I have to make a confession. I have a major sweet tooth. I blame it on my parents (cause, I can and it’s way easier than taking responsibility for this myself). Now of course this can lead us into the discussion that has been all the rage lately of “Are your genes your destiny?” which is a really fascinating subject area, that we are learning more about every single day. For way too long, many of us (and our doctors) had been blaming a shitty gene pool for all of our ailments and ‘throwing our hands up in the air like we just don’t care’. Ok, those were song lyrics, but it’s way easier to blame our gene pool than to take control of our destiny and realize that there is something we can do about the hand we were dealt, if we want to.
I hear it all the time during nutrition and fitness consultations. “I have high blood pressure, it runs in my family.” “My entire family is obese.” “Everyone in my family has diabetes.” Yes, it’s true that sometimes we are born with certain genes, some which may predispose us to certain health conditions, however, that doesn’t mean that we are destined to develop high blood pressure, or be obese, or have heart disease, just because our parents did/were. Plus, who is to say your parents had shitty genes? If you look back at their habits, lifestyle and environment, you may realize they were less than stellar.
Research now shows that our genes aren’t static and unchanging. In fact, they interact with our environment every single day. Both internal and external factors (like the food we eat, whether we exercise, how much stress we are under, our exposure to toxins and pollution, etc.) can turn genes on and off and determine which ones express themselves, and whether we get sick or stay healthy.
As adults, we have a lot of control over our habits, our lifestyle and our environment. We can change our ‘destiny’ if we put in the effort to do so. It’s not always easy, especially if you are trying to change a lifetime’s worth of poor habits, and sometimes ‘throwing your hands up like you just don’t care’ is just much easier. Maintaining optimal health is not easy. It requires effort, every single day. But living to 100 in great physical and mental health, being able to see your grand-children or even your great grand-children be born, is so worth it, don’t you think?
So back to my sweet tooth, a habit that I likely developed in childhood, with my mom’s habit of putting dessert on the table after dinner each day, and my father’s penchant for storing bags of gummy candy into our kitchen cabinets (and our car). And while I may not have kicked the habit completely, I was at least able to make it more health-supportive. Now, rather than ingesting nutritionally void sugar, I make all of our dessert out of whole, unprocessed foods which are rich in fiber, protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The addition of these nutrients naturally help me eat less dessert because my body gets nourishment from it and feels satisfied much faster.
For example, this Raw Vegan Cheesecake dessert is high in fiber, antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin E, B vitamins, omega 3’s, iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium, zinc, copper and phosphorus, so you can rest assured that while your sweet tooth is enjoying the sweetness, your cells are bathed in nutrients.
Raw Vegan CheesecakePrint This
- BERRY SAUCE INGREDIENTS:
- 1 1/2 cups frozen, mixed berries
- 1/4 cup filtered water
- 1 tablespoon real maple syrup
- 1/2 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- a good pinch of cinnamon
- CRUST INGREDIENTS:
- 1 cup almonds
- 1/2 cup pecans
- 1/2 cup Medjool dates
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- a pinch of sea salt
- FILLING INGREDIENTS:
- 2 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight
- 1/3 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1/2 cup real maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- a generous pinch of sea salt
- Place berries and water in a small pot, and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low and let simmer until the sauce starts to thicken, about 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in maple syrup, lemon juice, and cinnamon, then blend with an immersion blender or alternatively, in a blender until smooth. Set aside.
- In a food processor, process almonds and pecans until semi-finely ground.
- Add remaining crust ingredients and process until dough starts to stick together when pressed between two fingers.
- Press dough into the bottom of an 8 inch glass pie pan and set aside.
- Add the filling ingredients to your food processor and process until completely smooth (this may take a while so be patient).
- Pour filling on top of pie crust and smooth out the top. Strategically pour some drops of the berry sauce onto the top of the filling and use a skewer or a knife to draw patterns in the filling, then place in the freezer to set for at least two hours.
- Remove from freezer a few minutes before serving to allow pie to thaw slightly.
GF, DF, GRF, PALEO, PRIMAL