Posted on Leave a comment

10 Mouth-Watering Desserts You Can Enjoy Without Any Guilt

You’ve just completed a hearty meal in a fine restaurant and the waiter returns with the menu, inviting you to try their decadent-looking desserts. Dessert or no dessert? This is the question that many of us mothers struggle with on a daily or weekly basis; we want to provide treats to satisfy that innate desire for sweetness, but we also have to struggle against the all too common sugar addiction and its accompanying diseases.

Today’s Sugary Habits 

We don’t need to look very far to observe the dangers of feasting on ice cream and cake. There are kindergarteners on insulin for type 2 diabetes, obesity is becoming more prevalent among elementary school children and teenagers are being hospitalised for heart disease and stroke.

The times have certainly changed; our eating habits and our food choices have deteriorated, and now we’re paying  the price. School canteens, corner shops, and quick-service restaurants have become regular features in our daily lives, having replaced home-cooked meals and fresh foods. These businesses provide us with shelf-stable, readily-made and pre-packaged desserts loaded with genetically-modified ingredients, synthetic preservatives, artificial flavours and unnatural colours. These individually-wrapped novelties are mass-produced and high-fat, high-calorie and sugar-laden with little to no nutrients, even though they bear the same names as the lovingly-prepared, wholesome desserts we enjoyed as children. Additionally, these treats are sold very cheaply and marketed, not as once-in-a-while bites, but snack items to enjoy between meals. Ice cream sandwiches are munched during TV time, sticky donuts and hand-held pies are served for breakfast. The average child can consume a handful of chocolates and caramels in half an hour without anyone batting an eye.

Cooking Dessert the Old Fashioned Way

When I was a child in Jamaica, we had desserts for special occasions; Easter buns and Christmas cakes during the respective holidays, sugar buns and rock cakes at special events, and my grandmother’s homemade puddings and pone whenever we had good sweet potato and corn harvests. Whenever my mother had time on the weekend, she tolerated us tangling her feet in the kitchen while she ‘rubbed up’ batches of pineapple-upside-down cake, orange cake or baking sheets of warm, flaky plantain tarts. When things were hectic, a scoop of rum n’ raisin ice cream or a small bowl of strawberry Jell-O was our Sunday afternoon delight.

Since treats were not a regular part of our diet, if we wanted something sweet after dinner, we had to make do with freshly picked fruit or baked nuts. Or, instead of drinking plain water or limeade with the evening meal, we might get to guzzle down homemade fruit juice.

When I think back to my childhood desserts, I think of homemade goodies – not the stuff from the supermarket shelves or pastry shops. My mother and grandmothers always knew exactly what went into their baked goods and sourced high quality produce to create them. I can’t help but agree with medical professionals and nutritionists who’ve been saying that we, the new generation of Mommies, need to return to real, whole foods.

Planning for Dessert

The strategy of meal planning and pre-cooking can be applied to desserts – especially if you reserve dessert for a special/Sunday night dinner. Even if you decide to satisfy your sweet tooth on a daily basis, fruit-based desserts are an excellent way to get yummy tummies without the guilt or dietary ills. You’d be amazed at how fresh fruits can be transformed, quite quickly and easily, into freezer pops, ice creams, sorbets or slushies without giving you any extra work. By searching out some whole  food, plant-based recipes, you can discover dishes that are easy for children to make and allow for them to enjoy something sweet without the adverse effects of excess sugars, fat or refined carbohydrates.

Healthy Dessert Ideas 

The following list of whole food plant-based desserts are a great place to start. If they become regular features in your family’s meal plans, you will certainly be decreasing the amount of ‘products’ in your diet and increasing the amount of ‘produce’ you consume. Here’s to healthy and delicious desserts, for your family and mine:


  1. Mint-Melon Sorbet Recipe here


  1. Raspberry Lime Freezer Pops  Recipe here


  1. Peanut Butter-Banana “Ice Cream” Recipe here


  1. Vegan Chocolate Banana Mousse Recipe here


  1. Dairy-Free Chocolate Bars Recipe here


  1. Raw Strawberry Peppermint Cheesecake Recipe here


  1. Coconut Cream Pie Recipe here


  1. Vegan Strawberry-Banana Cupcakes Recipe here Picture1
  2. Vegan Cinnamon Rolls Recipe here lemongrass-dreadlocks-500x500
  3. Vegetarian Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Recipe here


Which of these will you make first?




This article originally appeared on



Posted on Leave a comment

12 Easy Meatless Dishes to Boost Your Health

Two months into the year, you’re probably debating which health-improving resolutions habits were too unrealistic to stick with. But, that doesn’t mean that you need to give up on efforts to improve your health. How about making smaller changes and working on more achievable goals? After all, this is your health we’re talking about!


If you’ve been paying attention, you’d have noticed the international health campaign to get everyone to eat more fruits, grains, legumes and vegetables and less meat, fish and poultry. That’s because, even the healthiest of gym-rats and the biggest green smoothie fan can benefit from reducing the amount of meat she eats. I know… You’re not a meat-addict! You watch what you eat and make a conscious decisions to limit your junkfood intake. In fact, you could easily drive through the tempting smoke and sizzle from the Pan Chicken vendors on Red Hills Road without a thought to drool! LOL. Well, that’s exactly why Meatless Mondays is the one of the easiest health-boosting habits you’ll pick up for 2015.


Meatless Monday is a global campaign that encourages us to avoid eating meat once a week. Basically, you make a commitment to leave out the meat every Monday, and eat regularly from Tuesday to Sunday. Yes, it’s quite simple and just takes a little bit of planning to make it into a habit. Cutting out the meat once a week comes with a lot of health benefits, “because going meatless once a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity.” (Read “Why Meatless” here.)


But, before you start grumbling about not knowing what to eat, let me remind you of 12 easy and delicious meals that you enjoy regularly, or can get easily at a quick-service restaurant. The various dishes are linked to their recipes, so you have no excuse!


  1. Peanut Porridge
  2. Baked Beans
  3. Scrambled Tofu
  4. Pancakes


  1. Callaloo Loaf
  2. Vegetable Pizza
  3. Veggie Burger
  4. Vegetable/Ackee/Soy Patty


  1. Veggie Stew Peas
  2. Daal Curry
  3. Vegetable Stir-fry
  4. Spaghetti with Chunky Tomato Sauce

So, there you have it! An entire month of Meatless Mondays covered – without repeats!


While you’re thinking about when to start your meat-reduction commitment, please go over to the Meatless Monday Jamaica website and LIKE the Facebook page. You will get even more info and recipes to help you realise that “Small Changes Make a Big Difference.”



Posted on Leave a comment

Meat: Are You Addicted?

When I wrote about the advice I received from prominent physicians and nutrition scientists (through face-to-face counsel and public campaigns), to stop eating animal products, I never expected the kind of response that I got. I really was surprised by your emails, comments and messages: sharing your own experiences and your plans for improving your health by changing your eating habits. In the midst of all the thoughts you shared, many of you told me straight up that (although you knew it would be the healthier choice) you weren’t ready to give up your favourite meats. For some, it was the jerk pork, for others it was the curried chicken and some of you are still wondering if steamed fish counts as ‘meat’. LOL. But, have you ever wondered if you’re addicted to meat?


Signs of an Addiction
I realised that so many persons struggle to transition to a plant-based diet because they just love their meat. They will tell you that they can quit eating meat whenever they want but they just don’t want to, right now. But, whether it is heroine or chicken, addictions show themselves through these (and other) symptoms:
1. excess consumption of the substance
2. continued consumption even after awareness of health problems
3. serious attempts to quit have failed
4. denial of dependence on the substance
5. refusal of social events that won’t allow for consumption
No, I’m not joking. No substance should have such control on you that you can’t imagine doing without; or cause you to publicly declare that you “can’t give it up”; or cause you to threaten another person for taking some of your ‘stash’.


The Flavour of Meat
“But, it tastes good!”, you protest. Then, I must ask: Do you if you really know the true taste of meat? Do you enjoy the sight, scent and taste of raw, animal flesh? Or is it the plants that are used to flavour it that has you hooked? Yes, plants: herbs and spices are all plants. The curry powder, the black pepper, the escallion and thyme, the pimento and scotch bonnet – you’re only left with salt. Even sashimi (the uncooked slices of fish popular in sushi restaurants) is served with wasabi and soy sauce (both made from plants).


The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.” ― Ann Wigmore


You Choose With Every Bite
Whether you’re addicted or have a moderate control on the foods you eat, you want to live a vibrant life in which you are happy and healthy. The wonderful thing about life is that we have all been given the power to CHOOSE. It doesn’t matter the circumstance, there are always more than one way to go about things. So, I want to encourage you to choose more foods that heal, energise and promote life. So, the next meal you have, will it be made up foods that are healing medicines to your body or a slow poison leading to chronic disease?




Posted on 5 Comments

The Doctors Told Me To Quit Eating Meat

You might be surprised to find out that I usually avoid talking about my eating habits with new friends. That’s because a lot of people are quick to whip out their “Expert Dietician” personas and haul me off to an imaginary interrogation room. I’m still not sure why saying, “I don’t eat meat.” usually prompts people to empty a full clip of Nutrition 101 questions on me. They are often quite surprised at my admission and make such firm attempts to save me from my insanity, that I’m equally amused and annoyed. But, only a few of these Protein Preachers have ever asked me why I ended up on the ‘rabbit food’ side of the fence. Even fewer have asked me where I’ve been getting my nutritional information from. So, today I’ll tell you about the doctors whose prescription I filled.


The Last Supper
On the night of my little brother’s 21st birthday, when my family cozied up in one of Kingston’s more trendy steakhouses, I never imagined that it would have been the last day I sat down to a meal of flesh foods. You know how sometimes, people will say they don’t feel for any meat today. Well, I had been hanging out in one of those zones for a few weeks. Even though, I had spent the previous weeks not having any appetite for meat or poultry, I had been eating lots of seafood with no complaints. But, when my fish dinner arrived, I couldn’t stomach more than a couple bites and convinced someone else to finish the fillet for me. I just realised that I couldn’t do it anymore… My body had decided to quit liking meat!

It wasn’t a big surprise, really. My co-workers had gotten used to me trading the chicken in my boxed lunch for their steamed vegetables. But, what they never knew, was that for about 3 months, I had been feeding my mind on various lectures by various health experts and wellness advocates about making healthier food choices. But, these weren’t the regular, “avoid fried foods and sugary drinks” campaigns. All these medical professionals had been singing the same song: “eat plants, not animals”. So, it didn’t take very long for all their arguments, research findings and real-life case studies to set up residence in my mind and convince my mouth to stop salivating for Pan Chicken and to inveigle my stomach to get repulsed by the normally appetising Steamed Snapper, Oxtail & Beans, Jerk Pork, and Curried Mutton.


The Plant-Based Doctors
5 years in, I can say this is not a passing fad. My switch to Vibrant Eats (meals that bring vitality to the body without failing to bring my tongue satisfaction) was actually initiated, encouraged and continues to be supported by medical doctors and nutrition experts. I knew that a plant-based diet was the best one could embrace while sat ad learned at the feet of Dr. L. Danovan Whyte during his Saturday meetings at the Lifestyle Transformation Centre in New Kingston. His book, “Perfect Health is Unquestionably Yours” is very dear to me – I have re-read it many times and reference it often. The knowledge he shares and the impact it is having on those who are willing to make the necessary changes can be heard through his Wednesday night radio programme, “Your Health Matters” on NewsTalk 93FM. Of course, I have much respect for other physicians like Dr. Anthony Vendryes, Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn Jr. among others.


Food as Medicine
Through their writings, videos, workshops and lectures, these truly compassionate and responsible physicians have highlighted the dangers of eating animal foods (meat, fish, dairy and eggs) and revealed how real people, like you and I, have reversed lifestyle related diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart disease and hypertension just by switching to a whole-food, plant-based diet. But, they haven’t just left it there. They have gone through the trouble of teaching people about the nutritional needs of the human body and how to fully satisfy those needs with a varied diet made up of whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables. I have personally had the privilege of watching Dr. Whyte prepare live (uncooked) food and served it to us with love and enthusiasm, on more than one occasion. I still have a folder full of some of his favourite recipes. which he so kindly shares in his workshops.


Your journey is very likely different from mine, but if you have been arguing with the quiet voice, inside, to make better eating choices you may want to give these doctors a listening ear. Look them up and examine what they have to say. At the end of the day, you may not eliminate animal products completely, but you will undoubtedly have a new respect for your body, be more conscious of your health and make healthier eating choices.


Have you ever listened to or read from any of these Plant-Based Physicians? Please tell me what has impressed you most?