I am over the frozen yogurt fad. If you want to treat yourself with a dessert once in a while, by all means do so: balance is the key to a healthy lifestyle. If you want a healthy dessert, there are options but frozen yogurt is not one of them and I am sick of it being paraded around as one.
Everyone seems to be in a frenzy about low-calorie, fat-free, low-carb eating. If people would focus more on the quality of the food they are putting in their body, counting calories would become obsolete. By eating high nutrient food, such as vegetables, fruits, meats, and other food that is not processed, you are giving your body the nutrients it needs. If there is not a way to make it at home, it probably should not go into your body. Again, a treat here and there is no big deal, but the constant consumption of processed food due to buzz phrases like “fat-free” “low-carb” and “no sugar added” is not good for your health or your goals. Those types of processed foods do nothing to energize you, and likely are making you more sluggish.
This trend has people over-thinking eating, which is frankly a simple activity. If we as a society could get back to the basics of eating, sticking to food that is grown from, or can roam on the earth, there would be no need to look at an ingredient list. If we could get back to listening to our bodies, and simply eating when we are hungry and stopping when we are full, the obesity epidemic would not be so rampant. This is quite simple to adhere to when eating real food, but chemically enhanced food confuses our hormones (think ghrelin and leptin), decreasing the signal that we are full. In fact, often times these foods trick our bodies into thinking they need MORE food.
I have had several clients who tell me about how well they are eating because they are eating fat-free frozen yogurt for dessert, or whole wheat crackers as their snack. While these are a fine treat, they add no nutrition value to your meal. Personally, I would rather have a scoop of full-fat ice cream, because the real stuff can be homemade, and it tastes far better than any “calorie-free” food product on the market. I can also feel when I am getting full on ice cream, whereas I want to continue eating when I have frozen yogurt, due to all of the chemicals overstimulating my tastebuds and confusing my hormones. The only time it is truly necessary to be extremely meticulous when eating whole foods (beyond allergies), is for someone who is already extremely fit and is trying to alter their body composition even more. For the average person, eating real food would keep most people without a metabolic disorder, in a normal body weight range.
Why you need fats – Fats are one of the three macronutrients (fats, carbohydrates, & protein). While carbohydrates and fats provide energy for your body to exercise and do day-to-day activities, protein is utilized more in repairing tissue and muscle. If you decrease one of these three macronutrients, you by nature end up increasing one or both of the other two macronutrients. If you decrease your fat intake then your carbohydrate intake should likely increase a bit in order to compensate for the lost energy source.
Why you need carbohydrates – Carbohydrates are another energy source, which are important in brain preservation and function. When your body goes into starvation mode, it breaks down muscle and stores fat and glycogen stores because your brain needs glycogen to survive and your body will do whatever it can to protect your brain. If you reduce your carbohydrates AND your fat intake, then by nature you must increase your protein intake. In doing so, not only will you be very low on energy, but you will also be adding fat stores to your body. Too much of any of the three macronutrients causes the excess of that nutrient to be converted into fat in your body.
Why “no sugar added” does not matter – While it is advisable to reduce your intake of sugar, since excess sugar converts to fat, it is important to understand that “no added sugar” does not mean there is nothing added to make a product sweeter. The use of artificial sweeteners fools many people into thinking they have this wonderful “food” that tastes sweet without added calories. The truth is, you are consuming chemicals, which your body is not meant to digest. Studies show that artificial sweeteners not only are a culprit in the obesity epidemic because they cause fat cells to swell, but they also cause your taste buds to crave a higher volume of sweetness in order to satisfy that sweet craving. Sugar has been proven to be addictive, but artificial sweeteners are not a better alternative.
Does this mean that you should never consume anything besides kale again? No, that is not the point. The point I am trying to make is that, if you want to have frozen yogurt, or a cupcake, or a pizza once in a while: go for it! Just do not be fooled into thinking that by having frozen yogurt, or the low-fat, sugar free cupcake that you are making a healthier choice, because that is simply not true. Enjoy your treat for what it is: a treat. Anything that is processed and has chemicals to make it a food like product, has no business disguising itself has a healthy option. Stay informed and know what you are putting into your body.
Here is a brownie recipe from paleomg.com that I love. Not only am I getting added nutrients from the sweet potato in this recipe, but I can also name all of the ingredients in this recipe. Furthermore, I have brought these brownies to parties before without telling people that they have sweet potato, and no one even knew they were eating sweet potato!
Sweet Potato Brownies
1 Sweet Potato
3 Eggs, whisked
¼ cup Coconut oil, melted
1/3 C raw honey
½ cup Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips (optional)
3 Tablesoons coconut flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of sea salt
- Preheat oven to 425F, use a fork to puncture holes in sweet potato and throw in the oven for 20-30 minutes.
- Once your sweet potato is soft and cooked through, peel off the skin and mash it up in a bowl. Turn oven down to 350F
- Add your wet ingredients: coconut oil, honey, vanilla, and whisked eggs to the bowl and mix together (I use a blender)
- Add dry ingredients: coconut flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and chocolate chips.
- Mix well to incorporate and pour into greased 8×8 baking dish. Bake 30-35 minutes.
- NOOOMMMM DOWN