Plant-based diaries: So, your sweet tooth is aching…

Beat the sweet craving with this no-bake, plant-based brownie. Photo: Dané Vermeulen

Foodie Dané Vermeulen recently decided to adopt a plant-based diet for healthy lifestyle reasons. As a meat-lover this was no easy decision, but a sky-high blood pressure reading was all she needed to convince her to make a change. She shares her journey with Food For Mzansi readers.

One of my fears when I decided to embark on this new culinary adventure was that I would have to eat buckets and buckets of salad to feel full after a meal.

It is easy to feel satisfied after a starch-filled meal like, say, yummy potatoes or doughy bread. This would stay inside the boundaries of a plant-based diet, but it will be far from healthy. Over the years I have convinced myself that any meal without animal protein would not provide me with sufficient fuel to make it through the day. Thinking about this now, I realise how absurd it is.

Over the past few weeks, I have noticed my body adapt effortlessly to my new diet. I eat smaller portions because my stomach is fuller quicker. I stay satisfied for longer and my cravings are minimal. You automatically eat less sugar because most sweets and chocolates are not plant-based and that is a massive step in the right direction when it comes to a healthy lifestyle.

Seeing how easily my body and metabolism adapted to a plant-based diet I had yet another big realisation. My body did not get all the necessary nutrients it needed while I was eating animal proteins, therefore it always needed more. And we all know what happens when you eat more than you should.

When you give your body what it needs, you won’t feel bloated and uncomfortable, you will feel satisfied and healthy.

The no-stress, no-bake brownie

This week I decided to make something sweet, because going plant-based can sometimes be a challenge in this department. These plant-based brownies are easy, simple and it can be fun for the whole family. It can also make a great Christmas gift for your fellow plant-based friends or be a great way to introduce your friends to a plant-based diet.


Cook’s note: For every cup of dates, add a tablespoon of tahini, cocoa powder and slab of dark chocolate.


  1. Add your dates and tahini into a food processor. For every cup of dates add a tablespoon of tahini. Blend in the food processor until the mixture has a crumbed texture.
  2. Add a heaped tablespoon of cocoa powder and blend again until the mixture creates a lumpy, dough-like texture.
  3. Place the mixture in a rectangular dish, lined with wax paper and even out to mould to the shape of the dish.
  4. Lift the rectangular-shaped brownie slab out of the dish and cut into desired sizes.
  5. Cover the brownies with melted dark chocolate, add the topping you like and set aside to cool down.