As difficult as it will be, I’ve made a pact with myself to cut down on desserts. I generally believe that desserts are wonderful and can actually contribute to a healthy and well-rounded diet when made with healthy, whole ingredients and eaten in moderation. I’ve got the first part of that down: all of my desserts are made from healthy, natural ingredients. So they must be good for me, right? And if they’re good for me, then I can eat them all the time, right? Wrong. That’s been my edict for a while now–my excuse to eat dessert every singe night. Unfortunately, even eating healthy foods in exorbitant amounts can be detrimental for overall health. For example, occasionally eating almonds and dates can contribute to a healthy diet, but eating tons of them every day can wreak havoc on your system (because almonds are high in fats and dates are high in carbs/sugar). So, it’s the second part–the part about eating in moderation–that I struggle with.
I just finished reading the book Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease by Robert H. Lustig, M.D., and I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to learn more about the obesity pandemic and how to improve the health of our families and our society in general. In short, it changed my life. One of the many lessons that I gleaned from the book is that dessert is meant to be a treat, reserved only for special occasions. When I was a kid, dessert was just that: it was special, something that we didn’t have too often, so we looked forward to having it. Lately, I’ve been eating dessert every night after dinner. Because I’m accustomed to having dessert so often, it’s lost some of the appeal. So, to make it seem more special, I end up creating more decadent desserts and in much larger portions. Basically, it’s a bad cycle that’s gotten out of hand.
Now that I’ve recognized the problem, it’s time for a solution: instead of having dessert every night, I’ll reserve it for 2 nights each week, and on the other nights I’ll have a small piece of fruit only if I’m really craving something sweet. I started with this new edict this week and I already caved one night and had dessert. Rather than feel dejected–how could I have caved already?!?–I told myself that it counted as one of my 2 nights of dessert. I will say this, it was definitely a dessert worthy of sacrificing one of my two nights
This Mint Chocolate Chip Trifle was inspired by one of my favorite childhood desserts: mint chocolate chip ice cream. Like I said earlier, we didn’t eat dessert every night when I was younger, but my parents made sure that there was always ice cream in the freezer. On the weekends, we would sit around and watch TV together while eating gigantic bowls of ice cream. Even then, I couldn’t control my sweet-tooth and invariably went back for seconds.
- 1 avocado, refrigerated
- 1 ripe banana
- ½ cup unsweetened almond milk (or milk of choice)
- ½ tsp. powdered stevia
- 1 tsp. natural peppermint extract
- ¼-1/2 tsp. chlorella, optional (deepens the green color and adds nutrients)
- 2 round Tbs. cacao powder (or carob powder, or a combo of the 2)
- chocolate chips or cacao nibs for topping
- Blend the avocado, banana, almond milk, and stevia together in a food processor or blender. Remove half of the mixture and set it aside in a bowl.
- Add the cacao powder to the mixture remaining in the food processor/blender and mix until fully combined (you may have to stop and scrape down the sides a couple of times).
- Add the peppermint extract and chlorella (optional) to the mixture in the bowl and blend well (I just used a spoon for this).
- In your serving dishes, layer the mint and chocolate puddings. Sprinkle with chocolate chips or cacao nibs.
- Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, serve, and enjoy!