30 Apr PCOS, Anxiety, and Baking Your Way Calm
I come from a long line of bakers. My grandfather was a professional baker. My mother studied Viennese pastry making and made exquisite breads, donuts, pies, cakes, pastries, rolls, and cookies all the time. And she proudly noted that I produced my first batch of chocolate chip cookies (almost) on my own when I was four years old.
Imagine my distress at being told repeatedly over the years by doctors and dieticians and other experts that I couldn’t bake, shouldn’t bake, or would be forever destined to ill health if I continued baking when I have PCOS (and diabetes!). Baking is something I love to do, and it’s central to my identity as a well-rounded home cook.
And here’s the thing: baking is really soothing for me. It’s homey, creative, nourishing, and social. I like to feed the people I love. I enjoy playing with food by experimenting and adapting recipes. Now I’m not suggesting that baking will cure a full-blown PCOS anxiety disorder, but I am saying that, if baking is something you love or think you might like, there are PCOS-friendly ways to do it. And it can be great for relieving minor anxiety.
I don’t have a PCOS anxiety disorder, but I certainly get anxious or irritable sometimes, and an hour in the kitchen, by myself, measuring and portioning things out, re-regulates me. It’s kind of a Zen activity for me; I have to pay attention, but not so much attention that it’s stressful.
I’m definitely not dictating gluten-free, dairy-free, or any other “free” eating plans, but I have fallen in love with the Almond Flour Chocolate Chia Cupcakes recipe from Honeyville Farms [Note: NOT an affiliate link; nor are the chocolate chips.]. As is, these are not very sweet, so I’d call them more “muffins” than “cupcakes.”
I’ve tweaked the recipe by adding ½ teaspoon of sea salt to create some contrast, and one-half cup of mini chocolate chips (use the Enjoy Life gluten-free mini chips if gluten-free is critical for you), which makes the chocolate taste more pronounced – and more like the promised cupcakes. Even better, in addition to enjoying all that chocolaty goodness, these are high enough in protein and still low glycemic enough (maybe not so much with the chocolate chips!) that you can enjoy them regularly for a meal or a snack.
Depending on your eating plan, they make a fine and highly portable breakfast with a handful of berries or half an apple. They also freeze well, which you should be mindful of – as with all whole, natural foods that are lacking in preservatives, these will start to mildew after a few days if not refrigerated or frozen.
If you need more than just a baking session to tamp down your PCOS anxiety, read my PCOS Wellness blog on PCOS anxiety causes and treatments. It will help you understand what causes your anxiety, and how you can start working to decrease it. In the meantime, enjoy the muffins/cupcakes, and tell me how it went if you decide to make them!