This article is a bit of a sequel to Sweets, Cheats and My Dog, Charley…
I want to start by saying that, although Charley was the sweetest, most amazing dog, he was also a rebel. I mean how many people have a picture of their dog taking a dumpsky on The Golden Gate Bridge?
Charley would also chew on bars of soap every time we left him home alone. He wouldn’t eat the whole bar, he’d just chew it a little to let us know that he was mad and he was a rebel!
Charley marched to the beat of his own drum and I encourage you to do the same. When it comes to your diet, you need to find what works for you and what is sustainable.
One of my Keep It Paleo! seminars was lined up with the launch of the Whole 30 diet challenge. We made some Pecan Chicken Salad for lunch and some people were afraid to eat it because it contained honey and that wasn’t allowed on their diet challenge. Now, I don’t know a lot about the Whole 30, but when people are so serious that they won’t even eat some real, wholesome food, then, to me, that is not sustainable. After that seminar, I kept in touch with a few people who were on the Whole 30 and, within two weeks, they had all fallen off the wagon and fallen hard. While aiming for the stars, they ended up hitting the ground.
There is a quote from Shakespeare that goes like this:
“To climb steep hills requires a slow pace at first.”
This is the mentality that I recommend to those who wish to improve their diet. While some people are successful going “cold turkey,” most are not. We want to make changes that, even if seemingly small, are sustainable. As I’ve mentioned before, I recommend keeping some flour and sugar in your diet. Maybe a cookie or a donut per week, so that when Grandma Patsy offers you some fudge or Pumpkin Pie and you respect your elder, you don’t end up running to the bathroom…
Now, obviously there are “dos lados a cada tortilla.” Some people take the cookie a week mentality and turn it into something more. Once they taste the sugar, they freak out and eat 30 cookies in one sitting. That’s not good either. I had a conversation with Kelly Starrett last summer when he shared some of his story with me. At the end, he said that he is on the road a lot and when he goes out to dinner, he decides between a drink or dessert, but not both. That is sustainable. Not devoting every waking hour to diet purity, but making an effort, step by step, to sustainable changes.
Whether you believe it or not, to improve your diet is “to climb a steep hill.” If you are ready to make a change, then you are probably gung-ho and ready to dive in, head first. I laud you for this, but ask that you think on my words and aim for a slow pace of continual improvement and sustainability.
That being said, let’s talk about dessert…
For dessert, I either eat fruit, or I eat real dessert. In my training as a professional cook, I became proficient in the savory kitchen, but left the sweets and pastries to others. Then, when I worked as a private chef, I had to dial in my desserts. So, I relied on the classics: Chocolate Decadence, Tarte Tatin, Strawberry Mousse, Creme Brulee, Bananas Foster, etc…
Then, when I started focusing on healthy cooking, namely The Paleo Diet, I dabbled in healthy desserts, but was disappointed. I’m not saying that there aren’t good, Paleo desserts out there, my argument is that the said “Paleo” desserts aren’t really any better for you than a traditional dessert. And, the trade-off in flavor and texture isn’t worth it to me. That is why, if I am going to eat a healthy dessert, I’ll stick with fruit, and, if I’m going to eat a dessert, then it’s going to contain sugar or flour, or both.
At the end of this short video, you’ll see an example of one of my fruit desserts. It consists of strawberries, bananas, fresh mint, almond butter and a sauce made with dark chocolate and coconut milk.
If I am going to eat a real dessert, then I’ll have something like Chocolate Decadence. Here’s the video.
Here’s the video for the Raspberry Coulis, which accompanies the Chocolate Decadence above.
Okay. Let’s wrap this up.
I’m not a huge fan of diet challenges because they fall in the same category as conventional diets. You go on them for a time and then revert to your old ways and the end result is often worse than where you started.
I think Paleo challenges are good for exposure and kickstarting lifestyle changes, but I advise those who run them or participate in them to think hard on their goals and make wise decisions. Inform participants that this isn’t a short-term fix, but a makeover of how we approach eating.
I’ll leave you with a quote from Albert Einstein:
“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”
Don’t be a legalist hack, do what works for you, and, as always, “Keep It Paleo!”
Encouraging you to make positive changes today.