How do sweets and mindful eating connect? All too often eating mindfully may bring to mind images of raw carrot sticks chomped in silence. Yet it becomes challenging to build enthusiasm for a phrase that conjures up visions bugs bunny in time out. Personally, I’d rather not live in a state of deprivation. I’ve been there, done that, and it wasn’t fulfilling nor sustaining. Baby steps may be much more effective than making all-or-nothing changes in our attitudes toward food. To make meaning in our lives, eating mindfully should first be applied to foods we love. Rather than begin eating mindfully by meditating on raw carrots, it can be more inspiring to do so with indulgent carrot desserts. Thus, I designed this recipe for Vegan Farmer’s Market Carrot Cake Cookies with mindful and moderate indulgence in mind.
With this recipe in hand, the first step to making it mindfully is to source our ingredients with care. When I first crafted this recipe, I meticulously analyzed the carrots that were haphazardly built into mountainous pile at the local farmer’s market down the street from my apartment in my Austrian village home. I pieced together my German vocabulary to ask for just one, not two, not five, just one carrot, please! And I waltzed away confused with my single carrot and a bulging oversized shopping bag of spinach that the farmer insisted on stuffing to the brim despite my persistent request for “Bisshen, bitte!” ("Just a little, please!) of all my vegetables. Apparently, my accent still needs work.
Regardless of obstacles in sourcing, we can arrive to the present to mindfully bake our dessert. Once we have our golden, glowing carrot in hand, we can abandon all rabbit aspirations or other overarching expectations the mindful eating experience. Instead, let’s eat mindfully by making something decadent and delicious.
Chocolate on carrots – why not? Chocolate is my personal favorite indulgence. No day feels complete without the sensation of a dark and delicious square of craft chocolate marvelously melting on my tongue, its flavors slowly releasing along with its unfolding multi-faceted aroma. I learned to eat mindfully through savoring chocolate, imagining its full bean to bar creation as my daily stress slipped away. Yet since my birth of this dark and complex love affair, I have expanded my heart to include a home for mindful eating of many other foods – yes, even carrots.
With patience and practice first with foods we truly love, we can even eat raw carrot sticks mindfully. We can see its bright orange hues, hear its crisp snap, feel its refrigerator-cool texture, smell its fresh-from-the ground earthy dirt, taste its subtly-sweet sensations. We can slow down this process to contemplate the ethical implications of our carrot’s origin – whether it has been lovingly cultivated by a local, fairly-paid organic vendor at the farmer’s market or mass-produced into slimy bags by factory farms. We can even mindfully eat our least favorite veggies to appreciate their generous nourishment (celery, anyone?).
Your body is your temple, and your mind is the crown gem. To begin eating mindfully, make your carrot your thing. Drench it in goji berries, drizzle it in coconut flakes, and bake it in love. Do whatever you love so long as you do you. Indulge unapologetically provided that you do so mindfully. Listen to your heart’s edible desires, and appreciate the full sensory experience of your favorite foods.
Ready to make your mundane carrot gorgeous? Read on for the breakdown of how to make these Vegan Farmer’s Market Carrot Cake Cookies.
1 medium-sized carrot (1 Cup grated)
1 cube candied ginger (1/4 teaspoon chopped)
1.25 Cups flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 flax eggs (2 Tablespoons ground golden flaxseed + ¾ Cup almond milk)
¼ Cup brown sugar*
1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
¼ Cup (+1 Tablespoon) dried fruit**
2.2 ounces (60 grams) craft chocolate***
1 Tablespoon coconut flakes
Peel your beautiful carrot and chop it into thin rounds. Chop the candied ginger. Grind the chopped carrot with the chopped ginger in a food processor. Set aside the shredded carrot mix in a small bowl.
In a large baking bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, sea salt, and ground cinnamon. Make your flax egg by adding the flaxseed and almond milk to a measuring cup, whisking with a fork, and setting aside for 2 minutes until the mixture becomes gelatinous.
Mix the carrot mixture, the flax egg, the brown sugar, and the melted coconut oil into the flour mixture. Add in ¼ Cup dried fruit, and combine until the batter is smooth and even.
On an oven-safe cookie sheet, form the dough into small, round balls (about 1-inch in diameter). Bake at 350° Fahrenheit 15 minutes or until the edges of the cookies become golden brown.
Allow the cookies to cool at room temperature while melting your favorite craft chocolate. Use the double boiling method to melt the chocolate slowly over simmering water in a small pot below your bowl of chocolate.
Once the chocolate has melted, drizzle over your cookies. Top with the additional dried fruit and coconut flakes.
Enjoy mindfully by slowly savoring the sensory experience of your ethically-sourced vegan carrot creation.
*Note: Try with your alternative sweetener of your choice for low-sugar baking.
**Note: I’ve had delicious results with goji berries or chopped figs