Last night, for the first time in my [social media] life, somebody attacked me on Twitter, accusing me of fuelling both clean eating and orthorexia.
This came off the back of a post I made a few minutes earlier celebrating the fact that after months of research and development, I had finally nailed a carrot cake that contains no gluten, dairy or egg. I was, I thought, justified in my slightly gleeful post after all the hard work that had gone into it.
I really didn’t expect to be attacked for it and was utterly horrified at what I was being accused of. Anybody who knows me knows that one of the few things that makes me lose my sh*t is the whole clean eating / pedalling the exclusion of certain food groups for health and wellbeing and/or weight loss reasons with no scientific or medical evidence to substantiate such claims / food-guilt thing. To my mind, food should be a pleasurable, sociable experience not laden with guilt but with happiness and enjoyment. And balance.
So to have such a huge accusation thrown at me in this way was really quite upsetting.
I don’t just take ingredients out of my cakes for the hell of it; I take them out because I have come to learn and appreciate since my coeliac diagnosis that for some people, knowing what is *not* in their food is every bit as important (if not more so) than what is in it. Furthermore, I have come to understand first-hand how soul-destroying it can be when you go out for dinner and have to leaf through the ‘folder of shame’ in a depressingly clinical and solitary manner while everyone else pours over glossy menus and chats about what they might have.
It is these experiences that underpin everything I do, that drive and motivate me and that keep me going when the umpteenth test bake heads for the bin.
I bake without gluten because I have to.
I sometimes bake without dairy-containing ingredients (and less-so, eggs) because I know there are many people who have lactose/dairy/egg intolerance/allergies and/or have made a personal moral and ethical decision to follow a vegan diet.
And l push the boundaries of my baking abilities because I know that a lot of these people still love to eat cake.
I never make claims that my way of baking is ‘cleaner’ or ‘healthier’ than any other way of baking and I am genuinely puzzled how anybody taking more than a passing glance at my social media feed could come to such an inaccurate conclusion. I use sugar in my baking – lots of it. I make pizza bases with flour, oil and water – not cauliflower. And I have never spiralized anything. Ever.
In addition to the clean eating/orthorexia thing, I was also accused of targeting the whole internet and not just coeliacs with my post by using the hashtag #ALittleSliceOfHappiness. I use this hashtag, along with the slogan ‘Happiness is cake-shaped’ in almost all of my business communication, including social media. It is an integral part of The Happy Little Cake Company brand.
And that brand isn’t just about baking for coeliacs. It is about creating little slices of happiness that coeliacs can be reassured are safe for them to eat but are exactly what people who don’t have to think about what they eat want to eat, too. It is about inclusive eating. And happy, shared food experiences.
So in terms of not just baking for coeliacs but for everyone who loves great cake then yes, I am guilty as charged. And for that I make no apology.
Happiness is cake-shaped 😍
xx Me xx