“There are an abundance of messages that tell overweight people it should be easy to lose or maintain a healthy weight,” she said. “For instance, ‘just eat less and move more.’ There are a lot of negative and shaming words and phrases around food: ‘I shouldn’t,’ ‘it’s naughty,’ ‘it’s a treat,’ ‘I’ve been good, so I’ll have one.’ We are wired to move away from pain, so the term ‘guilt-free’ likely provides a sense of relief that comes from reading a ‘guilt-free’ message before buying, and it helps marketers sell their products.”

Although they look like chocolate truffles, these vegan, low-fat, low-sugar gems are packed with dried fruits and nuts. They're perfect to take along with you as a post-workout protein kick, or if you need an energy boost throughout the day.

Get the recipe for Anna Olson's Chocolate Almond Energy Gems


Food guilt is something a lot of people struggle with daily and it’s no wonder since the messages around us are constantly telling us to eat less red meat, that eggs are high in cholesterol, that all carbs are bad, that you must eat non-GMO and 100% organic, that saturated fat is bad and too much fruit is bad - it’s no wonder the population is confused and feeling guilty! Not only that, but many of us are trying to lose a few extra pounds, so even if healthy food is being consumed, there is still a lot of guilt experienced around the amount of calories one has probably eaten.
I’ve also worked for startups - food, beverage and grocery store - so have been involved in the crafting of actual products and their messaging as well as seeing how customers react to them. When I worked in a boutique grocery in downtown NYC some customers wouldn’t buy products UNLESS they had calorie labels on them - even if they were made fresh from a restaurant next door. Others, would pick up $70+ worth of trendy supplements, weekly, and admit to not knowing what they were but that they recognized the name from Goop. Then there are the health-ified foods - that have added ‘protein’ or ‘healthy’ or ‘guilt free’ written into the brand name to let us know they’re okay to have! Thanks, marketing!
This shake is vegan and gluten free without any added sugars. Using a tablespoon or two less peanut butter and add another tablespoon cacao to cut back the calories and fat content. This simple shake packs a fantastic flavor and is a perfect portion for a midafternoon snack or post-dinner dessert. It’s so tasty that you’ll have to be careful not to sip too fast and risk brain freeze!

Coated in cinnamon-sugar and finished with melted dark or white chocolate, these delicious churro-style doughnuts — hold the deep fryer — can be made in under an hour, and are the perfect party snack. Swap regular chocolate for a dairy-free variety to make this fully vegan.

Get the recipe for Vegan Churro Doughnuts


A healthy fudge that takes ten minutes to make. Say what?! This rich fudge is the perfect combo of super food ingredients that will grab your hunger’s attention. With the calorie count low, make these into fudge bars with two servings worth. Change up the toppings each time you make these with some other nutrient dense foods (even try something like cayenne to give it a little kick)!
This sandwich involves waffles, but it's more of a lunch than a breakfast thing. Want it for breakfast? No judgments. The idea is basically this: Take some greasy fried chicken and turn it into a sandwich by stuffing it between two slices of bacon-and-cheese-spiked waffles. Hard to get greasier than that. PS: This recipe calls for homemade waffles and home-fried chicken, but you can easily adapt it by using storebought frozen wafles and picking up some fried chicken from your favorite local source.
Inspired by the old-school, ultra-rich, mousselike chocolate cake that usually called for a whole pound of chocolate, half a dozen eggs and lots of butter, this enlightened rendition has deep bittersweet chocolate flavor and dense melt-in-your-mouth texture. No one will guess it's healthier. The secret is excellent natural cocoa powder and good-quality bittersweet chocolate, preferably with 70% cacao. Although the cake can be eaten once it's completely cool, it comes out of the pan much easier and even tastes better if it has been chilled at least overnight.
Andrea Soranidis is the author of popular food blog ThePetiteCook.com. She loves to share healthy and gourmet recipes inspired by her foodie adventures, and her aim is to help other foodies cook delicious easy recipes with natural ingredients. Follow The Petite Cook on Facebook (www.facebook.com/lovethepetitecook) for your daily source of cooking inspiration from all around the world.

If you're from the South, you know all about chicken-fried steak: It's not chicken, it's steak—but it's deep-fried like fried chicken. Got it? Now make this brilliant version: Get some cube steak, cut it into fingers, and coat it in flour, saltine crackers and spices before giving it the deep-fry treatment. Make sure to dip the fingers in the mayo-mustard-sour cream mixture for extra decadence.
Changing habits is an emotional processes by nature. They can be borne out of unhappiness, an intrinsic motivation such as being able to keep up with one’s kids, or simply a desire to lead a healthier lifestyle. Whatever the reason, lifestyle changes are often deeply personal. While some people love engaging in health and fitness communities, others would rather keep their information in a private app and never say a word about their goals. But no matter how you slice it, almost anyone who is trying to make a change in their diet has experienced food-related guilt. One study found that 80% of women and 70% of men suffer from food guilt. So what is food guilt and why does it happen to so many people?
Don’t get angry. If you become angry at yourself after eating more than planned, think about why. You know one or two “out-of-the-ordinary” meals won’t reverse all of your progress. If you let minor setbacks get to you, you could be getting into a dangerous mindset. If you try to restrict and lower your calories below what Noom has set for you, you are likely to binge later on. This binge-restrict pattern is very difficult to get out of once it’s become habit. The best thing you can do for yourself after overeating is to continue as planned. Don’t try to account for the extra food, and don’t be angry at yourself. Everyone slips up in dieting, even those who have done it countless times. Forgive yourself and move on.

This heavenly vegan double-layered apple cake is easy to make and combines fresh apples, cinnamon, all-spice, ginger, molasses and brown sugar with a fluffy and sweet maple buttercream frosting.

Get the recipe for Vegan Apple Spice Cake with Maple Buttercream


Quick story: My brother recently moved to Bermuda for work and went to a new dentist there. While the dentist was introducing himself - doing his spiel - he touted to my brother, “And I want you to know, we’re very proud that all of our equipment is totally sterile and we check it before each patient - just like in the States!” Not only did this make my brother think about the possibility of non-sterile equipment being used but it also created doubt about other dentists in Bermuda! (and was a funny story) Point is: making a statement like this - even if it’s about something that didn’t cross your mind earlier, or that you already assumed to be true, creates doubt about other products that don’t advertise that feature.
What if I were to tell you there is a way to eat without any remorse and all the mental space that was once occupied with guilt could be freed up for more productive thoughts? Well there is and it’s all about focusing on nutrient dense whole foods, which by the way, can be delicious and totally satisfying. There is an awful stigma that says healthy food is bland and undesirable, but that just isn’t true if you are eating a balanced diet.
I know exactly where you are because I’ve been there myself…I remember being so tired that I could barely function. I gained 30 pounds out of nowhere and had a severe case of brain fog. I also started to get severe anxiety and panic attacks. I was driven and motivated…until I wasn’t. I didn’t know what was happening to me. All I wanted was to get my life back…
The Most Decadent Diet Ever! is actually NOT a diet book! It tells the story of how I’ve lost over 70 pounds and kept it off WITHOUT dieting! Then it offers over 125 incredibly decadent recipes – the stuff we all crave (like Buffalo Wings and Chocolate Layer Cake). It’s the perfect book if you think that healthy food can’t be insanely delicious AND/OR if you love to bake (though there are plenty of “real food” recipes too). The recipes are simple, but many do take a bit of time.
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