PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY THUMBPRINT COOKIES

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Gluten free, vegan peanut butter oatmeal thumbprint cookies with strawberry jam….Do you ever have a craving for something and you just can’t be satisfied until you get it? That’s how this recipe came to be, one day I just decided that a chewy, peanut butter oatmeal cookie with strawberry jam sounded amazing. Obviously they had to be gluten free, and since I’ve started trying to eat as whole and clean as possible, they had to be vegan and semi healthy. I had to do some experimenting since I’m new to eggless baking but I finally pinned down a recipe that works!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 unsweetened apple sauce
3/4 cup almond milk (sweetened or unsweetened, whatever you have!)
1 and 1/2 cup coconut flour
1 and 1/2 cup rolled oats
2/3 cup raw sugar
1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp ground flax seed
3 Tbsp water
Strawberry jam

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Combine ground flax and water, cover and refrigerate 15 minutes. (This is called a “flax egg!)

Mix peanut butter, apple sauce, almond milk, vanilla and flax egg.

Mix coconut flour, oats, sugar, baking powder and salt.

Combine wet and dry ingredients, the dough will seem dry at first, but keep stirring!

Roll dough into 2 inch balls, then flatten and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. You can put theses pretty close together as they don’t spread, I was able to fit 24 on a sheet. Then, make a divet in the middle of the cookie with the back of a tablespoon (if the cookies crack when you do this just squish them back together with your fingers!).

Bake cookies in 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Once cooled , top with strawberry jam. Store in an airtight container.

Enjoy!

DIGESTIVE SYSTEM HEALING MEAL PLAN WRAP UP!

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Well I’m officially done with my digestive system healing diet, similar to the GAPs Intro Diet, as of today! Days six and seven went pretty well, Saturday I stuck to bone broth and soup until dinner, which was a cookout, where I had a grilled bison filet and mashed butternut squash. My stomach has been feeling great, I’ve gone a week without heartburn and the bloating and inflammation in my gut is gone! I’m still making food choices that are gentle on my stomach, staying away from dairy, alcohol, caffeine and raw fruits and vegetables. I’m beginning to think that any whole grains put a bit of strain on my digestive system, so I’m keeping those to a minimum as well.

A few pointers:

-Since you are discouraged from using a microwave, while stove-less at work I would run my broth, which I stored in mason jars,  under the hottest water possible to heat it.

-I used digestive bitters every day.  I would put like 20 drops into 8 ounces of water and drink it two or three times a day. This helped me get through cravings A LOT.  I got mine from Mockingbird Meadows, Dawn is amazing if you have any questions!

-Don’t beat yourself up if you cheat on the meal plan, you’re human! Just get back on the wagon and do better!

 

Just in case you think there’s no way possible I changed this much in a week, take a look at my results:

 

Before I was so bloated and inflamed, I feel like I looked about 3 months pregnant.  After I have a flat, happy, healthy tummy!

 

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I’m going to be changing how I have been eating to a more clean, whole foods, no dairy (almost vegan) diet and the recipes on my blog will start to reflect that, but don’t worry, I’ll throw in the occasional indulgence from time to time!

DAY FIVE ON DIGESTIVE SYSTEM HEALING MEAL PLAN

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Yesterday was day five on my digestive system healing meal plan, similar to the GAPs Intro Diet.  Nothing too crazy to report, I had a bit of a headache, either from lack of caffeine or bacteria die off, but it wasn’t unbearable.  I did however advance myself along in my meal plan and had a light dinner of a bun-less veggie burger, something that would normally cause stomach cramping and heartburn, but actually had no negative effects!  That does not give me permission to jump back in and start eating whatever again, I still plan on following out the rest of my meal plan, and introducing things that would have been a problem very slowly at dinner; with caffeine, alcohol, dairy and raw fruits/vegetables being very last on the list.  The weirdest part of this whole diet has been my body odor, I started noticing on day three that my skin smelled really sweet, and even my husband commented that I smell like chocolate, not the worst thing to smell like! Tomorrow I brave a cookout, so I’ll let you know how that goes!

DAY FOUR ON DIGESTIVE SYSTEM HEALING MEAL PLAN

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Yesterday was day four on my digestive system healing meal plan, similar to the GAPs Intro Diet. I’m going to try to put this delicately…the symptoms people think of when they hear “cleanse” started in the morning. Lots of time in the bathroom if you catch my drift. But really, that only lasted until about 11 am and then everything was back to normal. This was the first day I didn’t feel like I needed a cup of coffee, and the cravings for terrible food were at a minimum. I had a little bit of stomach discomfort in the evening, which might have been bad bacteria dying off. Again, nothing life altering. I have started a board on Pinterest of gluten free, mostly grain free, dairy free recipes to start trying once the week is over, so I’m looking forward to that! I think the best part of all of this is how much water I have been drinking, I’ve never been one to be good about staying hydrated, but I can already tell what a huge difference that alone is making!

DAY THREE ON DIGESTIVE SYSTEM HEALING MEAL PLAN

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Yesterday was day three on my digestive system healing meal plan, similar to the GAPs Intro Diet. It wasn’t the worst I’ve ever felt, but I could definitely feel my body trying to fight off the bad bacteria giving it’s last effort in my stomach. At times I felt a little nauseous and was feverish all day. The caffeine and sugar cravings were rough, all I wanted in the world was an iced mocha from Crimson cup! Oh, and I cheated again. I wanted pancakes soooooo badly and started getting so lightheaded that, in order to not take out a whole IHOP, I made some. Now before you freak out, these “pancakes” were puréed butternut squash, cinnamon and almond meal, cooked like a pancake in coconut oil, topped with the tiniest bit of honey. They weren’t pretty, and they weren’t the most amazing thing I’ve ever tasted, but they kept me from falling completely off the wagon so I don’t feel bad! At this point it still isn’t effecting my daily life, I’m not running to the bathroom every five minutes or so hungry I can’t even function. My stomach feels healthy, it isn’t inflamed at all and the headaches have been minimal. Annnnd I’m halfway there!!!!

DAY TWO ON DIGESTIVE SYSTEM HEALING MEAL PLAN

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Yesterday was day two on my digestive system healing meal plan, similar to the GAPs Intro Diet. I was pretty hungry, and I actually cheated a bit and gave into a sugar craving with a piece of dark chocolate. My stomach gurgled a little but nothing major happened. I don’t feel guilty about it though, and if you ever deviate from your plans don’t beat yourself up about it, just get back on track afterwards. The meal plan still isn’t horrible to follow though, it isn’t effecting my daily life at all and my stomach feels normal! I’ve heard day three is the worst though, so we’ll see how I feel tomorrow!

DAY ONE ON DIGESTIVE SYSTEM HEALING MEAL PLAN

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Yesterday I started my digestive system healing meal plan, similar to the GAPs Intro Diet. I have to admit it wasn’t as bad as I had anticipated. I wasn’t terribly hungry, but the caffeine cravings were pretty bad. (I REALLY wanted a Caramel Frappuchino, which isn’t even something I normally drink!) I cheated a little bit and replaced my dinner that was supposed to be more broth with butternut squash soup. I was drinking a ton of liquid so subsequently was in the bathroom peeing a lot. I read on another blog by someone who was on a similar diet that the first day felt like she was prepping for a colonoscopy….but luckily I haven’t felt those effects yet.

I’ll keep you updated!

HEALING YOUR DIGESTIVE SYSTEM MEAL PLAN

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I start this meal plan today, wish me luck!

Day One:
Breakfast- 12 oz homemade bone broth
Lunch- 12 oz homemade bone broth
Dinner- 12 oz homemade bone broth
As much room temperature water you want throughout the day

Day Two:
Breakfast- 12 oz homemade bone broth
8 oz room temperature water mixed with 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
Lunch- Vegetable soup (chopped, low fiber vegetables simmered in bone broth for 25 minutes)
Dinner- Cauliflower soup (cauliflower simmered in bone broth for 25 minutes, then puréed)
As much room temperature water as you want throughout the day

Day Three:
Breakfast- 12 oz homemade bone broth
8 oz room temperature water mixed with 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 of a probiotic pill
Lunch- Vegetable soup
Dinner- Butternut Squash soup (butternut squash simmered in bone broth for 25 minutes, then puréed) with 1 Tbsp fermented vegetable juice
1/2 of a probiotic pill
As much room temperature water as you want throughout the day

Days Four and Five:
Breakfast- 12 oz homemade bone broth
8 oz room temperature water mixed with 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 of a probiotic pill
Lunch- Vegetable soup with 1 Tbsp of kimchi
Dinner- Cauliflower soup
1/2 of a probiotic pill
As much room temperature water as you want throughout the day

Days Five and Six:
Breakfast- 12 oz homemade bone broth
8 oz room temperature water mixed with 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 of a probiotic pill
Lunch- Butternut squash soup with 2 Tbsp sauerkraut
Dinner- Low fiber vegetables simmered in bone broth for 25 minutes
Cauliflower cooked in bone broth, then mashed like potatoes (do not add butter/milk)
A serving of sauerkraut or kimchi
1/2 of a probiotic pill
As much room temperature water as you want throughout the day

After day seven start slowly introducing more high quality, whole foods into your diet. Take it slow at first, and listen to your body, if on day eight you try grains and have stomach discomfort, avoid them for a bit and revisit later. I don’t think you should stay on a diet this restrictive longer than one week. Use this to heal your digestive system and jump start a healthy lifestyle. Like always, no diet is one size fits all, if you try this for a week and don’t feel yourself getting better, this might not be for you.

While your stomach is healing stay away from the following foods:
Anything microwaved
Starchy vegetables like potatoes
Fibrous vegetables like kale, celery and broccoli
Grains
Caffeine
Dairy
Alcohol
Sugar
Processed foods
Raw fruits and vegetables

I know with all of the bone broth in this diet it isn’t very Meat On The Side friendly, but for me there is no way to get around it. I would die on a raw diet/juice cleanse, I’m healing my gut because I can’t digest raw fruits and vegetables. Hopefully once I’ve healed I can go back to a low animal protein diet and start juicing again!

My expectations in the beginning of this diet is to go through caffeine withdrawals, have difficulty controlling my blood sugar levels until my body adjusts to using fat for energy instead of sugar and starch, intense cravings, trouble feeling full, lots of time in the bathroom, and low energy levels. Once the first week is over I expect to feel less bloated, heartburn and inflammation free, with higher energy levels.

A Few Tips:
-Fail to plan: plan to fail. It personally took me two weeks to get ready for this. I made sure I had enough of everything and wrote a meal plan.

-Use digestive bitters to curb sweet cravings, while encouraging the health of your digestive enzymes. Whenever a craving hits, drink 1/4 tsp digestive bitters in 8 oz room temperature water.

-If you have to control heartburn from now on, don’t reach for antiacids! Instead, mix one tsp of baking soda with 8 oz room temperature water.

-Do not microwave broth or soup, it kills beneficial vitamins and minerals!

-If you aren’t already taking a probiotic, divide the pill up and take throughout the day like I am.

-Get enough sleep! Your body can’t do anything if you’re running on empty!

*This is a personal blog. Any views or opinions expressed are that of the blog’s creator. All content is provided for informational and entertainment purposes only. Please consult your health care professional before making any major diet changes.

HEALING YOUR DIGESTIVE SYSTEM

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Back in February I totally destroyed all of the hard work I had done healing my digestive system after my diagnosis with a gluten intolerance. I slipped on some ice, got a concussion, and ruined my stomach with pain killers. Soon after that, my sister moved back from Florida (YAY!) and so began the further destruction of my digestive system through the consumption of excessive alcohol, and indulging in some not so great foods. (One of my sister’s favorite restaurants here is a hot dog place, that basically stays in business because it’s perfect drunk food in a college town. They have something on their menu called “tater tot-chos” or tater tot nachos, so that gives you some insight into the quality of food I have been eating since February.) I’m ready to admit that I’ve spiraled out of control when it comes to my healthy eating habits, into a life style of poor food choices and excess alcohol. I’m paying for it with heartburn, bloating, inflammation, and low energy; I might as well go back to eating gluten if I continue in this direction.

After loads of research and sifting through conflicting information, I have developed a program to heal my digestive system similar to the GAPS and Spleen Qi Deficiency diet plans. It seems counterproductive, but along with healing my gut I am also going to be encouraging an increase in stomach acid. Not only does a healthy amount of stomach acid aid in digestion, it decreases your chances for heartburn and indigestion. You see, if you don’t have enough acid in your stomach, your esophagus doesn’t get the message to stay closed for protection, and the small amount of acid that is in your stomach is able to splash up into your throat. (Ew…) Which aside from being gross, over time wears away the lining of your esophagus, encouraging cancer cells to grow. Before I knew this I would eat antiacids like candy, which is the LAST thing you want to do! By doing so you are neutralizing your stomach acid, slowing digestion and telling your esophagus to stay open.

The building blocks of this digestive system healing diet are as follows:

Bone Broth- The gelatin in bone broth attracts and holds digestive juices, supporting proper digestion, and the amino acids have anti inflammatory effects.

Fermented Vegetables- Fermented foods, such as kimchi and sauerkraut, introduce beneficial bacteria into your digestive system and helps you absorb more nutrients in the food you eat.

Cooked Low Fiber Vegetables- Low fiber vegetables, such as cauliflower, all types of squash and carrots, are easier to digest, decreasing the amount of undigested material in your intestines, and provide your body with concentrated protein, potassium, vitamins and minerals.

Apple Cider Vinegar- Apple cider vinegar corrects low stomach acid conditions, detoxifies your liver, and improves the quality of intestinal flora, controlling the spread of candida fungus.

For my one week digestive system healing meal plan, click here.

*This is a personal blog. Any views or opinions expressed are that of the blog’s creator. All content is provided for informational and entertainment purposes only. Please consult your health care professional before making any major diet changes.

GLUTEN FREE VEGAN BLACK BEAN BROWNIES

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Sometimes you just want to eat a whole pan of brownies without feeling guilty about it…or is that just me? Although you could eat this whole pan with minimal guilt 1. Other people in your house may fight you for some 2. They are soooo rich that even this chocoholic with a mouth full of sweet teeth can’t eat more than two at a time. You will not believe that these are made out of black beans, let alone gluten free AND vegan. I gave my husband one and told him how I made them after he finished eating it, now he thinks I’m some sort of healthy dessert magician!

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Makes 24 mini brownie bites
Ingredients:
1 15oz can black beans (drained and rinsed)
2 Tbsp peanut butter
3 Tbsp coconut oil (melted)
1/2 cup coco powder
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
3 Tbsp applesauce
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1 tsp instant espresso powder (optional)

In a medium mixing bowl, combine cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder and espresso powder.

Purée black beans in a blender/food processor until smooth, add melted coconut oil, apple sauce, vanilla, and peanut butter, pulse until combined.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix well, then fold in chocolate chips.

Grease a mini muffin pan with coconut oil spray, fill with brownie mixture.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the tops look dry and they begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. Let the brownies cool in the pan for at least 30 minutes! I know this part is difficult but this is when the brownies set up, if you try to take them out before they cool you’re just going to end up with crumbs.

Enjoy!