I’m not gonna lie—I love me some dessert! I wish dessert loved me with equal respect in return. Alas, since whittling my sugar intake down to almost nothing, I really notice now how it affects me when I do indulge. Of course, the initial high is sublimely delicious and satisfying, but I’ve come to discover that such short-term gratification isn’t worth the way I feel afterwards. I get sluggish in my brain and body and uncomfortable in my intestines. I have trouble staying awake after I crash (usually pretty hard), and the worst part is the way my muscles contract and become increasingly stiff and sore, truly affecting my (very important) yoga practice in a negative way. Many people might not notice small shifts caused by certain foods, but I’ve found that the more aware I become of my body, the more I realize how, in sometimes almost minuscule ways, certain foods and patterns affect me. Sometimes ignorance really is bliss.
Now, that’s not to say that I don’t ever eat dessert. I just prefer to choose my intake wisely, enjoy in moderation, and select higher-quality items—preferably sweetened with an alternative like honey or stevia, which don’t impact me quite as much, over highly processed sweeteners—whenever I can. Upon eliminating most sugars from my daily routine, it now takes a much lower quantity of dessert, sweetened with a bare minimum of sugar, to satisfy my craving much easier than in the past. Furthermore, the more sugar I eat, the more I desire it, and the sweeter my desserts must be for me to feel satisfied.
For those times that I crave dessert-y stuff (hello, hormones!) more than usual, but don’t want to fall prey to the inevitable serious sugar binge, I like to keep ingredients on-hand that will satisfy the craving without causing the crash and the muscle stiffness. This Pina Colada Chia Pudding hits the spot, and it’s possibly one of the easiest things to make on the planet!
I think it might be the fat content of the coconut milk paired with the chia seeds that feels so deeply satisfying to me, and I usually only need a few bites to be content. The texture from the soft chia seeds reminds me of tapioca pudding, something I loved when I was younger. It can be prepared with or without stevia for an even less-sweet version, though if you eat sugar on the regular, you might want to keep it in there. The combo of coconut, pineapple, and vanilla is often sweet enough for me on most occasions. Additionally, the base recipe can be embellished with melted dark chocolate, cocoa, espresso, other fruits, honey, seeds, or even nuts for a new spin. The possibilities truly are endless!
Pina Colada Chia Pudding
Prep time: 10 minutes, plus minimum 2 hour wait time
Makes approximately 3 cups
1 can full-fat coconut milk
2 tablespoons chia seeds (white or black)
2–4 drops stevia extract (start small, this stuff is potent!)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup fresh pineapple, finely diced
- Combine coconut milk with chia seeds, vanilla, and stevia to taste. Place in fridge and let sit for a minimum of two hours, preferably longer.
- Spoon pudding into serving bowl and top with chopped pineapple.
To choose your organically grown and fresh ingredients wisely, use the following criteria:
- chemical- and hormone-free meat
- wild-caught fish
- pasture-raised, organic eggs
- whole, unrefined grains
- virgin, unrefined, first-press organic oils
- whole-food, unrefined sweeteners
- pure, clean, spring water
- sea salt
- raw and/or cultured milk and cream products
Photo by Briana Nervig