Just as important as being Earnest, having dessert is often the first thing to go when someone decides to make some changes for the better in the diet/lifestyle. Dessert is regarded as the devil in a meal, a fame well deserved mostly due to the thousands of high sugar, high fat, high guilt options scattered around. I am still to find a restaurant that offers alternatives for this part of the meal that are healthy and satisfying, it almost seems like there is a hidden conspiracy to keep healthy eaters away from this treats.
Like most things that we decide to part with when making healthy choices, this is one that makes us happy, like the extra cheese topping, with that bite of freshly baked bread, like the splash of double cream over the raspberries, and happiness is a thing to cherish, it is elusive and as some might say, is in the little things. Being happy has important benefits too, it makes us more relaxed because it decreases the stress hormone levels (cortisol) and releases other beautiful hormones that work in our favour, like endorphins.
The importance of cortisol in our life and health is paramount, when the levels are elevated for an extended period of time, we are at higher risk of suffering from different conditions:
- Weight gain: together with cortisol, the stress hormone, we experience a raise in other hormones, the ones that makes us crave sugar and fats and a decrease in the ones that induce satiety.
- The immunological system is compromised. Our defences drop and there has even been some studies that link it with some cancers.
- Cardiac risk: this hormone also increases blood pressure which could cause cardiovascular diseases.
- Higher risk of depression since stress affects our self esteem, generates unhappiness and melancholy.
There are many stress reducing strategies and they are mostly based on the individual, each person is different and has different coping mechanisms. Music, meditation, running or exercising, black tea (high polyphenol content) and sleeping more are some of the most common ones.
The hunger and sense of deprivation is a big source of stress for the body, but one that can be easily addressed. Eating what your body needs is easy, no need to be on a hunger strike to be healthy and/or fit.
So back to dessert bringing happiness, there are many healthy options to bring a happy ending to your meals, and even if they DO count for your calories and macronutrients, they don’t necessary have to jeopardise your success. Today i want to share with you a simple recipe that is both a great everyday option and a crowd pleaser if you have invitees.
Ingredients (serves 4)
500 gr of fresh ripe strawberries
1 Lemon (the juice)
1 dash of calorie free sweetener
2 ice cubes
1 0% fat Greek yogurt or
1 scoop of lemon sorbet
Wash the fruits well and chop of the green leaves at the top reserving 2 of the prettiest ones intact for decoration. In a blender, put all the strawberries chopped roughly and add the sweetener, lemon juice and ice. Blend until the mixture has become completely liquid and there are no chunks of fruit anywhere in sight.
Easy, isn’t it?
Serving suggestion: in a bowl, pour the soup and create an “island” of greek yogurt (just one tablespoon is enough) and decorate with half a strawberry.
If you have people over, you can also do this with lemon sorbet, which adds a nice citric flavour without adding much sugar at all. If you are trying to be good, you can still have the yogurt version while the others enjoy the other one and no one will notice.
This dessert nutritional values are approximately:
Calories: 45 calories
Carbohydrates: 9 gr
Protein: 2 gr.
Fats: 0 gr.
An extra perk you might find is that this dish looks great, and children generally love it, so it is a very good way of making your children happily eat more fruit.