Saturday, February 1, 2014

Whole Food & Healthy Valentine's Day Treats

As mentioned in previous posts, Chris and I are on a severe health kick. We have cut refined carbs and added sugar from out diet. We've been getting a lot more exercise, too. Being healthy feels absolutely great. It does, however, pose a problem when it comes to holidays and gift giving. Say the words Valentine's Day and your mind starts summoning images of truffles and wine! Although there are now readily available vegan options for this Hallmark holiday, you don't have to participate if you don't want to. Really. The two of us are forgoing the jewelry, the roses, the chocolate. I honestly never thought either of us would be capable of it, but here we are. And there's no going back.

Chris and I will most likely catch a movie Friday night and then come home for semi-healthy desserts. I may make chocolate covered strawberries happen. Vegan chocolate chips and strawberry slices are about as indulgent as we're willing to go at this point. Maybe you'd like to be healthy but indulge just a big more than us. Here is some advice on what to do for your alternative Valentine's Day.

If you live in Austin and are looking for a place to go for Valentine's Dinner that serves healthier fare, you can consider these lovely establishments... I usually do.

The Steeping Room
When we go out for a special occasion in Austin, Chris and I usually always go to the Steeping Room at the Domain. They use high-quality ingredients and their menu is full of healthy options. They also take reservations, making them an absolutely excellent choice for a vegan Valentine's meal. For my latest restaurant review of the Steeping Room, click here.

Beets Cafe
I have wanted to go to Beets for a long time but have unfortunately just not made it down there. A raw food restaurant, Beets is offering a special Valentine's Day promotion. It includes five courses and can be suited for individuals and couples, so don't be shy if you're just looking for great, raw food on high. More details at their website!

Casa de Luz
Again, I have unfortunately never been here. However, this all organic, vegan, and gluten-free restaurant is well-known throughout Austin as being amazingly good and wonderfully healthy. The menu changes daily. Recent dishes have included Miso Soup with Ginger, Blanched Greens with Sunflower Sauce, and Enfrijoladas.

Healthier Valentine's Recipes
And for those of you who are home bodies (like Chris and I) you can also elect to stay in and make delicious and better-for-you dishes instead. The following recipes are made from whole food ingredients, no added sugar, and most certainly would be to die for. Serve as a dessert or make some of them as your Valentine's gift instead.

Alternative Gifts
For those of you who like to give gifts but are trying to be less materialistic and less dessert-motivated (in other words, if you're like Chris and I), there are options for you. You can buy vintage jewelry instead of new, make homemade gifts from scratch, use the old standard of breakfast in bed, and even choose healthier options of traditional favorites. For instance, buy organic wine instead of conventional, give coffee instead of sugar-loaded chocolate, or a live plant instead of less sustainable cut flowers. And don't disregard things like gift certificates and gift cards to your partner's favorite places. I do believe most bookworms, for example, would love to receive something they could redeem for more books as their Valentine's gift!

You can also enjoy a night out as opposed to giving gifts, like an evening at the symphony or a theater performance. Chris and I do this a lot for special occasions. We both receive a rewarding experience and don't have to worry about coming up with some great gift instead. I know it's hard to imagine a couple of girls not wanting jewelry, but I guess we're just not traditional that way!

How do you usually spend Valentine's Day? How will you be spending it this year? I'm always curious about what my readers think so if you have some advice for those in similar situations, please share in the comments!

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