Over the last several months, I’ve become especially interested in trying to start a conversation about the proper place for dessert in our lives. The facts are terrifying:
- One hundred and fifty-six pounds. That’s how much added sugar Americans consumes each year on a per capita basis, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Imagine it: 31 five-pound bags for each of us.
- Nearly one in three (31.8%) U.S. children (23.9 million) ages 2 to 19 are overweight or obese.
- All in all, obesity and overweight account for nearly one of every 10 American deaths, and they also drain our society of $223 billion a year.
But what can I, what can we, do about it?
We can start by simply starting a conversation about what makes a dessert worthy to eat and when we should pass and save our calories for later.
Sugar and fat have become something we eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner – and every snack in between. These bad habits are hurting our health and society. It’s time we took control of what we put in our mouths. Desserts with sugar and fat aren’t necessarily the villains. It’s the amount they are consumed which we need to address. We need to recalibrate and enjoy desserts as a treat, not something to be eaten every day or even several times a day.
What is a dessert? By definition it’s a sweet cake, pie, pudding or cookie served at the end of a meal. But with the amount of sugar and fat in most breakfast items, sodas and other processed foods many people are having the equivalent of a dessert during or in place of a meal.
A mass-produced preservative laden chocolate cake or cookie made in a factory the size of a football field doesn’t taste as delicious as it’s homemade equivalent whether you or a pastry chef in a bakery or restaurant made it.
Desserts should taste incredible or we shouldn’t waste our time or the calories. Our health depends on it.
On August 1, I’m going to start tweeting and using social media to spread the word about the proper place for dessert in our lives using #dessertworthy. My feeds will be filled with pictures (and recipes) of delicious and special desserts.
It might seem counterintuitive for me, a pastry chef, to start this conversation but if not me then who? We need to change the way Americans are consuming dessert. This isn’t about forcing people to eat “healthy” desserts. It’s a movement to get people to reduce the amount of sugar and fat they consume and recognize which desserts are worth enjoying, which ones aren’t and when. Considering the amount of food those of us in the food business are surrounded by every day we eat pretty healthily. If we can do it the public can do it too.
You can help me. When you enjoy a dessert using natural ingredients that is truly worthy of the calories take a picture and post it on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook with the hashtag #dessertworthy. When you pass on a dessert or something sugar and fat laden post it with the hashtag #notdessertworthy.
This isn’t a big campaign, yet. No corporate underwriting, no sponsors and no fancy websites. Just me using social media and my website to start the conversation. Hopefully you can join me and please ask others too. A few months from now I hope we have thousands of people sharing their pictures.
I’ll be posting on Twitter @emilyluchetti, on Instagram emilyluchetti and on my Facebook page www.facebook.com/emilyluchettidesserts.
Share your posts on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram using #dessertworthy.
Thanks for your help and your support. I am hoping you will help spread the word and become part of the conversation. #dessertworthy is a small thing that over time can have a big impact in helping change the way we think about dessert and healthy eating.