In 2011 I set about on a journey to regain my health – a series of dietary experiments. You can read the backstory here. Prior to beginning these trials, I had used an elimination diet to clear up a systemic Candida infection. I was also healing my gut/digestion through the intensive application of probiotics via fermented foods and beverages, and it worked, because cultured food is magical!
In July, I stopped eating dessert on weeknights, and I stopped eating after 9pm entirely.
There were actually two issues that I was addressing in July, though they were totally intertwined. Essentially, I’d gotten into this habit of eating dessert, every night, between 10 and 11 pm. But let’s stop there for a sec, so I can make it clear: I’m not saying I was eating a slice of cake every night. It wasn’t even a cookie. My dessert, my kind of dessert, is a frozen banana (or two), a spoonful of raw almond butter (okay lets be honest, a few spoonfuls) and some raw coconut sugar for dipping. Delicious!
And it was a nightly indulgence, as I was working on and wrapping up Rawesomely Vegan. But was it healthy? I wasn’t so concerned about the dessert aspect, since my “dessert” looked a lot like somebody else’s breakfast. At least I should say, I wasn’t worried about it in terms of sugar. I did wonder whether the caloric load (it’s quite high-calorie) was really necessary.
But most importantly, pretty much all the experts warn against late-night eating. Just Google it and you’ll see – everyone agrees that eating late is bad for health and hard on digestion. Okay. With sadness and a fond farewell for my beloved banana + almond butter, I kicked my late-night eating to the curb.
I’ll just go ahead and say it: this month SUCKED.
Strangely, through all my experimentation, both in this trial and over the years, I’ve never really felt *deprived*. But this month? Totally. At night I would get cranky and irritable and feel sorry for myself. You know – deprived!
What I came to understand, as the weeks wore on, was that there was a reason. BECAUSE I WAS HUNGRY.
We eat dinner pretty early, between 6-630 on most nights. I put Waits to bed around 9 and I’m back downstairs working by 945-10. And those crazy days of writing and editing, I was working into the wee hours every night. Even when I don’t have a manuscript, I’m up until midnight every night. That’s just my cycle.
So I don’t know about anybody else and I can only speak for myself, but 5-6 hours without food is just too much for me. Add to that an overnight, and I was waking up each morning with super low energy (and a foul mood).
I don’t have it in my notes, but I’m pretty sure I quit this trial early.
So yes, the longevity gurus will insist that I’m taking years off my life with my moonlit snack attacks. That’s okay. I found what works for me and THIS works great. Healthy-style dessert around 10 keeps my fueled and feeling good until breakfast. Maybe things will change once Waits is completely weaned and I’m no longer making breastmilk. But for now, this is it.
So why dessert? Are you wondering why I don’t just have a late night salad? Well, I do love me some salad, but I also have a sweet tooth. And for me, knowing that I’m going to get “dessert” at night helps me to stay on track eating healthy during the day. I have afternoon cookie craving just like anyone else does, and it’s infinitely easier for me to brush them off when I know there’s a perfect, perfectly wholesome, treat at the end of my day.
Frozen banana with almond butter will always be my #1, but these are a few of my other favorites:
The practically-viral Banana Soft Serve (via Choosing Raw)
These lemon-kissed blondie bites are right up my alley (from Dreena)
Simple perfection in peanut butter-stuffed dates (photo by Spabettie)
And of course, there’s always a good old fashioned raw chocolate protein shake (I would 1/2 or 1/4 this recipe for a late night drink) (via Miss Kristin)