Survival of the sweetest by Elizabeth Brown, MS, RD

Eat Like an Adult

I was born with a sweet tooth, and it never fell out. Perhaps you too suffer from the same affliction. We are not alone. Nearly 99 percent of all humans have a sweet tooth. What happened to the other one percent? I think they attached a string from that sweet tooth to a door knob and slammed the door on cravings.

Okay, my stats may have been fabricated, but here is a fact: we are all born with the desire for sweetness. Whether it is for fruit, candy or kisses, you simply can’t beat sweet and around this time of year, who can resist!

This is true even if it has to do with getting what you want in life. Remember this phrase, “You can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar.” So be nice and life will bring you sweet, sweet cherries, sans pits.

We are actually born with a preference for sweet as a survival mechanism. Breast milk (or human milk) is sweet so that babies will crave it. They get used to recognizing sweet tastes as an immediate fuel source. Human milk is mainly sugar and fat. More than half the calories in breast milk come from fat because babies have high energy (calorie) requirements while being able to ingest a limited volume of food.

Human milk is very nutrient dense, providing every nutrient needed in the perfect proportion for optimal absorption, proper digestion, brain development and growth. It also contains antibodies to disease which help protect infants from bacteria, fungi and viruses. Furthermore, the mother produces antibodies to whatever disease is present in her environment which makes her milk a veritable weapon against potential present tense illnesses.

Breastfed babies also enjoy a sense of security from the warmth and familiarity of contact with their mothers. In a sense, human milk is the perfect one-stop source for everything we need as babies. Unfortunately, as adults, our food options become more complicated.

Oftentimes when people overeat it is because they are searching for that perfect formula. But sporadic lifestyles, coupled with never ending stress and an onslaught of chronic diseases, make it difficult for us to really know what we need. There is no one formula for each adult. Alas, we are left to our own devices to choose wisely or not.

Living in survival mode of “fight or flight” will certainly increase the desire for sweet and fat just like when we were young. So before you grab any old thing, take a moment to tune-in to your needs. Also note that as the seasons change, it’s natural for your food preferences to change.

Our best hope is to find nutritious yet comforting ways to meet all of our wants and needs. As for that sweet tooth, you were born with it. Don’t try to pull it, ignore it or fill it with unsatisfying fare. Simply remember the story of human milk, nature’s perfect formula for babies. Hopefully you will find ways to satisfy your tooth: sweet or otherwise.

In honor of fall and those super nutritious yet underrepresented pumpkins, here are some sweet and warm options to help you meet your needs.

Pumpkin Soup with candied walnut pieces

2 cups vegetable broth
4 (15 oz) cans Organic Pumpkin
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 cups organic milk of your choice
Ground nutmeg to garnish

Pour broth into large sauce pan. Heat on medium low. Add canned pumpkin. Stir to heat. Add cinnamon, cumin, nutmeg and mix thoroughly. Add milk and blend well with a wire whisk. Reduce heat to low. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until heated but not boiling. Top with candied walnuts. Per serving: 1 1/2 cup soup plus 2 Tablespoons walnuts: 180 calories, 6g fat, 29g carbs, 10g fiber, 5g protein, 610 percent of your needs for Vitamin A (Omega-3s in Walnuts aid absorption of Vitamin A)

Candied Walnuts
1 cup chopped walnuts
¼ cup maple syrup
½ tsp cinnamon

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place parchment paper on a baking sheet. Mix walnuts with syrup & cinnamon. Spread the mixture on the parchment. Bake 15-20 minutes. Stir the pieces half way through. Add to soup just before serving.

Pumpkin Protein Shake

1/2 cup (1 scoop) whey protein powder
1 cup organic milk of your choice
1/2 frozen banana
(peel bananas, cut in half & freeze in baggies)
1/2 cup canned organic pumpkin
1 Tablespoon ground flaxseed
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
4 ice cubes

Throw everything in a blender and enjoy. Flax seeds provide essential Omega-3 fats which aid absorption of Carotenoids from pumpkin.
Per serving: 300 calories, 6g fat, 35g carbs, 9g fiber, 30g protein, 370 percent of your needs for Vitamin A (Carotenoids)


  1. Those recipes sound divine


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