There’s a story about myself that I’ve been wanting to share with all of you for a while. Though I’m not quite ready to divulge all of the little details, I can let you in on a secret.
I fear food.
I was in fifth grade when I went on my first diet, and I’ve been battling with food ever since.
For most, food is an afterthought. Simply nourishment. Food fuels your muscles and organs, provides you with energy and brings you joy, as it should. For me, food is a cause of stress and anxiety and has been something I’d use to either reward or punish myself with, but mostly punish.
If I had an awesome week of workouts, I’d reward myself with a donut or a few beers or a lot of ice cream. If I didn’t, I’d restrict my food intake, often banning certain foods as “bad” or “cheat meals.”
Let me just get this out of the way: food is not bad, but food also isn’t a reward. It’s food. Simple as that. It’s taken me quite a few years to wrap my mind around that.
Food consists of protein, carbs and fats (macronutrients) and vitamins and minerals (micronutrients), all of which are incredibly beneficial and necessary for our bodies to consume. Too much of one and not enough of the other is detrimental for our health, and not enough of them can also wreak havoc on our bodies.
I’ve always been an active person, but I haven’t always been small. As a matter of fact, I’m not small now, and that’s fine with me, but there has been some frustration linked to my weight/pant size and diet and exercise regime.
Over the past year, I’ve worked really hard on building up my unhealthy relationship with food and not viewing certain ingredients (such as sugar, white flour and oil) as bad, but rather foods I’d want to consume in moderation.
I’ve also amped up my workout schedule and started focusing on quality workouts and not quantity. Yes, some weeks I work out 5-6 days a week, but some weeks I’m lucky if I work out three times.
It’s very easy for me to speak about body positivity and encourage my friends and neighbors to love themselves the way they are, but it’s very hard for me to believe that about myself. I often say that I should heed my own advice, and with this topic in particular, that couldn’t be truer.
There are parts of my body that I sometimes hate, but as time goes on, I do hate them less and less.
I make sure I listen to my body and feed it what it wants, but I also be sure to indulge in a craving I have too.
This past week, for whatever reason, I’ve been really into baking and have found myself wanting something sweet around 3 p.m. It could be an energy slump, could be boredom or could be my body just saying, “Yo, chocolate is real good. Give me some of that now,” to which I’d reply, “Of course.”
Because of my past relationships with food, I know it isn’t ideal for me to whip up a batch of buttery, sugary chocolate chip cookies, because I might eat one or two and feel okay, but I also might not.
Instead, I went searching for a recipe that was dense, chocolatey, but also included wholesome ingredients, so I knew I’d be getting my sweet fix but also some quality micronutrients in there as well.
It’s like a treat, but with benefits for my body.
And that’s just the way I like to roll, unless you’re this past weekend, and I liked to roll with Phish Food by Ben & Jerry’s. Balance.
I originally found this recipe at Paleo Running Mama but made a couple of tweaks to suit my fancy.
1 egg yolk
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup cocoa powder
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp sea salt
½ cup chocolate chips
½ cup almond butter
½ very ripe banana or ½ ripe avocado
Literally just mix all of the ingredients together (dry first, then wet), pour them in a greased 8×8 baking dish, top with more chocolate chips and a sprinkle of sea salt, and bake for 20-ish minutes at 350 degrees until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Cool, cut, enjoy.
The original recipe called for coconut oil and coconut sugar, as well as additional chopped chocolate, all of which you could add! I just chose not to, mostly because I didn’t have coconut oil and also because I added a lot of chocolate chips, plus topped the brownies with more chocolate chips. What can I say, I have a sweet tooth. 🙂
I also think the addition of walnuts and/or coconut flakes would be super yummy in this recipe. Or if you’re a fan of peanut butter, swap almond butter for peanut butter and add peanut butter chips! Or POTATO CHIPS. OR PIZZA.
These brownies are sweetened with the banana and maple syrup and contain no refined sugar, flour or oil. The pumpkin and banana (or avocado if you go that route) provide the brownies with moisture you’d usually get utilizing oil.
But the best part about them is that they’re a healthy, wholesome treat that satisfies your sweet tooth without leaving you feeling guilty afterwards, which is something I’m notorious for feeling after having indulged. It’s a work in progress, friends, and so am I.
I’m a huge believer in balanced eating, and that includes indulging in your favorite treat here and there or whenever you see fit, but, for me, this is the best way to go seeing as that I prefer something sweet on the daily.
Are you someone who craves sweets? What’s your favorite semi-healthy dessert recipe?