Thursday, January 8, 2015

London Marathon plans and swoon-worthy, vegan, refined sugar free, orange coconut ice

When I posted my recap of 2014, I didn't share goals for 2015. The reason is that I have relatively few, but those I do have are relatively large. We want to look into moving somewhere bigger than our current 1-bedroom apartment, most likely in the commuter zone just outside of London. We may get a car to accompany that move. And...I have a charity place in the London Marathon.

Orange coconut ice

Running the London Marathon has been a goal for a while, but I didn't really think it would happen this year. I completely missed the ballot (it opens and shuts almost a year before the run) and when I applied for a charity place, I did so knowing there were more applicants than positions available. When I heard that I had a place, my reaction was equal parts amazement, excitement and apprehension. I am acutely aware that a marathon is twice as long as my longest runs to date.

Of course, the apprehension doesn't detract from my overall excitement at being able to participate in the race. My charity place is with Beat, which is the UK eating disorder charity. I'm usually quite cagey about personal information, but have previously mentioned my PhD in psychology and my work in the health and medical arena. To open up a little more, most of my work centres around eating disorders. It is an area where the statistics can be quite depressing: one in seven women are likely to experience an eating disorder in their life (and one in 35 men) and around 30% of those affected will never recover. Up to 10% will die. We need to do much more to help those affected by the conditions, and Beat works hard to do that.

I am really delighted to be able to run for Beat, and will be doing my utmost to raise funds for the charity. And that is where this post comes in! I know not all of my readers will be in a position to donate, and of course you won't necessarily see Beat as your charity of choice. However, between now and April I will be sharing one recipe a week, on Thursdays, which I think is particularly special. It may be something that tastes amazing, which I have veganised from a decidedly non-vegan starting point, or which wins in ease and convenience.

If you like a recipe, or like enough between now and April, I'd be delighted if you would consider making a donation. Every bit of your donation would go to Beat (there are no administration cuts) and, of course, you would also help motivate me in the lead up to the marathon and on the day itself. It doesn't have to be large - contributions of any size at all would be very welcome. I'll share the link to my online fundraising page each week, and update you on my miles run too.

Even if you don't wish to donate, I hope you will enjoy the recipes I share over the next 3 months. I am really pleased to start off with this one, which turned out even better than I'd hoped. Traditional coconut ice is made with condensed milk, dessicated coconut, icing sugar, and often food colouring to give the distinctive white and pink look. It is something I associate with childhood visits from my grandparents and it is very sweet and very coconutty.

This orange coconut ice is a long way away from the traditional version. I've used coconut oil instead of condensed milk, coconut sugar instead of icing sugar (and less sugar overall), and orange zest for an adult twist. It is rather amazing. Mr Bite has been enjoying it too, and the only thing that's allowed me to not eat it all at once is my desire to have it last forever. I'm quite sure I'll be making a repeat batch before long.

If you're not usually a coconut lover - don't be put off by the coconutty nature of this. Mr Bite isn't generally a fan either, but somehow this works so well that the coconut seems right and is pleasing rather than overpowering.

Orange coconut ice
Vegan, refined sugar free and very moreish!
Makes 16 - 20 squares

Author: Bite-sized thoughts

120g (approximately 1-1/2 cups) desiccated coconut
100g (1 cup) coconut oil
100g (1 cup) coconut sugar
Zest of two oranges (approximately 1-1/2 tbsp)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Line a small square tin or loaf tin with baking paper.

Place the desiccated coconut in a large bowl and set aside.

Place the coconut oil, coconut sugar and orange zest in a small saucepan and heat over low heat until the oil is melted. Stir well to combine. Add the vanilla at the end, and then pour over the desiccated coconut. Stir until well mixed and then transfer to the prepared tin. 

Press the mixture firmly and evenly into the tin. Refrigerate for approximately 2 hours before cutting into squares. Store in the fridge, but this is quite sturdy at room temperature.

This post is part of my fundraising efforts for the 2015 London Marathon. I am running for Beat, the UK eating disorder charity. If you liked this recipe and are in a position to make a donation, I'd be grateful for any contribution you could spare!

Check out my fundraising page for more information. 

Days until the marathon: 107                    Training miles logged in 2015: 28.1


  1. How cool that you are going to achieve your dream of running a marathon, and doing it for a great cause! I'm excited to follow along! The coconut ice sounds delicious too, of course :)

  2. What fantastic news Kari! I'm thrilled that you managed to get a place and especially to read of the cause you're running for. Look forward to reading how training is going.
    P.S. The coconut ice sounds amazing!

  3. You are running for such a great cause!! Seriously, I love that your doing this!! ...and great recipe btw! :)

  4. What a great way to raise funds for a good cause. It is shocking to hear that one in seven women will be affected. We have so much material wealth and yet we are still struggling with some critical health issues. It just seems like a crazy world we live in. The slice sounds interesting - it is the coconut sugar that makes it look speckled? Good luck with the marathon preparations.

    1. Just looked at the london marathon site re charity places and am still confused - is this a fundraising arm of the marathon and do charity places mean you need to raise a minimum or is there other obligations of both charities and charity places - would love to hear more about what a charity place means.

    2. Thanks Johanna - and yes, the speckled look is due to the coconut sugar as well as very slightly the orange zest (more the sugar though) :-)

      Regarding charity places, in effect, as a non-elite runner you can get into the London marathon in one of two ways: by applying for a place through the ballot, which has many more applicants than places and randomly selects from those who entered, or by applying to run with a charity. Charities have an allocated number of spots and you can apply to them directly and (in my case anyway) fill out an application form. I think they still get more applicants than they have spots, but there's a far greater chance of being accepted than there is in the ballot. In return, you pay the charity the registration fee you'd usually pay for the race and agree to raise funds for them. They normally provide a t-shirt for race day and do some publicity around the run through their newsletters / sites too.

      Once you have a spot, and aside from the fundraising commitment with charity places, there's no difference when it comes to the actual race. To add confusion to the mix, a runner who has a place through the ballot (not a charity) could still choose to raise funds for a cause if they wanted to. But really the main difference with a charity place is you commit to doing that fundraising and for a particular cause.

      Hope my lengthy answer makes some sense!

    3. Thanks for the explanation - it is nice to see how the effects of the marathon ripples out so far

  5. Congratulations on getting a charity place in the marathon! That's great. This veganised coconut ice sounds interesting - I am certainly a fan of the original.

    1. Thanks Cakelaw :-) I hope you enjoy this variation too if you try it!

  6. You must be very excited though I would imagine nervous too. thank you for those little snippets of your amazing life achievements awesome! These look like a very excellent way to start off a very healthy eating plan

  7. I'm so proud of you and I'm sending so much cheer (including confetti) from NYC! Can't wait to watch the progress!

    1. Thank you! I really appreciate your kind thoughts :-)

  8. Congratulations on the London Marathon place! That is so exciting!! Sounds like a very worthwhile charity that you're running for too. I wish you all the best with the training ♥ I'm actually planning to run a half this Spring for charity. It's double the distance I've ever run before and I said I'd never run a half... but never say never eh? I still can't imagine running that far, but hopefully I'll feel more confident once I've done some training.

    Your coconut ice recipe looks awesome! Coconut ice was one of my favourite childhood sweet too :p

  9. Congratulations on getting the place, and for running such a great charity. I think it's an amazing thing to do. I'll be cheering you on virtually!

  10. 3 Studies SHOW How Coconut Oil Kills Belly Fat.

    The meaning of this is that you actually burn fat by eating coconut fats (in addition to coconut milk, coconut cream and coconut oil).

    These 3 researches from large medical magazines are sure to turn the traditional nutrition world upside down!


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