Got Sweet Cravings? Try these recipes….
They become a fact of life during menopause, unless you are exceptionally lucky, or wonder women with regards to will-power. It’s not just the feeling that you wouldn’t mind something sweet…. nothing like that…. it’s an all-consuming, all-necessary, I might just flip my lid if I don’t get sweetness in the next two minutes kind of obsession. No amount of logical thinking, or diversion tactics are going to work here. It’s not you. You know, it is really NOT you…. you have been taken over by some other life form, there is a mad women who will devour without ever being satiated taken root inside your mind.
I was always able to be disciplined and moderated. Then, after fertility treatment, my hormones went into crazy mode and I was no longer in control. It’s such an unconscious choice and reaction…. before you know it, you are looking for something sweet the moment you finish your meal, whether that be breakfast, lunch or dinner! Afternoons can become a mind field. Evenings can see you sneaking off the couch to search the pantry, even though you are not hungry.
I could no longer trust my better judgement, nor my desire to be healthy 80% of the time. And the guilt trips are simply awful. Who needs to be beating themselves up every week.
So, what’s the best answer?
Forget going cold turkey; that’s going to end in tears (and a blowout).
You need to allow yourself to indulge in sweet choices on a reasonably regular basis, so that you are satisfied and can behave sensibly. But you need to control what those choices are. There are sweet treats that will satisfy while still being good for you; choices that have only natural sugars (from fruit, for example) or no sugar at all. And, if need be, no dairy also. The raw treat sensation that has taken the healthy sweet world by storm over recent years is an absolute joy…. think wonderful treats made from coconut products (coconut oil, flour, butter, milk), cacao (the unprocessed version of cocoa, with mood enhancing properties), maple syrup or rice malt syrup (‘good’ fats in small amounts), dates, nuts, seeds, nut butters…. Wonderful slices, bliss balls, cheesecakes, mousses, smoothies, puddings. So often they can be stored in the freezer, meaning you can be prepared (but also ration them accordingly).
All you need are a few essentials in the pantry, most of which are available in the health food section of your supermarket these days, or at wholefoods/health foods stores. Plus, you will need a trusty food processor, and a collection of round and square slice and cake tins.
I absolutely love getting creative and inventing my own sweet treats, trying different combinations for texture and flavour. I’ve started making a list of those that have worked well, and I hope to share them with you soon in an e-book of deliciousness.
Meanwhile, here’s a fabulous chocolate chia mousse recipe that’s quick to make and will hit the spot every time. You can change it up with different toppings so you are never bored. Also, a wonderful crunchy and gooey individual banoffee tart recipe… luscious caramel with banana and a cashew/cacao/banana chip base.
Chocolate Chia Mousse
¼ cup black chia seeds
2 ½ tablespoons raw cacao powder
270ml can of coconut milk
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons rice malt syrup
Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.
Divide into individual glasses (with or without a stem, depending on how posh you want to be!)
Place in the fridge for 1-2 hours to set.
I love it with a cherry compote (put frozen cherries in a small pot with a drizzle of maple syrup and simmer gently until a syrup forms… cool before serving) and coconut yoghurt (vanilla bean flavour). It takes no time at all to make, and only a small amount of time in the fridge to set. It’s smooth but with the little textural element of chia seeds (loaded with nutrients, low in calories, and providing a boost to body and brain). I put it into small decorative glasses, the perfect size for a small sweet fix J
Other flavour combos:
For a banoffee twist – fry sliced banana in coconut oil, serve on top of the mousse with coconut shards and cacao nibs.
For a Pina colada moment – fry pineapple slices in coconut oil and serve with coconut yoghurt.
For a rum and raisin experience – simmer prunes and raisins in rum in a small saucepan on the stove. Allow to cool. Serve over coconut ice cream on top of the mousse.
For a berry infusion – make a syrup from frozen mixed berries and a drizzle of maple syrup or honey. Allow to cool and pour over the mousse. Scatter some baby basil leaves on top.
For the base:
1 cup natural cashew nuts
1 cup dried banana chips
18 medjool dates, pitted
1 tablespoon cacao powder
pinch of salt
For the caramel:
18 medjool dates, pitted
1 cup almond butter
½ cup pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the topping:
dark chocolate (I use a non-dairy variety)
Greek yoghurt (vanilla bean or coconut flavour)
Place cashews and banana chips in food processor and blend until medium crumb consistency.
Add dates, cacao and a pinch of salt and blend again. Add a small amount of coconut oil (and/or filtered water) until the mixture comes together… only a small amount at a time as it will suddenly come together in a solid ball.
Spread and press the base evenly into little individual tart moulds with removable bases. Put in fridge for 1 hour to firm up.
Make the caramel. Put all ingredients into the food processor and blend until smooth, sticky and combined (hey, it’s for the top of the tarts….. get your finger out of there!)
Spread over the tart bases, nice and thick.
Place back in the fridge until ready to serve.
Place slices of banana over the top of the caramel. You can fry off the banana slices in coconut oil and cinnamon first if you wish, then layer on the tart.
Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water. Drizzle in a criss-cross pattern over the top of the banana/tart.
Add a dollop of yoghurt and a scattering of cacao nibs.
Now tell me healthy isn’t delicious… enjoy 🙂