Believe it or not, your body is really, really good at guiding you to eat enough, choose nourishing foods and support your health. Yes, nutrition knowledge and understanding is helpful to guide that intuition, but it’s definitely there. So if you’re eating and choosing foods because of some flashy labeling or creative marketing - it’s hard to tell if you actually LIKE what you’re eating and if it even feels good to you. If you’re eating ‘til the bottom of Halo Top because it’s a ‘permitted food’, you likely aren’t paying attention to your increasing fullness, how satisfying it is, or if you’re even liking it! If we’re constantly ignoring those signals and eating until uncomfortable - albeit, ‘guilt-free’ - fullness, it makes it much harder for us to tune in and eat a satisfying amount of the real stuff and increases our dependence on filling up on the ‘guilt-free’ ones!
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.
The recipes include a selection of comfort foods and indulgent treats that have been made healthier by reducing their levels of fat and calories. For example, a typical slice of chocolate cake has 746 calories and 38 grams of fat, whereas Alexander’s recipe for Dark Chocolate Layer Cake with Buttercream Frosting has just 294 calories and 6 grams of fat.
Baby carrots are a guilt-free food you can enjoy at your desk or while on the road. A 1-cup serving of raw baby carrots has a minimal 25 calories and about 3 grams of fiber to make you feel full. The orange color of carrots is due to beta-carotene, a vitamin A compound essential for vision health. Women need 2,333 international units of vitamin A compounds and men require 3,000 IU daily, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Carrots provide nearly 1,800 IU of vitamin A compounds in the form of beta-carotene per half-cup serving.
Scenario: You go to a party or get together and end up eating more than expected. Or, maybe you had a heavy breakfast that leaves you feeling gross and tired. Or you binge and all is thrown off. This might lead to you feeling disappointed and result in making some unhealthy decisions throughout the rest of the day or cause you to throw in the towel.
It's nearly the end of November, the traditional kick-off to holiday temptations. And it's a long season — Thanksgiving, family get togethers, office parties, New Year's Eve celebrations, right through to Superbowl Sunday. Many people find healthy eating difficult this time of year. Maybe you've settled into an exercise routine and eaten wisely for months and are worried about undoing all the good you've done. Or maybe you want to simply avoid adding pounds.
Those who “cheat” at the modern rules of eating, where the ultimate aim appears to be a white-eyed kind of superior weightlessness, are now so laughably old-fashioned that Americans (nearly 40% of whom are obese) are being invited to pay $38 to dress up as them, being photographed with pizza as a document of how far it’s possible to fall. Into a cereal bowl, into a pit, into a dark and terrifying place where you are a walking burger and no longer in control.
Not only does it change your buying behavior but it also changes your EATING behavior. You’re more likely to have a greater amount of an item you label as ‘guilt-free’ than one you see as neutral. Research by Brian Wansink - a known leader in studying consumer behavior and marketing research - has shown that labeling a food as ‘low fat’ increased the consumption of that food by as much as 50%. Regardless of the amount more we may have - the idea is that when we see a food as ‘guilt-free’ we consume more of it than we would it’s ‘guilty’ competitor.
If it wasn’t supposed to be pleasurable, why do we have taste buds? Oh, right, because pleasurable foods tell our brains that we enjoy this thing. Also, it’s how we learn nutrition, our brains learn the outcome of ingesting different nutrients and then triggers cravings for things that will replenish those deficiencies. Yes, there are the sweet tooth cravings and such, but fundamentally, we learn to eat due to pleasurable responses TO what we eat.
Moderation is truly the key to success so it’s important to indulge in a cheat day here or there in order to maintain a bit of balance in your life. Now, I’m not advocating going completely crazy and consuming like 5 pepperoni pizzas, 2 milkshakes and a box of donuts in one day, but it’s fine if you want to have something a little cheesy or chocolately every once in a while.
Light and healthy carrot cake topped with smooth cream cheese frosting and chopped walnuts.
Get the recipe for Two-Tiered Spiced Carrot Cake with Orange-Cream Cheese Frosting
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
Nutella is one of those spreads that you can have a spoonful of and not feel bad about…until a few minutes later when the jar is empty, and your blood pressure is off the charts. Normally filled with sugar, we found a healthy alternative to this hungry obsession. Use this perfect midday snack for dipping apples and celery in or even as a spread on some whole wheat toast.
Chef and former L.A. caterer Devin Alexander has maintained a fifty-five-pound weight loss for over sixteen years by transforming the dishes she and millions of other Americans love best into guilt-free (yet still outrageously mouth-watering) indulgences--Rigatoni with Meat Sauce, BBQ Bacon Cheeseburgers, Eggplant Parmesan, Sinless Yet Sinful Sticky Buns, and even Dark Chocolate Layer Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting.