One of my goals for 2020 is to cut back (notice I didn’t say cut out) on sugar, alcohol, caffeine, and dairy. I read an amazing book last year called The Hormone Resest Diet by Dr. Sara Gottfried that helped me gain more energy and reset my hormones after having two kids. Her plan suggests cutting out dairy, red meat, alcohol, caffeine, sugar, gluten and toxins, and while I’m not ready to do another 21 day reset, I want to find more balance with how much of these things I consume.
I would like to feel like I am more in control of what I eat and drink, rather than succumbing to habits and cravings.
The only way I know to do that is to break my habits by coming up with a plan. I’m not much a recipe follower, but I figured if I could memorize a few easy recipes and whip them up quickly, I would have some better tools in my pantry! These recipes have helped me stick to my plan while allowing myself to have some splurges. I am not perfect, and I will always enjoy a hot cup of fully caffeinated coffee in the mornings or a glass of red wine after my kids go to bed, but I don’t feel like these need to be daily habits (for me at least). I know that I feel different — more energized and balanced — when I limit the “offenders.”
Check out Dr. Gottfried’s book and blog especially if you feel like you need to take more drastic measures to get your body in check! And remember, if you want to change your habits, you need to come up with a plan. Find replacements rather than simply cutting out something you love!
Chai Tea Latté
I grew up in New Orleans where coffee is a ritual. I’ve been drinking it since I was in high school. It hasn’t been until recently that I realized caffeine can be a source of cortisol (the stress hormone) in your body. While everyone responds differently to coffee, I know that my body functions better if I keep it a minimum. This recipe tastes very similar to a coffee latté. You can also use Rooibos or any other rich tea blend. Look for caffeine-free tea at Wildflower Tea Shop on Market Street or Mountain Rose Herbs online.
1 tbsp loose chai tea leaf
1/2 cup of water
1 cup non-dairy milk
1 tsp honey (optional)
Instructions: In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Add the tea leaves and turn off the heat. Allow the tea leaves to steep for 5 minutes. Pour in the milk and honey, then turn the heat back up to medium for a minute or two until it’s hot. Be sure to keep a close eye on it so that the tea doesn’t boil over! Whisk together and pour the mixture over a strainer into a mug.
Peanut Butter Cups
My favorite candy as a child were Reese’s peanut butter cups. We didn’t get candy in our house very often, but I would look forward to Halloween, Easter and Valentine’s Day because I knew I would get to eat a handful of them! I still crave chocolate and peanut butter together, so I came up with this recipe to bring back my past in a healthier way.
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate chips (I use Equal Exchange)
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tbsp Truvia brown sugar blend
Instructions: Melt the chocolate and coconut oil in the microwave (or stovetop) stirring every 15-20 seconds. Meanwhile, mix the peanut butter and brown sugar blend together and set aside. Arrange 6 silicone baking cups in a cupcake tin. Pour a small amount of the chocolate mixture to coat the bottom of the silicone cup. Next, add about 1 tsp of the peanut butter mixture (it won’t spread out perfectly even). Then, add another layer of the chocolate spreading it out gently with a small spatula. Put the cupcake tray in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Note: you can use maple syrup or honey with the peanut butter mixture for a completely sugar-free option, but I prefer the coarse texture of the brown sugar blend. Also, you can double this recipe, but if that happened in my house, we would eat them all in one day!
Ginger Beer Mocktail
The one drink I craved towards the end of my pregnancies was a Margarita. It wasn’t until I discovered ginger beer that I felt like I could go out to dinner with friends or to the beach and not feel deprived. Ginger also helps with nausea in the beginning of pregnancy and I found it to be very soothing compared to other non-alcoholic beverages. This drink is a spinoff of a Paloma. It’s not too sweet and will make you feel like you’re sipping a cocktail at the beach! The brand I use has less sugar and doesn’t taste as spicy as some ginger beers.
6 oz. ginger beer
splash of grapefruit juice
salt for the rim
mint or cilantro to garnish
Instructions: Sprinkle a small amount of salt in a small dish. Wet the rim of your glass with half of the lime. Place the glass face down on the dish of salt (this is optional if you’re watching your salt intake). Fill the glass with crushed ice and add the ginger beer. Add the splash of grapefruit juice and the juice from half of the lime you already used for the rim. Garnish with the second half of the lime and mint or cilantro. Enjoy!