Healthy Dessert Recipes for a Healthy Diwali!

I love the festive season towards the end of the year – Dusera, Halloween, Diwali, New Years etc.,  but this is also the time when cravings can hit hard. Many of my clients have written to me especially in this festive season, that they have been craving for sugary stuff.

Dr Disha Sridhar

I am a Gynaecologist Obstetrician ( MD, DNB OBGYN )with an emphasis on INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE.

So today I am here to tell you that you can make this festive season not just delicious and satisfying but also hormone friendly. So, I am going to share some recipes but before that, I would like to tell you why this festive season can be so hard on our hormones and how can you protect yourself from it. With a little bit of planning and preparation, you can still enjoy the treats without creating havoc in your hormone system. It becomes much more fun when you have a strategy to protect your hormonal health while enjoying the festive fun.

Now the question is why does festive eating and drinking leave your hormones out of balance for days to weeks? The answer lies in your blood sugar balance. Balanced blood sugar is the foundation of hormonal health. Extra sweet treats in the festive season if overdone in an erratic way can throw your blood sugars out of balance, which can be interpreted by your body as stress response leading to increased cortisol by adrenal glands. Increase blood sugar also causes an increase in your insulin response. Once your insulin and cortisol are out of whack it’s a perfect recipe for hormonal disaster. All this extra sugar and increased insulin lead to problems in ovulation which leads to less progesterone production leading to oestrogen dominance. This excess blood sugar also leads to increased fat cells in the body which in turn release more oestrogen this leads to an environment of oestrogen dominance in the body which is at the root of so many periods and hormonal symptoms.

If you’d like to read more about oestrogen dominance – here’s where you need to go – https://www.truhealing.com/blog/the-sneaky-hormonal-reason-behind-your-pms-weight-pcos/

Anyway, the secret to balancing your hormones during festive season lies in a little bit of planning. Make sure you eat a good breakfast with healthy fats and front load your sweet cravings with healthy stuff so that even if you indulge in festive eating it will not disturb your blood sugars. One of the easy-to-go breakfast toast on gluten-free bread with some Chia seeds and flaxseed. If you are going to a potluck party you can offer to carry your own dessert made from hormone friendly ingredients. Check out today’s recipes:

Chia Chocolate Pudding 

Dark chocolate chia pudding with coconut whipped cream

All you need:

  • 2 Cups Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • ¼ Cup plus 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 2 tbsp raw honey
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened Cacao Powder
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1 15oz can Full Fat Coconut Milk (Refrigerated 4+ hours)

All you have to do:

Combine all ingredients except coconut milk in a medium-sized bowl. Mix well.

Fill this concoction evenly into 4 small mason or dessert jars. Cover and refrigerate for about 4-6 hours. (Can stay refrigerated for up to 4 days).

While the pudding is setting, place a cup of thick coconut milk in the fridge.

Once the pudding is set, remove coconut milk. At this point, the milk should be solid. Scoop solid coconut milk out of the can into a chilled mixing bowl. Beat coconut milk with a stand mixer or electric hand mixer for approximately 1 minute or until it turns creamy and forms stiff peaks. You may need to add a tbsp of coconut liquid if solids are too dense.

Remove puddings from the fridge and layer each of the pudding with 2 tbsp of coconut cream.

Garnish with a sprig of mint leaves and Voila!

Chocolate Berry Chia Parfait

All you need: 

  • 6 tbsp black chia seeds
  • 1 ¼ cup strawberry/ raspberry 
  • 1 ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk , or cashew milk 300 ml
  • 6 tbsp unsweetened almond butter
  • 1/4 tsp stevia powder
  • 1/2 cup raspberries/ strawberry for topping optional
  • 1 square more than 60% dark chocolate

All you have to do:

In a food processor or blender, puree the raspberries. Add the almond milk, stevia powder, and chia seeds. Mix to combine. Pour the liquid into a container and refrigerate for a minimum 4hours.

Add 3 tbsp of almond butter to the bottom of 2 glasses, pour half the chia pudding, top with fresh raspberries and grate some 70% dark chocolate over the raspberries.

COCONUT CHOCO CLUSTERS

Here is something for the love of chocolate!

All you need:

  • 2 cups shredded coconut
  • 1 cup toasted almonds
  • 8 ounces dark chocolate
  • Salt, to taste

All you have to do:

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine 2 cups finely shredded coconut and toasted almonds in a large bowl.

Place 8 ounces dark chocolate in a double boiler (or a bowl placed over a bit of simmering water) and melt it.

Pour the chocolate over the coconut mixture and stir to combine.

Let cool a few minutes and then drop by the tablespoonful onto a baking sheet.

Finish with a few grains of salt on top of each.

The mixture will be a bit crumbly but will set as the chocolate cools.The clusters will set over the course of an hour or so.

If you want to speed up the process a bit, keep them in the refrigerator.

DRY FRUIT LADDOO

All you need: 

  • 50g gond/ edible gum
  • 2 tablespoons desi ghee
  • 2 tablespoons cashew
  • 2 tablespoons almonds
  • 2 tablespoons raisin
  • 2 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • ¼  teaspoon cardamom powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg powder
  • ½ cup desiccated coconut 
  • ½ cup makhana (optional)
  • Organic dry rose petals (optional)

All you have to do: 

In a pan, heat ghee to deep fry the gond. When fried, Gond will puff up and turn its colour to a golden brown. When frying large amounts, it is better to do in batches. 

Roughly chop the almonds and cashews into small pieces. Dry roast almond, cashew, raisin, makhana and poppy seeds; each separately and let them cool. 

Keep aside ½ of the almonds and cashew chunks in a small bowl. 

Add fried gond, almonds, cashews, dates, makhana, dry coconut, cardamom, cinnamon and nutmeg powder to a blender jar and blend it. The mixture will be slightly sticky. Blend it to desired consistency and transfer the contents to a bowl.

Mix in the saved almond and cashew chunks, dry rose petals and poppy seeds. 

Divide and roll the mixture to small balls and serve.

SESAME SEED BALLS

Highly esteemed for their medicinal value, these seed balls are quick and easy to roll. Keeps you warm in winters and are too good to ignore. Remember that sesame seeds are additionally rich in absorbable calcium!

All you need:

  • 100g brown sesame seeds 
  • 100g black sesame seeds
  • 100g palm jaggery
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom powder

All you have to do:

Dry roast the sesame seeds in a pan until they start popping and release the aroma. This step is optional and can be skipped

To a blender jar, add sesame seeds and palm jaggery and blend. As you blend, the mixture will initially take a powdery form. Continue to blend so that the oil from the seeds oozes and helps to bind the ingredients 

Once the mixture reaches a sticky consistency, transfer to a bowl and roll out the laddoos of the desired size. 

SWEET CARROTS!

Carrot Noodles

All you need: 

  • 2 medium-sized carrots
  • 2 tbsp coconut butter
  • 1 tbsp raw honey

All you have to do: 

Spiralize the carrot to make carrot noodles and stir fry them on a well-seasoned iron skillet for around 3-4 minutes.

Alternatively, you can also cover and steam them for 3-4 minutes. Do not overcook them.

Turn off the flame, mix in the coconut butter and transfer the noodles to a serving bowl.

Drizzle honey on top, and Enjoy!.

Carrot Halwa

Vegan carrot halwa is too simple and too delicious to ignore. When you feel the itch for a dessert and you want it instantly, then this is the one to go!

All you need:

  • 2 medium-sized carrots
  • ½ cup of coconut pieces
  • 5-6 soaked raisins
  • 5-6 toasted cashew.

All you have to do: 

Wash and peel the carrots. Peeling can be skipped when using organic vegetables.

Dice the carrot into 2- inch pieces and steam them in a steamer or clay pot for about 7 minutes.

Add the steamed carrot, coconut pieces to a mixer and blend to desired consistency.

Serve the halwa in a dessert bowl, garnished with toasted cashew and raisins.

Originally published November 16, 2020 by Dr Disha Sridhar