Tempting desserts can be a huge downfall over the holidays. Especially, that very important “S” word (Sweets) that Dr. Bernstein indicates in his book the Power of 5, that you need to have less of to reduce inflammation to improve your well-being.
“An individual’s risk for heart disease, diabetes and stroke increases with the number of metabolic risk factors. In general, a person who has metabolic syndrome is twice as likely to develop heart disease and five times as likely to develop diabetes as someone who doesn’t have metabolic syndrome”.
Some general thoughts about what makes up a “healthy dessert“. Is there such a thing? I think so, here is why…
Sugar…There is no way around it, sugar is sugar and should be avoided. However, there are healthier alternatives for that sweet tooth, the best substitute number 1 is fresh fruit, eat it for dessert or pureed to replace sugar in a recipe. To use in baking where Sugar is an ingredient, you can puree fruits such as applesauce, or you can use a sweetener called Stevia. Stevia is 100% natural, contains zero calories and has no known adverse health effects. It has been shown to lower blood sugar and blood pressure levels.
Chocolate…Chocolate and its main ingredient, cocoa, appear to reduce risk factors for heart disease. Flavanols in cocoa beans have antioxidant effects that reduce cell damage implicated in heart disease. Flavanols — which are more prevalent in dark chocolate than in milk chocolate — also help lower blood pressure and improve vascular function. In addition, some research has linked chocolate consumption to reduced risks of diabetes, stroke and heart attack. The darker the better! Remember, everything in moderation.
Butter & Oils…Nut and seed butters, such as almond or sunflower, are naturally rich in heart-healthy fats and also contain fiber and protein, which are not found in butter substitutes. You can also try mashed avocado, hummus, or extra virgin olive oil. All have a better-than-butter fat mix. I use vegan avocado oil butter in my cooking.
Let’s cooks some healthy desserts!
To healthy eating!
- 1/4 cup Avocado pureed or well-mashed
- 1/4 cup Avocado Oil
- 1 cup Whole Wheat Flour Or all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup Cocoa Powder Unsweetened
- 3/4 cup natural raw sugar Replace sugar with a tiny bit of Pure Stevia Powder -it goes along way.
- 3/4 cup Applesauce Unsweetened, to replace the bulk of using Stevia powder instead of sugar.
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 cups water
- 1-1/2 cups Dark Chocolate chips If you are vegan, use non-dairy chocolate chips; darker the better!
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 inch square pan with cooking spray.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the pureed avocado and olive oil until smooth.
- Add flour, cocoa powder, sugar substitute (tiny bit of Stevia & unsweetened applesauce), baking soda, salt and water. Stir until smooth.
- Fold in 1 cup of the dark chocolate chips.
- Pour prepared pan and the spread the batter evenly throughout the pan. Sprinkle with additional 1/2 cutoff the dark chocolate chips on the top.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean.
- Don't over bake or the brownies will have a cake-like texture.
- Remove and let the brownies sit out for at least 20 minutes before serving. Cut & serve OR cover and store for up to 3 days. You can also freeze in an airtight container for later enjoyment!