Friday, January 23, 2009

Confessions of a Dietitian

As a general rule, I am not a fan of "healthified" recipes. Not because I think it's a bad idea to substitute applesauce for oil, or low-fat mayonnaise for regular, or ground flax seed and water for egg, or drained non-fat yogurt for sour cream, etc, but because (deep breath) IT DOESN'T TASTE GOOD.

Some healthified foods taste alright, I admit. But not all, or even most, are as good as the original. Whoever says they are is either lying, doesn't have taste buds, or has lived so long without tasting the full fat/full cholesterol/full sodium/full calorie version that they no longer know what they are talking about.

Case in point:

In high school, I was kind of renowned, I mean known for my chocolate chip cookies. I'm not saying they're spectacular, but they're really, really good: basic, tasty, comforting, and satisfying. I made them a lot, really a lot. A couple times a week? I really can't remember exactly how often, but when I think of high school, some of my clearest memories are of me scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl, spooning dough out onto cookie sheets, and yelling at people not to reuse their spoons between cookie dough tastings (we often went through all the spoons in the silverware drawer due to this rule). And I can still picture the exact location in the kitchen of every ingredient I used. Quite a feat since I haven't made anything in that kitchen for almost 7 years (my parents moved). But, I digress.

So, I was known for my chocolate chip cookies. This week, after hearing through a blog about this really great, healthier cookie recipe that was "just as good as the original", I threw my preconceived notions about substitutions aside and decided that maybe I could healthify my cookie recipe. I mean, I am a dietitian. What kind of message am I sending people when I show up on their doorstep with a bag full of fat-laden goodies? So, optimistically I looked at the suggested substitutions, read some recipe reviews and comments, bought some whole wheat flour, some unsweetened applesauce, and began.


They were okaaaaay, but NOT "as good as the original". Texture was decent. . . flavor? off. In my opinion, save yourself from having to learn through experience and just take my word for it; make the original version and just eat a few.

Substitutions have their place, definitely, but in general I am more a fan of moderation. I realize that doesn't work for everybody, and if you know you're going to eat the entire batch of cookies then maybe you SHOULD make the healthified version, but for me, I would much, much, MUCH rather eat one or two of the original version.

Hmmm, maybe that's the secret. . . make the healthified version and you won't want to eat ANY! That's healthier for sure, but not happier. . .

There, I said it. I should probably be stripped of my license now, but I just had to get that off my chest.

(fellow dietitians, please be gentle)


Mindy Burns said...

You're oh so right! And I'm glad I have written proof from a dietician to just make the original...Besides your cookies, I also remember your yummy homemade apple bread! Yum! And I also remember you scraping your little plastic spoon inside the yogurt cup every day at lunch- Bridget and her yogurt!

Jean said...

No, that is so true!! I couldn't agree more. I think moderation, not substitution, is key. Tim and I just recently discovered that cookies MUST be made with butter -- before that, I always made them with margarine. Ew. So much better with butter.

heidizinha said...

i completely agree and really confess that i have a severe moderation problem. that's why i don't make cookies anymore.

Liz Johnson said...

I'm with you. I think the issue in America is not eating fatty foods, but eating them in moderation. We could a lot more to control portion size rather than simply disgustifying our food. SERIOUSLY.

Liz Johnson said...

Here's a somewhat related question... which do you think is a greater evil: fat or sugar?

Bridget said...

Liz, good question.

Since I haven't done much with my education lately (other than as it applies to my family's nutrition) and I feel like all that knowledge is slowly but surely getting lost in the farthest recesses of my brain, I've kind of made it a goal to post something nutrition related every Friday from here on out. I think I will address your question in next week's post if that's okay with you.

And if anyone else wants to ask a question or suggest a topic to be addressed in future posts, feel free to post a comment or email me.


That Girl in Brazil said...


If you're going to eat a sweet, then EAT the SWEET. Don't go halfway, man.

JoandDoug said...

I agree with the whole moderation thing as well. I also am a believer in butter. It may have more fat but at least your body knows what to do with it. Wanna post your famous recipe for me to try? It sounds delicious and I promise I'll only eat one.

Emily said...

I am with you totally. Eat the "healthier stuff" and you just want something better. Eat the real stuff and get the craving out of the way.

lori said...

Interesting. I wouls like to try your cookies because I was known in college for MY cookies. Maybe we should have a little competition eh? I would like to hear your answer to the sugar/fat question. See u tomorrow!

Kaili McKay said...

HAHA! Bridget you are a professional cookie maker, you were my inspiration to be a cookie maker, up until a few months ago I had to make cookies once a week for Will, which is a very naughty habit. I can remember the brown paper bags in which your tasty creations would be readily waiting to be eaten. :) mmmm.