I’m not much of a baker. I am a great consumer of baked goods (maybe in the top tier, guys) but actually doing the baking part? Not really my thing. I tend to get wicked aggravated.
I think it’s because baking is much more “science” based than regular cooking- with most recipes- you really have to follow them to a T or you’re going to turn up with a mess. You can’t fudge the recipes and have success most of the time (pun intended). With regular cooking, you can ignore your recipe with reckless abandon and do your own thang and usually be okay (unless you do something really weird). Regular cooking has more flexibility. But maybe that’s just how I see things.
Around this time last year, there was another reason why I wasn’t much of a baker. I was terrified of sweets. After a year of losing weight successfully in part by cutting out a lot of sweet stuff (pre-losing weight I had a RAGING sweet tooth that was totally out of control), I was so scared to start eating baked goods (cookies, breads, muffins, etc.) for fear of gaining it all back. I didn’t trust myself with these things and I hardly ever allowed myself to eat them- let alone make them myself in my own kitchen. I disregarded all the recipes I came across. I would say to myself, well that looks delicious- too bad I can’t make it (even if it was like a healthified version of something). Any dessert like thing that I did actually make at home was SUPER controlled and I was a big freak about it. Ugh. It was awful.
I have learned that restriction leads to overeating and all around bad times. Just don’t do it, guys. I can say it from experience.
It’s physically painful for me to recall an episode from when I was home for Christmas- let me paint you a picture:
Here’s Allison. She’s undereating but trying to eat more and trying to be healthy and trying to figure out her relationship with food and not really understanding what she’s doing. Her family is doing Christmas baking. She avoids eating any of the dough or ingredients while they’re baking. She knows she wants to- but doesn’t allow herself to and tells herself that she’s being good. At the end of the day, her starving self feels so crazy and after crying to her Mom about her woes and a massive food related breakdown, she quickly devours about eight cookies- all the while feeling like she can’t stop.
THAT’S what restriction does. And that’s why restriction is not cool. And that’s why I slowly but surely found a way to stop. Thank goodness.
But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t still working on all this. We’re all a work in progress. What I realized was, avoiding the things you love is no way to go through life and its certainly not going to lead you to be healthier or help you to stop eating something. If anything- it’s going to create more problems and you’re going to be a giant mess. I certainly was. Seems like common sense, but it took me time to actually take in all this.
What I’ve come to embrace is making healthy swaps, choosing healthier alternatives here and there, and the motto everything in moderation.
I can’t imagine not eating baked goods now. I don’t eat them everyday (hey, moderation) but I eat them and enjoy them and don’t feel guilty.I actually really really need to make these sweet potato brownies again. SO good.
I also found a way to feel in control of the situation and not let these food items control me. I make my own sweet stuff at home! This way I can be mindful of the ingredients that I’m using and feel better about what I’m eating.
Because to be honest- my sweet tooth has changed. My cravings have changed. And my desire for certain things has changed. I’ve cut a lot of sugar out of my life primarily from processed foods and little things like the sugar in my coffee- and it’s made me feel so much better. I feel more in control of my cravings, I have less headaches, my body feels better, my body performs better, and I don’t feel the need to gourge myself on things. I’m not bullshitting you- I swear I’m being truthful.
It’s part of the reason why I enjoyed all the food I was eating in Russia- especially the desserts- everything I ate was non-processed, fresh, and not overly sweet. They don’t put a crap ton of sugar in stuff and rely on natural flavors or use sweeteners like honey and fruits. It’s just different. And this is how it is in a LOT of other countries. It makes me angry thinking of where the U.S. stands on this stuff in comparison to other places. But that’s a story for another day.
I want to consume wholesome ingredients. That’s what it comes down to for me. They’re what make me feel my best at the end of the day. It’s a food ideology thing, a physical health thing, and a mental health thing for me. I’d rather eat something made from “real food” than some cheap processed treat.
To each their own and I’m putting absolutely no judgement on people who feel differently (I swear!), but that’s just where I’m at right now.
The appearance of these White Chocolate Chip Cranberry Cookies can be considered exhibit a for my lack of baking skills. What a mess. Still yummy though!
I am allowed now to eat and make baked goods. It seems so simple, but it really is a big deal for me to feel this way after a disatrous fall/winter last year of avoiding these things. ESPECIALLY because this is the time of year where baked goods are the most prominent and when they really shine! It’s the holiday season! (well almost- but I mean, November 1st is on Friday soooo….)
It is for all these reasons- wanting to practice my baking skills and wanting to reinforce the idea that I can bake and eat what I make and enjoy it- that I added “Bake More” to my list of “Things to do Before 2014.” It’s why I purposely made myself pin dessert/bread/baked goods recipes on pinterest to my “Must Make By the End of 2013” board.
I wasn’t going to add anything to the board since it’s initial creation last month, but I saw this recipe for homemade almond joy’s and HAD to pin it here. But actually- how good do those bad boys look?
Breaking habits and honing my skills one day at a time.
AND GO RED SOX, BABY! Even if you aren’t a fan, you know one (ME) so just show some sox love. You have no idea how frustrating it is to be here in DC away from my people- I need a raging fan base to share in my excitement! If Jennifer Garner could wear a beard on Jimmy Kimmel to support the Sox and her husband (and my boy) Ben Affleck, you all can throw on some red sox and wish my men some luck 🙂
I apologize for the language in this picture but I just have to share because it describes my thoughts all day today:
Keep it wicked healthy xoxo