Be honest with me – if someone talks about healthy eating all the time, do you assume that they eat kale and hemp seeds all the time? Would you think that they rarely, if ever, indulge in things like a slice of cake with sprinkles? I believe that for a long time, if someone preached to the high heavens of being a healthy person, an assumption was made that they were missing out on the great foods in the world like a really chewy and doughy piece of sourdough or some hefty scoops of chocolate chunk ice cream. Times are changing though, and I love seeing more and more people sharing a different message of balance.
To be honest, finding the right balance between filling your day with leafy greens and playing TREAT YO SELF when someone walks into the office with a bag of Bruegger’s was a fine line that I didn’t always teeter on well. There were times where everyday of the week was a treat yourself day and then that just becomes a lifestyle. What I’ve discovered over the last year or so is that it is 100% possible to eat everything you want and not deprive yourself of those special treats. I’m one of those firm believers that food brings people together and so many of our major life events revolve around food, so you totally deserve to indulge (I mean come on, what would your birthday be without a whole cake to yourself or Thanksgiving without a second batch of garlicky sour cream potatoes??). So what does that mean for your everyday? I think that depends on you, your life, and how that makes you feel. I think our bodies are really good and actually wired to tell us what we need to be our best selves – and yes, sometimes our brains get in the way of what we should eat versus what we want to eat and that’s fine too. Our bodies kind of guide us to what we need to eat to satisfy what we’re currently missing in our diets (mindbodygreen had an interesting article that covers some of those cravings – like when we are stressed we can face adrenal fatigue and your body starts to crave salt to act as a fortification). At a certain point, you need to really trust your gut (almost literally!) to figure out what makes you feel good, and I think it takes time to be in tune with yourself about those things.
Something that I’ve come to love about Ayurvedic philosophies is how it emphasizes balance and how the main goal when it comes to eating is to adjust those balances within ourselves. So does that mean Ayurveda says to eat dessert everyday because #balance? Well no, not exactly. Instead, it says that if you are going to eat dessert, like ice cream let’s say, you can do certain things to make sure your body digests it properly and that you balance it out. Since most desserts can be exceedingly sweet, try to combine some spices in there to even out the foods, eat dessert earlier in the day so that your body has time to digest before going to sleep at night, make it as easy as possible for your body to adjust to your sugar intake!
So that’s where this loaf comes in – as a reminder that you can treat yourself too. This almond loaf is a gluten and refined sugar free version of my favorite flavor of muffins and cakes (LEMON!!!) and is topped with a jammy rhubarb sauce that is flavored with honey, lemon, and mint. I added a heaping helping of ginger into the loaf to help balance out the sweet and lemon helps to add some acidity in there as well. You could easily add some blueberries in here for an extra fruity punch and you could certainly swap out rhubarb if you don’t like rhubarb or are making this out of season. I’ve been loving a slice of this loaf (cake??) for my mid afternoon snack or as I’m running out the door. Snack on, friends!
lemon almond loaf with honey rhubarb sauce
for the loaf (adapted from Dolly & Oatmeal) ::
1 1/4 cups almond flour
1/4 cup arrowroot powder
1 tsp baking powder
large pinch of salt
zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp ginger powder
1/4 cup and 1/8 cup coconut sugar
4 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
for the rhubarb sauce ::
3 tablespoons of honey
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon coconut sugar
1/4 cup of water
1 large sprig of mint, in tact
1 cup and an additional 1/4 cup of rhubarb, sliced
- preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a loaf pan with parchment paper, set aside.
- in a large mixing bowl, add the almond flour, arrowroot powder, baking powder, salt, lemon zest, ginger powder, and the 1/4 cup of coconut sugar. combine and then add in the egg yolks – mixture will be thick.
- in a stand mixer or with an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until they start to get fluffy – add in the vanilla extract and keep beating, little by little start adding in the 1/8 cup of coconut sugar and beat until the egg whites form loose peaks. in four parts, slowly fold the egg white mixture into the flour mixture, being careful not to completely deflate the egg whites. fold mixture together until smooth and then pour into lined loaf pan.
- bake for 32 – 35 minutes until the outside is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. let cool.
- in a stove top pot add the honey, lemon juice, coconut sugar, water, and mint sprig. stir to combine and bring to a light simmer. add the 1 cup of rhubarb into the mixture and let the mix simmer for about 10 – 15 minutes until the rhubarb has started to break down and the sauce is thick. take off the heat and remove the mint spring. if you want additional texture, add the extra 1/4 cup of rhubarb and stir in to the sauce.
- serve loaf by the slice, topped with the rhubarb sauce, mint leaves, lemon zest, and powdered sugar if desired. enjoy!