I believe in dessert. And the occasional Starbucks Chai Latte.
During the time I was an au pair in Mexico I ate dessert almost everyday. The mother of the family was French (interesting story) and she insisted that our large meal be followed by something sweet and delicious. She also insisted that you must sit while eating and taught me to make a delicious ratatouille. I thank her for her wisdom surrounding food. It is all about taking time to eat and enjoying the food. A sweet at the end of the meal satisfies the tongue and the stomach.
Denying yourself something, in my opinion, is the first sign of disordered thinking. How many times have you said “I shouldn’t eat that ice cream.” or worse “I CAN’T eat dessert ever again.” These denials only force us to focus on the object we are rejecting. Tell yourself not to think about the elephant, all you will think about is the elephant, or perhaps how the extra brownie will make you the size of an elephant.
Rather than denying, food is all about choices and the commitment to that choice. I have (mostly) cut coffee, gluten, meat, and sugar from my diet. It sounds like a miserable life. However, I refuse to say I have given these things up since the reward of eating not these things has been a clear mind, an energetic body and a clear face!
So, with all of these seeming limitations, how do I satisfy my sweet tooth? There are many alternatives to traditional sugar. I personally adore maple syrup. The real kind. It is awesomely, sickly sweet with that smoky earth flavor. I drool just writing about it. Honey and stevia are also great sweeteners. Then there is raw cane sugar and brown sugar.
An aside: Agave nectar was once touted as the perfect sweetener. However, recently there have been questions about it’s health benefits and many say that the high concentration of fructose can be damaging, rather than beneficial. As I still have a bottle and cannot bring myself to throw it out, I use it sparingly. Read more here, or google agave health benefits and make your own informed choice.
Regardless, a brownie or a cookie won’t kill you either. When eaten consciously, as a choice and with joy, it might taste even sweeter. Or be too sweet. Your taste buds will adapt to the lack of sugar and make sweets, especially processed ones detestable. Once in Namibia, a fellow volunteer received a care package containing a box’o’cake. We baked it for Thanksgiving dessert and looked forward to it all night, drooling at the sight of the canned frosting. After one bite I felt sick. The sugar made me gag. My eyes still wanted it, but my tongue said, no way.
I eat one (or two) sweet courses a day. Sometimes it’s a bit of chocolate or maybe a fruity (and chocolatey) smoothie. Right now my obsession is this:
Fruit Salad with Cashew Butter Dressing
Fruit (I prefer strawberries, blueberries and green apple, but any fruit will do)
Cashew Butter (1-2 Tbsp/serving)
Maple Syrup (1/2 Tbsp/serving)
1. Cut the fruit and place it in a serving bowl.
2. Put the cashew butter and maple syrup in a small bowl and heat (I microwave it for 15 seconds)
3. Mix the maple syrup and cashew butter together. Pour it over the fruit. It might not be runny, but just mix it into the fruit.
*For extra yummy, place a bit of chocolate in the dressing and melt that in there!