Sometimes when I am giving out food, or I’m telling someone about a recipe, he or she would say something like this: “Wait, you put WHAT in this cookie? That’s so healthy, it defeats the purpose of a cookie. When I have dessert, I’m going all in for it, sugar, white flour, all the unhealthiness. Don’t tell me this cookie has no refined sugar, or gluten, or whatever, and it still a dessert. Okay, fine, I’ll try it if you insist. Oh, wait. There’s COCONUT in here? Forget it. I’m going to get some REAL dessert.”
I get it. You want the sugar. Fine, go have the sugar if it doesn’t bother you.
However, I want to feel good after dessert, not just while eating it. We’ve all experienced the too-much-sugar feeling, headaches, stomachaches, nausea, or even the sensation of just feeling icky. How can you truly enjoy a dessert if you are going feel guilty afterward?
Other times, the problem may be the opposite. The food appears to be healthy but is a bomb of toxins waiting to wreck havoc on your body.
- Gluten-free cookies
‘Gluten-free’ does not equate to ‘healthier.’ It means that a different flour or no flour was used in the recipe. The product can still be filled with empty calories or additional sugar and fats to make up for the lack of flour.
- Organic chips
Organic means there are no modified genetic ingredients. A deep-fried potato is still a deep-fried potato, with or without the GMOs. People choose organic produce to avoid the toxins and health ailments associated with eating foods laced with chemicals. This has nothing to do with calories or weight-loss as many believe. Let’s face it: organic cane sugar is still sugar.
- Fat-free ice cream
Taking the fat out of products creates a need for fillers, such as sugar and other additives. Many times, the food becomes unhealthier, since the process takes out natural ingredients and replaces it with lab-made chemicals. Low-fat was an impactful diet trend with flimsy evidence to back up its claims. Many studies have proved its inaccuracies, and are trying to promote healthy fats back into the public’s diet. Think of that the next time you debate between conventional dairy products and fat-free.
- Vegan brownies
Vegan means there are no chicken, meat, fish, dairy, eggs, and honey in the product. Sugar, processed flours, margarine, and other additives are all vegan. Need I say more?
- Protein bars
Many power bars are actually glorified chocolate bars. Check out the sugar content on those products; often there is enough to shame Hershey. If you look at a food and can’t discern any of its ingredients, that is a bad sign. It’s even worse if the ingredient list is as long as the bar itself and you can’t pronounce half of them.
Sometimes the brandings are laughable. It seems that companies are jumping onto foods trends and labeling their products ‘gluten-free,’ ‘dairy-free,’ and ’vegan’ even with foods that generally don’t contain those ingredients anyway. You’ll see gluten-free on chips, chocolates, and candy where there was no gluten from the beginning. It’s like seeing a water bottle advertising a ‘no-calorie, allergen-friendly drink!’
The best way to ensure you are eating real healthy food is to make it yourself, that way you know exactly what is going into your mouth. Food does not need junk to taste good, and that is the message I’m trying to give the skeptics who want ‘real’ desserts.
With beneficial ingredients, you can have your cake and eat it too.
Coconut Glazed Carrot Cake
- 3 peeled carrots
- 1 peeled and cored apple
- 3 cups almond flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 cup grapeseed oil
- 3/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1 tbsp xylitol or stevia
- 1 tbsp coconut shavings
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Grease the Bunt pan and dust it with flour (I used brown rice).
- Using the S-blade in the food processor, blend the carrots and apple into a puree.
- Mix the eggs, honey, oil, and puree. Slowly add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon.
- Pour the batter into the prepared Bunt pan.
- Bake for 45 minutes.
- When the cake is completely cooled, slide a plastic knife around the edges to loosen, and reverse it onto a platter.
- For the Coconut Glaze: Mix the melted coconut oil, xylitol, and coconut in a small bowl. Let stand for about five minutes to thicken, stirring occasionally.
- Drizzle over the cake and wait a few minutes to harden.