|Pastry from French Memories, Sharon, MA|
I just bought and ate a delicious Napoleon pastry—cream layered with flaky dough—and loved every bite. But was I hungry? No. Stressed? No. Mindlessly triggered by its appearance? No. I sought out a parking spot to purchase it at a favorite local French bakery and made a bee-line for the display, comforted that one remained. This was not the result of a fresh, enticing baked good on the kitchen counter luring me to eat it.
Being one to overanalyze things, I can tell you why I ate it. Deprivation. No, I’m not embarking on some weight loss diet (no need to panic) nor have I become diabetic, necessitating a controlled carb plan. This is anticipatory deprivation, knowing that I will soon be without the foods I love and cherish—if only for a week.
|Just 8 more days!|
Tonight starts the festival of Passover, which I observe. From a food perspective it is potentially a holiday of deprivation. That is, unless you are a lover of gluten-free style, bad-tasting baked goods. We give up a wide array of foods to help us remember, to feel as if we each personally experience that which our ancestors lived through as slaves in Egypt. Whether we believe the story as myth or historic truth, we follow these dietary rules quite rigidly.
We avoid anything leavened, for our hasty departure from Egypt left no time for our bread to rise. And so a week without is what follows. But it doesn’t stop here. There’s a very long list of foods to be avoided which includes most of my favorite starches—rice, pasta, legumes and of course, bread and most baked goods worth eating.
Friday I was food shopping and already feeling deprived. I found myself wanting to stock up, even hoard, the soon-to-be-forbidden starches. I recalled the many patients who reported binging the night before their first visit to the nutritionist’s office, fully expecting it would be their last supper, so to speak. And yes, they were pleasantly surprised by my message! And the many stories I hear from those who get anxious thinking about running out of food—not because of money—but because someone, perhaps even themselves, might restrict them from eating sometime soon. Trauma from a history of past diet experiences, perhaps. So now I really get it.
|I do love these coconut macaroons! NOTHING like the canned ones in the market!|
The remedy for my patients and for those of you still struggling with such deprivation is permission. Permission to eat whenever you need to, regardless of who you are with. Permission to eat whatever you feel like, in amounts appropriate for your body. Permission to eat any time you need to—yes, even at 11 pm, if you’re hungry.
|Grandma Bea's sponge cake. Guaranteed to raise|
your cholesterol level after only 8 days!
As for me? I had to remind myself of all that I love to eat that I can give myself permission to have. That includes the obvious fruits, vegetables, nuts, and all. And, my favorite baked goods, acceptable for Passover. So last night I baked 4 dozen coconut macaroons, 2 dozen almond ones, and a moist sponge cake. I packaged them up and removed them from the kitchen counter.
And I plan to enjoy them whenever I am hungry, to satisfy my need. On the positive side, at least I didn’t have to sacrifice use of my Kitchen Aid mixer and Cuisinart, although I don’t think the slaves had the benefit of these either.
|Yummy almond macaroons.|
Passover observant or not, these baked goods are delicious and so easy to prepare. The macaroons are high in sugar, but quite satisfying, requiring only a small dose to hit the spot. And perfect for those with celiac or others following a gluten-free diet.
If you are a follower and would like the recipe, please email me.