Everyone loves to indulge every now and then – actually more like every day. Unfortunately, indulging daily can pack on the pounds and make your blood sugar go crazy due to hikes in blood sugar from consumption of sugar-heavy foods. Fortunately, there are many sweet treats that can be consumed instead of your favorite fare of cakes, breakfast pastries and ice cream.
I believe in indulging, but instead of every day, I appoint certain days as treat days. On these days, I don’t go crazy with my sweets, but I allow myself fewer restrictions on what I eat throughout the day. For example, on these days I usually treat myself to frozen yogurt – a better alternative than, let’s say Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream (though I do love it!).
If you don’t like the idea of treat days, keep some dark chocolate on hand and eat a few squares after dinner each night. If you do eat a muffin, look for one made with whole grains and adjust your eating later in the day. Definitely indulge, but within moderation!
If you are eating a balanced diet of 2,000 calories per day or less, there is room in your diet for 200-300 discretionary calories. Not all discretionary calories are created equal. For example, some dark chocolates contain potent antioxidants. Antioxidants scavenge our bodies in search of free radicals that damage arteries and cells and cause disease, and work to repair them. Plant foods contain the highest levels of antioxidants, and chocolate – made from seeds of the tropical cacao plant – may have even greater health advantages than most foods, depending on the level of antioxidants retained during processing.
In 2002, research from IGD's Consumer Watch revealed the different ways in which people indulge themselves when it comes to meal solutions. Convenience was a core part of the indulgence experience for consumers, through solutions that saved time or effort either during shopping, preparation or cooking. When asked to choose what they were most likely to do when consumers wanted to treat themselves for a weekday evening meal:
- 25% said they would eat out
- 23% would choose a meal prepared by someone else, for example a takeaway or ready meal
- 20% said they would choose meals that were quick to cook.
The study also showed that factors such as age, gender and which was their main supermarket all influenced indulgence decisions.
Indulgences can include:
- Coffee drinks
- Ice cream & gelato
- Good wine, beer or cocktails
- Jamba Juice (smoothies & shakes)
- Ordering your favorite meal
Life Indulgences can be anything you want and appreciate from life.
Indulgences can include:
- Smelling fresh or salty air
- Watching waves crashing or a tide washing ashore and receding
- Buying a cool outfit or pair of shoes
- Being with best friends
- Helping to make a difference in someone’s life
- Feeling good – no pains
- Listening to quiet
- Being alone
- Watching your children grow
- Taking a hot shower
- Not rushing
- Driving without traffic
- Listening to your favorite music
- Making something
- Learning something new
- Challenging yourself
- Losing weight
- Going on an adventure
- Being confident
- Seeing an old friend
- Spending money
Moments are meant to be enjoyed and not filled with stress.
Notable Indulgences from the staff of melslife:
- Best Sticky Buns are at Beiler’s Bakery in Philadelphia. Located in the Reading Terminal Market at 1136 Arch Street, Beiler’s is an Amish bakery with many varieties of their famous sticky buns
- Chicago Pizza – Gino’s East located at 633 North Wells Street in Chicago
- One of the best independent coffee houses in America is La Prima, located in Pittsburgh’s Strip District at 20th and Smallman. Some of the best espresso I have ever had
- Some of my favorite gelato is Della Palma in Rome. In the U.S., try Capogiro in Philadelphia. Very unique flavors … and rich and flavorful. Also try Bacio Gelato in South Beach
- Best Philly Cheesesteak – Ricks or Pats in Philadelphia
- The best sourdough bread I’ve ever had is from Acme Bread Company in San Francisco, located at 1 Ferry Building
- Best Biscotti – Enrico Biscotti in Pittsburgh
- Most unique sandwich – Primanti Bros. in Pittsburgh
- Best Pizza in South Beach Miami - Pizza Rustica
- Good bowl of pasta in South Beach Miami – La Pizzeria del Tiramiso
In Los Angeles, our favorite bakeries are:
- Jamaicas – great cinnamon bread pudding and vegan cupcakes
- Sweet Lady Jane – incredible cakes, pies and breakfast goodies
- Al Gelato – not really a bakery, but they probably have the best apple pie in LA
- M Café – good vegan goodies
- Eagle Rock Italian Bakery – authentic Italian goodies
- Café Montana – not really a bakery, but they have excellent, distinctive cakes and pies
- Julianos Raw – raw desserts & best “milk shake” in town
- Mani’s – mostly fruit-sweetened desserts with some vegan options
In New York, our favorites:
If you like coffee, try our two favorite New York spots:
- Magnolia’s (in the village)
401 Bleeker Street
- Billy’s Bakery
184 9th Avenue
This is like a ‘50s spot ... good ol’-fashioned desserts.
- Sugar Sweet Sunshine
126 Rivington Street
- Balthazar 80 Spring Street Village
- The Donut Plant
379 Grand Street
- In the village - Joe, located at 141 Waverly Place. Craft-brewed coffee near NYU and Washington Square. The owner is very nice; he also brings in boutique-baked goods.
- Near Grand Central Statio - try Macchiato, located at 141 East 44th Street. It’s a very cool place patterned after the espresso bars in Milan. Their baked goods are just OK even though they bake them
If you want a VERY EXPENSIVE, but cool, vegetarian dining experience, try Candle 79. They are located at 79th Street and Lexington. The food is excellent and creative, but expensive.
Best cannoli – Mike’s Pastry and Modern Pastry
Best pizza – The original Reginas Restaurant or Haymarket Pizza
Best pizza bread – Parziale Bakery