This recipe is from my book, Homemade Snacks and Staples, which will be released from Penguin Books on May 7th.
So how does this fit in the Clean Eating diet? It’s all about choices and definitions.
Defining Clean Eating
There are some haters out there who may balk at my ‘clean chocolate cake’. I was really shocked when this article came through my Google Alerts. The author talked about clean eating as a cult and as I was reading it, this version of clean eating sounded a lot more more like a combination of paleo and raw diets than the my beloved clean eating. Especially this paragraph:
“Clean eating is also expensive. To do it properly requires a full arsenal of fancy and expensive kitchen equipment that is out reach for many on a budget. A hardcore blender (BPA-free of course) to make your own juices, smoothies, soups and nut butters, a dehydrator to mimic the texture of cooked foods while keeping enzymes intact, a spiraliser for raw pasta, and so on. And that’s before you even purchase the ingredients which of course have to be organic and local.”
What? I need a blender? Raw pasta? I can’t cook foods? This sounds terrible. And here all along, I have been saving money by avoiding processed foods at the super market. What am I doing wrong?
My shock turned into self-doubt when I read this:
“Another area where clean eating gets it dreadfully, dreadfully wrong is desserts. Here are a few names of clean eating desserts: Black Bean Fudge Cakes, Chocolate Avocado Mousse, Protein Cookie Balls, Almond Buckwheat Goji Raw Bars. Is your mouth watering yet? No? That’s because Mother Nature already provided us with a perfectly healthy, fuss-free dessert – it’s called fruit.”
Yes, I love fruit. And yes, this is the dessert of choice on most days. But there are days for celebration where fruit doesn’t cut it (gasp! I said it!) My cookbook is filled with clean desserts. Dairy-free ice creams, cookies, and cakes, and none of them involved non-sweet ingredients like black beans or avocados. Oops. Does this mean that I am not a clean eater?
When I see articles like this, it’s hard not to be upset. There are people who take clean eating (and healthy eating) to such a degree that it becomes almost impossible to follow. I am sure there are people who read my blog and say that I am not ‘clean’ enough because I don’t grow all of my own food, raise my own chickens, and make every single item in my pantry from scratch. And there are people who think I take it to an extreme (like my family and some of my friends) in what I will buy and not buy at the grocery store. That’s life. Manatee and I have accepted it.
Like everything else in life, you need to define choices work for you and stand by them. For us, this means:
- No chemicals, only whole food ingredients
- No white flour
- As little sugar/sweeteners as possible
- No high fructose corn syrup
- No prepackaged snack foods
- Lots of whole foods
- Local, when we can get it
- Non-GMO when we can get it
- Limited dairy products: butter for baking and Greek Yogurt, but that’s about it
And the most important rule of all:
- No beating yourself up when you eat or drink something ‘not clean’
Each time you put something in your mouth, you are making a choice. Some days there may be bad choices, but that does not mean your clean eating days are over. As soon as you eat (or drink) again, you have the opportunity to make it up.
This is what keeps us sane and also what keeps us on track. We’re not always perfect, but we have stuck to our principles so long that it is now a way of life. And isn’t that the point?
Alright, enough on my clean eating soap box, let’s get to this amazing chocolate cake recipe!
As if to prove that my my recipes are foolproof, I managed to royally screw up one of my own recipes. When I made these cupcakes for my birthday, I forgot the cocoa powder and didn’t properly read the instructions for the peanut butter frosting. This is what happens when you are trying to do too many things in the kitchen.
Then when I made the cake for the Writer’s Institute, I didn’t soften the butter and had butter clumps in my frosting. But you know what?
I didn’t hear any complaints.
The cake is rich and dense. The peanut butter frosting tastes like peanut butter cookie dough. A small bite goes a long way and that’s how I love my desserts.
If you want to stick to Raw Black Bean Fudge Protein Balls for your clean desserts, have at it. As for me, I think I will stick to my whole-wheat, applesauce, Greek Yogurt chocolate cake topped with peanut butter frosting. We’ll see who is still eating clean years later.
What are some of the ways (or rules) you use to keep it clean and healthy in your diet?