I got such thoughtful answers to my question about defining healthy eating! Thank you to everyone who responded, and feel free to add to the discussion if you haven’t already…
I was really struck by the number of people who mentioned moderation and balance when it comes to healthy eating. I am definitely going to post my personal healthy eating guidelines soon (in case anyone is interested in seeing the food rules I try to live by all in one place). In the meantime, I’ll use this recipe for Chocolate Almond Pound Cake to illustrate what balance and moderation mean to me.
Let me start off by saying that I try not to eat desserts very much. Even ones made without refined sweeteners. Sugar of any kind is something I limit in my diet because when I overdo sweets, it affects me in a number of ways (and none of them are good).
So when I started this blog, I considered not posting recipes for sweets. I opted not to go this far, and instead for a while added a disclaimer of sorts to my dessert recipes (something like “keep in mind that desserts aren’t really health-promoting and are best enjoyed in small amounts”). I dropped that after a time because, after all, I am not your mom and you probably don’t need me to tell you that.
When I do eat dessert (and when I post a dessert recipe here at Healthy Green Kitchen), you can count on it being prepared with the best quality seasonal ingredients, organic flours, my own organic, free-range eggs, organic, raw dairy products, organic sugar (or raw honey or pure maple sugar) and organic butter. You can count on the fact that it won’t damage your health and maybe even has some health-promoting qualities.
Like this simple cake: which I believe says a lot about my feelings on moderation and balance. First of all, it’s small. I used mini loaf pans and made 2 small cakes instead of 1 larger one. One to eat now and one to freeze for later. Instant moderation.
It is a cake, yes, but the recipe has some healthy aspects so I think it’s perfect for a balanced eating plan. It features raw cacao powder instead of regular or organic cocoa powder: raw cacao is a superfood of sorts with its high mineral (especially magnesium) content. It makes use of almond flour, so it’s gluten-free and higher in protein and fiber than a recipe made with white flour. It is sweetened with a combination of organic cane sugar and pure maple syrup so it’s free of refined sweeteners. For the fat, I used a combination of organic butter and olive oil. This was less because of health reasons than because I was simply out of butter, but it does double duty in perhaps making the recipe a little better for you (though honestly I have no problem with butter: I consider it to be one of the healthiest fats.)
I dusted the cake with just a little organic powdered sugar- not a necessity, but certainly makes it pretty, plus it only adds a tad more in terms of the overall sugar content of the cake. I think that if you’re going to eat dessert, it should be something lovely. Something worth it. And I think this cake fits the bill.
Recipe for Gluten-Free Chocolate Almond Pound Cake
adapted from the recipe for Pound Cake with Cocoa in Chocolat by Stephan Lagorce.
Makes 1 large or 2 small loaves
*1/2 cup organic unsalted butter
*1/2 cup olive oil
*5 eggs, preferably organic and free-range
*2 cups ground almond flour (or use organic all-purpose flour for a gluten-full version)
*3/4 cup organic cane sugar or sucanat
*1/4 cup pure maple syrup
*2 teaspoons baking powder
*1/2 cup organic cacao powder
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
2. Melt the butter in a pan over low heat. Transfer to a small bowl and mix in the olive oil. Use a little of this to grease your baking pan(s).
3. Whisk eggs together with the sugar. Add the maple syrup and whisk again.
4. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and cacao powder. Add to the eggs/sugar/maple syrup and combine well with a wooden spoon. Add the melted butter/oil and mix well again.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan(s) and bake in the preheated oven for 40-50 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean/dry.
6. Remove from pan(s) and allow to cool on a baker's rack. Dust with organic powdered sugar before serving warm or at room temperature.
This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesday!