by Ed Halmagyi


As a kid I drank milk by the litre….and I mean in just one sitting. Bottles a day simply poured into the bottomless pit of adolescent growth. Funny thing was, I never felt particularly well good afterwards, a vague unsettling of my stomach would creep in and then grow. But it was only years later that a nutritionist explained I had trouble digesting lactose. Not an allergy as such, but lactose sensitivity.

Now I know my situation isn’t unique, there are plenty of folks out there who must avoid dairy products, but it was particularly galling for me as a pastry chef when so much of what I prepared would involve dairy.

Worse still was the health concern – how do you get enough calcium if you have to avoid dairy?

Calcium deficiency is a surprisingly-prominent problem in Australia. It’s found amongst children, teenagers and the elderly. While we hear a lot about osteoporosis (a brittle bone condition) developing later in life for those without enough calcium intake, what about the needs of younger people to develop good bone structure in the first place?

Supplements are good, but there something even simpler you can do every day to help maintain good calcium levels. Simpler and more delicous. Drizzle some treacle on your cereal for breakfast.

That’s right, treacle. The dark, sweet, syrupy by-product of sugar production. Two teaspoons of treacle has the same calcium content as a large glass of milk.

And this is the kind of solution I love – substituting treacle for the honey or golden syrup you would ordinarily use doesn’t mean changing the way you live, just modifying one step. This makes it an easier change for most people to adopt, and the impact on your life and health can be enormous.

Calcium can help you maintain healthy weight, build strong teeth and bones, reduce the effects of PMS, protect against several cancers, and even help maintain better heart health.

So with all respect to Mary Poppins, it’s time for a new tune. A spoonful of medicine may help the medicine go down, but the spoonful is treacle is the medicine going down!
Syrupy treacle ricotta cake

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