What is the Point of "Healthy Desserts"?
Friday, April 27, 2012
I'm not talking about a beautiful, fresh peach, grilled until it has char marks from the grill and drizzled with a teaspoon of organic honey; I totally get the joys of fresh fruit, in season. There is nothing as delicious as a bowl of ripe pineapple chunks or sauteed apples sprinkled with cinnamon. Those a great desserts, the kind of desserts we should treat ourselves to everyday.
No, the "healthy desserts" I am talking about come in two varieties, the first is the remake of a high-fat dessert made using low or no-fat dairy products, and other chemical-laden ingredients. Cheesecake made with fat free cream cheese, or trifle made with fat free Cool Whip. I am fully aware that you can make great desserts with low-fat cream cheese, or by substituting skim milk for whole milk; that is not what I am talking about. I am talking about desserts that rely on fake ingredients like fat free half and half. (which has corn syrup and a list of chemicals in it to replace the fat.)
I've never had a dessert like that taste very good. I've never swooned over a slice of fat free pudding and Cool Whip cake, so why would I want to eat it? All of that stuff tastes overly sweet and plasticy. For me, part of this journey is about respecting my body and what I put in it, and filling it with chemicals specifically because they are lower in calories than real food seems to defeat the point.
The other category of "healthy food" I don't understand is the uber-healthy version of a decadent treat. You see a picture of a chocolate cake online and click on it to find that it is actually made of chopped dates and carob powder. It may taste good, but it's not chocolate cake. If I am eating chocolate cake, I want chocolate, and butter, and all of those other good things. I would much rather have that grilled peach or that bowl of pineapple than mashed up dates masquerading as chocolate.
I know that there are people who swear by this stuff, and who say that once you get used to it, it tastes great, but I don't buy it. And I don't want to get used to it. I want a life that includes whipping cream and chocolate and caramel sauce, maybe just not on a weekly basis. I would rather have one perfect dessert on a special occasion, or a dessert shared among three other people, than chemicals bombs, or healthy fake-outs on a more regular basis. Like so many other things, it is about being mindful and planning ahead.