By: Faith Pearce
(4 min read)
I love baking! The process of mixing ingredients in a big bowl, sliding the batter off a spoon into a cupcake pan, and popping them in the oven makes me happy. As they quickly start to rise and fill the house with a lovely aroma, I become even happier. The “I am done” buzzer rings, and I find myself impatiently waiting for them to cool so I can frost them. Yes, and eat them. Freshly baked goodies.
I have fond memories of cooking with my mum. We made cheese sauce, homemade pizzas, kneaded bread, and rolled out pastry for pies or jam or lemon-filled tarts. I fondly remember making random shapes out of the last bits of the pastry that my dad would always dutifully eat. Even labeling jars for hot sticky jams, plum chutneys and seasoned tomato sauces filled me with joy. I can still feel the lard, flour and sugar rubbing between my fingers as we made a golden blackberry and apple crumble.
We put our hearts and souls into our baking, and we all sat together as a family enjoying our delicate works of art. My baking memories fill me with warmth and comfort.
There isn’t much that I don’t eat, that I haven’t tried, or tasted. The taste of food is important to me as well as the presentation. I love a balance of taste, texture, and smell. It’s a whole experience when I make food.
It begins with the search followed by the plan. I contemplate the flavors and balance of colors. I determine if the recipe will be a light snack or a substantial meal. I visualize how I will feel after I’ve eaten it. If I have prepared the recipe before, I envision ways to be more creative. At times, this happens right in the middle of the process. Halfway through making a meal, I might change how I feel about the food then I might alter some of the components. I taste-test each item as I go along and determine if the seasoning, herbs, and spices are on point.
See, I told you. It is a whole experience when I cook. Overthinking spills into everything I do.
I have suffered from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) for around 20 years. Through a process of elimination, I have determined the foods that make my body happy or pissed off. Having IBS has greatly affected how I cook and bake.
I also have PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome). For me, it causes a hormone imbalance, and I have too much testosterone. PCOS causes many other symptoms, but weight gain is a major factor. I have tried many things such as Slimming World, an England-based weight loss organization, hypnosis and fitness programs. Each time I have lost the weight, but gradually over time, it has returned.
In the past three years, I learned about macros. I’d heard this term thrown around a lot, but other than using it in the Excel world, I had no idea what it meant. Basically, it means looking at the percentage of fats, carbs, and proteins in the foods you are eating. The main nutrients. It sparked a personal interest in me. I wondered if this was a way I could control my weight and control how I feel when I eat certain foods.
Each of the macronutrients has a different calorie count per gram of weight. Carbohydrates and proteins are four calories per gram whereas fats are nine calories per gram. If you were following a 1500-calorie meal plan with macro ratios of 40 grams of carbs, 30 grams of protein, and 30 grams of fats (40/30/30), your caloric breakdown would look like this:
Carbs – 600 calories = 150g
Protein – 450 calories = 112g
Fats – 450 calories = 50g
Once you know the grams, you can plan meals based on the calories for those macros. For example, a 200g (7 ounces) chicken breast has about 220 calories and around 50g of protein. I would only need about 60 more grams of protein for this day if I were eating 1500 calories and on a 40/30/30 macro breakdown.
Depending on your goals, you would use different “macro” ratio formulas. If you want to lose fat versus gain muscle, your ratio might look like 20/40/40 instead of 40/30/30.
Understandably it took a while to wrap my head around all of this information. It did, however, helped me look at food in a different way. I began looking at my goals first and then creating my menus around the goal. I also became very aware of how my body responded to different ratios as well as different foods. I learned my body doesn’t like potatoes, bread or pasta, and I’m also lactose intolerant…argh.
When I first started tracking my macros to see what my baseline was, I was amazed at just how many carbohydrates I was filling my body with. I consumed a few other nutrients.
Back to baking. Whoa, we went around the bend there,
I get quite excited when I find new baking recipes with low carbs and high protein. I travel to my happy place and bake away to my heart’s content. This new knowledge allows me to enjoy the foods I like and a hobby I love without making my body scream at me…very loudly!
So last week when scrolling on TikTok, I came across the Oat Baker. And wow I loved the videos. He was talking straight to me. The recipes looked simple, but I needed to figure out the macros. I went into sleuth mode, and to my delight, I found his webpage with the exact recipe!
Today was baking day! The first trial of banana bread. Disaster. This is never to be mentioned again. But then I whipped up the second recipe I wanted to try. Coconut pancakes. You heard it right. OMG. From start to finish, every step of the way was a delight.
Easy to weigh, measure, and mix. They cooked quickly yet retained their heat. When I finished flipping the last one, the first was still hot. I substituted vanilla protein powder with salted caramel, as it was all I had. Good choice. My whole kitchen smelled like a warm summer’s day just like I was strolling around a fairground nibbling candy floss.
And taste-wise, yeah, these are definitely on Faith’s Favorite Breakfast Menu. Light, fluffy and moist. I wonder if my daughter will have fond memories of me cooking like the ones I have of me baking with my mum
What are you cooking today?