Holy moly what a week. It probably would not have been so bad had I actually studied for my midterms during “Reading” Week but I opted to watch the Olympics 24/7 instead which I guess is my own fault. Then the Blacklist returned Monday night which meant that another hour of potential studying was shot. Did I mention that my new life goal is to be Agent Keen when I grow up? I’m not kidding. My stress levels definitely were not helped by the fact that the steering went in my car either. Seriously, you do not realize how important power steering is until it is gone. Every time I drove it was actually an arm work-out just trying to turn the wheel. But, I can happily say that I managed to overcome all of the aforementioned obstacles and successfully (well I guess we will see about that when I get my marks) completed all of my midterms. I think some chocolate is in order.
Funny how quickly things change. At the beginning of this week I was ready to ditch sugar. I seem to go through these cycles where I get really down on my eating habits and decide to overhaul them. This time it didn’t last very long. Within 12 hours I had already decided that it was not worth it and went reaching for a caramel. The thing is, when you look at the big picture, my diet is not unhealthy. I eat a ton of fruit and vegetables, especially as a vegetarian. The problem is that I have this habit of sucking on candy. It may only be 5 or 10 pieces a day, but over the course of a week, or even a month, that is a lot of sugar. So I make up my mind that it has got to go, only to find myself re-incorporating it into my diet. Somehow I was able to give up meat without any issues but when it comes to even just the slightest amount of sugar, my will power is virtually non-existent. Then I ask myself the basic question, “What would I gain if I gave it up?” I would probably drop a couple of pounds eventually (apparently changing your caloric intake by only 100 calories per day can lead to weight loss), not that I am trying to accomplish that. I always find myself validating the habit via what I call the “enjoyment principle”. I ask myself if I am happier with sugar than without it and the answer is invariably “yes”. Thus having determined that the pros outweigh the cons, I continue on with my candy-eating ways.
That being said, I definitely do need to cut down on my sugar intake. My friend recently went for a checkup with her Dentist in Mississauga and they told her that she needed to cut down on sugary treats as her teeth were starting to show signs of cavities. Eating too much sugar can cause other oral health problems too such as gum disease and tooth decay, so I do need to start being more proactive if I want to avoid a similar fate to my friend.
It still rides me though because otherwise, my diet is the picture of health. No pop, chips, french fries, none of that. I have not eaten it in years. More than anything, I think it bugs me because it is contradictory to everything I believe in (can you say high-fructose corn syrup?). And I still do it. But if you don’t enjoy life, what’s the point? It really reinforces my mantra that as humans, we don’t just eat to satisfy hunger. If that was the case, none of this would be a problem. Food is both social and pleasurable – or at least I think it should be. As long as I have that mentality, I don’t think my habits will be changing anytime soon.
- 1½ cup all purpose flour
- ⅓ cup cocoa powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ½ tsp. salt
- ¼ cup neutral flavoured oil (vegetable, canola, safflower, etc.)
- ½ cup cold water
- 1 ripe banana, mashed
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 1 tbsp. cider or white vinegar
- ½ cup vegan chocolate chips
- turbinado sugar, as needed
- Heat your oven to 350F.
- Line 10-12 muffin cups with liners.
- Mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and chocolate chips. In a separate bowl whisk the oil, water, banana, vanilla, brown sugar and vinegar until it is as smooth as you can get it (there will probably still be some lumps from the mashed banana, no worries).
- Mix together the wet and dry ingredients. Whisk until smooth, you don't want any lumps of flour or cocoa. The original recipe calls to pass it through a strainer if there are still lumps but I feel that this is a bit extreme. If you want to, all the power to you though.
- Portion the batter into the lined muffin tins. Leave them about ¾ full, you want some room for them to rise. Sprinkle the tops with turbinado sugar, if desired.
- Bake at 350F for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick/skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool and eat!