My friends know that my typical response to anything “diet”, “low-fat”, “0%”, or “skinny” is abject rejection. Typically, anyhow.
However, I have also said I never wanted to be one of those who choose to remain static all their life. If I don’t allow for change and growth, how will I ever continue to learn?
I’ve read a book recently that has become somewhat of a obsessesion. It’s right up there next to the must-owns like “Nourishing Traditions” and “One Thousand Gifts”. For over a month I have read every scrap of information on eating according to “Trim Healthy Mama”. Written by two lively sisters who have had covered every territory in the diet spectrum, “Trim Healthy Mama” or “THM” offers a tome of conversational wisdom into eating deliciously while slimming down.
I can’t allow myself to be persuaded by any method of weight loss that excludes an entire food group whether it be low-fat or Atkins type, both seem excessive and miserable. THM’s solution to the (nearly every woman’s) problem of inevitable weight gain is to separate fuel sources (i.e. fat and carbs) into different meals so the body isn’t receiving the massive wallop of fueling power of both at once.
Skeptical at first of anything that might keep me from beloved combinations such as grilled cheese, butter-lathered bagels, or whipped-cream blessed pancakes, I feel I am grasping that “scientific tweaking” as the authors put it, can be used to our advantage without dishonoring ancient whole food wisdom or ethical food sourcing. While growing children and physically hard-working men/women need the caloric benefits of both fat and carbs together (termed “crossovers”) I have found that I needed to be ridiculously vigilant in order to stay trim. This is not to say that my diet isn’t incredibly healthy and I haven’t felt wonderful! Just when I had resigned myself to a lifetime of working very hard at maintaining my personal level of body-happiness, along came THM and told me that not only could I continue to eat fantastically but I could indeed lose those final 5-7 “vanity” pounds that haven’t left for years. Not only that, but I could have a solid milk supply while nursing, maintain blood sugar equilibrium, and have fit pregnancies!
I want to be honest with this food evolution so I have personally begun eating THM style and hope to eventually share both recipes and progress based on this newfound knowledge while keeping true to the whole foods approach.
Here is a recipe based on the “Skinny Chocolate” found in “Trim Healthy Mama”.
All credit goes to Pearl Barrett and Serene Allison but I have modified it to my personal tastes.
5 oz. bar unsweetened Ghiradelli chocolate or 5 oz. Bakers unsweetened chocolate (Bakers is more affordable and makes more but the little old food snob in me likes the black Ghiradelli label)
1/2 cup unrefined coconut oil
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla (best quality possible)
Nunaturals Stevia *See note below
1. Break chocolate into a heat-proof bowl set over a saucepan filled with simmering water. Add butter and coconut oil. Melt gently and completely, whisking to bring everything together. Whisk in Nunaturals Stevia to taste. (This may be a bit tricky if you haven’t used stevia before but, most importantly, use only the tiniest of shakes to bring the chocolate to the sweetness levels of dark chocolate and trust your taste buds, it’s a good culinary exercise.)
2. Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla extract.
3. Pour into molds or muffin tins, with or without liners. Chill until hardened.
Eat to enjoy the profound benefits of coconut oil or, if eating THM style, after a fat-based meal for a decadent weight-loss promoting dessert.
*I trusted the recommendations of the authors and bought the Nunaturals stevia. This was the right move! Unlike my first disgusted run-in with stevia, this pure extract leaves no aftertaste or bitterness when used properly. Just because I was rather unfamiliar with stevia, ( the health benefits, the lack of calories, that it’s based on a herb, and been around forever) I viewed it as a specialty item. But now, it’s my only sweetener and I’m excited to begin adding it into my baking/cooking as a staple. It seems to be rather pricey but since it’s hundreds of times sweeter than sugar, you use only trace amounts for dramatic sweetening ability.
I am following your blog!! I am going to have to read this. 🙂
I think I’m going to try these recipes. I especially want to try the chocolate. 🙂 I am doing a lot of thinking about food philosophy too so this is a really fun find!
the idea of separating macronutrients isn’t new. Louise Tenney wrote a book about this too, several decades ago (the title is elluding me but i just got rid of last book purge lol). the Diamonds (can’t recall their names rite now) also developed a whole program around this concept (had all their bks too at one pt lol). Suzanne Somers does this in her many books on wgt loss (yep, read or owned 90% of them too :0 ). however, our bodies are very capable of digesting well and absorbing well, all the macronutrients in one meal. (heightened) awareness of macronutrients, such as carbs, may arise from following this philosophy and then one can moderate their intake of it to feel better, but i’ve never found a reason to continue compartmentalizing meals. IMO this philosophy falls in the same category as blood type determining our diet. it just makes no physiological sense.
im glad u wrote this review b/c i’ve pondered ordering THM, now i don’t have to 🙂
I think it (THM) has helpful tips for nearly everybody, I have been so grateful to find a lifestyle that keeps me eating without adding extra weight and without eliminating any food groups, (unless the white potato has it’s own food group;) and I am eating as deliciously and with as much diversity as I ever have. On top of those benefits I am having far less PMS symptoms and almost zero cramping during periods. And I don’t experience the leaden feeling I would think was normal after meals! And who doesn’t want to be able to eat more chocolate?
Can you expound on what you’re saying? I’m not following and I’d like to. Thanks.
SweetLeaf brand stevia is a white powder also. It has inulin included. I finally broke down and tried it and it’s great! There was one other brand i had been to tolerate/choke down but SweetLeaf is actually good.
Hey! I am a fellow contributor at Nourishing Gourmet, just came across you blog once again. So beautiful! Keep up the good work!
Thank you Madey!
I have also read most of the books Helene referred to and was hesitant to buy THM because it sounded so similar to those and I didn’t think I needed another food combining book. However, after much research I decided there is enough difference that I ordered it yesterday. I can’t wait to get it! Helene, I also used to have the same thought as you about our bodies being able to handle all together, until I tried it and discovered how I naturally lost excess weight, I had more energy and just generally felt so much better. I firmly believe in this way of eating.
I just make this skinny chocolate and don’t know what I did wrong. I used Ghirardelli chocolate 100% cocoa bar.. Coconut oil, butter, vanilla and THM sweet blend. It was still bitter. And believe me, I used more sweetener in this chocolate than any other dessert I’ve made. I also in the end added orange extract because I love orange chocolate. I read somewhere to add some sea salt to help with sweetness so I did a small grind of my pink hymilayian salt. Did I use a too bitter chocolate? TIA
Definitely use a healthy pinch of salt, that is something I’ve learned to do when making very dark chocolate to balance the bitter and bring forward the cocoa/vanilla notes. I would add though, that unless your taste buds are adjusted to this level of “dark” it may still taste bitter for awhile. Your chocolate source sounds great. And don’t hesitate to add more sweetener if you want!
Just came across this and was wondering if you could suggest another natural sweetener? I do not use stevia due to ragweed allergy. (Nor any others listed in THM due to side effects)
I can’t do any of the other sweeteners either, including stevia anymore because it lowers my already super low blood pressure even lower! I just use minute amounts of honey, maple syrup, or even coconut/cane sugar, maybe about a teaspoon per serving, no more, in order to stay in THM amounts.