I have an incredible sweet tooth, so, when I was looking for ways to create a healthier chemical-free life, the thought of completely ditching yummy sweet treats was so depressing I thought I would probably need to eat six different kinds of candy bars to survive the trauma. Since that would obviously defeat the purpose of eliminating processed foods from my diet, I searched for a more practical solution. I found one. You can eat all the junk food you want if you make it yourself from natural real food ingredients.
Eating too much refined sugar can trigger increased inflammation in the body that leads to a wide variety of diseases. If you already have a chronic illness, eating too much refined sugar can make the symptoms worse. I didn't want to cut out sweet treats all together, but I didn't want to increase the inflammation levels in my body either. Balance is the key. I enjoy desserts and other sweet treats by sticking to these five guidelines.
- I eat real whole food for at least 90% of my diet every day.The other 10% is flexible.It includes occasional processed food with 5 ingredients or less, eating out, and sweet treats.
- I can eat whatever sweet treat I want as long as I make it myself from real food ingredients. Boxes of cake mix, containers of whipped topping, chopped candy bars, and packages of cookies aren't real food ingredients. When I started looking for healthier dessert options, I was amazed by how many of the "from scratch" baking recipes I had collected over the years involved dumping boxes of processed foods into a mixing bowl.
- I don't eat dessert every day and when I do, I eat only a small amount.
- I substitute healthier ingredients for less healthy ones
- I add healthy ingredients to everything I bake to increase the nutritional value.
- coconut oil or olive oil instead of vegetable oils and shortening
- raw organic sugar, organic honey, real molasses, or real maple syrup instead of highly refined white sugar
- whole wheat flour instead of refined white flour
- dried fruit
- fresh fruit
- ground milled flaxseed
- ground chia seeds
- nut butters
- pumpkin seeds
- sunflower seeds