Notes: gluten free, dairy free, low GI
The hardest part of ditching addictions and bad habits is saying goodbye to those you love. In the last year I have bid a slow adieu to a number of passions and pleasures. Some of these goodbyes have been easy: chips, chocolate bars, soft drinks and their ilk have always been marginal acquaintances at best. I would now consume such things once every few months, and never with any real pleasure. It’s the epicurean equivalent of hanging out with right wing extremists: slightly soiling, depressing and void of all values beyond rank self interest. Others are a bit harder. Deep fried treats remain an itch that must sometimes be scratched: spring rolls, sesame prawns, honey chicken, pakoras, samosas. Fortunately in my tiny town of 1200 souls at the foothills of the forest and the edge of the Southern Ocean such things are hard to come by. My diet and I have an open arrangement that such treats when I’m on the road are understandable. Indiscretions are to be forgiven and moved on from quickly.
But there are some things that have generated a real sense of loss. The eradication of gluten has deprived me of my regular routine of making bread. I never personally ate the bread as the regular consumption of cheap carbs is now firmly a thing of my past, but the pleasure I got from kneading and proving the dough was immense. Making bread by hand is a gorgeously tactile experience and the experience of removing a crusty, yeasty loaf from the oven to present to awe inspired little faces is something I still miss. It has also been difficult to say goodbye to baking proper cakes. By proper cakes I mean the cakes of my grandmother and of the Country Women’s Association. Cakes of white flour and refined sugar. I had never been a baker until recently and just I was beginning to master these skills I decided I needed to say goodbye.
I still desperately miss the process of making these things, but I find that I increasingly do not miss flour and sugar. Apart from brown sugar for my husband’s coffee, I have not purchased any refined sugar in months. And I find now that I have lost the taste for it. The sweetness of things made with regular sugar is too much, no longer enjoyable. Refined sugars, along with refined flours, have actively become destroyers of the real flavour of things. Without them you experience the joys of nuts, coconut, spices, maple syrup, raw chocolate and all manner of fine and flavoursome things. Without them you become aware of the crazy mental and physical rollercoaster of high GI nutrient free foods.
The goodbyes have been hard, yes, but I don’t miss those who have departed – I’m pleased to be off the rollercoaster. I’m pleased to have lost nearly 12 kg, pleased to be healthier, pleased to feel like I am no longer longer on a diet but rather in a new place altogether. As I write this post, my five year old is sitting at the table with me studding an orange with whole cloves to give as Christmas presents. The smell is indescribably good and causes my spirit to soar with memories of childhood Christmases. In the fridge is a festive treat of such incredible deliciousness that I am reminded of how easy it really is to say goodbye to bad habits. It’s a fudge that contains only goodness and melts across your tongue like the best love, sex and bliss. I think that now the goodbyes are finally over and the hellos have begun.
Christmas chocolate fudge
This version contains a standard mixed peel which contains sugar. It could easily be replaced with any dried fruit or nuts of your choice. Alcohol soaked currants would be delicious, as would dried strawberries, even just plain old orange zest. Or you could omit entirely.
- 1/2 cup virgin cold pressed coconut oil
- 1/2 cup cashew butter
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons raw chocolate powder
- 2 tablespoons mixed peel, blended until very finely minced
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamon (I would have used allspice but I didn’t have any to hand)
Place all ingredients in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Stir the mixed peel through and pour into a small square mold. I used a plastic sandwich box for this – it was the perfect size. Put in the fridge for a few hours until hard and then cut into squares. This MUST be kept in the fridge or it will turn to slurry and you’ll be forced to drink it rather than eat it. Sounds awful…