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One of the hardest food challenges I had to conquer was bagels. With eating disorders, you establish “good” foods versus “bad” foods. For every person struggling with an eating disorder these foods can vary. For me, starches were the main challenge. Pastas, breads, potatoes, bagels, cookies, granola. I was terrified. Our society places bad labels on these foods, and stresses low carb low-fat diets, when in reality there is no such thing as “good” foods or “bad” foods. Food is food. We need carbohydrates; they provide us with the energy we need to live. As I spent more time with my nutritionist, Chaundra, and Amy (myself!), I learned that I NEED starches. I learned that if I didn’t feed my body these foods I would get horrible cravings that lead to bingeing and purging. I had to give my body what it wanted. I learned to always act on the hunger, never the restriction.
Chaundra gave me the bagel challenge about 4-5 months after I started seeing her. I had always been open to these food challenges because I wanted recovery more than anything. This was one challenge though that I had avoided for a long time. But since I was and am committed to recovery I made myself do it. So after my session, what did I do… well I went to Harris Teeter and searched the bagel aisle for vegan bagels. Normal, size bagels (Chaundra made it perfectly clear no mini ones!). So I picked up some plain bagels and went home.
After a few days of finally bringing myself to do the challenge, I sat down one afternoon with Colin for lunch and had a bagel. I don’t remember exactly what I put on my bagel (I think it was a bunch of fresh veggies and hummus), but I do remember the feeling of excitement and hope that overwhelmed me once I ate it. Nothing happened except that I love it! Even though the idea of eating the bagel was anxiety provoking and scary as hell, I did it! And today, I love bagels! So much, that I take the time and effort to make them myself (I am extremely lazy when it comes to going to the grocery store any other day except Fridays-my usual grocery shopping day)!
I know making bagels may seem like a daunting task, but I promise they are not as hard as they may seem. I was actually surprised at how easy it was to make these. The bagels are amazing and totally worth the time and effort! You can eat them straight from the cooling rack or toasted up with some nut butter and banana. They even make a nice lunch sandwich with hummus and veggies. If I hadn’t hid them in the back of the fridge Colin would have finished them by now. They are just that good!
Toasted Coconut Bagels
By Amy DiPaola
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (one packet)
1 2/3 cups warm water
4 1/2 cups bread flour
1 Tbs coconut sugar
1 Tbs maple syrup
2 tsp sea salt
about 3 quarts of water
2 Tbs coconut sugar
unsweetened coconut flakes
1. In a small mixing bowl whisk together the yeast and warm water; let it sit to activate (about 8-10 minutes).
2.In a large medium mixing bowl (or a stand mixer), add the bread flour, the yeast mixture, 1 Tbs coconut sugar, maple syrup, and salt. Mixed together with a spoon until the dough becomes thick. At this point you will need to get in there with your hands and knead the dough for about 10-12 minutes. If you have a stand mixer, use the bread hook and let it knead for about 8 minutes.
3. Once the dough is thoroughly mixed through, form a ball and place the dough in a large bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap and set in a warm place. Let it rise for 45 minutes.
4. Preheat your oven to 425. Get your baking sheet ready by covering it with parchment paper.
5. Once the dough has risen (it shouldn’t rise a whole lot so don’t be alarmed!), give the dough one more knead for about 2 minutes.
6. Divide the dough into 8-10 pieces depending on how large you want your bagels. Roll each piece into 8-10 inch long rolls. Wet one of the ends with water and form the dough into a circular-bagel shape, sticking the ends together with the help of the water. Once you’ve completed all of the bagels, place them on the parchment paper and let them sit for 10 minutes covered with a damp towel.
7. While the dough is sitting, prepare your pot with the 3 quarts water and 2 Tbs of sugar. Bring to a boil and then simmer until ready to use.
8. Add 4-5 bagels one at a time to the simmering water and cook on each side for 30 seconds (60 seconds total). Place them on a cooling rack to let them drip off the excess water. Immediately sprinkle with coconut flakes and a little bit of sea salt. Do the same with the remaining bagels.
9. Place the bagels in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack to cool. Serve however you like! Get creative, it’s fun!
**These keep well in the fridge for up to a week. If you can’t finish them by then I suggest placing them in the freezer for future use.
My favorite way to eat bagels is loaded with mixed nut butter, some hazelnut butter and grilled banana slices with cinnamon and vanilla (an idea that I got from Kathy Patalsky and her blog Healthy. Happy. Life. ). Another great way is to load it up with cucumber, tomatoes, avocado, hummus, alfalfa sprouts and even some pesto! This makes for a great lunch!