I’ve said it before – I am a sugar addict. When a craving hits, nothing else will suffice. Just like an addict, sugar starts to control my life and I hit a point in which I have to get clean–either by going cold turkey or by slowly decreasing the amount I eat. After a couple of weeks without sugar, I detox and feel completely clear, free, and in control. I don’t have headaches, I make better decisions, and I’m not constantly hungry.
Unfortunately–like an addict–I relapse. Especially when I’m stressed. I think that “just one” bite of cake won’t hurt. But three weeks later, as I beg Ben to hide the Nutella from me yet again (“pick a good spot this time so I won’t find, puhlease?!”), I think back to that one piece of cake/bite of ice cream/piece of mochi. I know it sounds crazy and that my case is extreme, but it’s my truth – I know myself. I know what works for me and what doesn’t work for me. To perpetuate healthy living and create better balance in my life, I’ve chosen to cut the sugar from my diet.
Cutting sugar doesn’t mean that everything I eat is flavorless or void of sweetness. On the contrary, the natural sweetness of fruits and veggies become exponentially more delicious when sugar is no longer part of my diet. Because I also don’t eat dairy (aside from goat), dessert is typically a piece of fruit–or on the rare occasion, sugar-free frozen yogurt from my favorite Green Banana Frozen Yogurt–and is rarely something super fancy or decadent. Once I’ve gotten through the detox, I don’t miss those things much, but something I do miss is pudding. I’m a huge fan of pudding–with its thick, smooth texture–tapioca pudding, rice pudding, bread pudding, regular pudding… I love hot pudding just as much as cold.
Sadly, I haven’t been able to eat much pudding since becoming health conscious, since even “sugar-free” pudding at the stores either has some type of dairy or fake-sugar (which, to me, is worse). And my home attempts at the thick, sweet goodness have been huge FAILs, as they end up either too runny (never thickening) or too bland.
“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”
Lucky for me, the internet is full of vegan, low-sugar/no-sugar/fruit-sweetened recipes! I was excited and nervous to find this 100% fruit-sweetened Vegan Date Spice Pudding recipe last week because of my past vegan dessert flops [I was so doubtful, in fact, that I actually halved the recipe (a decision filled with almost immediate regret)]. As usual, I changed the recipe a bit [by swapping 1/4 c coconut oil for 1/2 c canola oil]. I am way impressed by how this pudding came out! Super simple, thick and malty, it’s actually so sweet that I haven’t been able to eat it straight-up. Almost better, I’ve been using it as a caramel-type sauce to dilute it! I put a small amount on my steel-cut oats this morning and was in heaven! I’m also thinking it would be an excellent base for bread pudding (but we’ll have to try that one another day). I plan on using a few less dates next time (or testing out different types of dates to see if a certain type is less sweet) so that I can eat it straight up.
Vegan Date Spice Pudding
- 2 c vegan buttermilk [1 ½ tsp apple cider vinegar with 1 ¾ cups + 1 Tablespoon non-dairy milk (I used almond breeze)]
- 1 ¼ c pitted dates (about 10-20, depending on the type of dates you have)
- ¼ c coconut oil
- 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
- 1 ½ tsp ginger
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
Whisk together almond milk and apple cider vinegar and set aside for about 10 minutes until the “buttermilk” curdles.
Blend or process dates, coconut oil, cinnamon, ginger, salt and vanilla extract.
Add in the vegan buttermilk mixture and process until smooth.
Store the pudding in an airtight container in the fridge [it will thicken up after chilling for a little while].
Enjoy! My suggestion: use it as a topping for your morning oats… or some great, local ice cream! Tropilicious rocks my socks!! Haupialani (their vegan coconut milk sorbet) was my favorite, although it had more sugar than I’d like.
I had a few extra spoonfuls of this incredible Tropilicious ice cream after finishing Kamaile’s nutella-frosted mud-pie birthday cake. That recipe is coming up next!
Do you have a favorite sugar-free recipe? Have you thought of going sugar-less?