I can hear you saying, “OK, OK, I hear you, Thea, but I refuse to give up all the sweetness in my life! Dessert is one of the good parts of life.” I one hundred percent agree! And the good news is that it’s very easy to have desserts that not only make us feel like we are living the good life, but actually contribute to good health rather than killing it.
Here are some of my favorite recipes that include healthy ingredients like raw fruit, gelatin, raw honey, dark chocolate, healthy fats like coconut and grass-fed cream. These desserts are decadent, wonderfully flavorful, and nutritious. I don’t feel the need to overeat them because my body gets what it needs and isn't’ left craving nourishment.
My favorite sweet food this summer has been home-made jello. It takes about 10 minutes of prep and half an hour to gel. So I can make it at the beginning of my dinner prep and it’s ready when we are done with our meal. You can pretty much use any fruit. In recent weeks I’ve made strawberry/banana and mango. You get all the benefits of fresh raw fruit—fiber, enzymes, vitamins, and the amazing benefits of gelatin. (Confession: I often eat fruit jello for breakfast when the weather is hot.)
Another way to sneak gelatin into your diet is to make panna cotta (milk jello). I like to use coconut milk to add health fat as well as the protein and healthy sweetener. Another favorite is strawberry fool—a traditional English dessert which is basically whipped cream mixed with strawberry jello. This is one of my favorite summer dinner party desserts. It looks so pretty in my blue glass bowl, feels unbelievably decadent, and is super easy to make. Can’t beat that.
I also make my own ice cream. I make it super simple with just three ingredients: half and half, fruit and maple syrup or honey. Last night we had apricot honey ice cream. I frequently hear it’s the best people have ever had. The prep time is about 3 minutes and the blending time is another three. But it requires thinking ahead 24 hours to freeze the stuff, and a Vitamix. You could probably make it in a regular blender but it would be more like soft serve, or in any ice cream maker, but that takes hours instead of minutes.
I love making my own chocolate. It’s really very easy; takes about 15 minutes and I know exactly what’s in it. Dark chocolate with no additives is actually very healthy—high in magnesium and other minerals.
With the popularity of the Paleo diet, and awareness of real whole food diets for healing and health, there are tons of recipes available on the internet. Coconut flour and almond flour can be used to recreate almost any cookie or cake. I’m not here to be judgemental or prescriptive. IF you want to begin to make the shift towards healthier sweets, there are lots of options. Lots of really amazing, delicious, you’ll feel like you are not giving anything up, options.