fbpx
funny green dinosaur toy with shopping cart on a soft pink background

What the Health is a Sweet Safari?

When I was younger, we had these events at our church called safari dinners. You would begin by having drinks at one person’s house, walk to the next to have starters, then go on to a different dinner location, and end with dessert at somebody else’s house. When I was in high school, my friends and I applied this idea to eating at restaurants as well. We hopped between places and would order something at each one. It is a lot of fun.

Now, I still go on sweet safaris every now and then, where instead of going to the gym, I go to the mall and walk around. As Carrie said in Sex and the City: “Shopping is my cardio.”[1]. Walking around in the mall makes my fitness tracker happy. I put on my headphones, listen to a podcast or audiobook, and walk from store to store in search of healthy sweet treats.

When I started going on solo sweet safaris, I usually parked by the entrance that is the closest to the Lindt store.

They always offer you a free Lindor chocolate truffle, which is one of my ultimate favourite treats. Then I would go past the Nespresso store to sample some coffee. And from then on, I let my cravings lead the way. I do try to keep things as healthy as possible though, but I will usually end up buying at least four tasty treats.

A Diary of A Sweet Safari

Here is a perfect example of a sweet safari, my diary of a sweet adventure. I wrote it in my journal after going on a sweet safari when I started writing this book.

Today, while going to the mall to buy my sister a birthday present, I had every intention of not buying any snacks. There are a lot of triggers for me at the mall. 

The moment I walked past the Lindt chocolate store and saw the nice man standing there by the doorway to heaven, with a tray of Lindor chocolate truffles, I caved, and my plans of resisting came crumbling down.

Not only did I eat the creamy chocolate ball from heaven he offered me, but when I saw the mountains of joy that were in the middle of the store, I did not even think, but started putting a few truffles in a bag, and walked to the counter.

I wandered through the mall eating one delectable truffle at a time, in pure bliss. This was not the end though. After the Lindt store, I walked past Krispy Kreme.

And no, I did not buy a doughnut. I always want to, but never allow myself to succumb to the temptation. It’s not worth the gluten. Instead, I tell myself that I could get something else that is equally delicious instead of a doughnut. Krispy Kreme is usually a trigger for me to go searching for more snacks.

I ended up buying a gluten-free muffin, a slab of dark chocolate (you would think the Lindor truffles would have been enough chocolate), and a gluten-free brownie. I also bought a decaf, almond cappuccino.

The occasional sugar doesn’t bother me as much because I do not feel the effects of it immediately. I mainly avoid it because of the effects that I know it has on my overall health, but it will not make my skin break out as quickly or make me feel as bad as gluten does.

I still go on sweet safaris, but now, I am more selective when it comes to the things I buy, and I make sure I don’t eat something I don’t want to put in my body because I didn’t check the ingredients. When I go on a sweet safari, I am a woman on a mission.

Here is what you need to know about going on a sweet safari:

  • You can walk around a lot and burn quite a few calories if you walk around the mall for a few hours, but if you eat an excessive number of calories, you probably will not burn everything you are eating, which is not actually necessary, but it is something you should be aware of. Walking does help with digestion, and it also counts as light exercise.
  • Schedule your meals around it. If I know that I am going shopping and it will probably turn into a sweet safari, I will usually go around breakfast or lunch, and keep my other meals for the day light.
  • Make it as healthy as possible. There are many tasty and indulgent things you can find that are not that bad for your health. The information in this book should help educate you enough to make informed decisions.
  • Have fun with it. If you stress about something you have eaten that is not exactly good for you, the stress will just damage your health further, which is why I did not freak out after eating more chocolate than I predicted I would. Allow yourself to enjoy it if this is something you end up doing.
  • Try to pick a place to go on your sweet safari where you know there will be healthy options. You can do an online search for places where you can buy things that fit your desired way of eating. Maybe there is a bakery that makes low-carb or gluten-free goodies, or simply things that are low in sugar. Find restaurants and stores with healthy options, and perhaps go on a food safari with friends.
  • Study your area and the stores around you, and you will quickly learn where you can find healthy treats. When we went on our honeymoon to Amsterdam, we figured out what we could buy at the supermarket and even found an incredible health food store. We bought dark chocolate-covered raspberries, coconut ice cream covered with chocolate, and what I would consider to be a lot of cheese.

We purchased gluten-free stroopwafels almost every day and tested all of the dark chocolates we could find that were soy-free (okay, I basically ate all of them). Jonathan is the best husband in the world. He bought me macarons… twice! I decided years ago that regardless of my typical diet, I can always have a macaron or two when travelling.