Nutrition

No One Wants a Life Without Cookies

By: Michelle Mudge

Let’s first all agree on something, chocolate chip cookies are king of all cookies. There is nothing better than a warm, gooey, melt in your mouth chocolate chip cookie. Chocolate chip cookies bring joy to any consumer and are the true exclamation point at the end of any meal.

Now, you want to know something sad? There was a pretty unhealthy period of my life where I thought in order to be truly healthy, I should NEVER enjoy a chocolate chip cookie again. You read that right. No more. This was also the period of my life where I deprived myself of many things I thought I could never have again… bread, pancakes, coffee creamer, pizza, cereal, pasta… basically any food that brought me joy had to go, forever. Some of you might be able to relate when I say… I was able to stick to this plan for about… 5 minutes at a time. I would be “really good” and only eat essentially meat, veggies and eggs for a few days and by Thursday, I was face first in a margarita, chips, queso and 5 tacos. The next day I would be so disappointed in myself and therefore usually try and “punish” myself with a hill sprint workout or some other tortuous exercise routine.

This unhealthy cycle went on for a few years until I started to understand that my “binging” came from the stress of the deprivation and shame I was putting myself through. I began educating myself more on emotional wellness and started to actively change the way I was thinking about my nutrition habits and my body. The real pivot for me came when I started to realized there are healthier versions of just about all of these foods I had been depriving myself of. I was shocked to discover a dairy free, sugar (and artificial sugar) free french vanilla coffee creamer (NutPods) that I could enjoy EVERY DAY without negatively impacting my wellness goals. I learned you can still have incredible pasta dishes simply by swapping the white or wheat noodles for brown rice pasta or spaghetti squash. (Which then led to making spaghetti squash pad thai every other night for a few weeks… yes it is that good).

Then came the discovery of flour alternatives. This opened my world up to all of the carb-y foods without the additives, preservatives and gluten. The combination of almond and coconut or tapioca flour, I found, allowed me to make a healthy version of just about any cookie, cake or bread that I could possibly crave. I started whipping up everything from paleo sloppy joes (WITH BUNS) to fried chicken to pancakes to salmon cakes to brownies and MORE. Best of all, I found a chocolate chip cookie recipe that rivaled all other traditional chocolate chip cookies I have ever had.



Fast forward a few years and I am mentally and physically healthier than I’ve ever been. I continue to enjoy all of the recipes listed above and best of all, I eat two paleo chocolate chip cookies EVERY NIGHT. The key for me was being able to enjoy the healthy versions of the foods I love and therefore avoid feeling deprived of the foods that bring so many of us joy and satisfaction. Now, go make yourself some paleo chocolate chip cookies. You wont regret it. 
Michelle graduated from UNC Chapel Hill with a degree in Exercise Science and Sports Science. During her time at UNC, she was a member of the varsity diving team. Spending 10 years as an elite athlete, Michelle has developed a passion for health and wellness which has translated over to her career today. Michelle is the Corporate Wellness Director here at SweatNET and spends her days helping to improve the health and wellbeing of her clients employees the employees of her clients.

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