One of the things I have learned is that depriving myself of things I love never leads me to anything good. The things that we try to keep ourselves from only become the things in life that we crave uncontrollably. When we are taking care of our bodies, our minds, our souls, our WHOLE selves, deprivation blows up in our faces in the end. I often get into conversations with people about the latest craze of some sort of 21 or 30 day venture they are working on and for those set amount of days they live only on a list of certain things that are supposed to help them detox, lose weight, get healthy, etc. But what happens after that amount of time? For most, they overindulge on the “no-nos” they have avoided recently. They forget everything about the “healthy” lifestyle they lived for the past several weeks or days. For me, any diet that tells me I cannot have this or that is an automatic fail. It just doesn’t work. I aim to put healthy foods into my body but I also have to treat myself.
I love ice cream, I mean LOVE ice cream. For my birthday, I would be happy with ice cream sundaes any day over cake. Ice cream’s nutritional value isn’t the greatest but if I forced myself to never eat ice cream then, one, I would be miserable, and two, the second I caved, I would end up eating an entire gallon of ice cream when I could have been perfectly satisfied with a simple ice cream cone. Indulgence in moderation is not a sin, I promise.
When we give ourselves black and white, and no grey area, we set ourselves up for failure. Being healthy is not about making the perfect decision in every single situation we are faced with. Being healthy is listening, observing, getting in tune with what we want and what we need. When we are exhausted after a long stressful day at work, a big bowl of ice cream may sound perfect, but at that point are we using food to indulge or to numb ourselves? Listen to what your body needs. At this point, it may need something more along the lines of a nice walk, a nap or maybe a chat with someone you love. When we are out to dinner with our girlfriends for a celebration and we want to share the piece of chocolate cake but we continue to tell ourselves we can’t, maybe we can allow ourselves to relax a little and savor the treat. If not, we know where we will end up when we get home; our faces in the pantry or the fridge trying to satisfy that craving by only eating more and in the end with no satisfaction. Let yourself know, it’s okay, it really is okay to have your cake sometimes, and actually eat it too.
Tonight we are headed to the Cincinnati Reds game with a group of friends. Ballpark food does not have the greatest reputation, and rightly so. Beer, hot dogs, pizza, you name it, there’s nothing green at the ballgame aside from all the cash you have to hand over for your eats. When it comes to the ballpark, my husband and I always share a soft pretzel. It’s not a ballgame without one. The soft, buttery goodness is something I cannot resist. Tonight, I will eat my pretzel and enjoy every bite. When I lived in the black and white phase of life, I may have freaked out about the carbs, the butter and the fact that there was really nothing nutritionally great about what I was eating. But you know what? If I didn’t have the pretzel, I would end up at home trying to find something to satisfy that craving only to be all the more dissatisfied in the end. Nope, no thank you. I am okay living in the grey area today. I will continue to make the best and healthiest choices I can, but I will also allow myself to take a walk in the shade of grey and I will indulge, and if I have ice cream, or cake or a soft pretzel, I will enjoy every damn bite of it. And I hope you will too. Being healthy, is not about perfection and I hope that you remind yourself of that.
It’s no secret that peanut butter and chocolate are one of my very favorite combinations. I am a sucker for sweet and salty all in one bite so these two together always do the trick for me. It’s kind of funny because growing up I really didn’t like chocolate… trust me, those days are long gone. My days are always a bit brighter with a little bit of chocolate.
These No Bake Peanut Butter Cup Brownie Bites are the perfect way to add a little sweet to your day. They can be made gluten free and dairy free. If you have a peanut allergy in your family, toss in cashew butter or almond butter. I am sure sunflower seed butter could work. This simple treat will make your day a little sweeter!
No Bake Peanut Butter Cup Brownie Bites
- 3/4 cup oats regular or gluten free
- 1 cup raw pecans
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
- 10 medjool dates pitted
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 T 100% pure maple syrup
- 1 T milk of choice
- 3 T natural peanut butter or other nut butter
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- Soak dates in warm water for about 10 minutes. If you don't have a lot of time, run them under hot water for a minute or so.
- In a food processor, process oats into a flour like consistency.
- Add pecans and process until combined and flour like.
- Add in dates, vanilla, maple, chocolate chips, peanut butter, milk, cocoa powder and sea salt.
- Process until a dough begins to form.
- Roll into bite sized balls and chill for about 10 minutes.
- Let these sit out for about 10-15 minutes before eating if they have been in the fridge for more than an hour. This will allow them to soften a bit.