Will you be flipping pancakes or flipping your lid?
Are you, like me, full of fond memories of plates covered with lovely, hot, fresh pancakes oozing in lemon juice and sugar? (Or, as it was in 1960’s Manchester, sugar and a Jif squeezy plastic lemon) It was the only day of the year we got pancakes and so it felt extra special and exciting.
Another very important part of the ritual was the pancake flipping. Later on, it was learning how to make them ourselves, and to watch them collapse in a mushy heap when we didn’t get the flick of the wrist right. I can still sense the anticipation I had then, as I fondly reminisce.
Now I’m married to a Belgian for whom pancakes are simply a dessert or occasional Sunday breakfast treat and consequently they are now just one item on the list of ‘things we eat in our house’. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a real treat to come down on a Sunday morning to be greeted with a welcome of “Pancakes this morning. Is that OK?”
While in the past, it never crossed my mind to refuse another pancake or lashings of sugar, nowadays I’m happy to take the smallest one and fill it with a little yoghurt and banana or to make them with brown flour and oats in order to lower the G.I. so that I want fewer of them and feel fuller longer. And I certainly couldn’t dream of eating 4 or more as I used to.
Does it bother me? Do I feel as though I’m missing out? I certainly look back wistfully to that over-skinny, lanky teen that I used to be, and there is still oftentimes a debate with my inner gourmand whether to say, “yes please” or “no thank you” to the offer of one more pancake.
Food, and the marking important occasions with food, is central to our culture and our sense of belonging to a community. However, for many people these events are more a source of isolation and unhappiness. Shame and confusion dominate their internal debate much more than for others. For those unfortunate people for whom weight issues dominate all decisions about eating or social invitations, pancake day can become a major cause of stress or anxiety. It can really begin to dominate their thinking and sap a lot of pleasure from many seemingly simple life events.
Many people will in fact just prefer to forget about Pancake Tuesday all together in order to eliminate conflict over what and how much they can allow themselves to eat or the guilt about what they should and ‘shouldn’t’ have eaten afterwards.
This makes me sad to think that for those people, the pleasures of childhood memories or the simple freedom to join others, guilt free, seems lost to them. It makes me especially sad to know that it really doesn’t have to be like that. It is possible to achieve and maintain a healthy weight AND enjoy the odd pancake. If you’d like to know how I can help you achieve this please get in touch.