health

The most honest account of 'clean eating' you will ever read.

If this was all that ‘clean eating’ entailed, then maybe Jakobi would be smiling…

 

By JAKOBI PEARCE

I recently ventured into the murky waters of what I like to call “Free” Cooking. No, this is not some new, miraculous style of cooking which costs nothing and leaves you feeling wonderfully satisfied.

Actually, it’s quite the opposite. Free cooking is, in my opinion, very expensive and more often than not, just a little bit unsatisfying. Free Cooking eliminates a lot of staple ingredients such as dairy, gluten etc and replaces them with other, natural (read expensive) ingredients.

For our family, the enemies in the fridge were dairy and fruit. Our one year old was suffering from obvious food intolerances and through a process of elimination, we were soon pointing the finger at these two food pyramid stalwarts.

So, in this day and age, what does one do when faced with a dietary problem and only a little bit of factual information? Go to a dietician? A nutritionist? No. Jump on Google of course.

A couple of hours later I was feeling pretty confident, not only about living dairy free, but also limiting our intake of that other evil, over-engineered, modern day necessity – gluten.

See, a lot of the thousands of people across the world who live dairy free, are also gluten free.

I began to envisage myself as a kind of earth mother. Packaged foods would be eliminated and my children would never eat another preservative again. Day care teachers would look at my son’s lunch box and wistfully say, “Now, why can’t all children have a lunch box like that”. I would be a kitchen goddess, revered by all for my ultra healthy, organic way of living. I might even start a blog.

It really does.

I began to madly research recipes. Meals were not so much of a problem. It was snacks I was having difficulty with. Trying to find dairy and fruit free snacks with low sugar (because I was such an amazingly healthy mum) was proving to be quite a challenge.

Enter coconut flour. Apparently coconut is the wonderfood for Free Cooking. You can make sweetener, milk, cream, oil and flour all out of the one ingredient. And yes, it is high in fat but that is the one thing in Free Cooking you can embrace – full fat. You see, in the world of Free Cooking, the rules we have had rammed down our throats for the past 30 years are reversed. Full fat is in, skinny and light options are out.

So, armed with my newly gained knowledge, I set out to track down this elusive coconut flour. I imagine that in a capital city there are a number of health food stores. But, living in a town in regional Queensland with one of the highest rates of obesity in Australia, health stores are a relatively new phenomenon.

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We do have one though. As I entered, I pushed to the back of my mind all those thoughts I had previously had about the type of people who buy cooking ingredients from health food shops. I found some coconut flour, forked out $20 for a kilo (yes, you did read that correctly) and high tailed it home to begin my culinary creations.

I had found a recipe online for coconut flour pancakes. My husband watched, bemused, as the three year old and I began to mix ingredients.

The first mistake I made was asking my dearest to pass me the coconut flour. As he did so, he read the price on the side of the packet.

And these are said pancakes. Shaped like stars.

Well, you would have thought I had taken out a second mortgage. Ten years from now, I am sure he will still be going on about how we couldn’t afford our power bill because I had paid $20 for flour.

I explained to him that if he wanted to continue to poison his body with chemically altered foods, he could. But for me, the health of our children was just too important to put a price tag on.

I serenely floated around our kitchen, adding vanilla essence instead of sugar, vinegar and bicarbonate of soda instead of self-raising flour. All the while the ultra fussy three year old was eagerly licking the raw batter off the spoon.

Smugly I watched as the pikelets cooked up nice and fluffy. The tell tale bubbles popped up and the perfect pancake was created. My “Free” halo was glowing as I dished up.

I watched as hubby chewed. And chewed. And chewed.

“Dense”, was how he described them. Then pushed them aside, claiming to have had a big lunch.

The 3 year old had one tiny nibble and declared he would eat them when he was a bit bigger. Now could he please have a toasty now?

No dramas, I am used to those two. I turned to my one year old. My little garbage disposal who I had found chewing on a mud coated cruskit in the park the day before.

Surely he, the one I was doing all this for, would devour them?

No. He tried one mouthful, spat it out and silently threw the rest on the floor. My Free halo diminishing, I gave him another, this one slathered with jam. He wouldn’t even taste it, straight on the floor.

I packed everything away and put the remaining $18 worth of coconut flour in the freezer to prevent weavels.

Then made everyone vegemite on toast.

 “Jakobi is a SAHM to two busy boys, Zac and Ash. When she is not too busy performing tricks for them in the kitchen, she works as a relief teacher at her local high school.”

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