I’ve been blogging now for over six years and have always had the dilemma of how much of my personal life to share. Every time I did share something very personal, like this post or this one, the feedback I got from the readers was priceless and made me realize that our readers have really gotten to know and love us because we share so much of ourselves. There is something that I feel the need to share and I never found the right time to do it.
Now’s the time. Like many other women, I have an eating disorder. I’ve lived with the disorder since the age of twelve, and like many other psychological diseases, this one comes and goes throughout my life, sometimes being completely non-existant, and other times feeling more like my best friend who I really should hate.
I’ve done a lot to try to keep it in check. I’ve gone to therapy, I’ve worked on myself for years and now I feel like it’s something I can completely control (when I want to). One of the major game-changers in my life in regards to my disease is the fact that I stopped eating gluten. The reasons why I stopped initially you can read about here, but what I’ve learned in the past four months is that I can feel completely in control of myself and my eating habits, as long as I don’t eat gluten.
I know its sounds a bit odd and I will try to explain. Taking gluten out of my diet is like taking a credit card away from a shopaholic. It severely limits the foods I can eat, therefore never ever really feeling out of control with what I am eating. Gone are the days where I would nosh on everything that was on set. Gone are the days that I would finish the pizza the kids didn’t eat. Gone are the days that I would snack on pretzels all day. Today if I’m hungry, I eat. And don’t feel sorry for me. Everyone that knows me personally knows I am not one to go hungry and give up on delicious food. But what I do eat now feels healthy, mostly unprocessed, and doesn’t weigh me down.
I decided when I stopped eating gluten that I wasn’t going to replace my sandwiches with gluten free bread or my snacks with gluten free cookies. I’ve spent that last four months cooking delicious food (and eating out plenty) but never baking anything. I hadn’t had a cookie or cake in what felt like ages. I decided that I had enough control and could let go a bit and finally bake myself a cake I could eat, enjoy and still feel completely in control. And this is the cake I made. And it was absolutely delicious. It’s by no means a “super healthy” cake, but after being so much in control of what I put into my body, after 34 years and 22 of them spent suffering from an eating disorder, I can let myself go a bit, without being scared of the consequences.
Almond, Lemon and Polenta Cake
I made this cake and brought it to the studio the next day. We ate it at room temperature and it was delicious. We had cake left over so I brought it home and put it in the refrigerator. I ate it the next day straight out of the fridge cold and I was so surprised that it was even more delicious!
Ingredients for one 11×7 inch/28×18 cm. rectangular baking pan:
7 oz./200 grams butter, softened
1 cup sugar
7oz./200 grams ground almonds
3/4 cup polenta
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
3 large eggs
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons lemon zest
1/4 cup blanched almonds
- Line the baking dish with parchment paper and preheat oven to 350F/180C.
- Using a mixer beat the butter and sugar until pale and whipped.,
- In a medium bowl, mix together the almonds, polenta and baking powder and beat some of this into the butter-sugar mixture, followed by 1 egg, then alternate dry ingredients and eggs, beating all the while.
- Add the lemon juice and lemon zest and continue to mix until just combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and evenly sprinkle on the blanched almonds.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes, until golden. It may seem a bit wobbly, but you can tell the cake is ready when the edges of the cake will have begun to shrink away from the sides of the baking pan.
- Serve at room temperature or cold.