What else? There is never ‘guilt’ as an ingredient. I promise. Go check the back of your favorite “guilty” food, it won’t be listed. When we label foods as ‘guilt free’ it makes it seem like we should feel guilt about foods that aren’t labeled guilt free. Yikes. What’s really happening is that the labeling of this product is using basic psychology and marketing principles to make you buy their product - but it’s also changing how you feelings and thoughts about food.
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.

These vegan-friendly peanut butter cheese crackers might look familiar. Remember that old Keebler Sandwich Cracker that left your fingers orange and oily. Those highly processed crackers are made with words that are unknown to the English language that will keep the shelf life long but your appetite short. Those may be a quick fix, but there are almost no nutrients in the supermarket version of these cookies. We recommend you give these natural peanut butter cheese crackers a try next time you’re in the mood for something savory with a little sweet!

No oven? No problem! This berry tasty treats go into the freezer where the cashew, strawberry and coconut oil filling will solidify into a cool and creamy treat.

Get the recipe for Vegan Strawberry Cheesecake Bites


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


Guilt doesn’t work as a motivator for healthy eating — so why bother? It just makes us feel bad. Remind yourself that you do not need to succumb to the marketing ploy of “guilt-free food.” Eating is pleasure and is part of everyday life. And if you forget that, repeat these words: “I don’t have to feel guilty, because I haven’t done anything wrong.”
Further proof that we are living in some bizarro capitalist dystopia came with reports from the United States on the ‘trend’ of co-workers donating portions of their paltry holiday allowance to new parents who have used up their paid family leave. Rather than a horrifying exposé of structural manipulation, it was framed as a cheery feelgood story of everyday heroism. Something is terribly, terribly wrong.
I just read through this whole exchange and I understand both (all three, rather) sides of the point. As someone who has trudged my way through binge eating disorder-turned-bulemia-turned binge again, a few short years ago, my goal was reduced to the smallest nutshell of wanting freedom with food–not freedom from it. I have been through layer after layer of motives, belief systems regarding food and exercise, victory and despair. I currently find myself in a place of peace. On the way, I was the person who could not forgive herself for her poor decisions, learning the hard way that my unforgiveness only compounded those choices and led to further destructive behavior. I think folks who identify with that mindset are the author’s intended audience. As far as Mandy’s point about tough love, I had many points at which I would have given many things to have had someone in my life offer some accountability. If I got it, I certainly did not recognize it. I married a beautiful man who had no grid for my struggles. He wrestled competitively for most of his life, a crazy high metabolism and no problems with eating whatever he wanted. His weight has not fluctuated more than 5 pounds in the 11 years I’ve known him and he has no ailments outside of a bum knee from an old injury. He does not go work out and never thinks twice about what he eats despite having a sizeable sweet tooth. His version of tough love was to tell me to put up with the trigger foods because my choices were my own. I had to climb a steep mountain to keep foods in the house that I considered triggers. There is a great chance that I would be much slimmer now if I had been feeding only myself and had total jurisdiction over the pantry’s contents. However, if not for that scenario, I may not have been nudged into deeper freedom. I found myself with an opportunity to take advantage of a rigorous situation: how do I get myself to make good choices in an environment over which I did not have total control? I learned that there is an idealism in me which is strong enough to override impulses and bad habits. I don’t even know how to articulate what it was, but the notion was implemented with the question, “would I be happier if I did eat “x” or if I did not eat “x?” Sometimes the answer has been yes, sometimes it’s been no. I had to repeatedly search deep within myself to discover what is really important to me. Asking myself this question turned a new page in my life. It isn’t my focal point anymore, but from time to time I find myself asking it again. I transitioned into a different stage where my internal dialog became “You are a grown-a!$ woman and can make a decision you’re willing to stand by,” haha. This question has not been limited to regarding my food choices, either. I have had to find my own unorthodox inspiration to pursue joy in my life. Along these lines, I learned some other things about myself. It turns out movement, not merely exercise, is something I cherish, so I make it a priority in my day. I discovered that the only reason I was so concerned with my body image was because other people made it their business to criticize me (I went through a season of heavy criticism at a sensitive age. Not all had to do with my body, but much of it did). Once I moved past being so self-conscious, I didn’t mind being a little chubby. In fact, I like my curves and they do not get in my way! Something I never expected began to occur as soon as my attitude settled into contentment. Every couple of weeks I think to weigh myself. And you know what? I am a few ounces less each time! I know that this rate of progress is not for everybody, but for me it is golden. It simply confirms that if in my mind I am free, the rest really does take care of itself. My greatest motivator is, has been and will always be joy. It doesn’t matter if there are chips, kale, cookies or quinoa in the kitchen; what matters is that neither healthy nor unhealthy food control me. Also, I have learned that it is wise to be okay whether or not those around me are.

Best served the day they're made, these bright and beautiful tarts are packed with a yummy maple and almond filling, and topped with a sweet orange-infused cranberry compote.

Get the recipe for Gluten-Free, Vegan Cranberry-Almond Tartlets


Dinners; Chinese pepper steak, was delicious. Smashed potatoes were very good. Grilled corn was yummy. Deserts, I've had the Not only in your dreams cake. Sooooo gooood! I'm planning on making the Carrot cake soon! I honestly can't say enough good things about this book. It's been great for me and so far my husband has loved everything. I have to sometimes make a few more servings so he can take them to work the next day! The recipes have been fairly easy to double up or even reduce.
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