Real Food, Real People

Hello Friends. I have to tell you that I was somewhat relieved to hear that I am not the only woman with a gnawing unease about the escalation of clean eating with its grain free, dairy free, sugar free plans. This article from Kate Leaver posted on Mamamia has gone viral in the last week and for good reason. Leaver argues that eating clean isn’t about health anymore, it is about shame.

I have dabbled in quitting this, reducing that and simplifying some of the things I eat. As I have emerged from the brain fog of sleepless nights with babies and small children I think I can see things more clearly. I don’t have allergies. Perhaps my body is more intolerant to some things, but there is no medical grounds for making huge changes to my eating. My body is older – I need to strive for health and functional fitness. Yes, I need to be able to  carry in all the groceries and possibly even a small child and not have my back give way. I need to be able to eat sensibly so that I don’t suffer unnecessary migraines, gut ache or fatigue. My motivation to eat well has changed. But my time hanging out with the celebs who advocate a particular eating regime is over.

It will be hard to look away because I have some of the I Quit Sugar books. And my Instagram feed, Facebook page and Pinterests boards are all overwhelmed with innovative ideas to eat clean with no sugar, dairy or grains.

My family have been on this roller coaster with me and to be fair there are things we have learnt together. We have cut out/down on senseless sugar consumption in flavoured yogurts, we understand what is in the condiments we eat, ever if the jar of pickles is homemade, there are good and bad cereals and we know drinking your sugar is stupid.

So why am I relieved? I know the creep of eating disorders that pervade our culture. We have all seen them – eating too much, too little, fasting, starving and punishing bodies, feeling guilty and being trapped on a roller coast of physical and mental health problems that ensue. We use food to gain control – of our life or so we think. And when we don’t we feel the shame.

I have been waiting for someone public to say enough, to this frenzy of new eating. My voice will not be heard in the current cacophony. Eat in moderation. Grow your own food, make it from scratch as much as you can and enjoy it. We celebrate with food, we offer love and grace as we do hospitality and we give of ourselves, something truly intimate when we eat a meal together. So my friends I want to keep eating and sharing food with you. Whether we eat sugar or not I don’t really mind, as long as we strive for  good health, good company and good times. Tell the celebs to go because their time with you is over. Eat real food, with real people in real time.

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Mindful of the Dark Days

This has been a winter of sickness. Each child succumbing at different times to the virus. Going down like dominoes. Patience is called for and my tank is running on empty. I lose control of my days and my to do list. I cannot enjoy adult conversation, outings and the like. My nights are disrupted, sleep is patchy and scarce.

It is hard to remain robust on days like these. It is hard to stay calm and speak with love, kindness and understanding. I know I am not alone. So many of you have been nursing sick kids, others have been on the roller coaster of more serious life threatening illnesses. We all have our own battles. I know there are those doing it harder than me and I am thankful that mine will pass, soon.

I am encouraged knowing that there is a God walking each step alongside of me – He is not distant, wary or cautious around my grumpy, discouraged heart. He is eager, generous and gracious. More of Him will fill my tank, more time to recall the important things in life will restore my faith.

Technology

Life goes well when the technology is humming. When I don’t have to think about what plug goes where and how the connection works. But when it stops, flickers and has a bad day so do I. What has modern life come to when my day grinds to a halt when I cannot communicate electronically, read my news, email and social media feed. This is a Western world problem. There is so much good out there in cyberspace, helping us learn, connect and expand beyond our wildest dreams. But so quickly the dream becomes dreary, burdensome, overwhelming. I don’t want to be a slave to technology, but it has got me. I use it. I think I love what I use.

But ultimately it is me that needs to be strong. To know what the boundaries need to be in regards to how I use and integrate technology into my world. Into my home and the 7mouths and minds and hearts that I nurture.

So be strong, my friend.

Tuesday is a Chocolate Cake Day

Tuesday has called for chocolate cake. The kind that is quick to make and portion for school lunches. It is a fail safe cake and a recipe passed on to me from my mother. Rich, dark but with basic ingredients you will find in your panty cupboard. There is no real chocolate, cream or special items. I used a Sunbean Mixmaster to  make the cake, but I am sure your KitchenAid, Thermomix or Thermo Cook would combine all of these ingredients too. On days when I have more time, I do enjoy combining a cake batter by hand. Do you?

My Mother’s Chocolate Devil Cake:

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups SR Flour
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoon Bi Carb Soda
125 gms melted butter
3/4 cups water
2 eggs
vanilla

Method: Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Grease and line a round 20cm tin ( I vary the tin I use, just don’t choose a large one.) Place all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and combine (by hand or use a mixer). Add half the water, the vanilla and the melted butter and mix for 2 minutes. Add remaining water and eggs and mix until well combined.

Cook in a moderate oven for 30-35 mins.

Dust with icing sugar, or as in the picture above drizzle with a chocolate light icing and sprinkle of 100s and 1000s. Perfect mid week fun.

What went well?

It is almost the end of the week and it feels as though I have run a mini marathon. The aches and pains might be general wear and tear of running after five kids, nursing the onset of a cold, being sleep deprived and generally not resting when I should/could/would…have. It could be balancing needs of a big family, turning my brain on again for study and having the emotional energy for those I know who are ‘hurting’ right now.

How has your week been? And what went well today?

Carrot and Pineapple Cake with Lemon Frosting

I love this cake. A favourite recipe that is ever so moorish. What I particularly love is ‘playing’ with the effects of the frosting. This lovely natural drizzle down the sides of the cake is achieved very simply. Start by placing your cake in the refrigerator. Once cold, cover your cake with the frosting/icing and smooth it out the edges, so it just starts to fall over the side. The cake will be  cold enough to set the frosting/icing as it drips down the side. Donna Hay suggests making your icing with boiling water. The combination of warm icing and cold cake makes this styling trick work every time. Enjoy. xx

Pain, Suffering, Loss….

It is hard to know how to make sense of suffering. How do you help another when they are weak? How do you love those who are so torn apart by grief and loss? How do you walk each step with a friend through dark days and an unknown future?

There is no gain in making it more about me. For me, I am nothing. He needs to be greater. Pray that He becomes great through the pain, the suffering and the loss…..