Friday, April 24, 2009

inclusive eating

I love a good, quality food challenge. Give me someone who's vegan, I'll want to whip her up a nice veggie meal. Somebody who doesn't eat sugar? Lemme at 'er, I'll show her the culinary time of her life. And then there are those of you who are sensitive to wheat, have Celiac disease, or just generally eschew gluten for any number of reasons. The number of you grows every day. More and more, people are realizing that their bodies might just not be meant to process gluten, especially when it's in the hearty wheats found throughout the United States. You should know that you're not alone. As those of you diagnosed with gluten and wheat sensitivities pop up, excellent resources appear every day to help you sort out your particular situation. Many of these resources will teach you to embrace life within your newly configured parameters, whatever they may be. They will teach you to be good to your body and to listen to it, and by listening to it and feeling it, to come to love it.

To pay attention to the way your body feels, to honor that, and to respect what it needs, is an act of subversion. Our society rewards bodies that fit a predetermined (and almost always unattainable) mold and normalizes the belief that one way of moving one's body and feeding it is superior to all others. The problem is this: Mainstream ways of eating are not conducive to the health and happiness of the vast majority of people in our culture. And in order to eat against the grain, you've got to be very brave and very strong.
Today I would like to gently remind you that our bodies, like our personalities, are all different. As my first grade teacher, Mrs. Rice, said, "We are each like snowflakes. No two of us are alike."

It has taken me a very long time to be able to say all of this to you. In fact, it has taken approximately 24 years of life, about three years of gender studies classes, and countless articles and books read that focused largely on food and bodies and their intersections in our lives.

What I'm trying to say is that if you've recently realized that you need or want to change the way you eat, you might be overwhelmed. You might feel alone and even afraid and like nothing in this culture of ours is going to help you attain health. So take a moment. Breathe. I am here, digging through resources and finding ways to eat and live that include you. And you, and you, and you. Adriana's here, too. And I'll bet that if you sit down for a chat with a really good friend, the kind who is always available for midnight talks and movie nights, that she or he will be there for you, too.
This recipe is another one for peanut butter cookies. I do realize that I posted a similar recipe a few weeks ago. But that one was for the vegans out there, and this one is for the gluten-free folks. Even if you have no food allergies and don't know anyone who does, I urge you to try recipes such as these, to see what you think.


Little Peanut Butter Cookies
Adapted from Shauna James Ahern

1 cup natural peanut butter (creamy or chunky, though I used chunky)
1 cup sucanat
1 teaspoon
1 egg
1/4 cup white sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. With a sturdy wooden spoon, cream the peanut butter and sucanat in a bowl. Stir in the baking powder, then the egg. Stir until it is well combined.

With clean hands, roll a ball of dough about the diameter of a quarter. Roll the ball in white sugar, then set it on a baking sheet covered with parchment. Repeat until you fill the cookie sheet (about 24 should fit on one sheet, depending on size).

With the back of a fork, gently press down on the cookies twice to form the signature peanut butter cookie crosshatch.

Bake them on an upper rack in the oven for 9 to 10 minutes. You'll want to be careful not to overbake them. The undersides should just be getting slightly brown when they are done. Pull out the baking sheet and let the cookies rest on it 5 to 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Makes about 30 itty bitty cookies.
P.S. Today's post is for all of you with special dietary needs. It is also for the incredible bloggers, especially Shauna James Ahern of Gluten-Free Girl, who act as resources as readers learn how to eat and live healthfully, happily and inclusively.



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Adriana Willsie and Kylie Springman ©2009