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Grain + Gluten + Sugar + Dairy Free... and Gentle, too

When baking, I often think of my ‘old ways’ of eating. How much it’s changed and evolved. I started about 10 years ago playing with the idea of going wheat free. I went to an iridologist and he said I was too acidic and should look at eating differently. Fast forward to a year ago, a well-meaning surgeon telling me he thinks it could be Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and here’s your doggy-bag of medication to take…indefinitely! The rebel in me said (hands firmly on hips and one eyebrow lifted) “I don’t think so, bye bye now!”

I now eat beautiful God-made food that is Grain, Gluten, and Sugar Free, and sometimes Dairy Free too.

I still bake up a storm and mess up my kitchen on almost a daily basis, only difference is now my ingredients have changed. I’ve realized on this journey to cleaner eating how important one’s state-of-mind is. It is better to let go of the old.  You know this? Yes, I know this. But we need to put it into practice. Learning new things, adapting and growing into the new is what life is about. It can be difficult and painful, sometimes, to accept that you might never sink your teeth into a slow-baked rice pudding ever again. The cinnamon aroma reminds you of your childhood or, maybe that was your go-to food at the end of a long and emotional day. It was mine.

For some, cold turkey is the only way to go. Cutting out all ‘banned’ foods and starting fresh. For others, like me, we go a little more gently, looking for ways to adapt old recipes and morph them into ‘The New’. Now, another year down the line, I find my tastes have changed; my cravings have all but dissipated. I don’t feel so desperate anymore. This WOE is very fulfilling and sustainable. I haven’t tried to replace my emotionally charged rice pudding with something ‘allowed’, because I realized…I witnessed... I was hungry for something else that wasn’t food at all.

I still enjoy sweet things (just have a look at my list of recipes as proof of that)… isn’t that why we have taste buds especially designed to taste sweetness? So, now I choose a sweetener that tickles those little buds without wrecking havoc with my insulin levels and brain chemistry.

I’ve reached a place where I don’t feel deprived because I ‘cant’ have dessert at the restaurant, or ‘cant’ have my eggs on a croissant anymore. My choices come from a completely different place. It’s more like, “Jeez I don’t want to put that crap in my body anymore. It is not even an option”. And somehow it never tastes as good as you remembered, anyway. This is me making an empowered choice, not a begrudging one. Zero deprivation... because, lets be honest, I also have fatbombes and Lindt Chocolate at home in the fridge if I really feel like a little something sweet. Problem SOLVED. If I want it, I can have it, I'm now just choosier about what I put in my mouth.

Sometimes we crave a little bit of the old stuff (muffin, cake, pastry…fill in your 'Achilles Heal' here) in our ‘new-adventurous-world-of-sugar-grain-gluten-everything-free’, and that’s OK. In fact, THAT’S the point. You Are OK! What’s not OK is beating yourself up for eating ‘2g carbs over your limit’, or because you ‘shouldn’t’ crave something, or because you don’t like the way your body looks in the mirror. It’s NEVER OK to scold or use condescending and humiliating words with yourself, whether it’s consciously or unconsciously. Be gentle with yourself. You wouldn’t say those things to your best friend, or your daughter for that matter, the way you speak to yourself, would you? 

“Less criticism and more gentleness, and learning to love our selves wholly and completely - warts [especially the warts, and cellulite, and stretch marks, they need it the most] and all!” That’s the legacy I want to leave behind.

Be fully present to your thoughts as often as you can. Be the witness to your inner voice and worst critic. If you can ‘hear’ that voice quietly scolding the wobbly bits on your inner thighs, then BINGO, you can stop it! Say out loud, “oh, stop it! You’re lovely and wonderful! You Are OK! Now find something nice to say!” …it’s not being vain to complement yourself, its being loving. It’s being gentle. And slow, deep breathing will always bring you back to the present. You can change your perspective, your thoughts. It’s a powerful tool.

My favourite muffin in 'my old life' used to be Date and Nut. And for some reason I always thought this was the healthy option… Whaaaait? I know, I was uninformed back then. Today, the only part of that muffin I would eat is the butter I slather on, and the nuts I pull out. I choose to not use dates anymore either, they are still "Way Too High on the GI" (sounds like a song:) for me, but if you are not counting your carbs too hectically, or for your littlies, raisins here would rock, giving it a true ‘bran’ muffin vibe.

Try these gentle-on-my-mind muffins. They may remind you of your ‘old life’, and put a smile on your face. Or, they may represent how lovely your new way of eating / life now is? Either way, you’re looking for (and will find) The Happy in it, every time.

...Great for lunch boxes, breakfast or afternoon snack time with some warm Chai Tea. Hmmmmm... 

Muffin Batter: 

½ Cup Almond flour
½ Cup Flax flour
3 Tbsp Coconut flour
1 medium size Courgette grated finely (about ¾ Cup worth)  
3 Eggs, beaten
3 Tbsp Xylitol
1 tsp Stevia drops
2 Tbsp Cinnamon
¼ Cup Coconut oil or butter
½ tsp Baking soda

Caramelised nutty topping:

¼ Cup whole almonds (or nut of your choice) chopped into smaller nibs
1 Tbsp Xylitol sugar granules
1 Tbsp Butter
If you are strapped for time, you could chop some roasted, salty nuts, and incorporate them into the muffin mix - which is nice too - the crunch is great.


Heat oven to 175 degrees C
Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. And wet ingredients in a smaller jug.

Now grate your courgette on the very fine setting. 

Hint: If this is for a fussy little one, 
then peel it first so there will be no visible green flecks in the batter.

Throw everything together, displaying reckless abandon and furious passion, in the big bowl and mix till incorporated.

Prepare muffin tin with liners and using a medium ice-cream scooper, spoon mixture in even mounds into paper cases. You should get about 12 muffins. The batter is quite stiff.

Now add your chopped nuts, butter and sugar to a small pan to caramelize - don’t take your pretty little eyes off them. They go from raw to burnt way too quickly.

Spoon little mounds of caramelized nuts on to each muffin before placing into the oven.

Bake for 25 - 30 minutes, or until done

Allow to cool a little, cut open and slather with butter.  

Divine! Delicious! Devour! (currently my three favourite words)

Much love and gratitude to you...

And Happy nibbling



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