Five Healthy Substitutions for the Sweet Tooth

I love to be loved. I enjoy the positive attention, outpouring of notes and thoughtful acts of kindness dedicated to me especially on my birthday. In my 20’s, I started a new tradition: I’d be calorie conscious most days of the year, but my birthday marked the one day to eat gluttonously without guilt. Now that I’m super focused on overall wellness, I’d rather not go that route, so I’ve found substitutions. Since I’m a sweet tooth, here are my five new favorite go-to-dessert-like treats. Syrups, agave, coconut sugar, honey, stevia, white flours and all the other various sugar words are still a “sometimes food,” as we say in our house.

Dining Out Healthy

I’ve always loved eating out. I have such fond memories devouring meatballs and spaghetti off the children’s menu at east coast diners. As I grew older, my family celebrated honorable report cards, choir concerts, dance recitals and mini-milestones at what I thought were fine-dining establishments: Mandarin Yen or Shakey’s Pizza. Even in high school, after football games, we congregated at Davanni’s, Carbonni’s, Perkins or my all-time favorite, Taco Bell. Whatever happy (often made up) non-traditional holiday we celebrated was at a restaurant. Truth be told, my mom was a fine cook, we just enjoyed the hassle free, family or friend focused meal. My mother also cooked healthy dinners, so dining out included gorging on cheesy pizzas, fried rice dishes and creamy pastas. I know better now that eating out doesn’t mean I have to let go of all inhibitions and start “my diet tomorrow.” While it’s tempting to overdo it, I’ve learned a few tips to keep my diet clean while enjoying a night out for travel, on business or just for fun.

Festive Healthy-ish Holiday Drinks

We all have vices. Mine used to be sugar…and cheese…and diet soda…and creamy alcoholic drinks and the list continued on and on. However, when I first started researching healing and disease prevention modalities, I quit eating ALL this crud and haven’t looked back. I also prioritized fitness or simply being active and played with mindfulness techniques. The one area, call it my vice, that I have not given up has been drinking wine.

Six Places to Shop for Healthy Food

I wish I could say that I’m a bargainista, but I’ve always valued convenience more than price. When I first lived on my own, I bragged about my “good buys” purchasing generic macaroni and cheese boxes for $0.29 each and ramen noodles by the carton at the local drugstore. However, that was nearly two decades ago when we all believed that eating non-fat was healthy. Now that I try to consume most of my meals organic and plant-based, wholesome food shopping is a priority. While I spend much of my living clean adventure time in Whole Foods or health food markets, I enjoy spending time visiting other places to purchase food. For the busy individual who is looking for more wholesome and healthy choices, check out these places to shop if you want to eat clean.

Healthy Grilling Tips

I love spring and summer. Warm weather, especially after a grueling winter, makes things like flip-flops, maxi dresses, long power walks, sun-bronzed skin and all the other little summer joys a reason to celebrate. The smell of charcoal burning on a Weber grill brings me back to decades of good times at BBQs and beach parties. In my effort to eat clean, however, I investigated whether grilling can be a safe way to eat. The information below guides me to make better informed decisions for my family, while also participating in this spring-through-summer ritual.