I am always one to jump on a bandwagon, if never quite wholeheartedly. I think it’s my up-for-anything nature combined with my very laid back personality. So if there’s a new craze I’m always one of the first on board but will quickly become distracted and fall back into my own habits with barely more than a “Meh” to show for it.
It was the same with the health craze trends when they started, around five years ago now? Initially I decided to be a vegetarian which lasted for about 10 days. I am now able to recognise that I will NEVER be a vegetarian and while that’s sad for animals it’s just the way it is. Then I got really into Sarah Wilson and the whole I Quit Sugar thing but found that banning myself completely from sugar would just result in me eventually binging on more sugar (the process was useful though in cutting down a lot on sugar – I think I would eat a lot more sugar today had I not “quit” for, oh, three weeks).
Now obviously we have the gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free movement sometimes known as paleo although I feel like that word has lost some of its magic in the last year. And actually I think it’s great, because certainly people as a whole are eating way too much processed food. Drawing attention to that is a great thing. We have films coming out like That Sugar Film which is confronting and terrifying and also necessary.
BUT, for me at least, turning from the me of my entire life into a religious health nut is just not possible. I do try. I have my moments. I throw out all the flour from my pantry (which is just insane because I am renowned for my love of baking!) and spend hundreds of dollars buying weird flours and molasses and 500 packets of medjool dates and I have the absolute best intentions. But after around six days, sometimes five which are usually Monday-Friday, I just really want a Mars Bar. And I’m like, I deserve this Mars Bar. I have been eating like a freak for five, six days. While I’m at it, I might as well eat an entire box of Arnott’s pizza shapes. And I’m ordering pizza for dinner damn it!
I just can’t stay on the wagon. And I don’t really want to. I want to be able to eat toast if I feel like it. I really like baking cakes! It is excellent for my mental health. I definitely do drink too much wine but we’re only on this planet for a finite amount of time, people!
Anyway, over the past couple of years I have found a few ways of compromising and eating what I think is a really well rounded diet (except, of course, for the wine). Living in Hong Kong we probably do eat out too much, but we eat a lot of great Asian food. If I allow myself to have things like toast with avocado for breakfast (instead of a scrambled egg with a side of rocket) and dark chocolate with my cup of tea, I rarely feel the need to binge. I DO bake a lot (really, it’s bad) but I try to use healthier ingredients. For example I’ll sub white for brown flour, butter for coconut oil and sugar for honey. I don’t always go all out but I do try.
One thing I do struggle with is making sure my kids eat a healthy diet, particularly when one in particular is very fussy. I find a weekly menu plan really helpful for this as it allows you to get an overview of what kids will be eating for the week and also I find stops me from allowing too many “treats”. I WISH I was one of those Mums whose kids ate nothing but brown rice and home made bread but one thing I’ve learned is that it’s easier to embrace who you are and try to be the best version of that person than to try to be someone you’re not. And I don’t even eat home made bread, so it’s not happening.
Anyway, on the theme of being healthier I thought I would share a super delicious chocolate slice recipe that I adapted slightly from an old one of my Mum’s! It calls for Weetbix which is very Australian but I think in the UK they’re call Weet-A-Bix?
1 cup coconut
1 cup wholemeal self raising flour
1 cup crushed weetbix
1/2 cup coconut sugar
4oz coconut oil
- Heat oven to 180C. Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl, then press mixture into a 20x20cm square tin.
- Bake for 20-25 mins or until browning slightly.
- Allow to cool before icing with your choice of a healthy or unhealthy icing! There is an awesome recipe for raw chocolate icing here on the Rawtarian.
So if you must bake, and you don’t have tapioca flour and arrowroot on hand, you can always make your own small changes to much loved recipes (one easy one is to halve the sugar, unless you’re cooking something that depends on the sugar for consistency as will most flourless cakes etc.).