Memere’s banana muffins, made vegan and gluten-free! Plus, an update on my feelings on gluten and fructose.

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You know how most people feel totally derailed in terms of diet during the holidays? For me it’s the opposite. Having time off work allows me to plan meals better so I’m not just stuffing a burrito together or making some pasta with the leftover veggies in my fridge (although, I mean really, that can be totally yummy sometimes).

Planning meals so well has been part of why I’m feeling so great in terms of my diet right now (and yes, this comes a full week after quitting the gym — and I feel great!)

Before you read into my transition to a less glutenous and fructose-heavy diet, here is one of my favourite recipes — my Memere’s banana/chocolate chip/peanut butter muffins. Memere, for those of you not hip with French-Canadian redneck speak, is what I call my paternal Grandmother. My Grandfather is Pepere. Maternal grandmother, despite also being French-Canadian, was just Grandma, as was my (very English) Grandpa Bill (my real maternal Grandfather was Irish-Canadian, but he passed away when my Mom was a baby. Perhaps, though, my Irish ancestry explains my love of potatoes, Irish whisky and all things green. Just a thought).

Memere’s muffins are f-in’ GOOD. They’re moist. They’re banana-y. They’re fluffy. But they’re also not vegan. So I decided to veganize them early on in my vegan days. This holiday I upped the ante — I also went for gluten-free. I’m getting way better at gluten-free baking (you should have seen my first attempt, the literal “pieces of crap” cupcakes I made for my friend Alex’s birthday).

The result? It was impossible to tear me away from the muffins.

Here’s what you need:

Dry ingredients

  • 1 cup garbanzo and fava bean flour
  • 3/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder (use certified GF if needed)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch sea salt

Wet/mushy ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond, rice or flax milk
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp cocnut oil, melted
  • 2 Tbsp peanut butter or nut butter of your choice
  • 2-3 ripe bananas, mashed

And of course

  • 1/2 cup – 1 cup vegan chocolate chips (really depends how much of a chocolate fiend you are)

And it’s honestly so simple:

  1. Soften/heat your coconut oil (instead of zapping it, I like sitting the jar in a nice big bowl of hot water).
  2. Mix the dry ingredients together.
  3. Pour the liquified coconut oil in the bowl and mix in the peanut butter until it softens. Pour into the mixture.
  4. Fold in the mashed bananas (I find it much easier to add the bananas pre-mashed, not mash while in the mixture). Mash all ingredients together.
  5. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  6. Cook at 400F for about 20 minutes. When browned on the outside and solid on the inside, transfer to a cooling rack and let sit for about half an hour.
  7. Enjoy plain, with coconut oil, Earth Balance, or, if you’re feeling ka-razy, more nut butter!

As for my own diet lately, here’s a few things I’ve come to determine:

  • Significantly reducing the amount of gluten I eat does have positive effects. I’m not eating “gluten-free” because I am not celiac, but I do experience a certain degree of digestive sensitivity to FODMAPs and so I’ve had to sadly cut back on my beloved bread. What I’ve found has been a good philosophy is this: live gluten-free, don’t eat gluten-free. This means I’m not bothering buying expensive and unappealing “gluten-free” substitutes like GF bead, pre-made snacks, etc. But I am making more homemade gluten-free things (like these muffins) and, more frequently, simply avoiding wheat products more, opting for bowls instead of sandwiches and avoiding beer (not that difficult).
  • It’s been three weeks of minding my fructose intake and all I can say is WOW. There’s a HUGE difference. I never bloat anymore and my stomach does not growl like crazy. I’m no longer crazy-flatulent (sorry, maybe that’s TMI, but we’re all friends here, right)?
  • Lowering my fructose intake has been pretty easy. Here are a few things I’ve made:
    • I’ve given up apples. Can you believe it? My favourite food since I’ve had teeth, and I’ve managed to give them up.
    • I also no longer eat grapes or cherries (I was already avoiding those for a few years because I’d noticed they bothered my colon).
    • No dried fruits such as raisins or dried crans.
    • I’ve replaced the fruit I no longer eat with citrus fruits and less-sweet fruit such as honeydew and cantaloup.
    • I’ve replaced agave nectar with coconut nectar.
    • I’ve been eating more veggies to get the vitamins I normally got from fruit.
  • I have been working out a lot at home, stretching (working on my turnout) and doing core work to supplement my climbing. I’ve also gotten back to dance class with three ballet classes over the week, and I’m seeing great improvements in my technique.
  • I have a few goals for the first six months of 2015 I want to share with you: buy a DSLR (I’ve only been talking about it for a few years), start cycling and spend more time at home.

That’s it! Enjoy the muffs, friends!

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About breerodymantha

Proud Canadian. Long arms. Tiny head. Big dreams. CBC. Longboards. Bicycles. Upper Jarvis. Ballet. Acrobatics. Top-roping. Stemming. Smearing. Lip balm. Early mornings. Double-layered socks. Tea time.
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