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From burnout to balance: The benefits of baking

In what seems to be a golden age of vegetables and protein, I am a defiant baker. While some have given up on carbs, sugar and even fruit, I keep on baking because I find it both soothing and delicious. I am not alone, according to this article, The Rise of Anxiety Baking.

“Baking is mindful. Mindfulness means paying attention to yourself in the moment and not being in the past or the future, but really being there,” says Philip Muskin, a Columbia University psychiatry professor and the secretary of the American Psychiatry Association.

Most days, I eat a piece of home baking. Last week I had fruit muffins that used up some lovely poached spiced feijoas (thereby making room in the freezer for the feijoas of 2019). I’ve modified an old recipe for banana chocolate chip muffins by leaving out the chocolate and substituting thick swirls of peanut butter, a much better flavour pairing, to my mind. I choose muffin recipes with half a cup of sugar or less, which works out to a teaspoonful or two of sugar per muffin. I’m comfortable with that. I use mostly wholemeal flour. Sometimes I want to feel like I’m baking but I don’t feel like making muffins. That’s when bread or crackers come out of the oven – or this Seed and oat bread, which is halfway between the two.

Actually, almost anything that ends with me taking a tray out of a hot oven can scratch that baking itch, even my favourite home-made breakfast cereal, Awesome granola dust, which comes from Jamie Oliver.

I’m a bit jealous of people who seem to have no sweet tooth, but I continue to look forward to a treat in my lunchbox most days and a relaxing potter around my kitchen on the weekends. I really do think if you’re sensible with recipes and ingredients, you can bake your cake and eat it too.

First published: April 2019



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