What's for Dessert? A guide to making any dessert healthy

Desserts are often all about indulgence and are a common way to finish a meal. Typically desserts are extremely sweet and include highly processed things like refined white sugar, white flour, high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated vegetable oils. With this quartet of toxic substances it is no wonder why desserts are many people's biggest foe when it comes to weight loss and trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. That being said, desserts need not be out of bounds. Just follow our suggestions and you will easily be able to give your traditional favourite desserts a healthy twist. 

Tip 1: Use natural sweeteners

Using natural sweeteners instead of refined sweeteners is a much better alternative as they contain more minerals and nutrients. However, it is important to note that you should still be wary about adding too much of these natural sweeteners into your recipes. In general, most sweeteners (even natural ones) contain about 4 grams of sugar per teaspoon. A good rule of thumb to follow, is to not add anymore than 8 grams of sugar per serving. The natural sweeteners we recommend are:

  • Dates and figs
  • Maple syrup and maple sugar
  • Raw honey
  • Molasses
  • Coconut sugar
     
 

Did You Know?

Did you know that refined white sugar is a Neurotoxin? According to Wikipedia2, "Neurotoxins are toxins that are poisonous or destructive to nerve tissue causing neurotoxicity". Table sugar is a chronic dose dependent hepatotoxin that destroys the liver with time and consistency. When you consume sugar as part of real food, like fruit, you are not just ingesting sugar and water, but also vitamins, minerals and polyphenols along with synergistic components such as mineral activators, enzymes, co-vitamin helpers and fiber. These components have specific roles to play in helping your body to safely and effectively metabolise the fruit nutrients. Without these synergistic components to help your body metabolise sugar safely, certain elements of sugar are broken down into toxic chemicals. The main toxins that are released when your body metabolises refined sugar are toxic metabolites which are great for destroying the respiration process of cells. In addition processed sugar depresses the immune system by inhibiting the endocrine system which decreases your body’s ability to heal. And finally medical research shows that processed sugar lowers the body’s ability to control and heal diseases such as diabetes, hypoglycemia, cancer, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.

 
     
A picture of raw honey
Raw honey is good natural sweetener and a true superfood jam-packed with minerals and vitamins

Tip 2: Add herbs and spices

Using herbs and spices in your desserts boosts the taste of the dessert naturally avoiding the need to add extra additional sweeteners. The most common spice added to desserts is cinnamon, and for a good reason, it adds a subtle warmth! You could experiment with savoury spices and herbs too if you are looking for more depth of flavour, a sort of “kick”. For instance, rosemary adds an earthy flavour. In addition to that, it is a great source of iron and calcium.  

 

Some of the herbs and spices you can use for baking are:

  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Ground ginger
  • Nutmeg
  • Sesame seed
  • Chia seeds
  • Anise seed
  • Rosemary
  • Pink and black peppercorns
  • Chili
  • Cayenne pepper
Cinnamon sticks and cinnamon powder
Cinnamon is sold dry as sticks and ground as a powder and can be used to add a boost of natural flavour to your desserts

Tip 3: Use nuts

Nuts are a perfect addition to almost all desserts whether in powder form, roasted, or sprinkled all through the batter. Furthermore, they contain fiber, protein, good healthy fats and minerals like zinc and magnesium and clcium. Studies have shown that in comparison to people who abstain from consuming nuts, those who consume nuts regularly are more inclined to have a reduced risk for diabetes, stronger cardiovascular health, a diminished mortality risk, and a longer life2. Just remember to soak and sprout your nuts first. The nuts we recommend are:

  • Almond
  • Hazelnut
  • Walnuts
  • Pecans
  • Pistachio 
  • Cashews
  • Pili nuts
  • Macademia nuts
  • Brazil nuts
     
 

Did You Know?

Nuts and seeds contain phytic acid which is an enzyme inhibitor that prevents the absorption of the minerals in the seed. Why is this? Well nuts are the fruit of a tree and they are not designed to be digested by humans and animals. When animals eat nuts from a tree they pass undigested through the animal's digestive tract to be pooped out elsewhere so a new tree can grow. Phytic acid, and other antinutrients, are part of the nuts’s system of preservation - they prevent sprouting until the conditions are right (soil + water. If we eat unactivated they can prevent mineral absorption and digestive distress. Soaking nuts for 8 to 24 hours encourages the nut to behave like it would in the wild,reduce the amount of toxic antinutrients and release its payload of vitamins and minerals for our benefit.

 
     
Almonds
Almonds are a versatile ingredient for desserts all around the world

Tip 4: Choose better quality flours

coconut flour
Coconut flour is a great substitute for commercial flour

We highly recommend that you are start swapping refined white wheat flour to an activated and organic whole wheat flour, gluten-free or other healthy flours. These flours, when activated, can increase your consumption of fiber, minerals and nutrients. For example, spelt flour is a nutritious ancient whole grain flour (although not gluten friendly) that contains micronutrients such as magnesium, calcium, selenium, iron, manganese, zinc, vitamin E and B-complex vitamins. Some of the other flours we also recommend are: whole wheat, almond, coconut, spelt, rye, quinoa and rice flour.

 

We suggest mixing two kinds of flours for a different consistency and also, to enjoy the benefits of the different nutrients. With just a little trial and error here and there, you can also begin baking your very own hearty desserts (and other foods) for your friends and family.

 

NOTE: Activated flours from nuts, seeds and grains are not a necessary part of any diet in order to achieve optimal health, happiness and longevity. However for most people giving them up entirely is very difficult so this article should be considered a "step in the right direction" as opposed to a permanent solution. As a small part of a balanced diet they are not problematic.

 

If you are not keen on experimentation, here is a guilt-free Coconut Popsicles recipe (courtesy of The Nourishing Traditions Cookbook for Children) that you can make today.

Coconut Popsicles recipe for kids

Ingredients

  • 1 can of organic coconut milk
  • ¾ cup of organic coconut water
  • ¼ cup of organic maple syrup

 

Tools

  • Measuring cup
  • Spoon
  • Popsicle molds

 

Recipe

  • Put all the ingredients in a mixing bowl with a pour spout.
  • Mix together with a spoon.
  • Pour into popsicle molds and freeze for approximately 5 hours or more.

 

Coconut Popsicles
Coconut Popsicles

Wrapping up

So just to wrap everything up, you do not have to abstain from eating dessert just because you have chosen to start eating healthy. Instead, by applying these tips in your dessert recipes you can buy desserts and actually eat them every now and then too. Now go forth and make healthy desserts and enjoy this beautiful life we’ve all been blessed with.

 

To your Health, Happiness and Longevity,

The Levitise Team

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