Lighten up — or frighten up? — your favorite dishes

With Halloween around the corner, and then Thanksgiving and the various winter holidays, treats are on everyone’s minds. And if you are trying to maintain a healthy diet, you are probably starting to worry about your will power.

No treats? A myth, really! You can have treats every day, not just the holidays, if you choose the recipes and ingredients wisely. Feeling like a brownie? Check out my Recipe Rehab post that revamps basic brownies into a healthy treat.

Or, you could try some of the tips that the “Recipe Doctor” suggests in her article, but be warned, this is where the fright part of my post enters . . .

I loved some of her tips to add flavor without adding calories, fats and sugars, like using citrus zest in doughs and batters. She also suggests lean cuts of meat, which is fine. Beware readers, of her other tips, which I found to be a lot scarier than any Halloween trick.

Blended sweeteners? I cannot think of anything worse than using refined white sugar in recipes, except perhaps using refined white sugar blended with a sweet chemical. Poison, anyone? You are much better off using an unrefined, whole food sweetener, like sucanat, which is simply evaporated cane juice, unprocessed.

The “Recipe Doctor” also recommends using many versions of “light” and fat free products, like dairy products and margarine. To me, if you are going to bother eating cheese or drinking milk, then you should do it the way that nature intended: raw, unpasteurized, non-homogenized milk. Why would you substitute overly processed foods, adding a whole new layer of nutrition imbalances to your diet?

One of the scariest recommendations of all is to use non-stick cookware, which has been shown in many studies that it is toxic and may lead to cancer. I myself would choose a few extra fat calories from the oil that coats my stainless steel cookware.

So while the “Recipe Doctor” may have ideas about how to cut fat and calories from our foods, I have to wonder, at what expense to our overall health?