Making a good thing better

Trying to avoid refined sugars and flours has severely limited my enjoyment a lot of sweet things. When you take on this dietary challenge, there are a couple of stances you can adopt. More on this in a bit.

Take a break from my diatribe and make some "better for me" (I don't know if they are better for you) no-bake cookies.

 Sorry for the iphone photos.


1/4 c. coconut oil
3/4 c. granulated xylitol (this was my first experience cooking with this sugar substitute)
1/4 c. cacao powder
2 t. vanilla
1/2 c. all-natural nut butter (I use peanut)
1/2 c. raw sunflower seeds
1/2 c. unsweetened shredded coconut
3 c. oats


In a saucepan on medium heat, melt coconut oil, xylito, cacao, and vanilla, bring to a boil for about a minute. Add peanut butter and stir until it melts. Remove from heat and stir in sunflower seeds, coconut, and oats. Spoon onto wax paper and let cool and set.

Note: The normal recipe calls for 2 c. granulated sugar. I made my first batch with 1 c. xylitol and it was too sweet. You may have to play around with this one. I don't LOVE the xylitol taste, but the consistency created is the closest to the normal recipe that I have found. Now, I don't mind mine a little gooey, so I'll probably keep making my no-bake cookies with agave in the future.

Now, back to my ramblings.

First, there's the self-pity stance. Poor me, I can't eat the same things everyone else can eat. The self-denial, feelings of exclusion and isolation can be disheartening at best and paralyzing at worst. 

Second, we have the food demonizing tactics. Sugars are evil. [Insert your particular food challenge here] was created by the devil himself. Focusing on the bad always makes things more fun. Yep, that's going to take you really far.

I frequent both of these worlds more often than I'd like to admit. Honestly, I don't know that they can allow anyone to be successful in their dietary goals. Denial, restrictions, negativity. It's a recipe for self-sabotage. No thanks.

A third stance is the self-righteous, I've got it all figured out and everyone else should eat this way too. It's the holier-than-thou approach. This attitude can work. I've seen it work in my own life, in fact, when I've been most successful--at the food part at least. The problem is that is it is not the most conducive to healthy relationships with people. When one area of life is out of whack, it won't take long before it affects other areas.

Fourth is the day/hour-off plan. This is the I can be good 99% of the time, then I deserve or maybe even need the 1% when I can eat whatever I want. This works for some, but not for me. Because I have zero self-control when it comes to the white stuff. I don't just fall off the wagon, I fall of the bridge the wagon is driving on. Into a deep dark ravine. Case in point. A pie craving can turn into purchasing an entire pie plus a half gallon of vanilla ice cream (because who eats cherry pie by itself?) and eating it all. By yourself. In four days. (My mom said, "at least you didn't eat it all in one sitting!?!" Celebrate the small victories, right?)

Fifth, just substitute your questionable food item with some other of the myriad self-soothing options in the world. See above, right? Craving something sweet? Make it with a "natural" sugar substitue. Ignore the real reason you're reaching for sugar. So there's something missing in your life?  In the words of a wise man,  "...Do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy...feast upon that which perisheth not, neither can be corrupted, and let your soul delight in [strength]."

One last stance, though I am sure there are more, is I am committed to treating my body like the temple it is. I know, or am getting to know, my body and what I need to feel and be my best self. Everyone is different and I cannot compare what I eat with what anyone else eats. Maybe that sounds a little contrived, but when it comes to overcoming food addiction (what? you didn't know that was what we are talking about here?), learning to love yourself body/mind/spirit is the only way to succeed. Though this is easier preached than practiced.

So what is the solution? I am definitely not a shining example of conquoring my own dietary challenges, but I do know that it can be a daily hourly struggle. Especially if your body/mind/spirit is experiencing dissonance. So get down with your bad self. Or just get a little bit honest and find one way to love yourself just a little bit more today. And maybe, just maybe, that added measure of love will help you me not even think about eating a piece of pie with ice cream.

(One thing that helps is to "unfollow" those dessert boards on Pinterest. That helps a lot.)

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