If there’s one thing that has always been good…it’s food.
Yes, indeed I said food. Food gives such good and warming feelings. I don’t know about you, but when I have a plate of my favorite meal, there is nothing and no one can take any good or warmth from me. Food can hold memories of the places we’ve been, the people we’ve seen, even the things that we hold closest to our hearts. There are some foods that, just the sight, makes me smile or brings me to tears. The diversity that food takes amongst different people, cultures and households is so unique and so versatile that with just one bite, you can learn so much about the world.
But though I loved all food, my body did not.
One of the most powerful things to exist on this planet is my sweet-tooth. Okay, okay, I know what you’re thinking. Come on, Deiona. You’re being dramatic”; unfortunately, I wish I was. I absolutely love sweets. Sometimes, I found myself purposefully not finishing my main entre, just so I would have enough room dessert; I couldn’t deal without having something sweet. For a while, it felt like an addiction. No matter if it was breakfast, lunch or dinner time, if I wasn’t having something sweet either with the meal or after, I was uneasy.
Now, you’re probably thinking it doesn’t seem realistic that someone could be “addicted” to sweets. Well, let me break down my thought process to you. First, let’s look at the definition of addiction. As provided by the American Society of Addiction Medicine, Addiction is “a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry”. In simpler words, it means that a substance, a thing or an activity that you’re doing sends a good feeling to the brain and the brain—after that substance has been given to it enough times—cannot let that good feeling good. Yes, of course there are worst things to have an addiction to when compared to sweets, but sweets were Deiona’s form of addiction.
At times, I found myself shutting down because I didn’t have some type of sweet; I literally could feel my brain feeling unhappy. I could hear this little voice in the back of my head whispering, me want gushers, me want cake, me want ice cream, let’s go bake; okay, maybe it wasn’t that nursery rhyme-like, but when I didn’t have sweets it haunted me. And with this sweet tooth, came some bad health. My teeth weren’t as strong or as pearly white as they should be; my skin wasn’t as bright as it once was; my energy levels were complete trash; overall, my body wasn’t doing well, no matter how happy my taste buds were.
It was time to change my diet around
As I began to notice that my health was deteriorating, I decided that I needed to put down the candy…cakes…cookies…I could list a lot more but I’m not going to tempt us. As the weather has gotten nicer outside, I have completely been altering what I’m putting into my body. It’s just something about this weather that should make us want to put the freshest fruits and vegetables into our bodies; all that processed food doesn’t sound too Spring-y to me, right?
So, I began to ween myself off the sweets. Ween? Deiona, you’re being dramatic again. Well, not really. As I said before, addiction is all about something making the brain feel good; and my brain was a little sad without sweets, at first. I thought that I wouldn’t be able to supply my brain with something that would outweigh the power of my sweet-tooth.
So, what recipe should you try?
We’ve been talking a lot about sweets, but I want us to go through a good meal and a good dessert. First, let’s crave the sweet addiction with a globally shared sweet: chocolate chip cookies, but a healthy kind. I never thought that it was possible to have a dessert that both satisfied my sweet-tooth and was easy to do; I thought fruits would be the closest thing I’d get to sweetness. However, this recipe from Delish.com proved me wrong. Let’s get it.
Gather the ingredients. We’re going to need:
- 2 cups of almond flour
- ½ teaspoon of baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon of salt
- ¼ cup of butter, softened
- ¼ cup of almond butter
- 3 tablespoons of honey—absolutely love honey and everything about it.
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup of semisweet chocolate chips
- Besides all the lovely ingredients, we’ll need parchment paper, a baking sheet, large bowl, large spoon or hand mixer, and a whisk. Got to have something to bake on and mix in right? Anyways, as you preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line that baking sheet with parchment paper, I’ll whisk together the dry ingredients first—almond flour, baking soda and salt—then in a separate bowl, combining all the wet ingredients—butter, almond butter, honey, egg and vanilla. Once everything is all good and combined, we’ll toss it together until we get a nice feeling dough.
- Next, we’re going to add in the chocolate chips and thoroughly combine it with the dough. Now, the recipe only calls for a cup but, it doesn’t hurt to put a little extra, right?
- Now, the fun part, we get to separate the dough into cookie-size! Yes, yes, it is exciting, we’re finally about pop these bad boys into the oven.
- We’re going to let these bake for about 15 minutes, or until we think the cookies look golden. I like my cookies very soft, so I may cut off a minute or 2. If you like yours a little crunchy—which is great too—we can add a minute to the baking.
- Take them out, let them cool, enjoy!
We’re in the Spring, so, what types of recipes should we be looking at?
You guessed it: clean eating ones! The following—provided by myrecipe.com—is a Fennel and Spinach Salad with Shrimp and Balsamic Vinaigrette. Now, you can substitute the shrimp for virtually anything else—chicken, beef, pork, tofu, veggies—but for this, we’re going to stick to the shrimp.
Let’s get these ingredients. We’ll need:
- 3 slices of bacon—but you know, 4 or 5 doesn’t hurt either.
- 1 pound of shrimp; the pre-peeled kind is what I prefer cause it’s less work.
- 2 cups of fennel bulb, thinly sliced—this should equate to one medium-sized bulb.
- 1 cup of grape tomatoes, cut in half
- 1 cup of red onion—they called for sliced but I like finely diced.
- 1 pack of fresh baby spinach
- 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard—I’m not always the biggest fan of mustard, so if you’re on my side with that, it is okay to remove it.
- ¼ teaspoon of salt
- ¼ teaspoon of pepper
- Whew. That was kind of a long list, but it’ll be good! First, we’re going to cook the bacon; make sure to leave all those juices in the pan. Then, through in the shrimp until they are thoroughly cooked; should take about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Next, we’re going to mix together the fennel, tomatoes, bacon, onion and baby spinach, while combining all other ingredients in a separate small bowl.
- Then, throw in the shrimp, mix all the other stuff together in one huge bowl, making sure everything is coated and loved with the balsamic + other ingredients—acting as a dressing—and voila! Quick and easy clean eating.
Overall, I can genuinely say that I have become a master at overpowering my sweet tooth and my body is thanking me for it. This Spring, clean eating will not only be started, but remain and every day thing!