Healthy(er) Desserts

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Every so often (read: everyday), I crave dessert. However, I recognize that indulging in highly sweet, non-nutritional desserts everyday doesn’t really play well with “bathing suit season.” So I’ve had to be a bit creative to meet the demands of my colicky sweet-tooth while still watching the waistline.

Here are my 10 favourite sweet indulgences that don’t leave me extremely bloated:

1. sliced apple and (preferrably natural) peanut butter

2. flavoured Greek yogurt (I love Liberte brand)

3. plain Greek yogurt mixed with a Tbsp or so of nutella, served with raspberries (you have to mix the yogurt and nutella really well to get a dreamy, whipped texture).

4. Grapefruit segments!!!

5. Whatever fruit is in season (natural, delicious sugar= winning).

6. Skinny Pop (sold at Costco and other grocers) for when you need a salty dessert.

7. Melt high-cocoa content dark chocolate (over the stove or microwave) and dip strawberries. Allow to cool and harden before enjoying.

8. From the “Oh She Glows” cookbook: blend frozen bananas with a bit of nutella/peanut butter (or just blend the bananas) until you get a creamy, soft serve texture. Enjoy immediately!

9. Costco “fruit bowl” sorbets. I think the brand is “Island Way” and these are an amazing dessert on excruciatingly hot summer days.

10. A glass of wine (“whaaaaa? That’s not dessert!” and I hear you. But I recently read an interview in a health mag with Kate Hudson. She said she was eating at a cafe in France, still enjoying a glass of wine when she ordered dessert. A very frank woman came over to her and said “that’s your dessert” and pointed to her still-full wine glass. Even though the lady might be cray, she has a point- we should enjoy our indulgences one at a time).

There’s lot of funny quips about desserts- “desserts are stressed backwards” etc. etc. The fact of the matter is we can justify eating unhealthy dessert sometimes, but not everyday. So try one of these 10 “more justifiable” desserts, and maybe you’ll find a new favourite!!

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“Rules for Eating Well on Vacation”

There is a reason that the title of this post is in quotations. I have read many articles about what one “should” do about the eating situation on vacation. These “rules” often include suggestions like “eat only one heavy meal a day,” “order salad instead of fries when possible,” and “sign up for early morning yoga!”

While I think it’s wonderful that some work hard to be healthy during vacation, we have to remember that health is a holistic term, and that means it includes mental health as well. Vacations (and even staycations) are a privilege so critical to maintaining mental health. So I think that a part of that is abandoning the “shoulds,” and “rules” because these are the mental health pests that lead to guilt and shame.

Here are my “rules” for eating on vacation:

1. Order at restaurants and fill your plates at buffet based on what you know you will mindfully enjoy.

2. Go to your destination with a list of foods that are known to be particularly good in that particular place (I just went to Holland and Belgium for two weeks, hence this post. My list of foods included, but was not limited to: speculaas, Dutch pancakes, Dutch apple pie, croquettes, bitterballen, Belgian frites, Belgian chocolate, every beer…)

3. Eat well when you come home to “reset” your system (though I don’t agree that this should be an extreme detox or cleanse)

4. Do what you need to do to feel well when eating so much during your time away. For me, I need to drink a lot of water. For some, it means that you need to do a lot of walking.

5. Don’t listen to anyone else’s rules (I recognize that I’m rendering myself obsolete here).

Vacations are an important time to reset our batteries, and that might mean that we don’t follow the rules we conform to in everyday life. Just as it’s important to eat healthy most of the time, it’s really important to eat unhealthy at certain points and enjoy it.

I’m attaching a picture to this post, and I want you to bear in mind that this is what I had for lunch one day. Not even kidding.IMG_1261

Happy vacationing, staycationing, or whatever you need to do to abandon the rules and enjoy yourself.