I really like being your cheerleader. If there’s a way to encourage you in your pursuit of healthy eating, I really try to make that happen. The whole cancer-surviving experience is stressful, though…which leads many survivors to comfort eating. The treatments, the surgeries…but it’s even more complicated than the initial treatment. It’s the day-to-day living after the treatment is over.
One thing that non-breast cancer survivors may not realize is how high the divorce/break-up rates are for female breast cancer survivors within 5 years of treatment. (If you are a breast cancer survivor and a member of any breast cancer support forum, you have probably noticed this fact). Here are some of the top reasons:
• To be blunt, many spouses/partners have too much difficulty adjusting to the survivor’s new body.
• Some spouses/partners tend to feel overwhelmed by the survivor’s new world of medications, premature menopause, reoccurring appointments, and the anxiety that plays out over and over with each check-up.
• Still others find that their spouses/partners were all about being a hero during treatment – but once the dust settles, it turns out that their partner was really just being supportive for narcissistic, flag-waving reasons. Once day-to-day living starts again, that hero is nowhere to be found.
Many times, we turn to food during stressful life events. Food can be comforting – but be careful. When I have a treat – especially when I need a little comfort – I really try to keep it somewhat healthy. One of my absolute favorite treats is harcha, a Moroccan flatbread-cake. Harcha is very therapeutic to make, because you get to roll the dough like Play-Doh. My traditional-style harcha recipe contains semolina; but I needed a gluten-free remedy so I could share this treat with my daughter. The problem is, gluten-free flours are more crumbly than semolina.
And then I thought about it – why not invent peanut-butter flavored harcha? Yum…now that’s what I call comfort food!
Plus – we’re using amaranth flour. Amaranth is an ancient grain with a ton of health benefits – including helping to raise serotonin levels in the brain, which is the body’s natural ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitter. Serotonin is really helpful when you’re experiencing a trial in life because it keeps your moods balanced. Here are some more Pink Kitchen amaranth recipes.
In addition, amaranth flour is full of protein. Combined with the peanut butter, this is a treat you can feel good about.
And did I mention they’re delicious??? Even the Moroccan-food-purists will forgive me once they have a bite.
If you have never had breast cancer, then I hope that this post has provided you with some insight on the post-treatment life of many breast cancer survivors. Whether or not our romantic relationships survive cancer, the truth is that we don’t just get back to normal life after treatment is over. There is always fall-out – whether it be loss of relationships…jobs…body parts… We need our truest friends to try their best to grasp this, and to be there for us.
If you’ve been dumped or divorced post-breast cancer, this feel-good treat is especially dedicated to you. And consider yourself hugged.
Gluten-free Peanut Butter “Harcha”
1 c. peanut butter
1 c. amaranth flour
1 c. water
2 packets of NuStevia
fruit spread of your choice
optional: coconut for dusting
Put the coconut (if using) into a shallow pasta bowl or onto a plate, and set aside.
Mix flour and NuStevia.
Blend in peanut butter.
Mix until combined.
Shape dough into 2″ balls.
Let the balls rest while you heat up your skillet (low heat).
Roll the balls in the coconut (if using).
Flatten the balls in discs 1/4 inch thick (any thicker is bad – they won’t cook evenly).
Put the harcha in the skillet. Cook until golden, approx. 7-10 minutes on each side. Be sure to turn them only once.
Serve with fruit spread of your choice.
These are easy to store. You can keep them at room temperature for one day, then in fridge for 3 days. You can also freeze them. Reheat at 350 degrees F until warm.