Can I enjoy and Be Healthy?
The quick answer is "YES!!"
Most of us have sweet cravings. Despite what the diet industry flings at you, craving something sweet is a normal human reaction.
I should know. Not only do I love sweets, I need sweets. And, during this pandemic, that "need" is off the rails!!
What to do.
The issue is that most of us think sweets are "bad" or even attach the word "sin" to it. So, they restrict until they can't take it any more and go buy a gallon of ice cream.
Let me admit I used to do this every day but substitute M&M's for the icecream, and that was me.
The issue is when you have weight loss or health goals in mind, even doing this once or twice a week is going to create inflammation.
Other than pain, what does inflammation do?
And the worst part is that it kicks up cravings.
I find it best when I prioritize health over weightloss. It just goes further!
Eating a little ice cream or packaged cookies a few times a week is going to wreak havoc on your system. Some of it you might realize and relate back to the cookies, and others you might not.
Something as benign as waking up starving is an indication that what you had the night before is hard on the system and your body is working hard to recover from it.
Or, it could be something like restless sleep, or swollen fingers and your rings are tight now. Each of these symptoms, and yes sleeping beauty, these are all symptoms, indicate that something is off balance.
So, what can you do? Satisfy that sweet tooth without creating an imbalance.
For sure, that can be done.
How to Eat Sweets without Feeling Crappy
I knew I had to figure this critical piece out for myself. Without having something sweet to eat that was also satisfying and healthy, I would not be able to sustain a healthy eating program. White knuckling only worked a few days for me.
Slowly over time, I developed some recipes that were healthy, yummy, satisfying and could satisfy my sweet tooth. I want to share one of them here. But, I want to go a step further.
I want to teach you to fish.
I do not want you to rely on MY recipe, but more than that, I want you to take the idea and make it yours.
One thought upfront. None of this is magic. OK? Don't have this at night and expect to wake up looking like Jane Fonda, or for those under 20, Ariana Grande.
What is Needed Most!
Nothing will work well unless you change your mindset and lifestyle. You know, drink more water, sweat, drink yerba, eat a whole and plant based diet. Get me here?
This is a TOOL. For me, it was a critical one.
So, here is the idea that I use over and over, just change the ingredients. Basically, it is a "smoothie" that I freeze and place in a spring form pan.
First, you must get one of these pans. Pick them up for very little at Target, Walmart, Costco.... Amazon... they make this whole thing super easy to make and serve.
Assemble the pan. Then know, the idea is to have different colored layers and get a wow reaction. That means you almost have to make a crust.
The Crust is Everything!
Crusts are the caramel in your candy bar, the magic in Tinkerbell and without the crust, you basically just end up with frozen fruit.
Crusts can be made a bunch of different ways, and I am in complete support as long as it is gluten, dairy and sugar free. Also, for me, that always has had weight issues, I try to make it as "lowfat" as I can.
Usually, I make a crust in the blender. I add different kinds of nuts. I usually go with a soft nut like cashews, and a bit harder like pumpkin seeds (I get it, not a nut) or walnuts to give it an interesting texture. Then, I will add in some dried fruit to stick it together, mostly dates. You can add raw oats, or granola to this. Then, I do a pinch of salt.
The salt will give it a counterbalance so that the whole pie isn't so sweet that it is gross.
I blend these ingredients in my Vitamix. Not too blended so it isn't pasty. It's just sticking together. Aim for about three cups to start and you can always adjust. Then, I scoop it into the pie form. I wet my hand (Grandma taught me this!) and push it down.
This make a first layer. Stick it in the freezer for at least 30 minutes or more.,
Then, I usually aim for 2 layers more.
I don't even rinse the blender! See how easy this is?
Then, I usually add in about 6-8 FROZEN bananas in the blender. If you do not freeze the bananas before blending, the consistency is not as dense for some reason.
Make sure bananas are ripe, with spots, before you freeze. Otherwise banana layer will have an acidic aftertaste.
I want this banana layer to counteract the salty crust. To the bananas I will add a few tbsp of maple syrup. If I want this layer to go chocolate, I will put unsweetened cocoa powder. If I want it to be vanilla, I will add some vanilla bean powder or vanilla extract. Blend it well.
This is why I say it is like a frozen smoothie. Does this make sense?
Then, when that mixture is done. And it has passed 30 minutes of crust freeze time, I will scoop that layer on top. Make sure it is as flat as possible. I use a spatula for this.
Freeze another 30 minutes or enough to get the top of the layer hard.
Then, you want to make one last layer, or not. If I go vanilla or chocolate, I usually make a last layer to kind of "top it off." So, I will put a bunch of berries in the blender, blend those and layer on top.
You can even sprinkle a layer of raw cacao beans that have been chopped up in between the layers, or even chopped nuts if you want to get fancy.
I put a couple pics in the blog so you get an idea of the gorgeousness of this pie. You can have it plain, but I love it with tea or every now and then I will sprinkle with granola or have with cookies.
The main picture has only a berry, kind of tart layer.
Some other fruits to use would be mango, pineapple, blueberries. Usually all juicy fruits work well. If you want a thicker layer, just add in bananas, if not, leave out.
If you have any questions, let me know. Share ideas and combos below!