Is it time for a new era of indulgences?

When we think of indulgences in food, some might think of cheesecake.

When we think of indulgences in food, some might think of cheesecake.

But not just any cheesecake . . . the cheesecake with the richest chocolate filling swirled with caramel topped with an exquisite cream cheese frosting — the richer, the better.

Or for you it might be a fine wine, refined, smooth. And for some, three or four cheeseburgers washed down with an ice cold pop will do.

Allowing oneself unrestrained gratification is fun, tasty and really quite liberating! What would life be without enjoying a hot dog and a beer at a Rebels’ game or those tasty h’orderves after a college play, or having one too many of grandma’s yummy baked goods?

We celebrate with food, we congratulate with food, we indulge in food!

Then when it comes to our health, we think we must restrain ourselves from these indulgences. Because ultimately we know that these pleasures will lead to bigger thighs, fatter bellies, hangovers or a guilty conscience!

Too bad, I must add.

So perhaps it’s time for a new era of indulgences. A time where you can have your cake and eat it to — so to speak.

It’s about learning to love the foods that love you back. Choosing cleaner foods — meaning unprocessed, unrefined and free of chemicals and learning how to prepare them in simple, tasty, satisfying ways is not as hard as it may seem.

With a little research, planning and preparation, you can create beautiful, healthy meals to enjoy with family and friends

Try an organic chicken, roasted garlic and rosemary yams and a mixed green salad loaded with vegetables and a homemade balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

Finish it off with a rich chocolate cake topped with a vanilla frosting — all made with guilt free ingredients. That’s my kind of indulgence. Food is meant to be fuel for your body, and its OK to eat a little in excess from time to time, but lets not go overboard. If we could just shift from eating a giant bag of chips and a box of refined chocolates to actually allowing yourself to experience the true pleasures of “real” food, we might just be a little better off.

So as you set your new year’s resolutions, plan to indulge in not only some good food but also some healthy and fun activities.

Get outdoors for some snowshoeing and pack some homemade granola bars, or hit the gym, sweat it out and follow up with a fresh fruit smoothie (don’t forget your greens!).

Indulge into a healthier you. Increased energy, a clearer mind, a body you actually love and a fresh outlook on life might just be your rewards.

As we reflect back on the holiday season of indulgences, be grateful. Grateful that you had the opportunity to spend time with loved ones and enjoy all the food that was prepared with love. Don’t feel guilty about your indulgences, just look forward to your future ones with your newfound insights. Enjoy!

“Be a Flexitarian – try to be flexible when it comes to eating. Eat healthy, but enjoy the occasional indulgence and meals in the company of friends without scrutinizing ingredients or feeling guilty.” — Darina Stoyanova

Guilt Free Spicy Chocolate Gingerbread Cake

1 cup tahini (sesame seed butter)

½ cup blackstrap molasses

3 ripe bananas, mashed

2 cups brown rice flour

2 tsp baking powder

½ cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder

1 tsp ground ginger powder

½ tsp each ground cinnamon and nutmeg powder

1/8 tsp ground cloves

½ cup water

Preheat Oven to 350F. Blend wet ingredients, then add dry ingredients. Pour batter into nine-inch-by-nine-inch greased pan (use coconut oil). Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Cool for 10.

— Source: Health by Chocolate

Kristin Fraser, BSc, is a registered holistic nutritionist and local freelance writer. Her column appears every second Wednesday. She can be reached at