I love wine, I love chocolate and I love a chip or two!
When you are not busy with Kookas Natural Cookies what do you do for fun?
Work on my other business Franjos Kitchen! A range of healthy biscuits and crackers for mums and bubs. Most importantly, I try to hang out with my beautiful family. Matilda who is 3 and Florence and Charles who are 16 months. A toddler, twins and two businesses make my life pretty crazy and many times I think I have bitten off way more than I can chew! As all my friends will tell you though, that is how I roll. I keep sane thanks to my amazing husband and my addiction to exercise and yoga. Nothing beats my supportive community of friends over here in the inner west.
If I was stranded on an island and could only bring three things, what would they be?
My yoga mat
To find out more, visit Kooka's online at www.kookasnatural.com.au