Recently I was admonished by a health nut on Twitter, after Tweeting a link to my Healthy oat bran, raspberry and honey muffins. He didn’t like the fact that I was promoting my muffins as healthy, as they had honey in them which, he said, is in fact a sugar. I replied saying that they didn’t have any sugar (as in the white stuff) in, and although honey is a fructose, it also has health benefits and is fine when used in moderation. I also suggested he was a pedant and reiterated that I wrote a family food blog, not a health freak blog! Anyhoo, it all settled down fine, and we agreed to disagree. But it got me thinking…
Aren’t we all so confused and stressed out about what is healthy and what isn’t? I find all the differing opinions a bit exhausting…
Sometimes I am unhealthy, and sometimes (more often) I am healthy. One minute I’m devouring a chocolate croissant with a strong coffee, the next I’m all about quinoa and almond milk porridge for breakfast. The other night at a family wedding I did 4 sambuca shots. And then was a bit ill. But then I hadn’t done a sambuca shot for a very long time. See, I’m normally in bed at 9.30pm, reading something rather tame. I don’t even drink tea after 8pm!!
I’m a contradiction, you could say. Or maybe I am just trying to achieve a balance. I used to think I had an up and down disorder, but now I just think I’m human. I can’t be good all the time. I just can’t, it’s not me. I like wine. I still smoke occasionally (I know, it’s BAD. I’m working on it). I sometimes exercise. But mostly I don’t.
All I know is, when I am eating healthily, sleeping well, not over drinking or smoking, I feel at my happiest – and most creative / productive. And that means I’m a better parent, a less fractious wifey, a more considerate friend. So it’s this healthy version of me that I always come back to, no matter how often I veer off the virtuous path.
But I need treats. Ideally I want them to be as healthy as possible. And I still stand by the fact that honey and/or maple syrup is better than sugar: maple syrup is an antioxidant, and honey has natural antibacterial qualities. Sugar is just, well, not good!
Talking of being virtuous, I bought Gwyneth’s new-ish book It’s All Good last week. And it is all really good, in cook book terms. Chock full of great super duper healthy recipes, info on new ingredients and beautifully shot too. I find her really inspiring, and I like her ethos. This is what she says on the subject of being imperfect, health wise: “If I’ve learned anything, it’s that it’s all a process. “Falling off” is part of it, not a reason to beat yourself up.”
Hear hear Gwynnie. I adapted her Almond butter cookie recipe which is taken from the book, and made a slightly less sweet Peanut butter cookie with added crunch. Oh God but the salt on top – it’s AMAZING! Try try try it! My boy loves these so much.
Makes: About 16 cookies
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes
200g gluten free flour (normal would be fine too – or try Spelt flour which has less gluten)
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt (I love Maldon, as does GP)
1 teaspoon of baking powder
4 tablespoons of smooth peanut butter
4 tablespoons of honey (choose a good brand, organic and raw are best)
6 tablespoons of maple syrup
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
75g blanched plain peanuts, chopped roughly (you could use roasted salted peanuts but leave out the 1/2 teaspoon of salt in the cookies)
A tiny pinch of sea salt flakes on top of each one
- Preheat oven to 180C. Lightly grease (I brush with a little vegetable oil) 2 x baking trays.
- Whisk flour, salt and baking powder together.
- Now mix the peanut butter, honey, maple syrup, and vanilla. Then crush and add the nuts too.
- Mix the wet and dry ingredients into a sticky dough. Gently roll into golf sized balls.
- Place on a baking tray with some space around each one. Press down slightly with a wet spoon and sprinkle with a few flakes of sea salt.
- Bake for about 10 minutes. Let them cool on a wire rack.