There is a sweet and indulgent solution to your diet and digestion woes. When imagining ways of improving your gut health, you probably only picture bowls filled with fibre-rich vegetables, jars filled with kimchi and sauerkraut, and people eating bran cereal and yoghurt while forgoing desserts.
When I think of improving my gut health, I see an opportunity to experiment in the kitchen and find a way to also do it while eating indulgent desserts daily in my diet. There is one rule, however: the desserts still have to be healthy.
I classify anything sweet, tasty, and indulgent as dessert, so fruit counts too, but you don’t only have fruit as options when wanting to eat dessert while improving your gut health and overall diet.
Here are a few ways that you can use dessert in your diet to improve your gut health:
Make an Indulgent Dessert that Contains Fibre
Yes, any dessert recipe (hopefully one with no added sugar) that contains fruit will provide you with fibre that is good for your gut health, but if you choose cleverly and make something indulgent that contains more sources of fibre (think a pie crust made with fibre-rich coconut flour and ground up seeds that you can pair with fruit to make a fruit pie.)
I like trying to make sure that I consume at least two sources of fibre per meal. You could use some of the following strategies to add more fibre to your indulgent diet:
- Find low-sugar and low-carb cookies, cakes, and pastry recipes that use fibre-rich flour, such as coconut flour, almond flour, sunflower seed flour, etc.
- Choose recipes that contain vegetables, such as pumpkin pie, low-carb carrot cake, chocolate cake made with beetroot, sweet potato muffins, etc.
- If you can tolerate nuts and seeds, indulgent desserts that contain them can be great options. Think sweet potato brownies with roast hazelnuts on top or carrot cake topped with walnuts.
- I also love making indulgent chocolate barks, where you basically spread melted dark chocolate on a tray, and then sprinkle toppings, such as seeds, coconut flakes, chopped nuts, etc. over.
- Make a chia pudding. You can probably find thousands of recipes on Pinterest.
Use Probiotics in Your Indulgent Diet Recipes
If you make a dessert that contains plain yoghurt, and you buy a yoghurt that still contains live bacteria, then you can easily add probiotics to your diet.
If you soak some fruit in another great source of healthy bacteria, namely kombucha, for a few hours and then eat that with yoghurt, you can have an indulgent dessert that is sweet and will provide beneficial bacteria that can eat the fibre.
I find yoghurt to be especially delicious when paired with stewed fruit. You can also use yoghurt and kombucha when making your chia puddings.
Raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar is also a source of probiotics that can be used in many dessert recipes.
Make Dessert Your Favourite Source of Dietary Collagen
Don’t get me wrong, bone broth is delicious, but did you know that you can get your collagen from gelatine, which is made from cooked bones, and use it to make all kinds of desserts. We use it to make our own jelly sweets, jellies, cheesecake, tarts, etc. It is great as a thickening agent when making something warm.
Collagen is what is needed to build the lining of your gut, and is therefore crucial for a healthy gut. Getting collagen from your diet is something that I believe everyone should focus on.
Make Dessert a Source of Vitamin C
Vitamin C is important for gut health, as it helps the body to produce more collagen. Make your dessert using fruits, such as strawberries, oranges, lemons, etc. I like making chocolate-covered strawberries, orange-flavoured dark chocolate, and lemon meringue pie. It counts. Diets really do not have to be boring.
Use Dessert to Give Your Digestive System a Break
Some days, I can feel that I need to eat less fibre, because my IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) flares up, which can be from excess fibre in my diet. I like making desserts that only contain protein and fat, like coconut cream ice cream, or other fat bombs that I have found on Pinterest that do not contain fibre.
Giving the digestive system a break from fibre is important for some people, and if you want to be able to eat indulgent treats without feeling too full because you are going to the gym later, then you do not want to eat something with protein, fibre, and fat, but rather something that contains only one or two of those.
This is a trick that my husband uses when he wants to eat a lot of calories in his diet. He knows that if he adds fibre, especially when consuming a lot of fat, he cannot eat as much, but if he only eats protein and fat, he can eat a lot more. Fat bombs are a staple in my house.
There are a lot of things to take into consideration when trying to improve your gut health. Luckily, you can do so while still eating indulgently and having dessert daily. I hope that you have found this article helpful.
I am starting The Dessert Diet Club! You can pre-order my book by filling in the form below. Plus, you will get four free recipes: Pumpkin Pie, Almond Butter Fudge Blocks, Orange Dark Chocolate, and My Aunt’s Mocha Cake.