Confession: I love chocolate. I mean I really love chocolate, which has led to a really unhealthy sugar habit as of late. I have been enjoying chocolate chip cookies, double chocolate brownies, chocolate fudge balls….you name it – I make it. What started out as an innocent indulgence every now and then has turned into a daily need it, gotta have it addiction. I joke that I buy chocolate chips like most people buy bread; every time I go to the store I pick up a bag. I can go through one bag in a week! I don’t even want to do the math and know how many unnecessary extra calories a week I have been getting from chocolate chips alone.
So I have made a (very hard) decision: one of my goals for the month of June is to severely cut back my added/processed sugar intake and to get the majority of my sugar from fresh and dried fruits. This is a very scary prospect but I need to break this unhealthy chain before it gets worse. Sugar is toxic and addictive, not something that we need to be consuming in mass amounts. To learn more about the different types of sugar and what they do to your body, click here.
Last Wednesday night I sprung into action! I tossed my chocolate chip stash as well as any processed junk in my pantry (might as well) and hid my various sugars (I don’t want to waste those!). So here is the question: what does a recovering sugar junkie eat when she has a sweet tooth?? The answer: brownies!!! Yes, brownies! One of my husband’s and my favorite treats is a loaded brownie sundae. We go all out: fresh-baked brownie, ice cream, chocolate syrup and whipped cream! That is sure to put anyone in a bona fide sugar coma. I went vegan after my husband left for Afghanistan and have been experimenting with different vegan recipes that would rival our brownie sundae splurges and the following is just one of the contenders.
However, there is something a little different about this brownie sundae: it is vegan, raw, and free of added sugar. And it is also delicious!
Vegan, Raw Brownie Sundae
Makes Two Servings
For the brownie
- ¼ cup walnuts
- ¼ cup dates
- 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
- Small pinch of salt
Throw walnuts into a food processor and pulse until completely ground up. Add dates and cacao powder and process until a fine, crumbly mixture forms. Pat mixture down into a square container. Let firm in the fridge.
For the “ice cream”
- 1 frozen banana
- Splash almond milk
Put banana in food processor (don’t clean in between uses, the banana will pick up any of the left behind cacao powder) with a splash of almond milk. Run until a creamy, soft serve like consistency forms. (I put extra milk in my soft serve because i like it runny for some reason!)
Don’t get me wrong, just because this dessert is vegan and raw, does not mean you get a free pass to enjoy it in abundance. Sure, it is way better than a regular brownie sundae but it does have its share of fats (although good fats, from the walnuts) and sugars (from the dates and banana). I wouldn’t enjoy this every single day, but it won’t hurt as a splurge every now and then. This is definitely a good treat to satisfy my chocolate cravings and sweet tooth. I have been officially off chocolate chips/added sugars for 1 week now! Who needs added sugars when nature so perfectly provides it for you with fruit?
I’m not the only one in my house with a sweet tooth!
****Probably TMI Alert****
I am someone who suffers from PMS bad. I can usually feel my period coming a week away; I suffer from bloating, fatigue, mood swings, and cravings. My appetite will greatly increase in the week before my period and that is usually the first clue that it is coming: all I can think about are salty and sweet foods. I also tend to have really horrible cramps at the beginning of my period. However, this month I had NONE of these symptoms and found myself quite surprised that is was already “that time of the month.” Although it was right on time, I had no warning signs and therefore didn’t realize it was coming. This is unbelievable to me. The only thing I did differently this month was go raw heavy right before my period (by complete coincidence). I honestly think that going high raw helped prevent all symptoms of PMS. I was not bloated because I was extremely hydrated from the fresh vegetables and fruits. I was not tired because raw, living foods give me extreme energy. I was not moody because raw, fresh foods leave me feeling radiantly happy and confident with myself. And I did not have any extreme food cravings because my body was already getting the complete nourishment it craved. Needless to say I will be keeping an eye on the calender in the future so I can plan on raw heavy days when they will benefit my body the most!!
**additional note: This brownie sundae is actually a perfect snack to help ward off PMS symptoms! Potassium and vitamin B6 in bananas help regulate fluids in the body (preventing bloat) and can also help decrease painful cramps. The raw cacao powder contains iron which is an important mineral for women to be getting during their period (especially important for vegans, because we do not get any iron from red meat). The magnesium in walnuts helps to act as a mood stabilizer, which can be very beneficial during PMS! Dates contain calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium and can also help settle intestinal troubles. So while I thought I was just squashing my chocolate craving with a healthy substitute, I was actually eating a perfect PMS food!
I will post some information on higher raw foods and what exactly this entails later in the week. It is nothing to be afraid of, I promise!!