Do any of these statements ring true for you?
- After dinner I like to indulge in a sweet treat.
- It’s not a party unless we serve (fill in the blank).
- When I’ve had a rough day I like to indulge in a delectable treat.
- When a celebration is in order I indulge in (fill in the blank).
- I need that afternoon snack as a pick me up.
What if you didn’t have to give up indulging yourself that special pleasure? When one thinks of trying to lose weight by dieting, what comes to mind is scarcity, denial, and a lack of tasty or pleasurably foods.
When Marty and I shifted our focus on eating for health rather than eating to please the scale, we discovered we could also adjust our taste buds. By simply experimenting with healthy food combinations using real, whole foods we got the tastes and flavors we craved. We introduced our taste buds and brains to new sensations that then became our indulgent foods.
The way food feels in your mouth plays a major role in how the pleasure centers in the brain get activated. Food manufacturers know this all too well, and create foods that consistently activate the pleasure centers of the brain.
Marty and I tend to like creamy, nutty and chocolaty flavors. The key is to figure out and recreate the mouth feel that is most satisfying using nutrient rich foods that help with creating satiety, that wonderful satisfying feeling of fullness. We’re able to easily create flavorful and low cost treats. Even the unknowing will remark on the deliciousness of these delights.
Just to set expectations, we eat three meals a day, mostly vegetarian, and very rarely snack. When we do have a treat it’s incorporated into a meal, usually as a dessert. Our kitchen is closed after dinner, allowing our stomachs time to digest and take a rest until breakfast. This rest period is vital. It’s the time when nutrients from the foods we’ve eaten are put to use, and fat burning occurs.
We don’t shy away from the healthy fats found in nuts, seeds and avocados. In fact they’re part of our daily meals. The unhealthy, artery clogging ingredients found in fried fast foods, baked goods, frozen prepared foods, chips and salty snacks, margarine and shortening never make it into our kitchen or our mouths.
Here are a few of our treats that we enjoy and keep us healthy, happy and trim.
Cocoa coated cherries with nuts. Defrost a serving (140 grams) of frozen cherries in the microwave. Coat the cherries with one tablespoon of cocoa powder. Stirring well with the cherry juice to evenly coat. Mix in an ounce of nuts (your choice of unsalted macadamias, pecans, walnuts, etc.).
Nut butter with banana slices. Slice a banana crosswise into multiple circles. Arrange slices on a small plate. Using one ounce of unsalted nut butter (i.e., almond, peanut, cashew) top each circle with a dab of nut butter.
Cinnamon apple slices. Slice and core an apple into 8 slices. Arrange on small plate. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon.
Nut butter with apple slices. Crunchy and creamy altogether. Slice and core an apple into 8 slices. Arrange slices on a small plate. Using one ounce of unsalted nut butter (i.e., almond, peanut, cashew) top each slice with a dab of nut butter.
Chocolate and nuts/dried fruit. Break off a one-ounce serving from a 70% (or more) dark chocolate bar. Break into smaller pieces. Serve with one ounce of your choice of unsalted nuts, or one ounce of unsulphured dried fruit with no added sugars. Pair the chocolate bits with the nuts or dried fruit and pop them into your mouth.
And here are a few recipes that I learned from Angela Liddon, blogger and author of The Oh She Glows cookbook.
Whipped coconut cream. Serve it on fresh fruit. You won’t miss the dairy
Raw chocolate pudding, no dairy, using avocado, cocoa and bananas.
Cashew cream as tasty as any sour cream.
- Shift your attitude about your food choices from scarcity to abundance.
- Determine what taste sensations give you the most satisfaction, i.e., creamy, crunchy, spicy, sweet, and learn to prepare those types foods.
- Food combinations don’t need to be elaborate. Sometimes the simplest are the most pleasurable.
- Make it convenient by stocking a variety of healthy ingredients in your kitchen.
- Search the Internet for recipe ideas specifically focusing on sites that support healthy plant based eating.
- Invest in cookbooks that inspire and teach you how to prepare delicious plant based meals.
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