A life without pies, cakes, and chocolate-chip cookies is not the sort of life anyone wants to live. Still, as you get older, there’s a good chance your doctors will remind you of the dangers of eating too much sugar, and—because you want to live as long as possible—you listen to these doctors. For many people, this means eliminating desserts from their diets. However, this isn’t necessary thanks to an array of vegan sweetener substitutes that are available on grocery stores across the country. By following these five tips, you can now have your vegan cake and eat it, too.
Use natural sweeteners
Many studies indicate that white sugar is unhealthy because it is stripped of all its natural minerals. When this stripping process occurs, white sugar becomes nothing more than empty calories that spike blood sugar and cause a rollercoaster of insulin resistance, cravings, and crashes. Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy dessert now and then, because vegan alternatives such as date syrup, agave, brown-rice syrup, and maple syrup are available at nearly every grocery store. And they’re almost good for you, as some of these plant-based sweeteners include iron, calcium, and other minerals needed to maintain a healthy diet while maintaining a sweet sensation in every bite.
Skip the gluten
From leaky gut syndrome to malabsorption of nutrients, gluten is infamous for the health problems it has caused or to which it has contributed. These health issues might not have a negative impact on your health now, but there’s no reason to take that risk. So, instead of gluten, make baked goods using alternatives such as tapioca starch, cassava, brown-rice flour, sorghum flour, millet, and oats. When used with rice flour, tapioca flour can act as a sort of glue that binds ingredients together, which can transform your mess of chocolate into a delicious brownie.
Dessert doesn’t always have to be a chocolate-chip cookie, as plenty of whole foods can satisfy your sweet tooth. For instance, sweet potatoes glazed in maple syrup are amazing any time of day, frozen grapes are the perfect after-dinner snack, and chocolate pudding can be made healthier when made with avocado, maple syrup, and cacao powder. Remember: sometimes, the simpler your choice, the more rewarding your experience will be. And isn’t that one reason why veganism is for you?
Eat leafy greens
Cravings for sweets can come from a mineral deficiency often attributed to a low potassium intake. Potassium is needed for hundreds of cellular and enzyme reactions in your body, and a lack of potassium can lead to feeling tired and sluggish during workouts, as well as cravings for sweet or salty foods. Luckily, leafy greens such as Swiss chard, kale, spinach, and beet greens are packed with potassium. However, if greens don’t scream “dessert,” can you always include them in a smoothie made with banana, agave, and almond milk.
Fill up on fat
If you eat a diet that is low in fat, it’s more than likely you will struggle with an insatiable sweet tooth. Fat stabilizes blood-sugar levels and prevents the highs and lows following a meal comprised of refined flours and sugars. Healthy fat options that just happen to be vegan include coconut oil, olive oil, avocados, and peanut butter. Almonds or cashews can also be an excellent source of fat and protein that help satisfy your appetite, support a healthy diet, and curb cravings.
Elliot Caleira is a freelance writer in the self-mastery and health and wellness spaces. When he’s not writing you’ll find him cooking or teaching Portuguese classes.