Last month, I brought you a simple massaged kale salad. This month, I'm bringing you a dessert. Life is about finding balance, especially in the food we eat. If all we did was eat kale salad all day, every day, we'd be missing out on one of the most coveted food groups: dessert. And, when it comes to eating dessert, I do believe that there’s room for something sweet each day. However, there are a few things that I like to keep in mind.
First, while there are different types of sugars on the market, sugar is sugar. Yes, there are unrefined sugars (some of which are low-glycemic and vegan), but even those should be used in smaller amounts. On the other end of the spectrum, there are processed / refined sugars—many of which are chemically-laden. They can cause digestive issues and even chronic illnesses. Those, in my opinion, should be avoided as often as possible. Therefore, it's important to choose a lower-glycemic and more nutrient-dense option when cooking and baking. A few examples include Grade B maple syrup, local and organic honey, and organic coconut sugar. Stevia, in its pure powder or liquid form, is also a great option (especially for diabetics); it has been shown to not affect blood glucose or insulin response. You can read about that here. Therefore, while a small amount of sugar is certainly not the enemy, it’s important to choose the type wisely.
That brings me to my second point. When given the option between a thick slice of store-bought cake with buttercream frosting or a few pieces of dark chocolate (70% or higher), dark chocolate is the way to go. Dark chocolate is a source of antioxidants, disease protection, and improves blood circulation. You can read more about that here. At the end of my day, I believe that we should never categorize a type of dessert as completely off-limits (unless for allergy / digestive-related reasons, of course!) because a) it creates an unhealthy mindset and b) life is short and enjoying food is a crucial part of our well-being.
With that said, here's my recipe for a new go-to dessert in our house. I swapped a few of the traditional chocolate pudding ingredients for heart-healthy fats and unrefined sugar. If you're worried you'll taste the avocado, I promise you won't. My husband, a devout chocolate connoisseur, is already asking me to make this again.
- 1 whole, very ripe (almost overripe) avocado
- 1/4 cup Grade B organic maple syrup
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder (I use TCHO)
- 1/4 cup almond milk (or any plant-based milk)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- pinch of sea salt
1. Add all ingredients to your food processor and pulse. You may need to scrape down the sides once or twice. Pulse until it is completely smooth.
2. Portion out 2-4 ramekins and place them in the fridge for 30 minutes.
3. Optional: top with a sprinkle of unsweetened shredded coconut or a small scoop of coconut-based ice cream (I love this brand).