How To Eat Dessert Every Day and Be Healthy | The Hart of Health Podcast S1 E19
Joané & Jonathan: (00:03)
Hi, I’m Joané Hart and I’m Jonathan Hart. This is the Heart of Health; a show where we focus mainly on health and self-optimization. Here, we like to talk about our experiences and knowledge when it comes to health and bio-hacking. We hope you enjoy the show.
Hello, on today’s episode, we are going to be talking about how to eat dessert while you’re on a healthy diet.
Yeah. It’s, everyone’s got this perception of, oh, when I’m eating healthy, I can have nothing nice. I have to deprive myself of all pleasures in life, food-wise. And when I’m deciding to be healthy, now it’s time to suffer. I can’t eat the things that taste nice anymore.
Yes. A lot of people have this idea that if they want to eat healthily and such a healthy diet, they have to give up all dessert. And I’ve seen so many diets where people eat oats and fruit and fruit for breakfast, which, yeah, there’s a bit of sweetness in there, but then lunch is just the chicken salad and dinner is also meat and veggies. And then they say for your treat, you can have a handful of nuts or a piece of fruit. And for people who have a really big sweet tooth, as I do, that just doesn’t work. And I think a lot of people cling to their unhealthy diets because they don’t want to give up chocolate. They don’t want to give up dessert and they don’t actually realize that you don’t need to give up dessert to be healthy.
Yeah. You’ve just got to take out the processed crap really and substitute it with a lot less processed options when you’re making desserts.
Yeah. That’s basically what it comes down to. You can take a recipe for dessert and then just swap out the processed white flour for a healthier flour, like almond flour, macadamia flour. Those are good options for me. Some people do still eat tapioca flour, which I’ve baked with before. But if you do not want to have tapioca, then one of the nut flowers are a good option. You don’t need to use flour with cooking. I mean, we’ve made healthy ice creams, healthy brownies, all sorts of healthy desserts; like panna cotta as ice cream and even you currently being on a carnivore diet people think, oh, if I go carnivore, I can’t have any dessert. And yes, a lot of people who go carnivore don’t want to have things like dairy and honey, but if you’re happy to have dairy and honey, then you can still have dessert even when you’re on a carnivore diet.
Well, even if you don’t want dairy, you can do the meringues.
Yeah. You can make meringues, but yes, you can use egg whites, whip that up with some honey and bake really delicious meringues. We’ve been making a lot of marshmallows lately and all you do to make that is you use gelatin and you make like syrup with honey. And then you basically just beat all of that together. I’m not going to get into the exact recipe now, but we’ve been making marshmallows using only honey water and gelatin. So you really don’t need a lot to make a healthy dessert on the carnivore diet if you’re on that.
Yes. And I think a lot of people think, Oh, if you’re on a carnivore diet, that is such a restrictive diet, that you’re not going to be having anything nice. But it also, like you said, it depends if you having dairy or not, but there are so many ways you can make not necessarily dessert, like things, but things that have a different texture, you can make a frittata that gives you almost like a Brady texture that some people feel like they’re missing out on. But one thing that people would have never said, you could get on a carnivore diet is dessert. And those marshmallows proved that theory wrong; a hundred percent.
And the ice cream. I mean your basic ice cream recipe is cream, egg yolks, and sweetener. And if you’re on the carnivore diet and you’re having cream, then you can make an ice cream with cream, egg yolks, and honey, and we’ve done that. And it’s really delicious. We’re using the carnivore diet specifically as an example now, but what I ended up happening is years ago when I stopped eating sugar for a while, when I went on a low sugar diet and then eventually on a low carb diet, I actually ended up eating a lot more dessert in my diet than before. Because before, when I was having sugary desserts, then I would limit because I didn’t want to eat too much of it. But then when I started making sugar-free desserts, low sugar desserts; healthy desserts that would still provide quite a lot of nutritional value, then I could eat more of it because I reduced the guilt factor. So if you love baking and cooking, then yes, having healthy desserts is easier. But I mean, if you’re having things like dark chocolate, that’s a very easy option for people to go to as a dessert. Okay. You don’t want to bake something. You like chocolate just choose dark chocolate instead of the sugary milk chocolate. And that is a very easy way to have a healthy dessert. What other things can people do?
Oh, I was thinking we were talking about the carnivore diet because it’s probably the most extreme example. And so if you can do it on a carnivore diet, if you’re keto your dessert should be super easy to get, right. I mean, you have so many options. Remember we made cookies out of cassava flour that were really awesome.
Yeah. We’ve made cookies. We’ve made waffles, we’ve made all sorts of things.
You just gotta try and get your ingredients to be quality and sort of just almost do it like a mystery box challenge where you say, okay, well, I don’t want to use the processed crap. I’m going to limit my ingredients to these and experiment. Try and make like, maybe you can base it off another recipe, but you know, make it an experiment and then try trying a different flour in a certain recipe and seeing how it turns out. But as long as you’re limiting yourself to quality ingredients, it’s hard to really make it unhealthy.
Yes; it is hard. Whatever diet you’re on; if you’re on a paleo diet, a keto diet, the Mediterranean diet, you can literally do a Google search or go on Pinterest type in the name of the diet. You are following followed by the word dessert recipes. And you will find dessert recipes that will fit in your diet. Everyone else’s experiments, everyone else’s experiments. If you don’t feel like experimenting yourself; if you want waffles, but you’re on a keto diet, just type in keto, dessert waffles, and you will find a recipe. If you are paleo, you can say; paleo ice cream, and you will find paleo ice cream recipes. It’s really simple, especially fat bombs for a keto diet; because a lot of fat bombs are quite sweet and you can make like chocolate truffles or I make nut butter fudge. Fat bombs are a really good way to get a sweet treat into your diet. And literally, a Pinterest search will give you way too many options for healthy desserts. Well, a simpler thing is, so I read this book called the dessert diet club and the book is basically about how to eat dessert while staying healthy and how to include healthy desserts into your diet. And there are about 50 healthy dessert recipes in this book that people can also try if they want to. But the main thing we’re actually trying to say today is you do not have to eat a boring diet. You can have dessert and be healthy. And the first step is just to get people to realize they don’t have to suffer in the name of health.
Yeah. Obviously using health as a relative concept. But, even on one of the most restrictive diets, you can have a little bit of enjoyment, which is kind of the point in the beginning because obviously, as we said, you can use almond flour, but if you’re sensitive to oxalates it might not be healthy for you. So yes, the individual always comes into it. It’s never sort of a cut and dry scenario with one size fits all, but let’s say you’re on a keto diet and everything that you’ve eaten this keto is doing well for you. And you’re healthy on the keto diet. And you sort of think like, oh, I wish I could have something nice; the options are there. You just have to look for them. Yeah.
And know that they’re there.
And just know that you can also come up with things on your own. I mean, it’s not just like you’re limited to the Pinterest recipes; just take some ingredients and think about it a bit and try and experiment.
Yes. Because you can make a list of foods that you are happy to eat. And if you have a food, an ingredient that can sweeten things, then you can really play around. Like if you just have egg whites and sweetener, you can make really cool dessert, right? Yeah.
You can make a mousse. If you add cacao to that.
You can make a chocolate mousse or I’ve made a peanut butter mousse. I’ve even made doughnuts, keto doughnuts, by experimenting and figuring out what works. And like you said, the whole mystery box challenge use the ingredients that you can have. So if you’re on a diet where you’re trying to eat a lot of berries, for example, but you also have almonds, then you make an almond flour base and make a blueberry pie or something like that. You don’t just have to stick to the rule, fresh blueberries and plain yoghurt or something, you know?
Yes. And obviously, now we’re saying you can make this dessert and they will taste nice, but you also can’t expect them to be exactly like the things you’re missing. Like I think it will be very difficult to get a doughnut. That’s got the exact same texture and taste like a real doughnut using keto ingredients, but you can get close enough.
And something that’s super delicious as well.
Yes, in its own way; a lot of people are very attached to this very specific thing. So like they want a doughnut and you got to ask yourself, is it the doughnut or is it the sugar or is it the combination of fat and sugar in the doughnut that’s really triggering you? Or is it the doughnut itself?
Yes. One thing that I’ve made that was very close to the original for me was my chocolate and hazelnut spread that tasted like Nutella. Oh, that was easy to do. That was easy to do because all I basically did was roast hazelnuts and then blend that with cacao and some sweetener and one or two other ingredients. And then I had this Nutella. It is exactly like Nutella. And you know, if someone who loves Nutella struggles to give it up, that’s a very simple thing to do. And you can get your Nutella fix without the sugar and the palm oil and other ingredients that you do not want to eat.
Yeah. Because that’s actually one of the main benefits of making your own desserts is you don’t have to put any emulsifiers or preservatives or any of those kinds of crap into your dessert because you’re controlling everything that goes into it. Where a manufacturer has got to think about how long it has to last on the shelf, how firm and stable it’s gotta be. And they’ve got a whole bunch of factors that they use all sorts of other processed ingredients to achieve. Now, if you’re doing it yourself, you can cut out all that crap.
Yes. One great thing is with the demand for low carb products, paleo products, all these things increasing a lot of companies have started making healthier treats. A lot of companies have low carb cookies and sugar-free chocolates and things like that that they’ve made available. So if someone doesn’t really want to bake, you can maybe get some treats online or from a local health shop. We found a lot of nice, healthier, sweet treats in the stores and online over the years, and the options are just getting more and more.
Yeah. As, as the demand increases, they’re going to be more products that cater to this, but you still have to be careful because this is where you on the border between dirty keto and clean keto. Because, you do get a lot of products that say they’re keto, but then you look on the back and there’s still a whole bunch of crap in it. Like obviously the general rule is the fewer ingredients, the better. And yeah, so you can go into the stores and, but, you know, look at the back. If you understand what all the ingredients are, it’s probably not as bad as something where you don’t even understand what the ingredients are. And then you can like now if you paleo, you can check. Are there any grains in it? Is there any soy, is there any…
Anything that you and want to eat in it?
You know, look at what your diet guidelines are. And then you can check the products and say like, oh, this one’s got soy in it. Unfortunately, I’m trying to cut out my grain. So I’m going to skip this one, but then you find one that’s soy-free and gluten-free and all those things and it hasn’t got any crazy ingredients in it, then it’s definitely worth a shot.
Yeah. We definitely recommend reading the labels because we’ve done a podcast episode about this before this concept of the health halo effect, where companies like to market products as being healthier, healthier alternatives, but you still want to actually study the product and decide for yourself if it really is a healthier alternative or if the company is just trying to trick you.
Yeah. Often companies will try to highlight one thing and put it on the front. So they’ll highlight something and be gluten-free. And you think, oh, it’s gluten-free. That must mean it’s healthy. Where you look on the back and then you don’t even know what words are in the ingredients list. You’ve never seen them in your life before. So, you know, don’t fall for the front of the package, make sure you know, what the ingredients list is.
Yeah. A good example is the other day we were in the store and I saw these low carb brownies and they had all these labels on them, like keto-friendly, low in carbs, which is great. And I believe that the total carb content of these brownies were low enough for them to say that it’s low carb. But then when I checked, it had oats in it, wheat, gluten. And for me, yes, I am on a low carb diet most of the time, but I’m also trying to exclude gluten from my diet. And most of the times low carb options are naturally gluten-free, like a lot of low recipes. But in the stores, I found that a lot of things that were marketed as low carbs still had gluten in them. So yeah, it might take one box, but then it has the gluten in it that I don’t want. So you just want to become good at reading labels, but I mean, it’s a small price to pay for the, for getting dessert into your diet. You might think, oh, I don’t want to read labels or I don’t want to make my own healthy desserts, but what is worse being on a diet that’s really boring and you feel like you’re struggling or going through a little bit of effort of reading labels. And once you’ve read the label of a product and you found a product that gives you a healthy treat and fits in your diet, then you don’t have to read that label again. You know, that that is something that you can have, you know, that that is an option and I’ve become good at knowing exactly which stores I can buy a treat for myself and which products are safe to eat and which are not. But you just need to give yourself that little bit of time to educate yourself.
Yeah, it’s a learning curve, but once you’ve learned it’s, it’s downhill from that point. I would say the only caveat with this whole situation would be, if you’re trying to sort out a food addiction, then it might be worth your while to actually try and restrict any kind of sweetness for an extended period of time to try and actually get control of your food addiction.
Yeah. You can do that. Or what I found help me is if I have a like something that I count as dessert, that’s more bitter, then that helps with craving. So, I’m not going to have a super sweet dessert, but I’ll have dark chocolate, but I’m talking about 85% cacao or 90% cacao, dark chocolate because I can’t eat a lot of that at once. So if you can get something like that, that’s really satisfying in a small amount that’s helped me with overeating.
Yeah. But obviously, then that’s not really that sweet. Yeah.
But it’s still, it’s still indulgent and you still feel like you are having a dessert.
Speaker 3: (20:25)
Yeah. But what I’ve heard explained is that when you have something sweet, it triggers that exact same pathway in your brain. So yes, you might be transitioning using the chocolate because it’s bitter, but it’s still something that triggers a reward pathway. But at least you are using that to transition off sweet things.
Yeah. But I think one of the problems is hyper palatability. So when you have problems with food addiction, the more flavours that are on your plate, the easier it will be for you to overeat. So if you keep it simple, then you’re less likely to overeat. So don’t go eat something, salty, eat something, sweet, eat something, salty, eat something sweet, and don’t have five things on your plate with different flavours; that can help with overeating. So don’t have a dessert where you have ice cream and dark chocolate and fruit, and you have all these different flavours in one dessert because that will increase the chances of you wanting to eat a lot more of it. But if you kept it really simple, so say your main meal was just a piece of meat with some vegetables and then your dessert was dark chocolate. The chances of you, overeating will be a lot less than if your main meal was two different kinds of meat and five different kinds of vegetables. Plus, you had a glass of wine that added another taste to it. And then your dessert is ice cream with chocolate and nuts and some fruit. Then the chances of you overeating are much higher than if you kept your meal as simple as possible. But if you’re like me, even though I do overeat at times, I still want to have a treat after my meal, but I just know that I should keep it as simple as possible when I feel the urge to overeat and go for something bitter, like really dark chocolate, that’s helped me a lot. Like I know you’re talking about studies that you’ve read, but you’ve never struggled with overeating before. And I just know from my personal experience, what has worked for me and what hasn’t and keeping the meal as simple as possible, and then going for a dessert, that’s not that sweet and more bitter. That helps a lot.
Yeah. Obviously, that will make the transition easier, but you can also do it cold turkey. That is an option.
Yes. But this podcast is for people who want to eat dessert and be healthy.
Yes. Obviously, I’m saying that this is why it’s a caveat saying that there are people out there that have some serious food addiction problems and it might be in their best interest to go cold turkey, but it also might not because that can trigger them to feel even more deprived and your chocolate transition might be better. It’s going to be very individual. But just to say that, if you have a healthy relationship with food, don’t deprive yourself of sweetness at all. There’s like no reason for you to deprive yourself of sweetness in your diet. But if you have food, addiction problems that will be the only sort of situation where you’d have to monitor that.
Well, you don’t have to, if you have food addiction and you were just very strategic about your diet and you know, I’ve gone through phases where I wanted a lot of desserts, but then I just worked it into my diet. And you know, I have dessert after every meal breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And even though I have food addiction or struggle with that, most days I end up not overeating and I’m quite satisfied. And a key thing for me with battling my food addiction has been making my meals as satisfying as possible because I’ve tried cutting out all the things, the sweet things. And that ends up making things harder for me, because then all I can think about is, oh, when can I have something sweet again? Or all I can think of is how deprived I’m feeling. And, you know, sometimes I just feel miserable. And then coming up with ways of making my meals more satisfying has helped a lot. So for example, I’ll have a cup of bone broth before my meal, because that makes me feel full. If I feel like, okay, today I have the urge to eat a lot. Then I will make a dessert, like a chocolate mousse that I make with egg whites. That’s very low in calories, but I can eat a large volume of that. So there are a lot of strategies that you can incorporate if you do struggle with overeating. And for me finding what will make you the most satisfied is key.
Yeah. Well, I mean, if you look at alcohol addiction, some people to recover fully, they have to.