I have a sweet tooth. I used to eat a whole organic dark chocolate bar a day. If there was no good stuff around I would resort to a handful of chocolate chips or whatever other sweet I could get my hands on. Dessert was a necessity. I was addicted to sugar.
There's a reason we yearn for dessert.
According to Ayurveda, sweet taste is soothing and calms our nerves. In our over-scheduled, hyper-stimulated, too-busy culture, we're desperately trying to chill and ground ourselves. And the easiest and fastest way to do that is through food. When we eat something sweet, we feel satisfied, happy and taken care of. Our desire for dessert is simply a part of us trying to take care of us emotionally and make us feel better. The problem is, while we might feel nourished on an emotional level (temporarily), it's wreaking havoc on our physical body.
In Ayurveda, we want all 6 tastes. So it's not that we should shun sweets completely. Deprivation rarely works and eventually leads to binging on the exact thing we're trying to avoid. Instead, pick a healthier choice. Below are some delicious and nutritious ways to satisfy your sweet tooth without compromising your health. (all gluten-free and dairy-free)
But another approach is - how can you ground yourself without stuffing your pie-hole? We've grown so accustomed to placating with food which is just a quick fix and often just a numbing tactic that doesn't get to the root of the issue.
- do you often feel uprooted, scattered, or overwhelmed and use sugar (or alcohol or caffeine) to create a state-shift?
- do you have routines that create a sense of ease in your day-to-day experience?
- do you have self-care practices to feel nourished and taken care of?
- are you over-scheduled and too busy and "treat yourself" as a reward for surviving the day?
As I have developed radical self-care practices I have stopped buying chocolate (I have no self-control if it's around) and I rarely make dessert anymore. Somedays a spoonful of honey or a date stuffed with a pecan or almond butter (tastes like pecan pie – delicious!) is a perfect way to satisfy my sweet tooth. I've learned how to fill a deeper need to take care of myself in a much more empowering way.