Usually, when people find out I have a baking/dessert blog, their first reaction is something along the lines of: how are you so skinny?
So, for today’s post, and because it’s January, the time of year when people tend to start a new workout plan or diet, I thought I’d talk a bit about keeping healthy.
Thoughts on keeping healthy
I’m not an idiot. I know sugar and fat are bad for you. And yes, I also know that the vast majority of the recipes posted on my blog are not something you should eat every day. But the reason why I run a dessert blog is because I love desserts. They’re so colorful. And sugary. The thought of them fills me with eager anticipation and everything about them appeals to my imagination. Much more so than ordinary food. You know, the stuff I eat every day. And yes, you may read into that and assume that, regardless of what you may think, I actually don’t eat dessert every day…
That’s part of why I want to blog about it!
Sure, part of every edible thing I’ve made for the blog has made it’s way into my mouth. A fat slice of that delicious Champagne Buttercream Cake Roll I made a few weeks ago. And two Chocolate Cupcakes with Candy Cane Buttercream. And a spoonful of that horrible burned dulce de leche I pulled out of the oven last night… But what do I have for dessert when there are no home-baked goodies around?
The answer is: nothing! Nada! Not even an apple! I’ll just have a cup of tea after dinner. And when a craving hits me, tough luck, I didn’t make cookies…
So yeah, I’m skinny. I’m active. I like healthy food. I take the stairs. I walk Lucy for an hour every day. I picked up running a few months ago. I love raspberry oatmeal. I love yogurt and fruit. I love my healthy spaghetti a la Nila and Vietnamese pho soup. And I also happen to love desserts, cakes and cookies. Which does not mean that I eat an entire cake every day, with a side of brownies, washed down with a bucket of heavy cream.
Which brings me to healthy desserts. I don’t do healthy desserts. I don’t believe in healthy desserts. Here’s why…
Why I don’t like healthy desserts
In my humble opinion and experience, there are two types of ‘healthy desserts’. First, there are those things that are certainly edible and yes healthy, but which just don’t deliver on the ‘dessert’ part. Either because they’re just not tasty enough or because they simply don’t give you that happy dessert feeling like real desserts do. You know, things like date and cashew butter energy bites. Or chia seed pudding.
Meh… I’d rather munch on a carrot…
The second type of ‘healthy desserts’ actually look and taste like real desserts. Because guess what? They are desserts! They’re usually delicious, but sadly, the so-called ‘healthy’ desserts in this category don’t deserve to be called ‘healthy’. We’ve all seen them… Healthy homemade peanut butter cups. Healthy gluten free caramel apple muffins. Healthy chocolate pudding pie made with low-fat milk instead of whole milk or cream. The Internet is full of this kind of recipes! What I think when I come across one of them? Well, usually something like this… Wait, what? You replaced all the sugar in this chocolate cake with maple syrup? And added dark chocolate chips instead of milk chocolate? And used oil instead of butter? Congratulations, you’ve changed the recipe. It probably tastes really good too. But did you manage to make it healthy? Uuuuuhm, I don’t think so!
Let’s look at the facts here. I’m not a doctor. Or a dietitian. But I do know that maple syrup is basically the same stuff (sucrose) as refined white sugar… By using one instead of the other, nothing changes much, health-wise. Using oil instead of butter and subbing dark chocolate for milk chocolate? Yeah, that does make you’re dessert a little healthier, but healthier is not the same as healthy!
Besides, if you’re trying to be a little healthier, should you be having dessert at all? Yeah, that chocolate pudding pie is made with skimmed milk, but there’s still a ton of sugar in it. And chocolate. Homemade peanut butter cups are made with chocolate. Gluten free does not mean sugar free. Right?
If I’m being annoying, I’m sorry. If you’ve made plans to live a healthier lifestyle this year or if you’re working on losing some weight, good for you! I’m proud of you already… The reason why I’m discussing healthy desserts today, is because I just don’t see why anyone would want to make something that is meant to be packed with fat, sugar and chocolate healthy. After all, there are other ways to keep healthy. Drink water or tea instead of soda. Take the stairs, not the elevator. Work out. Have a salad for lunch. Stop eating sugary cereal for breakfast. Aka: find other ways to cut back on sugar and fat! And trust me when I say that healthy desserts are a myth…
Desserts are a treat. Cookies are a treat. Cake is a treat. As you know, treats are not part of the food pyramid, and those few times a week I’m having either a piece of cake, a fat chocolate chip cookie or a bowl of ice cream, it had better be good! Treats like this – especially when they’re homemade – should be loved and savored in all their excessive scrumptiousness…
Jan P says
You are spot on!! Everyday I look through Foodgawker or other blogs and I see things like “Healthy Chocolate Chip Pancakes”. Really? What could possibly be healthy about a chocolate chip pancake??? I agree with you 100%. If you are going to eat a dessert, do it occaisionally and have what you want. If you want a cookie, have the best one you can buy or make, and then move on. AND MOVE!! Walk, run, lift weights, yoga, whatever you chose, and make it part of your day. EVERYDAY. Thanks for a great blog. I read it everyday.
The Tough Cookie says
Thanks Jan! I’m glad you’re with me on this. What are your thoughts on all those vegan/gluten free/paleo versions of desserts on Foodgawker? It seems everyone is vegan, gluten intolerant or paleo these days, don’t you think?
Oh, and I loooove that you read my blog everyday! That makes me so happy 🙂
Jan P says
I respect everyone’s choice of foods, but honestly, I pretty much skip over all those “special diet” foods. I try and eat all foods in moderation and if I see a “lightened up” recipe I might try it, but most times I am disappointed and end up throwing it out. I’d rather have one piece of the good stuff than 4 pieces of the other. Thanks again for a great blog.
The Tough Cookie says
I’m so with you on that! Let’s start a club 😉
I think the exact same thing! You’re right on, Nila 😀
If you want to eat healthy and you want something sweet, you eat fruits! Dessert is a treat. And I’m sure if I incorporated cupcakes/breads/pies/pudding into my daily diet the novelty would wear out.
It’s like calling pancakes with fruit toppings and whipped cream healthy. Nuh uh. Healthy would’ve been just cut slices of the fruit and a tall glass of milk.
And anything peanut butter (especially out of a jar!) can never be called healthy.
The Tough Cookie says
Thanks Rena! I’m glad there are more people out there who don’t like those supposedly healthy desserts 🙂