How often do you experience that pressing desire for something deliciously, naughtily sweet? That urgent want need at the end of a good meal or mid-afternoon telling you absolutely must indulge?
For me it’s less about a craving and more about the habit of having a treat after dinner. I guess it comes down to an extremely strict nutritional upbringing where the occasional dessert was the only time we ever strayed from the path of whole food righteousness. As an adult I still can’t seem to escape my guilty love for desserts and treats, especially the chocolate based ones. There’s only two problems with habit:
1. Staying in shape is important to me and daily desserts do not really fit into that picture
2. The more I learn about nutrition and the effects of sugar and trans fats on everything from my hormones to my brain function to likelihood of problems later in life to how and where I store body fat, well, funnily enough, the less inclined I am to gobble up the goodies after dinner.
Wouldn’t it be great if there were guilt free sweet treats that actually contributed to improved health and even weight loss? Here are my favorites:
1. Stevia – a lifesaver for those who love to bake or (admit it!) sprinkle sugar on their food from time to time, this South American herb is actually 30 times sweeter than sugar, and, in it’s liquid format, can be up to 300 times sweeter than sugar. The really great news here is that not only is Stevia calorie free, but unlike most artificial sweeteners – which are so effective at tricking your body that they cause insulin to be released and fat to be stored – Stevia actually has no effect on your blood sugar. You can purchase Stevia at any organic store or most health food stores.
2. 70% Dark Organic Chocolate. Okay so dark chocolate sure isn’t as sweet as milk, but hey, it’s still chocolate. According to olympic-level Strength and Conditioning Coach and creator of Biosignature Modulation Charles Poliquin, eating up to 90grams of lead-free organic dark chocolate each day can actually assist in weight loss! Not to mention a helluva lot of ‘feel-good’ factor I might add! Cocoa is rich in polyphonol antioxidants – particularly important for females to support a healthy uterus. Remember – no more than 90grams, and it should be at least 70% dark. To release flavor and reduce pigging out, shave the chocolate with a grater before eating it.
3. Organic white wine or champagne. Those who love their sweet white wine will be thrilled to find out that white wine and even champagne is just as beneficial for its antioxidant properties as what red wine is. Wine contains the before-mentioned polyphonol antioxidant but also has the antioxidant resveratrol – not only does it have stress-building properties, but it improves immune and heart health, and even aids in the release of certain stored body fats.
4. Berries. Regular readers will know I’m not a huge advocate of daily fruit intake. Not if you want to be lean and living in great health, anyway. After all – fruit’s not available all year round in nature so why should we imagine we know better? There is one exception to this rule though, and that’s berries. Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, any old berries, just eat ’em. There’s something ever so luxurious about a bowl of berries with your post meal, isn’t there? One word of warning on berries – conventionally they are quite toxic, so always choose organic. If toxins don’t bother you just compare the taste – it’s like eating water compared to incredible sweetness and flavour.
Do you have any other foods that you consider guilt-free sweet treats? I’d love to know if I’ve missed anything!
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