by Phillip Picardi
Of all of the unfortunate things that cause acne, the most annoying one has to be this: Delicious foods. "Refined sugar is a very acidic food," explains nutritionist, author, and all-around wellness expert Kimberly Snyder. "An overly acidic body tends to have an overload of toxic substances, which can overwhelm your digestive organs. Those toxins need to be pushed out through the skin, which can be a possible contributor to acne."
But wait! There's even more not-fun news: Sugar also acts as a weird beauty leach in your body, upsetting mineral relationships, causing chromium and copper deficiencies, and sapping you of the all-important Vitamin E. "Not to mention, it taxes your adrenal glands, which can show up on your face in the form of dark under eye circles," Snyder adds.
Okay. So what? We're supposed to just skip frozen yogurt toppings and cupcakes entirely? "Not necessarily," Snyder says. "There are sweetener components that are low-glycemic and low in fructose. Plus, there's a way to make desserts with wholesome, natural ingredients that are actually good for your skin and body."
For example, Snyder mixes up plenty a yummy dish using coconut nectar as a sweetener. "It contains amino acids and minerals," she says. And, since it's coconut, it's got plenty of good fat for healthy, shiny hair and glowy skin.
Hoping to satisfy our sweet tooth without erupting in cute little pustules all over our newly-bronzed summer complexions, we asked Snyder and Jessica Milan, the food blogger behind Lookbook Cookbook, for five desserts that won't break you out (and may even leave you more beautiful). Check it out!
Cinnamon Chia Seed Delight
Why it's good: "Chia seeds are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber," Snyder explains. "They're also highly hydrophilic, which means they're a great help in keeping bodies hydrated." (AKA, they're kind of a beauty superfood.)
What you'll need: 1/4 cup chia seeds, 1 3/4 cups unsweetened almond milk, 1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and coconut nectar to taste.
How to do it: Whisk together the almond milk, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and sweetener of choice together until blended well and the desired level of sweetness is reached. Pour over the chia seeds and mix well. Let stand for up to two hours before serving.
Raw Coconut Macaroons
Why it's good: "I love coconut oil as a moisturizer, but it's also great to cook with since it contains key nutrients like potassium, magnesium, calcium, and iron," Snyder says. And, since it's displayed here in raw format, it will be super-potent and delicious.
What you'll need: 2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes, 1/2 cup raw cacao powder, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/8 teaspoon high quality sea salt, and 1/2 cup raw coconut nectar.
How to do it: Mix all the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl, adding the coconut nectar last. Then scoop out small mounds with a spoon and onto a plate or pan. Place in the freezer for at least 3-4 hours before serving.
Why it's good: Same deal as above: coconut is the beauty Messiah. (Except this time, you get it in two different formats!)
What you'll need: 1 can full coconut milk stored in the fridge overnight, 2 teaspoons of coconut nectar, and 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract.
How to do it: "Open the can of the coconut milk and use a spoon to scoop up the top creamy part. Be careful to leave the water in the can below. Put it into a large mixing bowl, then add the nectar and vanilla. Whisk the ingredients into a light fluff. Store in the fridge until ready to serve. "You can dip it, top it, or eat it with a spoon," Milan says.
Carob Almond Bars
Why it's good: A sugar-free dessert packed with the majorly impressive virgin coconut oil, loads of shredded coconut, and a healthy helping of antioxidant-rich almond. Awesome.
What you'll need: 1/4 cup almond butter, 1/2 cup crispy rice, 1/4 cup carob powder, 1/2 cup melted virgin coconut oil, 1/4 cup shredded coconut, 1/2 teaspoon natural vanilla extract, 15 drops of stevia, a pinch of cinnamon, and a pinch of sea salt.
How to do it: Add all of the ingredients into a bowl and mix. Pour into a small square container so it's 3/4 inches thick. Put in the freezer for five minutes before removing, sprinkling extra shredded coconut on top. Then, put back in the freezer or refrigerator until it's fully hardened. Cut into squares on a cutting board and serve cold.
Why it's good: Another sugar-free option packed with coconut oil and nectar, plus a little friendly lemon juice for good measure.
What you'll need: The base requires 2 cups almond meal, 2/3 cup dried, pitted dates, 2 tablespoons of coconut nectar, 1 teaspoon of extra virgin coconut oil, and a pinch of sea salt. The frosting calls for 2 cups raw unsalted cashews, 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, 1/4 cup coconut nectar, and 1 teaspoon extra virgin coconut oil.
How to do it: Pre-soak the cashews in purified water for an hour or two and rinse well. Add the almond meal, sea salt, and dates to your food processor. Pulse until the dates are broken down. Then, add the coconut nectar and mix again. Remove and put in a small baking dish, using a rubber spatula to smooth it out evenly. Now add the cashews to the processor and blend until they're a coarse powder. Add the lemon juice and blend until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Use a rubber spatula to occasionally scrape down the sides of the food processor, then add coconut nectar and oil and blend once more. Spread the frosting on top of the base, then place in the freezer for 30 minutes or so. Cut into small squares and garnish with a single blueberry if desired.
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