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By Megan Monique, Special Guest Blogger to The Body Logic

Image via Mohd Khomaini Bin Mohd Sidik/Flickr

 

Well, shit.” I thought as I weighed myself this morning. I had gained a pound from the last time I weighed myself two days before.

I knew what the scale was going to tell me before I even stepped on. My monkeys had already talked to me about before I had a chance to pull the covers off myself and get out of bed earlier that morning.

They sounded something like this:

“Really, Megan? You are going to have ANOTHER chocolate covered graham cracker? Are you sure that is the best idea? I think I saw a new indention of cellulite on your thigh yesterday. That one last graham cracker just might be enough to break the seal. The next thing you know it you will be one giant ball of cellulite. Then who will love you?”

I sat in a pool of pity for a moment until I heard the last part. “Who will love me?!”

I will love me, dammit.

It is time for me to do away with the monkeys in every area of my life. They don’t only show up when I gain a pound. They also show up when I make less money than I want, or when I have a big dream I am working toward. (Lately it’s been becoming a life coach.)

But what purpose do these monkeys serve? They only keep me playing a small game.

I decided to create a mental box. When the monkey chatter starts happening, I mentally duct tape the monkeys mouth and put him in the box. I only let him come out if he is saying things that HELP me in my process of creating the life I love.

So what if I have cellulite. The only way I can rid myself of it is by making healthy choices, one by one. Inch by inch. Meal by meal. Listening, and more so BELIEVING the monkey chatter will only keep me in the same place I have been trying to move away from.

Armed With a Roll of Duct Tape,

Megan Monique

Megan Monique is a writer & Lovemuffin Extraordinaire for Owning Pink and so much more. Her most prized piece is her personal blog entitled If I Were A Rainbow I Would Be Chocolate where she shares personal revelations and life adventures with her audience. Megan is also a life coach who focuses on living life creatively and abundantly with no limitations.

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Happy Friday! I’m having one of those “May I please just go lay around and read a fluffy rom-com-ish novel?” moments. Oh, rrrright, that’s because that’s what a summer weekend is all about! Also, the rom-com-ish novel I’m reading (Sweet Love by Sarah Strohmeyer) has me thinking about baking…and chocolate. Yes, yes, we know I like chocolate. But I’ve yet to explore my affinity for chocolate cake! You see, I have a mother who went through a phase (around 2003-2006, approximately) in which her ultimate goal was to discover, taste and analyze The Most Amazing Richest Out of this World Orgasmic Most Bestest Ever Chocolate Cake. My sister and I were her cohorts on this mission, and we scoured far and wide (mostly just yuppie restaurants in Greater Chicagoland and Southern Florida) for this fabled dessert. I can’t really put my finger on what, if any, chocolate cake made the cut during our quest… I just know that we ate a lot of dessert. And, to this day, a heavenly piece of chocolate cake is one of my favorite things. That’s why my eyes and taste buds perked up when I stumbled upon this “5 minute chocolate cake recipe” on Instructables.com. I often bake up a box of brownies, but psh, that takes more like 10 minutes of prep and then, you have to wait for them to bake in the oven for almost a HALF HOUR. Sheesh! That’s kind of a long time when you’re hankering for a moist, hot, baked chocolate good. (Drool…)

Anyway, in Sweet Love, the main character, Julie, takes a fancy dessert cooking class and learns how to make sweets like almond scented white chocolate sauce over mixed berries. As Mom would say, Oooh-fah! So you can imagine, reading about that had me itching to bake something decadent. But, as always, I had a calorie conundrum. Well, in Sweet Love, the French chef snaps at a woman who wants to substitute skim milk in one of his OMFG Recipes that in his native country, “Dessert is meant to be enjoyed in small portions.” Therein lies the beauty of this single serving chocolate cake recipe. I don’t think the fancy chef would approve of the 5-minute microwave method, but who cares? I like any foodie idea that saves me time. I think I’ll try it, and maybe you would like to, also…

Have a delicious weekend!

UPDATE (6/14/10): Upon experimentation this weekend, a friend and I concluded that this promising recipe is kind of…well, crap. Mine turned out dry, crumbly and bitter. Hers turned out bland and even by adding more sugar, she couldn’t get it to taste sweet whatsoever. And so the search for a quickie, killer chocolate cake recipe continues… In the meantime, if you’re interested in a chocolate chip cookie recipe, try this one from Weight Watchers. It’s my go-to for cookies, because they’re fast, chocolatey, and because they’re small, you get a lot of bang for your calorie (or Weight Watchers Points) buck. In fact, because I was so disappointed with the five minute chocolate cake, I baked a batch of these last night. They were delicious and cute, too.

Don't you just wanna pop us in your mouth?

 

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When I wrote my love letter to chocolate, I touched on the topic of indulging in moderation. I passionately believe that a key component to being healthy for life is allowing yourself to indulge—because restriction just leads to binging at some point and furthermore, we only live once! But, moderation is important, as well, because you want to be well while you’re living a sweet life, right? Oh, this reminds me of when I had a bitchy roommate who gave me a hard time for eating light frozen yogurt. She’d say that she only bought Haagen Dazs or Ben & Jerry’s, because, “If you’re gonna have ice cream, you should just eat the real thing!” But, when you have an insatiable sweet tooth like I do, you may hanker for an ice cream, or cookie, or chocolate fix often (uh, like at least once a day). And if you’re also health-conscious, it’s probably not the best idea to have the 290 calorie, 18 grams of fat version of these treats every day. Anyway, that’s where finding healthy light substitutes helps to strike that “indulgence, in moderation” balance.

Toxic little packet (Photo via crossfitinvictus.com)

In an effort to slash calories, I used to be a Splenda girl. But then I read up on how it was developed (it was “stumbled upon” in 1976 by British scientists who were seeking a new pesticide formulation—yes, sucralose a.k.a. Splenda contains chlorine molecules and is related chemically to DDT) and what the health risks might be (a 2008 study from Duke University found that Splenda contributes to obesity and destroys beneficial intestinal bacteria). Part of me wished I could un-learn this info and just stick with the convenient yellow packets, but I was so disgusted with my findings. (Aside from the heavy-duty disease risks, to think that an artificial sweetener is actually working to make my battle with weight gain even harder? Ugh, no thanks!)

1/2 stevia, 1/2 sugar cane = Sun Crystals (Photo via Sun Crystals)

So, I made a permanent switch to stevia-based sweeteners, like Truvia. Long story short: Truvia combines stevia, a plant native to Paraguay, with the natural sugar erythritol (found in many fruits). Stevia has been used to sweeten foods and beverages for over 200 years. Yes, it takes some getting used to taste-wise, but knowing that it’s natural and non-carcinogenic is enough reason for me. There’s also a sweetener on the market that I recently discovered called Sun Crystals, which combines natural sugar cane with stevia. Nutritionally, it’ll cost you half of the calories in regular sugar. I was lucky enough to be given a sample package of the granulated blend, and I used it last night to make a batch of whole wheat chocolate chip cookies.

Here’s how they turned out…

My half-the-calories whole wheat chocolate chip cookies made with Sun Crystals (Photo via my iPhone)

The boyfriend inhaled about three of them within minutes of spotting the sheet cooling on our stovetop. Two colleagues at work gave their “yummy” thumbs-up. And I liked them so much myself that I would make the recipe again in a heartbeat. So, I guess they’re pretty tasty!

Here’s the recipe:

6 Tbsp. Sun Crystals

3/4 c. packed brown sugar

1/2 c. butter, softened (I use Smart Balance Butter Blend sticks)

1 tsp. vanilla

1 egg

2 c. whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

dark chocolate and/or milk chocolate chips (as many as you want/eyeball it)

(I also put Pretzel M&Ms ontop of some of them, just for fun.)

Directions: Heat oven to 375ºF. Mix Sun Crystals and brown sugar, butter, vanilla and egg in large bowl. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt. (Dough will be on the slightly dry-side, but don’t worry, they turn out moist and chewy!) Stir in chocolate chips. Place dough in rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto a very lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until light brown (centers will be slightly gooey). Allow to cool, then eat and enjoy!

I estimate that each cookie is about 75 calories and 4 g of fat, depending on how big you make ’em. (My batch was approx. 2 dozen.)

Do you think you’d try Sun Crystals? How do you cut the calories in a favorite goodie?

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Quick on the coattails of yesterday’s post, I must comment on a decadent discovery I just made…

Because it’s before noon, some might say it’s too early to talk about chocolate again. But that’s another mold I say we shatter to fudgy bits! I just have to say that this here limited addition ice cream looks incredible:

Hi, I'm (likely) worth the calories and fat. (Photo by Brad Thomas Parsons @SeriousEats.com)

 

Apparently, it’s only available at Super Walmarts for a limited time. Luckily, my parents live near a branch of the big box store in South Florida… So I just put in a special request (aka e-mail with subject line, “FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE CAKE ICE CREAM – OMG.“) for my mom to possibly pick up a pint of the stuff before Dan’s and my arrival on Saturday. (We’re going on vacation!!!) Truthfully, I rarely, if ever, treat myself to B&J’s ice cream, because I’m a big believer in being able to find delicious desserts that cost me far fewer fat grams and calories. But for Flourless Chocolate Cake ice cream… I’ll have to make a tablespoon or two exception. Hell-O, self-love on a spoon!  

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Dear Chocolate,

Almost 3 p.m. It’s just about that time right now. I mean, the time when we usually rendezvous… You: creamy and dark. Me: tired, occasionally stressed out or just bored. I look forward to our encounters even more so when it’s rainy, gloomy and chilly outside. Or when I’m about one week off from “riding the crimson wave,” as one Cher Horowitz once described it. I’ve been warned by conventional weight loss wisdom, magazines and celebrity nutritionists about meeting you this way. They all say that because you’re sugary and fattening, you’ll probably lead me down a slippery slope. And that’s not really gonna help me on my quest for optimal health. They say I’m supposed to stand up to you, have some will power! I should tell you that we can’t keep meeting like this. That maybe the very occasional, planned meeting is OK. But no one ever advocates that we see one another on a regular basis. Because that would probably a bad idea, right?

I'm Maressa's flavor of the week. I also come complete with 5 grams of filling fiber per 1.2 oz.! (Photo via Sweetfactory.com)

 

Well, screw those naysayers! I assert that I can have a daily dose of you. We can make it work… That’s because a little of you goes a long way. The thing is, as much as my boyfriend chides me for being addicted to you (he’s not jealous or anything, don’t worry—he knows I love him more than you…), I will never give you up. Why? Because you = pure pleasure. And life is too short, too boring sometimes, too challenging other times or confusing or harrowing to utterly dismiss pleasure. I hear that some people don’t eat “white foods” or others give up sugar, but it’s OK, because after awhile, you don’t even crave it anymore. They need to be thrown into a vat of you. What the hell is the point of living if you’re going to eliminate something so blissful? (I know, I sound like a Dove chocolate commercial.) Chocolate, you don’t mean any harm. In fact, you even do your part to stave off disease. Sure, sometimes you bring your friend, Partially Hydrogenated Oils or Trans-Fats to the party, but I probably won’t hang out with you then. I like you as pure as possible when we’re one-on-one. Despite your bad boy rep, I know that seeing you on a daily basis actually helps me love myself and my body a little more. I’m not going to say, “Ooh, I’ve been so bad” after enjoying my time with you. Because I haven’t! I’ve been good.

Photo credit: Donna Grayson (Flickr)

 

Chocolate, you and I need to band together to let other ladies know that they’re not “bad” for enjoying you. They’re human. They’re normal. As long as they aren’t having trysts with 300 calories of you a day, they’re probably going to be perfectly healthy. In fact, even better off than they were before, because they’ll be indulging in more than dessert—they’re treating themselves to much-needed self-love*. (* = Disclaimer: It’s true. A harmonious relationship with food a.k.a. nourishment—even the decadent kind, in moderation—lends itself to self-love and acceptance. That’s just some more Body Logic for ya… Stay tuned, as there’s much more to say on this!)

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