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A new year can bring new focus, new acceptance

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

It's January. In other words, everyone and their mother is getting a new gym membership, vowing to lose those last five pounds and swearing to exercise daily … OK, four times a week … OK, at least do some stretching each morning. Maybe.

January is a month I used to put a lot of stock in. I would use it as a target, telling myself that come January, there would be no more candy, no more cookies, no more alcohol (just kidding!) and no more pasta.

Unfortunately, January also meant the start of weeks of stress, as I worked my hardest to hold myself to impossible standards, inevitably failed and then proceeded to be way too hard on myself.

But this January, I'm looking at things a little differently. For one, I'm actively gaining weight. No, I'm not bulking up with some new weight training program. In fact, my doctor tells me I'm not even supposed to lift more than 25 pounds!

You see, I'm growing a human. Put in more clinical terms, I'm 24 weeks pregnant with my first baby, due in May. I'm incredibly excited and already this baby has given a new perspective on life.

I've learned that being pregnant means you don't always have the best control over your diet. Sure, you try to eat nutrient-dense foods that will help your baby grow big and strong. But at the same time, this tiny human (who somehow has tremendous control over your body) is telling you to eat all the carbs all the time. I've had actual dreams about Apple Cinnamon Cheerios and bagels (things I would never normally eat) and find myself accidentally drooling while staring at other people's lunches at work.

At first, it was stressful for me to suddenly, intensely crave these foods I thought I had left behind me. But you know what? It's also been kind of freeing.

While I have no intentions of making sugary foods part of my regular diet, this whole experience has been a great reminder that health is a balancing act. Even the healthiest diets need occasional breaks. And every person, no matter their fitness goals, can benefit from a little grace and understanding.

I could spend my time beating myself up over the few times I've gone all out on a non-paleo treat. I could hate myself over the fact that I've started eating way more carbs than I ever did before. In the past, I would have made myself sick with guilt. But now, I'm going with it. I'm learning that one choice does not define the rest of my day, week or month. And a choice about food, or a choice to sleep in instead of work out, certainly does not define who I am as a person.

So this January, I'm changing my message a little bit. By all means, set goals. By all means, do everything you can to be your best, healthiest self. But don't forget about your true self in the process. Don't forget to love yourself, forgive yourself your mistakes and, occasionally, make yourself some pancakes (or whatever else your heart desires).

To that end, I'm sharing a favorite pancake recipe that is 100 percent delicious, but still filled with healthful foods that won't derail your goals. So eat up! And then move on.

GRAIN-FREE BACON-CHOCOLATE CHIP PANCAKES

Makes about 10 pancakes.

5 strips bacon

4 large eggs, beaten

1/3 cup chocolate chips

½ cup coconut flour

½ cup tapioca flour

1 cup coconut milk or almond milk

1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

½ tsp. ground cinnamon

½ tsp. baking soda

¼ tsp. salt

Ghee or coconut oil (to grease the skillet)

Cook bacon over medium-high heat and, once crispy, remove from pan, allow to cool slightly and then crumble. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine coconut flour, tapioca flour, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, fully combine eggs, coconut or almond milk, apple cider vinegar and vanilla. Slowly add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until batter is smooth.

Add chocolate chips and crumbled bacon to batter and stir until well combined.

Grease a large griddle or skillet over medium heat. Once pan is hot, add batter to pan, about 2 tablespoons of batter per pancake (or larger).

Cook until bubbles begin to form around edges and top of pancake, about 3 minutes. Flip pancakes and cook about 3 more minutes, or until golden brown on both sides and cooked through.

Repeat until batter is gone. Serve with maple syrup or your choice of topping.

Danielle Gagnon is a paleo food blogger at thepaleovangelist.com. Follow her on Instagram at @thepaleovangelist.

Content provided by Encore, The Telegraph’s arts and entertainment, food and wine section. Editor Kathleen Palmer can be reached at 594-6403 or kpalmer@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow her on Twitter (@Telegraph_KathP or @NHFoodandFun).
Copyright © The Telegraph, All Rights Reserved, Used by permission.


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