By Eve Lynn Kessner
For some, making the choice to consistently eat healthy is a scary decision. We are afraid of giving up the foods that make us happy. And honestly, I think that’s a reasonable fear!
So much of the act of eating is about much more than nutrition. There is a spiritual component to it — eating is as much about nourishing our body, as it is our soul. Think about it, you can eat a whole meal, but if it wasn’t what you really wanted, you may feel full, but not satiated, not satisfied.
So, I always tell my clients to indulge. It’s a very necessary part of life. But what you choose to indulge in — this is where you have some leeway. I’ve found some pretty awesome substitutes for my old, tried-and-true favorites that totally hit the spot when I feel like I’m needing them. Here are a handful of nutritious AND comforting options:
Chili with Cornbread
When it’s cold and rainy, I feel like I need something a little heavy and spicy and warming. In a heavy bottomed pot, I sauté some onions and carrots, add lots of tomatoes, kidney and garbanzo beans, lots of spices (including cinnamon), veggie stock, sea salt, and then I top it with large chunks of dark orange fleshed squash, and let it simmer for hours until dinner time. While it simmers, I throw together a batch of my vegan pumpkin cornbread (see recipe below) which is super simple and so, SO yummy.
I always keep some organic popcorn kernels around for cooking. My family LOVES popcorn and it’s a totally healthy and fun snack when made right. I pop it with coconut oil and add sea salt, sometimes even a little cinnamon, and serve it warm.
Sometimes a girl just needs a milkshake! But milkshakes make me feel heavy and too full and, well, gross! Instead I regularly opt for the Peanut Butter Split smoothie from Juice Generation. I have it made with almond milk and hemp protein, and it’s the perfect post-workout snack and such a serious treat.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
After I had my youngest babe, I had the craziest sweet tooth! I couldn’t shake it and honestly didn’t really want to. Instead I went on a baking spree trying to recreate my favorites, but without all the refined sugars and white flours and whatnot. After many (many, many) batches I came up with the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe. (See below.) They are crispy like Tate’s amazing cookies, sweet without sugar, and absolutely delicious.
Vegan Pumpkin Cornbread
- 1 cup maple syrup
- 1½ cups coconut milk mixed with 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons flax meal
- 2 tablespoons wheat germ
- 1 can organic pumpkin
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- 1½ cups cornmeal
- 1½ cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Line a 9×9 or a muffin tin (I use a mini loaf pan cause I think it’s super cute) with parchment paper then coat with coconut oil.
- In the bowl of a mixer combine the maple syrup, coconut milk mixture, flax, germ, pumpkin, and coconut oil.
- In a separate bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking soda and powder, salt, and cinnamon.
- Add the dry mixture to the wet and mix until combined.
- Pour into pans and bake for 25 minutes.
- Serve warm with a bit of coconut butter spread or Earth Balance!
The Ultimate Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie
(Makes 36 cookies)
- 2 c whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/4 c flax meal
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 coconut oil
- 1/2 apple sauce
- 2 Tbsp vanilla
- 1 c brown rice syrup
- 1/2 c coconut nectar/sugar
- 1 c grain sweetened chocolate chip cookies
- 1/2 c walnuts chopped
- Preheat oven 350 degrees.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, flax, baking soda, xanthan, and salt.
- In a separate bowl, mix the oil, apple sauce, vanilla, rice syrup, and coconut sugar.
- While mixing, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet until totally combined.
- Add the chocolate chips and walnuts and mix until incorporated.
- Place cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 9 minutes, then rotate, and bake another 9 minutes.
- Allow to cool enough to touch then transfer to a cooling rack to cool the rest of the way.
Eve Lynn Kessner is mom to two little girls, Avital and Bar, ages 5 and 2, a sometimes vegan, a holistic nutritionist, and focused on living an organic, chemical-free, natural life. “Making our home and our diets safe, healthy, and chemical free is no longer a goal, but a necessity. It feels good, clean, and ethical,” she says. Eve studied at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and counsels clients on food and lifestyle choices, helping them make cleaner, more responsible decisions. Eve is also a SoulCycle instructor, and an all-around dreamer and believer.