To “sweet” or not to “sweet”

12 Nov

THAT is the question. Or at least, it is for me now.

It used to be that I would need something sweet after nearly every meal. It didn’t have to be much – handful of chocolate chips, a piece of candy, a cookie, or hot chocolate in the winter months; whatever was available in the house. And that was just natural. Ever since I changed my diet, however, this has changed — for the better! Once I began to incorporate more fruits and veggies, reducing the amount of sugar I use in my baking & cooking, and enjoying foods for their natural, rather than added, flavors, I started to notice that I don’t need dessert all the time. Do I want it? Well, maybe. But the cravings for sweet foods have significantly reduced. I had read over and over that by cutting the amount of added sugar in your foods, you’ll eventually stop craving that sugar completely (note: naturally-occurring sugars are awesome! fear not). I definitely didn’t believe this, but it turns out that was true!

That said, it might be difficult to believe this about me. As mentioned in earlier posts, I love to bake. Actually, that’s an understatement. I’m obsessed with baking. I enjoy finding and trying out new recipes, baking for a purpose, baking for money, baking for free, or just baking for the hell of it. The result, however, is that our house ALWAYS has some kind of baked good in it (example: we have a fresh batch of homemade baked granola in the kitchen tonight – I couldn’t resist!). This then makes it difficult to NOT eat sweets on a regular basis.

Some of my creations:

Marzipan chocolate mini cupcakesLemon cupcakes with cream cheese buttercreamA trio of cupcakes! Lemon, chocolate and strawberry

Wine and strawberry cupcakesMilk chocolate cupcakes with strawberry frosting, filled with strawberry jam

Chocolate-covered cookie dough trufflesTres Leches cupcakes with whipped cream as frosting

Ways to combat my baking addiction:

1) The beauty of cupcakes, my favorite thing to bake, is that they’re already portioned out! I am able to stop at just one, no problem.

2) When baking, the chef must always taste in the process. And I do. BUT it helps to have willing taste-testers as roommates, so I don’t have to eat multiple spoonfuls of frosting!

3) I’ve learned many ways to bake healthier. Stevia or honey replace sugar, homemade (sugar free) applesauce replaces oil, whole wheat flour replaces all-purpose white flour, flaxseed meal + water replaces eggs, non-fat Greek yogurt replaces sour cream, and skim milk + vinegar replaces buttermilk. By the time I’ve done all the substitutions, many of my baked goods are actually on the positive side of being healthy!

4) Choosing fruit first. When a craving for something sweet hits me, I first gravitate towards a piece of fresh fruit (or even dried fruit). Most times, the natural sugars will satisfy that craving. And if I still want that cupcake or nutella peanut butter brownie (NOT a healthy recipe, but good lord is it amazing), then I can indulge in it later. And KNOW consciously that I am doing so.

These might seem like no-brainers to a lot of people. And many prefer savory foods to sweets. But I have always had a sweet tooth. Actually, no, I’ve always had a mouth full of sweet-teeth. So this is a big step for me. I now appreciate fully when I eat something sugary and sweet, rather than mindlessly and constantly indulging in such things. And I feel (and look) much healthier as a result! Ah, how great it feels.

4 Responses to “To “sweet” or not to “sweet””

  1. choc3178 November 13, 2012 at 9:44 am #

    this post “speaks” to me. I am a sweets addict and have found recently that by doing something as simple as slowly eliminating them, the less cravings I have. Who would have thunk? I am a chocoholic but it’s only resorted to when I’m PMS-ing now. Tasting your food fully helps too! and yes please to cupcakes!

    • xtinaluvspink November 13, 2012 at 9:47 am #

      We’re in the same boat then (floating down the chocolate river, of course)! I do still get chocolate cravings as well, but I can even control that and not go overboard. I was so proud of myself this Halloween – I only ate 4 mini Hershey squares at a party we went to, and that was my total candy/chocolate intake for the entire holiday! Big difference from just 2 years ago.

      • choc3178 November 13, 2012 at 9:56 am #

        that’s awesome! this past week has been brutal on my waistline. I often wonder if there was a Chocoholics Anonymous, if I’d actually go. I don’t think I’d ever like to rid myself of the craving, just be in control of the compulsion behind it. At least we are slowly making progress!

      • xtinaluvspink November 13, 2012 at 9:57 am #

        I wouldn’t go either. Besides, SOME chocolate is good for you, physically and mentally! As long as we’re in control of it, is what matters. A life without chocolate would be one not worth living, I think.

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