3 Best Desserts

We eat desserts created with these 3 basics day in, day out.

  1. Whipped cream
  2. Chocolate sauce
  3. Dark chocolate

1. WHIPPED CREAM DESSERTS

Buy a whipped cream contraption (mine is ISI brand) and a 50 pack of the chargers from Amazon. I hate kitchen gadgets but this one is worth it. I sweeten with 3 packs of Splenda for every pint of heavy cream. Use whichever sweetener you want, or none if your kids will go for it.

WHIPPED CREAM "RECIPES"

o   Shoot whip straight in child’s mouth then tell him to go to bed. **Family fav**

o   Top berries, frozen or fresh, with whip.

o   Sprinkle sliced almonds and chocolate sauce on top of coffee mug of whip.

o   Pile whip on top of black coffee.

2. CHOCOLATE SAUCE

I make my own. It's worth it and easy. I follow the basic recipe for hot cocoa on the cocoa tin, but reduce the sweetener.

Chocolate sauce recipe (US measurements – I double this then keep in fridge.)

  • 1/4 C cocoa powder
  • 1/3 C sweetener. The recipe on the tin calls for ½ C sugar which makes it too sweet.  Use your favorite sweetener. I use a half/half split of erythritol and sucralose. (Erythritol is also called Swerve, Lacanto Monkfruit, Sukrin and Pyure. Sucralose is also called Splenda.)
  • 1/3 C water
  • Dash of salt - secret ingredient #1

You’re supposed to cook in a pan.  I do one minute in the microwave. Make sure you have a tall container, it bubbles up. Use a tall mason jar. I use the Large Working Glass 21 oz from Crate and Barrel.

Your chocolate sauce is done. Use then store in fridge.

CHOCOLATE SAUCE "RECIPES"

  • Add to hot milk with dash of vanilla (secret ingredient #2.) Want to lower carbs? Add warm heavy cream + hot water.
  • Cocoa crema. This is cold chocolate milk with ice. Again, mix with milk, ½ and ½ or heavy cream, a tiny bit of vanilla and water and ice. “Cocoa Crema” is the name ShareTea gives their chocolate milk bubble tea. I ordered it without sugar and it was still the sweetest thing I’d tasted in a year. 
  • Top your cocoa with whip and/or make yourself a mocha.

Premade syrup: I used to buy Torani Sugar free dark chocolate syrup. Then my sister found a huge pile of mold in her bottle. I still kept buying it. Then, I finally took the time to read-the-effing-label and realized it has a gazillion carbs. And it doesn’t taste great. It’s salty weird.

3. DARK CHOCOLATE

Buy what you like, striking a balance between low sugar and the taste you like.

These desserts taste good. They’re pretty natural. And they’re not too bad to make when you’re cranky/tired at 9p.

BONUS BROWNIES

If you do want to cook something, these brownies are the best I’ve found so far and are pretty easy. (I served them to company. Fudgy.)

And most importantly, don't be like me. If you have a baby or a toddler, don't teach them that every meal must end with dessert.  If you have older kids and the habit is set, I hope these will keep you all sane.

 

 

 

Best Food Recommendations from the Obesity Medicine Conference

I just spent 5 days at the Obesity Medicine Association national conference, in a windowless room in the Seattle Sheraton with 500 obesity specialists and endocrinologists. It was AMAZING. 

First pearl from the conference, any carbohydrate restriction is the absolute best thing you can do for your kids. And we all have access to this technique without an Rx.

The data from the scientific studies shows that carbohydrate restriction improves health in those with metabolic issues in almost every way. Both short term and long term.  And that includes cardiometabolic health, aka heart health.

These studies aren’t new so I’m not sure why our pediatricians still recommend high carbohydrate diet with lots of skim milk and ancient grains. 

DOES LOW CARB SEEM IMPOSSIBLE?

If you’re struggling to get your kids and teens to eat better, I get it.  I live it every damn day.

Fighting with your kids (or spouse) about eating higher fat, higher protein, lower carb foods won't work. We all can get junk food everywhere. Without some level of buy-in, a kid can eat a truly huge amount of junk food in just a few hours at an event.

Here’s some great advice from Dr. Rader, an obesity specialist and family medicine doc with several offices in Idaho.

JUST FOCUS ON BREAKFAST.

Get as much protein and fat into breakfast, or the first snack or meal of the day. 

Anything you can throw together with eggs, bacon, sausage, green veggies, berries, cheese, full-fat yogurt, cream, or peanut butter will work. Don't be scared of saturated fat in eggs, dairy or meat. (Stay away from trans fat and any fat that comes as part of a processed food that doesn't require refrigeration.)

Here are two A+ tasting easy muffins you can prep ahead. They’re good for breakfast, but also for after school.  I’ve actually made them myself and offer some tips.

Pancake muffins.  Make these in the blender.  So easy.

  • Err on the side of using less sweetener.
  • Add more berries than recommended. 
  • Instead of mixing the berries in at the end, I fill the cups with the batter then sink berries into each muffin individually to make sure each muffin gets lots of berries.
  • When reheating the muffins the next day, toast them bottom-up if they get soggy. Eat plain or top with butter, whipped cream, or sugar-free maple syrup.

Pecan pie muffins These could just as easily be dessert.

  • Use parchment paper liners and use slightly less sweetener than the recipe calls for.
  • These travel well.

What's one small change you've made? Does breakfast seem doable or do you have another idea? Let me know. Reach me at deb@treatkids.co. 

Guide: How to Quit Sugar

I’m in my own self-made mini-hell right now, fighting my way back from a sugar bender.  The New York Times must have heard me complaining because they published an article just for me.

“Are You a Carboholic? Why Cutting Carbs Is So Tough.”

I went on vacation, ate a bunch of this and that, and now I’m completely obsessed with dessert.

I’m trying to get back on the wagon after being fine since January 4th. Sucks. It was easy for 7 months!

Here’s what I never, ever believed until I lived it myself. For me, moderation is actually harder than abstinence.

My entire life I’ve been a sugar addict, and then, in January,  I listened to an audiobook called “ The Case Against Sugar” and I just quit. Cold turkey. No biggie.

I do not have discipline. I’m always late, I miss deadlines, my house is messy and I love TV.

It didn’t take discipline.

Moderation, however, is pure hell. The sugar haunts me.  I can’t stop thinking about it. And this article explains the cruel biology of moderation.

And that’s where my kids live. In the land of moderation. No wonder they’re obsessed.

There’s no magical answer except that I still don’t bring sugar into the house, and that’s been the easiest way to make sure we all eat less. Recently I noticed my husband buys a pint of ice cream every time he goes to the store. Sugar is everywhere and creeps back in.

My kids are way too old and independent for me to control their food when they’re not with me. The harder I try to control it, the more they’ll want it.

There are these amazing keto kids, on an amazing keto blog, with amazing keto moms, and the moms claim their kids never beg for desserts.  And I thought, hmm, that’s nice. You’re lying, on the Internet, how novel.

But now I don’t think they’re lying. Maybe their kids abstain because it’s easy for them. Their addicted brains aren’t screaming for it.  Those keto moms are nicer than I am! Their kids aren’t craving anything.

My youngest is 8, so there’s no starting over. But if I could, here’s what I’d do.

1.     Feed babies meat, veggies and dairy. My baby niece eats this way.  Cottage cheese, plain full fat yogurt, meat, avocado, cheese, peanut butter, loads of veggies. Some berries, very little else. Not really any grains or simple carbs. What did I give my kids at her age? Rice cereal and Cheerios. Ugh.

2.     No sweets at home. We do this now, but it was a hard transition, and sugar creeps back in repeatedly.

Wish me luck as I haul my sugar-addicted brain back up on the wagon. I’ll report back.

Edited: It took two weeks and now I’m back. It’s fairly easy again. So weird.

You know those annoying bloggers with six-packs that proselytize quitting sugar? As in “Join the EXCLUSIVE 5 WEEK SUGAR DETOX PROGRAM!”

They’re so irritating.

And unfortunately, they’re sort of right. But you don’t need to pay them. Unless you want to. Which is fine too. Whatever works. Zero judgment here.

Here’s what I did. You’ll need to figure out the best route for you and what motivates you.

In general, I can motivate myself as long as I actually believe in it. If you’re like me, go to the library and get, “The Case Against Sugar” by Gary Taubes or "The Obesity Code" by Dr. Jason Fung.

If you need accountability, invite a friend over, throw out all your sugar, then repeat at your friend’s house. Check in with each other to see how it’s going.

For true sugar freaks like me, you should know that I counted my sugar-free efforts by the hour at first. So I would say to my family. “This is crazy. I don’t think I can keep it up. But I’ve gone 18 hours without sugar.” And then, I told my sister. “I know I can’t keep this up, but I haven’t eaten sugar for 4 days.” Then I told my friend Suzan.  

I always gave myself a way out. “Well yes, I’m still not eating dessert, but it won’t last. I live for dessert!"

See? I can’t recommend this method. I’m sure every motivational type in the country is groaning at the way I hedge.

I really don’t care. I may not be able to stay off sugar. I fall off the wagon every time a homemade caramel chocolate truffle is placed on the table. I just know I eat almost no sugar right now and hope to keep it up. At least through the end of day tomorrow.

Best Substitutes for Maple Syrup and Chocolate Sauce

If you're looking for sugar-free substitutes, here's a chocolate sauce and a maple syrup that make life bearable for sugar lovers.

Amazon reviewers give both the maple syrup and chocolate sauce 4.4 out of 5 stars and include some love letters in their reviews. 

My sister turned me onto this Torani chocolate sauce - it's our dessert substitute. We make whipped cream and top it with a little chocolate sauce and sliced almonds. We also use it to get through ski trips, snow days, and other hot cocoa occasions. Mix some into hot whole milk or half and half. (If you add too much chocolate, it tastes almost salty. But the right amount tastes... perfect.)

Avoid sweeteners if they scare you. I used to choose "natural" sugar over sweeteners, but we're almost diabetic over here so was it natural, or toxic?  After reading “The Case Against Sugar” about how hard the sugar industry worked to disparage non-calorie sweeteners, with no real proof, I'm convinced substitutes are safer for us than sugar. If you have questions about sweetener safety, let me know at deb@treatkids.co .

Why So Many Heavy Kids?

What's the root cause of our obesity?

We have obese newborns. Babies, breastfed, full term, no history of maternal gestational diabetes, who get very, very fat very early.

Almost everybody is fatter today. We weigh more than we would have weighed 100-200 years ago.

Now we talk about getting the body we “deserve” if we put in the "hard work". 

But a century ago, people were apparently much more deserving. You didn’t have to follow the latest diet or head for a workout. Pretty much everybody got a normal weight body and went about their lives.

And it wasn’t because they ate diets with few carbs. Some places with the most centenarians eat very high carbohydrate diets.

What happened to us?  And to our kids? What happened to my newborn? What is the true root cause of obesity?

Probably sugar.

Not the sugar your kid eats now, but the sugar his great-great grandparents, great-grandparents, grandparents, and parents ate.

I used to think my child’s problem was caused by all the processed carbs and sugar in our diet. I’ve been a low-carb fangirl for a long time.

But when I was being less critical of myself I realized, my kids didn’t eat that much processed food or sugar, especially compared to their peers.  

Also, when I looked back, my child had been a high weight since a few weeks after her birth. Even as an exclusively breast-fed newborn. What happened to breast-is-best? How could it be her diet? Was my newborn supposed to exercise?

The other logic that didn’t pencil out was… Asia.  Until fairly recently, people have eaten high-carb polished rice diets and stayed thin.

Doctors, scientists and journalists are now pointing to sugar as the root cause of the obesity epidemic. My favorite books on this are these.

  • "The Case Against Sugar" by journalist Gary Taubes.
  • "Fat Chance" by pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Richard Lustig

They both have great YouTube summaries. Here’s Taubes speaking to teachers and a video Lustig made. Or, Iisten to the audiobooks. I listen on 1.5 or 2x speed.  

They all argue show that eating sugar is toxic to our organs, specifically the liver, and pushes our bodies to a tipping point. And that the reaction to the sugar is transmitted over generations as obesity.

Whereas before, we could eat a lot of carbohydrate with no consequences, now, we can’t handle the carbs without getting fat.

Dr. Lustig ran a very short term study of kids with obesity.  He took them off sugar for 10 days and all of their metabolic markers improved.

These books hypothesize that if you had a baby that seemed overweight shortly after birth,  you’re seeing the impact of sugar toxicity across a few generations. This isn't genetics, it's epigenetics. The impact of the environment on genes.

Specifically, something about the womb environment is so sugary that the baby adapts, developing differently to deal with the sugar blast coming his way.

The baby is born insulin resistant.

I’ve heard of, and am duly frightened by, other explanations for obesity rates, like toxic chemicals and gut microbe disruption. But the incidents of obesity started to rise long before some of these culprits were even invented. If obesity is caused by gut microbes disrupted by penicillin, why did obesity rates rise before the discovery of penicillin in 1928? I'm scared of the toxic chemicals that are now found in all of our bodies -  fire retardants and endocrine-disruptive ingredients in our food storage plastics and cans. But they were put into widespread use long after obesity rates started to climb.

As a parent, being able to point to a cause reinforces that this is something that happened to my daughter, not something that's her fault. It's not a show of her character or her strength, or her, really, at all.  It just happened and we'll help her.