Be Still My Heart: Gluten-Free, Low-Carb, Choc-Peppermint Cookies

One of the hardest things about being celiac and diabetic is that most gluten-free products are made with rice, corn, potato, or other such high-carb flour. And for those who struggle with insulin resistance, our food options become even more limited.

Recently I have gone on a manic search for something to satisfy my sweet tooth without endangering my well-being. And my experiments have finally paid off, for I have discovered one of the most beautiful things in the world—a gluten-free AND low-carb cookie that tastes absolutely AMAZING.

I used a plain, grain-free cookie recipe from Dr. Pompa’s book, “The Cellular Healing Diet,” and tweaked it in order to get this delicious result: Double Chocolate Peppermint Cookies.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 3 Tablespoons coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup raw cacao powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 10 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup  xylitol
  • 1 teaspoon stevia
  • 2 teaspoons peppermint extract
  • 1 Tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (a good quality brand from Whole Foods—less processed sugar = less carbs)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix the almond flour, coconut flour, cacao powder, sea salt, and baking soda in a large bowl.
  3. Melt the butter with stevia and xylitol.
  4. Mix grapeseed oil and peppermint extract with melted butter.
  5. Stir wet ingredients into the dry.
  6. Mix in the chocolate chips.
  7. Form 1-inch balls and press onto a baking sheet lined with parchment.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 7-8 minutes.

 

Double Choc Peppermint Cookies

Don’t they look yummy?! (Okay, I’m not the best food photographer.) If you end up making 40 cookies, one is about 4 grams of carbohydrates. 4! A gluten-free cookie from the store of similar size runs about 18 grams. And I don’t know if this is personal preference or because of the ingredients, but I find these taste best refrigerated as opposed to fresh out of the oven or room temperature. Cold seems to bring the flavors out more. So there you have it. Happy baking!

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Should Your Pet Go Gluten Free?

I want to start by saying that I am not trying to advocate an answer to this question. I am not an expert and there’s a lot of research one should do before making a decision about whether to put your pet on a gluten free diet. I just want to share my experience because if I had known some of these things beforehand, I would have gone about this process differently.

I’ve been celiac for ten years. For the first eight, I was in denial. Sure, I had cut out all wheat foods from my personal kitchen, but that didn’t stop me from eating gluten infested food from restaurants every week. After a health scare back in 2011, I finally got my act together and went 100% gluten free. Then I got to thinking: I know what consuming gluten does to the human body. Not everyone is severely allergic to it, but cases have skyrocketed in the past decade. Genetic manipulation of wheat in order to increase production has resulted in gluten toxicity; we weren’t meant to ingest the concentration we have been, compared to sixty years ago.

So, knowing what gluten does to me, why was I content to feed it to my cat? I decided to switch her food, and read the labels of several different “grain free” brands before settling on one. I thought I was taking care of my beloved cat. Two months after being on this gluten free dry food, my cat gained two whole pounds. She was already on the border of her recommended weight because of her build, and now she was overweight. More research revealed that most gluten free pet food brands substitute the gluten with potatoes, peas, and other starchy foods. Those high carb ingredients lead to pet obesity.

I was crushed. Here I thought I was doing the best for my cat, and I had put her health at even more risk. Was there no healthy course? Was I doomed to pick the lesser of two evils? (I read up on homecooking your pet’s food, but that’s a very complicated matter that I just didn’t have the time to learn.) Thankfully, after more research, I found a cat food brand that did not use gluten or the high starch ingredients. Right now I’m feeding my cat Nature’s Variety, Instinct. It has 78% protein (compare to 30% of most well-known brands). (Disclaimer, I’m not saying it’s the best; it’s the only one I could find in my local pet store, but it was ranked highly by experts.)

Buying grain-free pet foods is more expensive than the other brands. On the other hand, the better quality of food, the less quantity your pet needs to get sufficient nutrients. My cat eats much less than she used to and even though it’s taken two months, she’s lost one pound. I’m strongly hoping that in another two she will be back to a healthy weight.

I love my little girl and want her to live a long and healthy life. I’m not a fan of gluten, but I’m not preaching we should throw it all out. (Though if we did, restaurants might carry more options for me.) Not everyone gets sick from it, but we can’t predict who will and who won’t. The decision is yours. I only hope sharing my experience will give you something to think about, and help you avoid some of the mistakes I made should you choose to go this road with your pets.

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A Year of Harvest

2012 is here.  I don’t normally look back on a year and reflect on it.  I don’t stay up till midnight, counting down the seconds until a new year, a new life.  The transition is as normal and mundane as Monday going into Tuesday.  Yet, this time, I have a lot to reflect on, a lot to be thankful for.

I graduated from my interpreting training program (an accomplishment when you consider the average dropout rate).  On the same day, I published my first paranormal romance on Amazon and Smashwords.  You can imagine how high on Cloud Nine I was.  In the Fall, I found work in my field (also an accomplishment in today’s economy), published my second novel, and wrote the first draft of its sequel.

Plus, the arrival of January marks the four-month milestone of my being 100% gluten free, something I never thought would happen.  When I finally went off the gluten back in August because of a health scare, I didn’t think I’d last one month.  I certainly never expected to make it to the new year.  Not only did I make it, but I’m not even tempted to break faith.  Bring on five months of gluten-free.  Six.  Maybe even a year.  I’m an addict who’s finally been freed from those chains, though I know it will be a decision every single day not to go back on it.  But what I’ve told myself and come to believe is “I don’t need it.”

So, despite some major health setbacks, this year has been very blessed and prosperous.  I don’t know what 2012 will hold, though already some major challenges are before me.  Even if I’m about to enter the desert or the fire, I know my God is with me.  He is gracious and merciful, and His promises are true.  This time, I am not afraid to learn faith.  After all, He didn’t let me down this year.

This is my prayer in the harvest
When favor and providence flow
I know I’m filled to be emptied again
The seed I’ve received I will sow

What did 2011 teach you?  Was it a year of harvest, of trials by fire, of desert?  What do you expect for the coming year?