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The Body Healer

Desserts

Desserts & Sweet Treats

Fresh cherriesWho doesn't love a dessert, or look forward to it after a meal.  Most of us have a sweet tooth, and if we don't typically eat desserts, we may reach for a candy bar, pastry, doughnut, or other sweet snack during our day.

The only desserts we should be putting anywhere near our mouths are the ones that come from whole food ingredients.  These desserts are not only highly nutritious, but also provide us with the sweetness that satiate that sweet tooth.  Let's take a look at what type of ingredients these desserts have:

  • Fresh fruit
  • Dried fruit
  • Nuts & seeds
 
  • Natural sweeteners
  • Spices (e.g. cinnamon, star anise)
  • Extracts (e.g. vanilla, almond)

The variety of different desserts and textures you can create with these ingredients is truly endless.  At a health retreat I visited recently, I ate the best piece of strawberry cheesecake of my entire life.  What was even more amazing was that this was a raw food dessert, made from fresh strawberries, almonds, cashews, vanilla beans, coconut oil, and other fresh, raw ingredients.  No cooking involved, and the taste surpassed even the best gourmet cooked cheesecakes.

Two Points About Fruits
  1. Avoid Cooking Fruits
    One of the worst things we can do with fruits is cook it.  The nutrients in fruits (especially the antioxidants) are very heat sensitive and are destroyed when cooked. 
  2. Eat Fruits First, Not Last
    Thinking of having fruit for dessert after dinner?  Think again.  Eat your fruit as an appetizer before dinner instead.  The reason for this is simple.  Because of their high water content, fruits digest far quicker than any other food type.  They take 30-45 mins to digest when passing through our system unhindered.  But when we eat fruit after a heavy meal (or after proteins and/or heavier carbohydrates which take several hours to digest), the fruit remains in our stomach for a much longer period of time.  It begins to ferment, causing a variety of gastrointestinal distress.  

    This is the main reason many people experience indigestion, heartburn, or stomach issues when eating melon or other fruits.  It isn't the fruit, it's the way they are eating the fruit.

Delicious Dessert Ideas

When it comes to making desserts, let your imagination run wild.  Play with chopping or blending your favorite fruits and nuts and see what ideas you can come up with.  Mix in fresh cacao or carob for a chocolaty flavor.  How about adding a few drops of vanilla or almond essence to a pineapple and mango smoothie?  Here are some ideas to get you started:

Pineapple banana smoothie
Pineapple, Banana & Chia Pudding
 
1/2 pineapple, hollowed out
2 slices chopped pineapple
1 banana
2 tbsp chia seeds
 

Blend pineapple, banana, and chia seeds and let sit for 15 mins to allow the chia seeds to gel.  Pour into pineapple shell and serve.

This "pudding" not only makes for a great morning smoothie, it's also a wonderfully healthy dessert, beautifully served, at any dinner party!

Berry jam
Very Berry Preserve (no sugar!)
 
2 cups chopped berries and/or cherries
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup cranberries (instead of pectin*)
Juice of 1 lemon
 

Bring berries and honey to a boil, then simmer for 5 mins.  While simmering, use a fork to mash berries to either a chunky or smoother consistency depending on what you like best.  Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.

Let your preserve cool and store in refrigerator.

*  Pectin is a soluble fiber used to help jams and jellies thicken.  Cranberries do the same job, yet they are not processed and are filled with additional nutrients.

Grape juice
Grape Juice
 
Green or red grapes
Coconut water
Juice 1 lime
 
Blend all ingredients and place juice in freezer until it becomes a light slush and serve.  Refreshingly delicious!
Strawberry shortcrackers!
Strawberry Shortcrackers!
 
Fresh strawberries, sliced
Water crackers
Microgreens
 
A simpler and much healthier version of strawberry shortcake, slice fresh strawberries and arrange them in a stack with several water crackers.  Garnish with your favorite herbs or microgreens and serve (sunflower sprouts make a wonderful garnish for fruit dishes!).
Banana kale pudding
Banana-Kale Chia Pudding
 
Coconut water
2 Kale leaves
1 banana
Several raspberries
1 tbsp chia seeds
 
Blend all ingredients and garnish with raspberries.  Chill for at least 20 mins to allow chia seeds to "gel."
Berry smoothie
Fruit Smoothies
 
Smoothies make a wonderful snack or treat.  All you need is your favorite fruits and a blender.  Don't forget to add a bunch of greens to pack in that nutrition!

Read more about the do's and don't's when it comes to making healthy smoothies so that you avoid the common pitfalls.
Bbanana pineapple pudding
Banana-Pineapple Pudding
 
1 banana
1 slice pineapple
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Blend well (add water as needed)
Garnish with berries
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