Cake craving gotcha down?

I love cake, and I’m sure there’s a gazillion of you out there who love cake as much as I do. But what’s a girl to do when she gets home at night, has managed to acquire a wicked cake craving, and simply….needs. cake. Or else someone’s gonna get hurt.

Let me introduce our friends: chocolate cake mix + soy milk. It’s this easy: in a little microwave-safe ramekin, mix together a few tablespoons of cake mix and enough soy milk to get a little batter-action going on. I used about 3-4 tablespoons of cake mix. Then, pop it in the micro, zap it on HIGH for about 1-2 minutes, and then (this is key) watch it in the micro for any signs and symptoms of: 1) Over-flowing  2) Over-cooking  3) Explosion.

The benefits? Well, we are still using a processed food item here (cake mix) which in my nutrition-world, is fine for occasional consumption. However, I do know there are people out there where this is a no-no. In that case, I shall lead you to another delicious option and suggest you try this mug cake recipe, which is top-notch delish, and I admit that I’ve been eating this daily for the past week for breakfast, snacks, before work-outs, and just because. But back to our chocolate cake à la soy milk. Yes, the end result will be a little airy and lighter-tasting than your typical cake, but we’ve knocked out a lot of extra fat that comes from the oil and eggs that are frequent flyers in cake-making. I’d like to try making an entire cake this way – just using enough soy milk to cook it. I’m sure you could also use almond or rice milk, as well as non-fat milk or….chocolate almond milk! You could use red velvet cake mix, white cake mix, yellow cake mix (…and now I feel like Dr. Seuss: “One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish.”). The possibilities are endless!

In other news, I have not posted since I started my new job in July! We’re going to try to change this 🙂 Hope you all have a lovely day – in the Mitten today, we’ve got a gorgeous blue sky and the sun is out, which is rare for early February.

And now…I am off to devour some mug cake and then off to the gym to get my boo-tay in shape for a half-marathon in May. Nothing like registering for a road race to scare you into training 😉

the celebration-food bandwagon: taking rides in moderation

So what has happened between now and my last post on April 7? DESSERT! Yes, my friends, that fateful Easter day was April 8 and that means dessert has been back in my life. I’ve given up desserts for every Lent since I was about 15, which makes Easter day a delectable feasting of cakes, cookies, chocolates, you name it. And did this RD dig in?

HECK YEAH, SHE DID.

I’m sure this dessert bounty served-up on holidays sounds familiar to many of you out there.There will always be Aunt Millie’s famous pumpkin-roll at Thanksgiving dinner and that tall cake oozing with chocolate for your mother’s birthday. No way around it, food is an integral part of our celebrations year ’round. While many people embrace this time to eat, drink, and be merry, there are others who worry about how much they will go “out of control” and “overdo it”.

So what are we to do during these times? How do we find a balance between enjoying ourselves and not going overboard?

The trick is to do exactly that. Enjoy yourself. Eat the foods you want to eat. There are no bad foods out there, only “bad” portions. I hold a firm belief that eating smaller portions of a full-fat treat is much more nutritious than eating multiple servings of its fat-free counterpart. I’m talking mostly about those fat-free desserts out there or that dessert your friend made who describes it like this:

“Oh, I substituted applesauce for the oil, and bananas for the eggs, and I took out the walnuts that were supposed to be in it, and replaced the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour. And….it’s a cake!! And it’s good for you!”

Yes, it may be a cake, but now it tastes like a granola bar cake. Or a brick. Also, many times when someone says that a food is “good for you”, we often take that as an invitation to eat more of it. Just because a food is fat or sugar free doesn’t mean we need more of it in our bodies. Another reason why we may eat more of a dessert that has been given a healthy make-over is simply because the fat is no longer there. Fat is extremely important since it sends messages to the satiety centers in our brain, telling us to stop eating because we are full.

The same goes for sugar. I’ve recently eliminated artificial sweeteners from my diet because I had the tendency to drink multiple servings of diet pop/Crystal Light each day. However, when the craving for a Coke hits me like a brick wall every few weeks or so, gosh darn-it, I drink that Coke! In fact, as I write this, I’m drinking one right now. The trick, however, is to stop at ONE CAN. For me, this is easier to do since I am much more satisfied after drinking a Coke can of sugar rather than aspartame.

And if you’re a multiple-can pop drinker out there and want to reduce your intake, try this visual: imagine your pancreas working very hard to keep up with your sugar intake by shooting out enough insulin to keep your blood sugar levels normal. And a pancreas working very hard isn’t necessarily a happy pancreas. Lately, thinking of how much harder the body has to work when we eat higher-fat and higher-sugar foods has helped me to make healthier changes, and maybe this will work for you, too 🙂

And one last thing…if you DO go overboard with a certain food: no feeling guilty, bad about yourself, or the F-word…fat. Your eating choices for one day, one week, or even one month do not define you in any way. Food does not have that power over you, and you have the power to live a healthy life: eat your favorite foods in reasonable portions, get in your fruits, vegetables, and lean protein, make half your grains whole, consume three servings of dairy, drink plenty of water, and exercise. It’s as simple as that, and it’s never too late to make a healthy change in your life.

These nutrition opinions are meant for healthy individuals without diet restrictions due to a medical condition. As always, please consult your own doctor or dietitian to make nutritional recommendations for your individualized needs.