Thursday, October 8, 2015

Tricks & Treats

Current Weight: 304 lbs
Total Loss: 45 lbs
Avg. Loss/Week: 1.66 lbs
- Body Weight %age: 13%

I can put away sweet treats like a BOSS. As I admitted in my last post, my happy place is elbow deep in a big bag of candy. When I visited my now-in-laws’ house for the first time I was nervous to be the first girlfriend Jordan had brought home. I scanned rooms for objects of familiarity and identified the same olive oil brand on the counter, the same “Footprints” framed art I grew up with, and best of all, a big candy bowl. A plastic cauldron brimming with Kit-Kats and Reese’s sat on the table next to my father-in-law’s chair (it was July—I would later learn that bewitching bowl was a fixture year round). Mama Higgins rolled her eyes when she saw me looking at it and said "oh, that’s Tim’s…he loves sweets."

My father-in-law and I get along exceedingly well.

Jordan and my plan avoids carbs, sugar, and animal fats so in the last six months, I’ve been hunting down ideas and recipes for treats that treat my body well (I say "my" because my husband couldn't care less about sweets). For healthy ways to savor sweets, here are my recommendations based on my go-to goodies:

Make friends with stevia. It’s almost undetectable with fruity things since the natural, leaf-extracted sweetener plays well with its plant cousins and it’s difficult to discern it from real sugar.

Forget about milk chocolate. Sorry, just…do. Dark chocolate has about as much fat but the better kind, more fiber, and a lot less sugar than classic milk chocolate and packs a lot of antioxidants and may help regulate cortisol (the body’s stress hormone). I’ve also noticed that I don’t binge on dark chocolate because to me, its bitterness accrues and starts to taste icky so it’s like built-in portion control.

Do chocolate pairings. Dip some strawberries—fruit is the star and chocolate’s like, its hype man (I also like Trader Joe’s Gone Bananas!) For crunchy treat, I like chocolate + almonds and this combo fills me up as I eat it.

Blend up some Banana ice cream. Frozen bananas when blended have an amazing texture. Make up a batch and add in whatever makes you happy (for me it’s PB2 + cocoa powder). I’ve also done cinnamon + honey, fresh strawberries, or chocolate chips + almonds.

Make your own chocolate. My friend Amanda gave me a recipe for homemade chocolate out of coconut oil, stevia, salt, and cocoa powder. It’s…different. If you’re familiar with “fat bombs” that are all the rage with paleo/keto folks trying to get their healthy oils in then you won’t have a problem with the “fattiness” of these but if not, you might struggle. They melt in your hand and in your mouth quickly because they’re basically 95% coconut oil but overall, the effect and taste satisfies the craving. Here’s a recipe if you want to try it yourself! For better flavor, sub sugar or honey for stevia.

Lighten up your coffee order. I ask for a latte or mocha with either soy or coconut milk (more filling in my humble, nonscientific opinion), “half sweet” (with half the normal pumps of syrup) and I skip the whip. These tweaks save between 90–160 calories per drink (depending on whether you get regular syrup (20 cal per pump) or chocolate syrup (25 cal per pump) and the amount of whip added).

Healthy up a traditional fall treat. My family’s baked apples recipe includes butter, brown sugar, raisins, and chopped pecans but after some experimenting last week, I found a way to cut out a few ingredients and still enjoy the result. See recipe below.

  1. Core one whole apple OR I prefer to cut up my apple into little chunks and put them in a muffin tin (I feel like the pieces soak up the goodness better).
  2. Fill the muffin tin cups with apple slices and drizzle a teaspoon of coconut oil, plop a tablespoon of brown sugar, and dust with cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice.
  3. Bake at 375 until the some of the apples reduce and the juice is bubbly and syrupy (about 20 minutes). Take out, spoon into a bowl and devour.
My last note on the subject is this: if you are really craving something specific, just go eat it. I can spend hundreds of calories trying to eat healthier versions of the one thing I really want for a lot fewer calories. Anyone else been there? One word for us kids from the ‘90s: Snackwells. Yeah, I remember pounding those nasty hockey pucks devils food cakes while craving just ONE real Oreo…

The trick to treating yourself is knowing what you want, how much you want it, and having options for keeping yourself satisfied. I hope at least one of these satisfies a sweet tooth and please send me any ideas/tricks you have too!

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