Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sunday Reflections - How Adrenal Fatigue settled in my Shoulder and Neck - And How I Recovered!

This is the story of how my spirit was almost broken. How I lost faith in Western medicine. How I found natural medicine. And how I recovered.

It all started with my shoulder.

My shoulder that was just fine............and then suddenly was not fine.

When baby #2 was about 1 year old (that's about 3 1/2 years ago now) my shoulder mysteriously started to get really achy. Like major tension. Tension to the point of pain.

At first I thought it was from carrying baby around, nursing, barely sleeping for 3 years. And I thought it would pass. So I didn't do anything about it right away. I was waiting for it to go away.

At about the same time I started feeling anxious, dizzy, tired, spaced out and/or moody. But I was in pain, so any "other" symptom I was feeling other than shoulder pain I chalked up to being a side-effect of my shoulder pain. If only I knew then what I know now.

The tension was pretty excruciating, and it didn't take long for my sore shoulder to move around to the back of my neck, up the side to my temple and around to the front of my neck. The front of my neck was probably the worst as I often felt that I couldn't swallow or get a complete breath. It was scary.

And so began the visits to a long list of different medical professionals. Just to give you an idea of how desperate (and determined) I was to get some relief here are some of the things I tried: four different chiropractors, numerous massage therapists, one physiotherapist, and acupuncturist, a pain specialist, my family doctor, two emergency room doctors and a sports medicine doctor. During all those visits I had massage, acupuncture, acupressure, laser, ultrasound, myofacial massage,  active release therapy, stretching, adjustments, a thyroid ultrasound, x-rays, trigger point injections, Graston and an MRI. All of this happened over an 18 month time period. Eighteen months where pain consumed my thoughts and my days. That's how a spirit can almost get broken.

And somewhere in the middle of all this my dad got sick. Terminal cancer. And oh boy did my neck really go crazy then. I remember making the emergency three and a half hour drive to my home town when he got admitted the first time. My neck "fired" off the whole time. Spasms after spasm after spasm. It was the one time I actually decided I needed medication. I went to the emergency room (I was at the hospital anyway and everyone could see my muscles jumping uncontrollably) and they gave me some muscle relaxers. I normally stay away from medications but it did give me some relief.

I am a very determined person so I refused to give in. My doctor said "well it sounds like you've tried everything, you might just need to go on pain killers". That was his answer. Seriously. My shoulder was fine one day and not fine the next. I didn't do a thing to injure it. And somehow I passed between the phase of "you haven't had this long enough to consider it serious" to "this is a chronic condition that probably can't be reversed". WTF. I was NOT IMPRESSED.  And I didn't want anti-depressants or toxic pain killers.

And I was not giving up.

Some of the professionals that "tried" to help me just saw dollars signs when I walked through the door. Sad but true. I could quickly tell the difference between "desperate to help you", "desperate to get some money out of you before I pass you off to the next guy" and "desperate to get rid of you".

But some of the professionals that did help me, mentally if not physically, showed an amazing amount of kindness and caring. Certain ones actually looked into my eyes, really looked and saw hopelessness and wanted so badly to help me. I thank every single one of them. And each one of them played their own role in getting me to the finish line.

Like the chiropractor who specializes in Chinese medicine that looked into my eyes and said "you are tired aren't you? Something else is going on here, its not just your shoulder". He called me FASCINATING several times after I stuck out my tongue and it was shaking like a leaf.  I hadn't been called fascinating my a man for quite some time - it was quite a boost to my ego. LOL.

He also told me about "plum pit". A term in Chinese medicine used to describe the sensation of having something stuck in your throat. You don't know the relief I felt when I looked this up and realized I wasn't imagining this discomfort - people have experienced the sensation for 1000's of years. And no. It doesn't show up on a thyroid ultrasound. I was finally starting to question whether there was something else going on here. A shaky tongue can't all be due to a "shoulder injury".

Like the pain specialist who ordered an MRI. I think he knew that nothing would come of it. But I think he also knew that I needed peace of mind more than anything at that point. My dad just died of a brain tumor and no-one could explain why my neck and shoulder were going bezerk. If that isn't enough to feed anxiety I don't know what is.

Like my friend Jaime, who gave up many hours of her free time tying desperately to treat my shoulder with physiotherapy. And who eventually referred me to a Naturopath. Thank-you. Thank-you. Thank-you.

Like my chiropractor Dr. Luke. Kind and caring Dr. Luke. Yes, I named my son Luke. No, I didn't name him after my chiropractor. But he probably deserved it. He gave me my life back. Maybe I did name him that on purpose.

Like the naturopath that recognized right away that my body was completely out of balance. Not just my neck/shoulder/back.

So what finally fixed my shoulder?

1) Treating my underlying adrenal fatigue and curing my insomnia - click here and here to find out how I did that; and
2) Graston techinique performed in conjunction with adjustments and active release therapy. What is Graston? It is a brutally aggressive and painful chiropractic procedure THAT WORKS MIRACLES. It is the only thing that made my tension let go. And I liked to think of it as training for labour - it is that painful and almost that rewarding at the end; and
3) Not sleeping with my arm over my head or laying on that side of my body during the night.
4) Building strength by working out and doing resistance training.
5) B12 injections.

I now believe that my adrenal fatigue, brought on my a combination of stressful events and breastfeeding depleting my body of much needed nutrients, is what triggered my shoulder tension. And I just happened to have one of the most stressful years of my life right after it was triggered. Which just exasperated the problem.

And so what is the status of my shoulder now?

Well, it is 95% about 95% of the time. I still need to take care of it. It can get fired up after a work out. Or a bad night of sleep where I toss and turn. But generally it is pretty good. I haven't seen my chiropractor in about 5 months. I have some residual scar tissue and tendinitis left in that shoulder from the months of muscles fighting against each-other so it will never likely be 100%. But I'm happy with how it is now.  And I didn't take any drugs (save the muscle relaxers) to fix it. Yay!

I can do handstand push ups now. And full cross fit burpee's. And throw my baby in the air.

And that is a miracle.

If you are experiencing shoulder/neck/throat tension really think about why? Is it normal? Is your body trying to tell you something?

Something that has absolutely nothing to do with your shoulder and everything to do with your body being out of balance. Your digestive system. Your adrenals. Your mind.

Just don't give up. Don't give in. Someone will help you. Someone will figure out what is wrong. Look outside the box. Look for non-traditional treatments. Keep trying. You can be fixed. HAVE HOPE!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Paleo and Candida diet Friendly MAPLE WALNUT Protein bites - with hemp and coconut oil

Just a little Candida cleanse update. 

I'm a cheater. 

Not this week. I have been FAITHFULLY following the strict phase of the Candida diet since Sunday. 

But I was a cheater. 

I thought I never went off the strict phase. Until I committed to doing it with a friend and I started having major die off symptoms (brain fog and tiredness). And I started noticing that I really do have a habit of popping my kids non-Candida diet friendly snacks in my mouth. A lot. I've had to spit out quite a few things once my brain caught up to my fast little sugar loving hands. 

I must say that the first 3 days were hard. Not because I'm hungry or its hard to eat this way. My hunger has significantly subsided in the past few weeks. THANKFULLY. And it is time consuming to eat this way but its not impossible. 

But the die off is hard to go through. 

Good news is that it didn't last long. It lasted 5 days the first time I did this in May. It seems to have lasted 3 days this time. 

I feel pretty fabulous now. My moods are awesome. My sugar cravings are pretty minimal (that's probably the best they will ever get for me). I feel very energetic.  My digestion is working. Even with the iron pills. 

This is where I've been trying to get to. Hurray for me! 

But now I have a Ukrainian family wedding to attend this weekend.........Now that will be a test!

So here is a little recipe that I loved that will help you (and me) stay on track on this Candida cleanse. Or even if you aren't doing the Candida diet and just want a nice clean and low carb snack. I'll be popping some of these in my purse to keep me out of the perogies!

Vega One Vanilla Sport - Raw Maple Walnut Protein Bars

by MamaChanty
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: None
Keywords: raw snack candida-diet friendly gluten-free low-carb paleo wheat belly vegan canned coconut milk chia seeds hemp seeds vega one

Ingredients (12 - 16 bites)
  • 7 Tbsp Vega One Sport - Vanilla - Protein Powder
  • 3 Tbsp hemp hearts
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup full fat canned coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened milk (almond or coconut in carton)
  • 1 Tbsp ground Chia
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut + 2 Tbsp extra for rolling
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts + 2 Tbsp extra for rolling
  • 1 Tbsp maple extract
Combine all ingredients except for extra coconut and walnuts.
Roll into balls. About 1 Tbsp of mixture for each ball.
Roll in extra coconut and walnuts.
Store in fridge and serve chilled. But these were okay when left out on counter so they are somewhat portable.
Snack away!
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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Pumpkin Spice Grain, Sugar and Dairy Free Zucchini Loaf - Low Carb, Paleo and Candida diet friendly

This loaf is SO good. Especially if you took the challenge and are doing the Candida diet with me. You will not feel like you are sacrificing a thing. And this will help get you through those snack and sugar cravings.

I bake this. Slice it. Freeze it in parchment. And then I can grab and go when I am running out of the house and know I won't be back before my next scheduled meal or snack. 

And this is the time of year where zucchini is bountiful. 

And everyone has pumpkin on the brain. Well, there is not actually any pumpkin in this loaf - just pumpkin pie spice. My go-to spice. 

You can buy it at all the major grocery stores. But its fairly expensive. So I am stocking up enough for the year at Bulk Barn - way, way, way cheaper. They only stock it at this time of year so go now.  And if you don't have any just google it to make your own or replace with cinnamon.

This is of course low carb so it won't put you on the blood sugar roller coaster we are all trying to avoid.

So get baking and enjoy the rewards of clean eating - delicious, guilt-free snacks. Yummy!

Pumpkin Spiced Zucchini Bread - Grain and Dairy fee - Low Carb and Candida diet friendly

by MamaChanty
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Keywords: bake bread candida-diet friendly low-carb sugar-free almond flour canned coconut milk coconut flour zucchini
Ingredients (1 loaf)
    Dry Ingredients
    • 1/4 cup blanched almond flour (I used sliced blanched almonds that I ground in my coffee grinder - much cheaper than buying blanched almond flour - Costco is now carrying them)
    • 1/4 cup organic coconut flour
    • 1/4 cup ground golden flax
    • 1/2 tsp baking soda
    • 2 tsp prepared pumpkin pie spice
    • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
    Wet Ingredients
    • 3 free run eggs, beaten
    • 1/2 cup finely shredded zucchini, packed tightly
    • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
    • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
    • 1/4 cup full fat canned coconut milk
    • 1 Tbsp Truvia (Stevia/Erythritol blend or sweetener of choice)
    Combine all dry ingredients.
    Combine wet ingredients in a separate mixing bowl.
    Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients until just combined.
    Let stand for about 10 minutes to let coconut flour absorb liquids.
    Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a loaf pan with butter. Optional - also line the loaf pan with parchment paper.
    Pour batter into loaf pan.
    Bake for about 1 hour or until knife in the center comes out clean.
    Let cool COMPLETELY before removing from loaf pan and slicing. I know its hard to wait but it will give you the best results. Enjoy!
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    Sunday, September 22, 2013

    Sunday Reflections - Top Ten Foods to Help you Survive the strict phase of the Anti-Candida Diet and The Challenge

    Every Sunday I reflect on my week, something I've learned or something I need to commit to. Go here for some of my old Sunday Reflections Posts. This week I'm kindof doing all three.

    I originally made this chart and jotted down these notes when I was about 8 weeks into the Candida diet. The first time.  Well, a few things happened, or didn't happen as the case may be:

    1) I never posted it;
    2) I never got off the Candida diet; and
    3) I never got rid of my Candida.

    Well, Number 1 is true.

    Number two is true except I did start cheating at times. Not full out cheats but I have been eating 10 carob chips here, a bite of my kids muffin there, ya-da, ya-da, sugar cravings are back and urging me to have a few carob chips here, a bit of my kids muffin there, ya-da, ya-da, ya-da.

    Which leads me to Number three.

    Don't get me wrong, I think my Candida is way down from when I started this Candida journey. My moods are way better. My cravings are a fraction of what they used to be. But is it gone? Nope. Do I think it would have been gone by now if I weren't breastfeeding, didn't need to be on those blasted iron pills,  hadn't been poisoning myself with Chicory Root and my stomach hadn't been acting up all summer? Maybe.

    But that's not the situation I'm in. So starting today, I am restarting the strict phase of the Candida diet. So that means NO (none, nada, zero):
    • Yeast
    • Sugar - I will be using a modest amount of Stevia and Erythritol as a sweetener)
    • Vinegar
    • Fruit
    • Pork
    • Grains - A small amount of non-glutenous are allowed if you can handle it - I can't. Can you really? I'm starting to wonder if anyone with leaky gut issues should be eating these?
    • Starchy/High Carbohydrate Vegetables such as sweet potato, beets, carrots (except in serious moderation occassionaly)
    • Potatoes/Corn
    • Dairy
    Sounds like NO FUN. Kinda of. But as compared to when I started this the first time I don't feel an overwhelming sense of panic. Probably because those sugar beasts aren't sending as many toxic off gases throughout my body and making me insane for sugar. And I know lots of great Candida friendly recipes now. Its hard. But its doable.

    And I'm throwing out a challenge.

    Do you think you might have a Candida overgrowth? You don't have to have the classic white tongue or recurring yeast infections to have it..........Click here for my main symptoms.

    Do you know you have a Candida overgrowth but just don't want to deal with the diet?


    I challenge you to consider whether the Candida diet is something you need to do. It will be hard. I'm not going to lie. But you will feel so much better and in control of your life if you do.  I already have one friend going for it - and I'm so proud of her. We are going to plan to treat ourselves when we get through it. Just not with food.

    So here are some of the foods that helped me get through this diet the first time.  Keep in mind I figured a few things out since I first did this so my UPDATES ARE IN BOLD AND ITALICS. Maybe they will help you too!

    1) Stevia - Praise God for Stevia. I really couldn't have survived without it. I probably use it too much but its better than the alternative - sugar, honey, maple syrup. Temptation is everywhere. So I get my sweet hit in baking, my coffee alternative, marinades and dressings from Stevia. You should try and buy the kind with no alcohol and stick to the liquid form. The powdered from has a weird taste and the fillers are not gut friendly. They also make flavoured Stevia like French Vanilla and Hazelnut Creme. It seems a bit expensive the first time you go to buy it but trust me - this stuff goes a long way. And is well worth every penny. NOW I'M USING TRUVIA, STEVIA AND ERYTHRITOL. I TRIED XYLITOL FOR A WHILE BUT I FOUND IT GAVE ME HEADACHES.

    2) Smoothies - I can only eat so many eggs. And I need to eat on the run many days - sometimes many times per day so I need something that I can take with me. Enter smoothies. I make an amazing Chocolate Chia Vega One Smoothie and it honestly got me through the first couple weeks of this diet. Its still getting me through this diet. Plus its bloody delicious. Chocolate Vega One Protein powder is sweetened with Stevia (my go to) so its okay.  Eat it for breakfast, snacks or dessert. Especially if you are about to cheat - it will curb your craving. I'M STILL MAKING THESE EVERYDAY BUT NOW I  USUALLY USE FROZEN ZUCCHINI INSTEAD OF ICE. AND I ALSO MAKE VANILLA ONES.

    3) 100% cocoa and Cacao nibs - I have a sweet tooth that won't quit and have a real penchant for chocolate. I adore chocolate. When I first went "clean and low-carb" I swore that the only way I survived the change was dark chocolate. I ate lots of 70% dark chocolate. Too much. Maybe that's why my Candida got so bad. So when I went on the Candida diet I was relieved to find out I could still have 100% cocoa and Cacao nibs. I use the cocoa in baking my "faux" desserts. And I have cacao nibs in my Vega One chocolate smoothies pretty much everyday. I love the bit of crunch and texture they give to the smoothie. And they are good in protein bars. What an awesome superfood.

    4) Chia Seeds, Chia Seeds and More Chia Seeds - I have a serious love affair going with Chia seeds. I eat them ALL THE TIME. I eat about 2 to 4 Tbsp every day. I grind them up in my coffee grinder and use them in smoothies. I make them into Chia puddings. I use it as a replacement for eggs. I put them in my meatballs and burgers. Really - they are the wonder seed. I just wonder why I never heard of them sooner.

    5) Coconut Flour - I also love almond flour. But coconut flour is so much cheaper, more accessible and lower in fat. So if I have the choice between the two I go for the coconut flour. I use it in baking, as a breading for meat and as a replacement for wheat in meatballs and burgers. It takes some experimenting but it can be a great replacement for wheat once you get used to working with it. And generally I find its best if it has time to sit once its mixed with liquid before you cook it. I've got all

    6) Roasted Chicory Root - This stuff has saved me. I never thought I could give up coffee. I did that by switching to decaf. And then along came Candida and I was told to give up decaf. Panic. But it was okay. I did it. I don't really miss it. I have a new, warm, rich, roasted friend to help me through my mornings. It is not the caffeine I need. Its the comfort. And I still get it. No - its not the same as drinking a sugar loaded french vanilla cappuccino. But its warm and delicious in its own right with some hazelnut creme Stevia and unsweetened almond milk. IT TOOK ME 3 MONTHS BUT I FINALLY FIGURED OUT THAT CHICORY ROOT WAS MAKING ME REALLY ILL AND EXTREMELY BLOATED. MORALLE OF THE STORY: PAY ATTENTION - MEDICINE FOR ONE PERSON IS POISON FOR ANOTHER.

    7) Cauliflower - Who knew cauliflower was so versatile. And so sweet. Some weeks we go through 3 or 4 heads of cauliflower. Before we started eating clean I think we went through 3 or 4 a year. My favorite is to roast it with some EVOO and spices. But I also love it mashed, twice mashed, in Shephard's pie, as an alfredo sauce or in soup. The list goes on. Give it a try. Do something different with it. You will love it. And the long shelf life makes it handy to have around.

    8) Protein Bars - Snacking is one of the biggest challenges with the Candida diet. So you HAVE to make some protein bars in the fridge/freezer for emergencies. You can grab a piece of fruit or yogurt when you are running out the door. You can't grab a muffin and coffee at Tim Hortons. You need to have something to snack on that is portable and ready to go. And I find protein bars are the best think for that.

    9) Coconut Oil and Fat Bombs - I felt REALLY hungry on this diet. Still do sometimes. Eating a huge salad for lunch is great but sometimes I just need more fat. And a feeling that I finished my meal with a dessert. And just like the protein bars you need something around to snack on that will feel you up. Fat bombs made with coconut oil are just the thing. Buy yourself a chocolate mold and mix coconut oil with whatever combination of ingredients you like. Coconut, cocoa, cacao nibs, nuts, seeds, Stevia. Whatever. But have them in the fridge for when you need a "treat" or feel really hungry. They will help control your cravings and make sure you don't reach for a sugary or carbohydrate laden snack.

    10) Coconut Amino's and Coconut Vinegar - These are a must have. When I first realized I couldn't have soy or vinegar I was freaking out a bit. How would I make salad dressing? What would I use to marinate meat? No  worries. You can use coconut amino's and coconut vinegar on this diet. Problem solved. Now finding them might be a bit tough but chances are your local health store carries it. Or order it online. You will be glad you did.

    Good luck if you decide to take the challenge. YOU CAN DO IT! And don't forget to take probiotics and antifungals while you are doing the diet. I'm currently taking a probiotic, a Red Thyme Oil/Oregano Oil/Sage/Lemon Balm blend, garlic pills and Pau D'arco tea. And go to my Recipe Index for some Candida diet friendly recipes to help you along!

    Obviously any kind of change in diet/lifestyle should be discussed with your doctor if you have any concerns. Make sure you do your own research and understand what you are doing, why and how it can affect you before going for it. Just sayin'. Remember I'm an accountant and I'm being monitored my both a Naturopath and MD. 

    Friday, September 20, 2013

    Chocolate Macaroon Zucchini Loaf - Gluten Dairy and Sugar Free - Paleo and Candida diet friendly

    Quick update: I am feeling GOOD. Tired by the end of the day since I'm up at 5:00 am.  But GOOD.

    Baby is slowly weaning. Only fed him twice in the past 24 hours. Not sure whether to laugh or cry!

    For my kids weaning = sleeping.

    So the little guy is finally sleeping almost through the night, most nights. Kinda of. Almost.

    Funny thing is my body is confused by the uninterrupted sleep. So by 5:00 am it thinks I should be getting up. Jokes on me. Baby finally sleeps and I can't.

    But the quality of rest is so much better that I really do feel GOOD. Not great, but good. [Click here to see what else I have done to cure my insomnia.]

    So I'm celebrating my new found sleep with a little sugar-free treat. A delicious zucchini loaf that I'm loving with some sugar-free coconut yogurt and strawberry, rhubarb & Chia jam.

    Yum Yum Yum. I'm liking this loaf! And its Candida diet friendly. And Paleo. And Low Carb. So enjoy without guilt!

    Chocolate Macaroon Zucchini Loaf - Gluten Dairy and Sugar Free

    by MamaChanty
    Prep Time: 15 minutes
    Cook Time: 50 - 60 minutes
    Keywords: bake bread candida-diet friendly low-carb sugar-free almond flour canned coconut milk chocolate zucchini
    Ingredients (1 loaf)
    • 1/4 cup blanched almond flour (I used sliced blanched almonds that I ground in my coffee grinder - much cheaper than buying blanched almond flour)
    • 1/4 cup organic coconut flour
    • 2 Tbsp ground golden flax (I grind whole flax in my coffee grinder)
    • 2 Tbsp arrowroot starch flour
    • 1/2 tsp baking soda
    • 3 Tbsp cocoa powder - 100%
    • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
    • 2 Tbsp unsweetened medium shredded coconut
    • Wet Ingredients
    • 3 free run eggs, beaten
    • 1/2 cup finely shredded zucchini, packed tightly
    • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
    • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
    • 1/4 cup full fat canned coconut milk
    • 2 Tbsp Truvia (Stevia/Erythritol blend or sweetener of choice)
    Combine all dry ingredients.
    Combine wet ingredients in a separate mixing bowl.
    Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients until just combined.
    Let stand for about 10 minutes to let coconut flour absorb liquids.
    Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a loaf pan with coconut oil. Optional - also line the loaf pan with parchment paper.
    Pour batter into loaf pan.
    Bake for about 1 hour or until knife in the center comes out clean.
    Let cool COMPLETELY before removing from loaf pan and slicing. I know its hard to wait but it will give you the best results. Enjoy!
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    Tuesday, September 17, 2013

    Egg, Gluten and Dairy Free Sweet Potato Mini Muffins - Kid Approved

    Sorry if you come here for the low carb recipes. Or the Candida diet recipes. This isn't one of them.

    This one is for my daughter. My gluten, dairy, egg sensitive daughter that isn't allowed to take nuts to school.

    I sometimes worry that over the years her friends aren't going to want to come to our house for play dates. They might think our food is a little weird. We think it tastes good but our taste buds have become accustomed to less sugar, salt, chemicals, etc.

    So I was SO VERY EXCITED to hear that my daughter's friend decided that if she were to run away from home it would be to our house. YEP. She packed her bag and everything. And when her Mom asked her where she would go her reply was "Talia's - because I like her Mom's cooking". Woo hoo!

    So maybe we eat a little differently but IT IS STILL GOOD. Even to other people.  Even to kids.

    And this recipe is jammed packed with power foods. Super foods. And is super delicious. Even my daughter's friends think so.......

    Sweet Potato Mini Muffins - Dairy, Egg & Gluten Free

    by MamaChanty
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 24 minutes
    Keywords: bake snack bread gluten-free sugar-free canned coconut milk chia seeds sweet potato chocolate
    Ingredients (24 mini muffins)
      Chia gel
      • 1 Tbsp ground Chia seeds
      • 1/4 cup water
      Dry ingredients
      • 1 1/2 cups all purpose gluten free flour blend (I used Robin Hood brand)
      • 2 tsp baking powder
      • 1 tsp baking soda
      • 1/4 tsp guar gum
      • pinch fine sea salt
      • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon if you don't have)
      Wet ingredients
      • 1/2 cup sweet potato puree (from a left over roasted sweet potato)
      • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
      • 3/4 cup organic palm coconut sugar (or sweetener of choice)
      • 1/4 cup organic coconut oil, melted
      • 1/2 cup full fat canned coconut milk
      • 1/2 cup unsweetened milk (I used almond)
      • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
      • 1/4 cup Enjoy life chocolate chips
      Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
      Combine Chia gel and water. Let stand 5 minutes.
      Combine wet and dry ingredients separately.
      Add Chia gel to wet ingredients and mix thoroughly.
      Add wet ingredients and chocolate chips to dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.
      Separate batter into 24 greased mini muffin tins. I used coconut oil.
      Bake for 24 minutes or until a knife in the center comes out clean.
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      Sunday, September 15, 2013

      SUNDAY REFLECTIONS - Sharing & Caring

      "Thank-you for sharing your story"
      "Its comforting to know there is someone else out there who knows what I am going through"
      "You are so knowledgeable".

      Just some of the messages I get in my inbox and comments that I find comforting myself. Exciting. And kind of humorous.

      Comforting because I also feel so much better knowing that their are others out there like me. EveryMom's just trying to make every day better than the next and struggling with all the ups and downs of trying to balance health, work, family, relationships and faith. And willing to admit that they aren't perfect, that sometimes things are hard.

      Exciting because there is an unbelievable thrill in feeling like you are helping someone. Being an auditor by day, most of my clients aren't generally too excited to see me - even the ones that really like me. It just goes with the territory.

      I have a huge soft spot for anyone that has gone through or is going through adrenal fatigue and all that comes with it. My wish for anyone that has had the struggles I have had with their adrenals is that they will KNOW and have HOPE that they can get better.  It takes work but these things can be overcome. When I was at my worst three years ago with barely functioning adrenals and chronic shoulder, neck and throat pain I had determination. I didn't give up or give in but I was losing hope. And it is scary to lose hope. To not know what else to do.

      But I got through it. And I'm better for it. So if I've helped even one person by sharing my story to not give up hope for one minute, hour or day then I am beyond excited. Someone asked me this week if I thought you could ever get over adrenal fatigue. I reserve the right to change my answer to yes from "um-um-um I don't know". You can get better. I am anxiety free. So yes. Could it come back if I don't take care of myself. Yes. Is my personality hard-wired to be more susceptible to it than others. Yes (more on that below). Is it worth it to change my lifestyle indefinitely if it means it never comes back. Yes.

      And humorous. Not that so many others share my story - I wish no one did. But that they find me knowledgeable on the subject. Yes - I have learned a ton in this past year. But there is a world of information out there and sometimes I feel like I've just see the tip of the iceberg. Plus I'm an accountant that until less than one year ago ate a diet of Chinese food and chocolate. So its ironic and humbling that anyone feels I'm knowledgeable on these subjects. I'm just a geeky chick that likes to take pictures of her food and share her health journal and recipes with whomever stumbles upon my blog.

      Why I'm talking about this today. Because I'm reflecting on my week. And my week began with a chat with someone that connected with me over my blog. A fairly quick chat in which we made an instant connection. Like two soldiers fighting the same battle. We spoke the "same language".

      And this person taught me something in a very short time that I had missed. They made me have an AH-HA moment. What's funny is that they were thanking me. But now I need to thank them.

      To back up at bit.

      My "philosophy" (which is totally based on personal experience with absolutely no scientific backing) was that my mood swings, anxiety and emotional lows were a result of my BODY being out of balance. That all the stuff happening in my brain was a result of all the stuff taxing my body (food sensitivities, pregnancy, breastfeeding, Candida, diet, etc).  A by-product of a body that was seriously out of balance. My view, for instance, was that my anxiety was not starting in my head, it was starting in my gut/adrenals/liver/whatever and ending up in my brain (and consequently in my shoulder).

      That's why I got so frustrated when doctor's offered up anti-depressants so easily. I wasn't depressed. I was freaking tired. To the bone tired. So of course I didn't feel too spunky. Of course I felt flat. But it wasn't depression. I wanted someone to fix my body. Not my head. Some people might end up or be in depression if it goes on too long. But luckily, I did get help before it went there so that wasn't me.

      Anyway, based on this philosophy and my determination to keep my body in balance, this year I have completely focused on my EATING and FITNESS. When I decided to change my lifestyle, those were the areas I really put all my energy into. Because I believe(d) that if only I kept my body in balance then my mind would be fine.

      And maybe that was okay in a year when I had very little stress. I was on maternity leave last year. Things were going pretty awesome. I was enjoying life. I had the pressures of mothering in a household of five and dealing with a poorly sleeping baby but I was finding it manageable. And enjoyable.

      But I think I missed a piece of the puzzle this year when I only focused on eating clean and exercising. What I think I didn't address is the fact that one of the reasons my body got out of balance in the first place was STRESS. Some of the stress might have been from food, toxins, etc. Yes. But a lot of the stress was mental stress. Stress from work. Stress from home. Stress from life.

      But most importantly, stress from myself. The stress I bring into my own life because of my Type A personality. But having extremely high expectations of myself. By seeking perfection. By not knowing how to relax/shut-off.

      What have I really done about that this year? My year of going clean. How am I going to do things differently going forward? Do I really think that if I eat a salad and work out I won't get adrenal fatigue if I get myself into a high pressure situation. And deal with it in the ways I used too.

      So my ah-ha moment was the realization that, yeah - there are a lot of mental symptoms of gut dysbosis and adrenal fatigue that don't need to be treated as a mental condition, but I probably need to work on the mind part of the mind-body connection if I really think I'm going to avoid adrenal fatigue in the future. My lifestyle has changed, but not my personality.

      Don't get me wrong, I have done and continue to do things to reduce my stress. I've gone back to work part-time. I have more care for my children so I get a break. I have a house-cleaner.  And I'm trying not to let GUILT about doing these things eat me up. Not to feel disappointed in myself for not being able to do it all.

      But its a constant internal struggle. And I just don't think I have spent enough time thinking about, educating myself, putting in place strategies to help me deal with this deep seeded tendency towards stressing myself out.

      And thus my anti-adrenal fatigue maintenance plan was a bit flawed.

      I have a new section of the library to hit up.......................and some new websites to start visiting. And maybe some hot yoga classes to start going to. Maybe some meditation.

      I'll let you know what I learn.

      So thanks to all of you who constantly share with me what YOU have learned. It is comforting, inspirational and it is helping me along my own journey!

      If you are someone struggling with adrenal fatigue, find another soldier you can talk openly to about your battle. Maybe you don't need to share your story with the whole world. But sharing your story with someone else that speaks your language can do you a world of good. Or leave me a comment - I'm hear to listen not just talk.

      As my friend R would sign off......

      Sharing and caring - Chantel

      PS - I'm not going to quadruple check my grammar this on this post. So if you find mistakes - its okay - I walked away from the computer to spend a few minutes with my husband. And I'm not feeling guilty about it.

      Friday, September 13, 2013

      Double Chocolate Banana Zucchini Loaf - Kid Approved and Egg, Gluten, Dairy and Nut Free

      My 4 and 6 year old girls actually got into a bit of an argument about who liked this loaf better.

      It kind of went like this:  "I like it more than the house", "I like it more than the earth", "I like it more than outer space". You know, kids stuff.

      But that led into a big discussion on "Do we actually exist Mom?", "Does the Universe ever end Mom", "How did Jesus get to heaven Mom?", "How long am I going to live Mom?"and on and on and on. I didn't realize a piece of banana bread, even double chocolate banana bread, could spark a conversation that would lead to them wanting all the answers to the Universe.

      I thought I had a few years before I had to dodge these questions. I thought I gave them some great answers that entailed Jesus and heaven and joy, peace and love. But they just kept questioning me.

      So I gave them a second piece just to fill their mouths and keep them from asking anymore questions. And we were all happy again. I'm sure I missed a great teaching moment but I've got low iron - my brain was not firing fast enough to keep up with their little brains.

      But really, this is a GREAT TASTING banana bread. I probably should have named it some kind of brownie. And now that I think of it I will probably make it into some kind of brownie.

      The best part, other than the kids love it, is that it is completely egg, dairy, nut and gluten free. So my sensitive little "old soul" daughter with all the tough questions can enjoy this and TAKE it to school.

      And its full of healthy super foods that are great for kids. I only wish I could have a piece.

      Double Chocolate Banana Zucchini Loaf - Vegan, Gluten and Nut free

      by MamaChanty
      Prep Time: 15 minutes
      Cook Time: 60 minutes
      Keywords: bake bread snack gluten-free nut-free vegan banana buckwheat flour chia seeds zucchini
      Ingredients (1 loaf)
        Wet ingredients
        • 2 ripe banana's, mashed
        • 1/2 cup finely shredded green  or yellow zucchini with skins, packed
        • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
        • 3 Tbsp honey (or sweetener of choice - I used buckwheat honey this time)
        • 1 tsp vanilla extract
        Chia gel
        • 1/2 cup unsweetened milk - use hemp, rice, coconut or flax milk to make it nut-free. 
        • 1 Tbsp ground Chia
        Dry ingredients
        • 6 Tbsp organic coconut flour
        • 5 Tbsp light buckwheat flour
        • 1/4 cup ground golden flax (I grind in the coffee grinder)
        • 3 Tbsp cocoa
        • 1/2 tsp baking soda
        • 2 tsp baking powder
        • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
        • 1 tsp cinnamon
        • 1/4 cup Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips
        Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease loaf pan with coconut oil or butter. Sometimes I also line it with parchment to make sure it doesn't stick and keep scrubbing dishes to a minimum.
        Combine ground chia with almond milk. Let stand for 5 minutes to let Chia gel.
        Combine wet ingredients including Chia gel.
        Combine dry ingredients separately.
        Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Add chocolate chips and mix in.
        Split batter evenly in greased loaf pan and bake for 60 minutes until center is fully cooked.
        Let cool before removing from loaf pan.
        Let your kids enjoy a low-sugar snack full on clean and healthy ingredients.
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        Tuesday, September 10, 2013

        Candida Diet Friendly - Low Carb - Delicious - Chickpea Pizza Dip

        I keep buying hummus at the store (when I can find one without vinegar) because it seems like it should be the answer to making it easier to eat more veggies at snack time. A candida diet friendly snack that is relatively low-carb and low-fat.

        Problem is that usually after one serving I lose interest, as does the rest of the family, and I end up throwing it out when I find it at the back of the fridge two weeks later. 

        I finally need to admit to myself. I DO NOT LIKE STORE BOUGHT HUMMUS. Just give up. The idea of it is there - healthy, convenient, veggie friendly  - but it just isn't something appealing to me. 

        Not quite ready to give up on it I thought I would experiment a bit in making my own. I didn't add any Tahini because I didn't have any (that wasn't way past its best before) but you could if you so choose. It didn't need it. 

        I doctored my version up to make it PIZZA inspired. Because everyone in my house loves pizza. Check out my Insanely Good Spaghetti Squash Pizza if you want an actual pizza that is insanely good and completely grain free. 

        Everyone actually liked this hummus. I won't be throwing any of this away. I'm so excited! [Update: I went to make my lunch for work thinking I would take some hummus and it had dissappeared - all gone - I was kind of annoyed but kind of happy].

        It was super simple to make. It would be even simpler if my food processor was working. But I was still able to make it in my blender with a bit of "on-off-scrape down the sides" action. 

        I served this to the kids on gluten-free crackers with some chopped up gluten-free/nitrate-free pepperoni sticks. I think they would also love it on rice cakes. I will be sending it for lunch for my Grade one'r. 

        And I ate mine with veggies of course. 

        If you are like me and love the idea of hummus but not the taste then give this a try. You might find you LOVE it. 
        Creamy Chickpea Pizza Dip

        by MamaChanty
        Prep Time: 10 minutes
        Cook Time: 0
        Keywords: blender appetizer candida-diet friendly low-carb tomato chickpeas
        Ingredients (2 cups)
        • 1 - 16 oz chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
        • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
        • 2 cloves fresh garlic
        • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
        • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in just enough chickpea liquid to cover for about 10 minutes
        • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
        • 1 Tbsp organic extra virgin olive oil
        • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
        • dash black pepper
        • 1/4 cup marinara/tomato sauce (no sugar added)
        I just threw everything in my blender (Ninja) and pulsed for about 5 minutes. I had to stop it several times and use a spatula to clean off'/push down the sides. If you have a food processor that would work even better.
        Once blended I would chill before serving. You can top with some drizzled extra virgin olive oil. If you aren't dairy free this would also be good with some Parmesan cheese.
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        Sunday, September 8, 2013

        Sunday Reflections - Dizzy Spells or Iron Bombs - Those are my Options

        I feel like I need to be an advocate for clean eating. Considering the name of my blog and all. A role model. An example of what wonderful things can happen in your life when you make healthy food choices. An encouragement to other to choose Chia over chips............

        That's why I hate having to admit when I'm not feeling great. That's why it took me 3 months to mention that my stomach wasn't feeling great on the Candida diet. I didn't lie. I just didn't really mention it.

        Well, this time I will keep you up to date in a more timely manner. Partly because when I journal about things I tend to deal with them quicker - actually reflect on what's going on and take action.

        As a quick recap if you are just joining me...........

        I have been battling on and off with adrenal fatigue for the past 3 years (since baby #2). I have been battling with insomnia as far back as I can remember - even as a kid. I have had stomach aches and "slow digestion" since I was born. I have had a sugar addiction forever. I have a bad case of intestinal Candida overgrowth. I have low B12, Vitamin D and iron stores. And I have a low white blood count, low stomach acid and some seriously poor absorption. Oh yeah, and I have RAVENOUS hunger. Almost all the time.

        Plus, I've spent 70 of the past 81 months either pregnant or breastfeeding. WHAT???? I've never done the math on that before. Yikes - that's a LOT.

        Less than one year ago I started eating a clean, gluten-free and low-carb diet to try and loose some baby weight. I lost weight very quickly but what was even more surprising (and amazing) was that I started feeling incredible. I had more energy than I could ever remember having. My stomach problems disappeared. I was sleeping. I felt rested. It was awesome.

        But as the months marched on (it was actually March - hee, hee) I started to get really anxious and moody. Hello my old friends adrenal fatigue and Candida. My iron stores bottomed out and I got REALLY freaking dizzy and tired. I was not well. It was very disappointing and frankly confusing.

        Since then I have been working incredibly hard to get my body back into balance. I see a Naturopath fairly regularly to try and help me sort things out. I can't navigate this journey on my own - it is way to complicated.

        I eliminated any food sensitivities that were identified on my IGG Food Panels from my diet. Along with that I take herbal Adrenal support pills, eat clean, follow some strict sleep rules, avoid caffeine and try and reduce stress. I am happy to report the adrenal fatigue is still at bay.

        If I follow my sleep rules I rarely get a bout of insomnia. Nights sweats - yes. Insomnia - no.

        I have been on the Candida diet for over 4 months. Along with following the VERY RESTRICTIVE diet, I take probiotics, a herbal Candida cleanse, and garlic pills. I'm trying hard to kill off those sugar loving beasts. My Candida is not as rampant as it was but my moods can still be all over the place and I still crave sugar like crazy so it is definitely not gone.

        But if you caught my post two weeks ago I think part of the reason the Candida diet and supplements are not working as well as they should be is that I was having some serious digestive distress and I'm still breastfeeding (and ravenous). For months (pretty much from when I started the Candida diet) I was walking around with a seriously bloated belly and all the discomfort that comes with that. Again, very disappointing. Again, very confusing considering how clean my diet was.

        It was becoming my new normal. I was starting to just accept it. And then all the sudden I SNAPPED OUT OF IT. No way. This is not happening. I need to figure this out.

        So August was a bit of an experiment month for me. I took some stuff out of my diet. Added some stuff back in. I figured some stuff out. I screwed some stuff up.

        What did I figure out?

        • Roasted Chicory root, which I was using as a coffee replacement, was causing some MAJOR bloating. 
        • Adding yogurt back into my diet, plain unsweetened Greek yogurt every second day, keeps my digestive system moving and happy. OMG. Thank-you Dr. M for suggesting it. Plus its seems to be one of the only things that curbs my hunger. A bit. And its delicious.
        • Grains and psyllium husks do not agree with me. I was originally worried that coconut flour was also a no-no but I have tested it out and it was not the culprit - hallelujah! So relieved.
        • My stomach does not like IRON pills. We call the reprecussions associated with the digestive havoc its wreaks (no pun intended) on my system "Iron Bombs".  I can't believe I'm sharing that. Hopefully most people got bored a while back and didn't read this far.
        Awesome, I think I figured this stomach thing out. Yay! 

        Small problem.

        I confirmed the iron pills were bothering me by going off the iron pills. 

        I felt incredible for about a week. And then I started to have problems. And I'm making note of them so I remember in case this happens again. 

        After about a week my legs started to get weak at the gym. Things I was doing weeks/days ago I suddenly didn't have the strength to do. Big tear - I can't do 10 one legged squats on each leg anymore. And my left knee started to feel achy. Weird. Or I should have thought it was weird but I didn't really pay attention. I was just happy I didn't look pregnant anymore.

        Another few days passed and then I started to not wake up rested. I was sleeping for 9 hours and waking up (or not waking up as the case may be) still feeling tired. When I complained to my husband, who is not a morning person, he said "not everyone just jumps out of bed in the morning". Well, I do. I did. Weird. Now I was starting to get suspicious. So I tried starting my iron pills up again. MY STOMACH was not happy. Stomach pains. Bad ones. So I stopped again.

        Then a few more days passed and BAM - HERE WE GO AGAIN - DIZZY all the time. EXHAUSTED. MOODY. 

        Low iron. Low B12. 

        DARN IT. I was only off the iron for a total of about two weeks. If that.

        Apparently, the combination of my poor absorption (even with digestive enzymes at every meal and eating tons of clean iron rich foods) and breastfeeding is just too much to keep my iron and B12 levels where they need to be.

        So what now. 

        Well, I went for a B12 injection from my Naturopath. And I decided to try out a different brand/type of iron. I was reluctant to switch as it was something given to me by a regular doctor. Shudder. I shouldn't be so sarcastic because we do need doctors - they are just not so helpful when you have adrenal fatigue, Candida and food sensitivities. Or they haven't been helpful to me.

        The jury is still out of whether my stomach will handle these any better. So far my digestion hasn't slowed down, I don't look pregnant and my stomach feels okay. These could be the answer.

        The dizziness is SLOWLY subsiding. It gets a bit better each day. Now its not with me constantly, just when I move suddenly. Especially from sitting/laying to standing.

        And I'm still tired. I have to take a short nap to make it through the day. If I can squeeze it in.

        I'm in a vicious circle of Candida and hunger. And another vicious circle of low iron and stomach problems. With two common links - breastfeeding and leaky gut. 

        So I'm not the picture of health today/this week/this month. I'm not thriving at this moment. I've been much worse, but I'm not thriving.

        So what is the morale of this LONG story. 
        1) Be careful when you go off your supplements or change something in your diet, routine, sleep, etc.
        2) Pay attention to your body. Watch for signs that something is not right.
        3) Digestive issues are complicated. Fixing them takes hard work. Fixing them takes time. Fixing them takes persistence and vigilance. 

        So maybe I'm not the best example of what amazing things clean eating can do. Today. But I will be again. Soon I hope.

        But I think I can be an advocate for listening to your body, not accepting anything less than feeling the best you can, working hard to heal yourself and persisting. I'm going to figure this out. I'm going to get back to that place where I feel AWESOME. Where the amount of energy I have annoys the heck out of my husband. I will get there. Hold me to it. Hold yourself to it..............

        Friday, September 6, 2013

        Lemon Zucchini Pound Cake - Grain and Sugar Free - with Dairy free options. SO ADDICTING!

        This is the most addicting thing I have made in a long time. Keep in mind that I bake ALL THE TIME so that's something. I love this cake. I eat it for breakfast and snacks and dessert. YUMMY!

        I survived my first week back at work after 14 months of maternity leave. Okay - it was only two actual work days but I also got my kids started off at school and a new daycare so it was one of the those crazy weeks anyway.

        We are all surviving the transition and the kids are thriving. I myself am fighting a serious bout of low iron and B12 - again - so I'm back in dizzy/tired/spaced out land. I've done some really dumb things this week in my nutrient deprived state - like going to my first day of work with my home laptop instead of my work laptop. And I took the bus so I couldn't rip back home to get the right one. Even more embarrassing is that it took me about 15 minutes and numerous repeated unsuccessful attempts at logging onto the network before I noticed I had the "blogging" computer with ALL THE MISSING KEYS (darn baby).  Luckily hubby saved the day and brought me the right one.

        So not exactly thriving. I want off this dizzy, Candida, leaky gut, digestive hot mess roller coaster I'm on. Really. I've worked hard. I deserve to get off.  But I'll get into that pity party a little more on Sunday

        Anyway, my worst fear about going back to work was how we would keep eating clean. Week 1 - success.

        Mainly because I had done a bunch of baking and had lots of pre-wrapped snacks to throw in my lunch kit.

        This pound cake was my FAVORITE snack of the week. I am addicted to this cake. Something about the combination of sweet and tart. And the texture. It is just so yummy.

        Plus its high in fiber and even has a bit of protein.

        And zucchini - you know I'm loving zucchini these days. I also made some awesome Banana Chocolate Chip Zucchini Mini Muffins that are gluten, vegan and nut-free that my daughter could take to school. And I made a sugar and grain free chocolate zucchini loaf last week.

        I have been making pound cakes and loaves, slicing them, wrapping them individually in parchment and freezing them. Then I have snacks ready to go for lunches. Portable snacks. Yummy snacks.

        It can be done. But will the momentum continue or is this just a back to school high I'm flying on that will fade out once we get settled in? Who knows? Stay tuned to find out.......................and wish me luck!

        Addicting Lemon Zucchini Pound Cake - Grain and Sugar Free

        by MamaChanty
        Keywords: bake bread dessert candida-diet friendly gluten-free low-carb sugar-free almond flour coconut flour egg yogurt
          Dry Ingredients
          • 1/4 cup blanched almond flour (I used almond flour I made by grinding slivered blanched almonds in my coffee grinder)
          • 1/4 cup coconut flour
          • 1/4 cup arrowroot (or sub an additional 1/4 cup almond flour)
          • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
          Wet Ingredients
          • 4 large free run eggs
          • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
          • 2 Tbsp Truvia (or sweetener of choice)
          • 1/2 cup finely shredded zucchini (packed - I used yellow)
          • 1/4 cup plain unsweetened high protein Greek Yogurt
          • Juice from 1/2 of a fresh lemon
          • 2 drops natural lemon oil (optional)
          • 1 tsp vanilla extract
          Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
          Grease a loaf pan with butter AND line with parchment paper.
          Combine dry ingredients.
          Combine wet ingredients.
          Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until just combined and no lumps remaining.
          Let stand for 10 minutes to let coconut flour absorb liquids.
          Pour into loaf pan.
          Bake for approximately 50 minutes or until knife in center comes out clean.
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          Tuesday, September 3, 2013

          Banana Chocolate Chip Zucchini Mini Muffins - Vegan, Nut free and Gluten free - Yay!

          This week is back to work for me. And into Grade One for my oldest daughter. 

          My daughter that has food sensitivities to gluten, dairy and eggs (not to mention the dozens of other things on the list). So feeding her has been a bit challenging but we are getting things figured out. Unfortunately one of those things is that her favorite grain free banana bread just doesn't want to co-operate with no eggs. 

          So I was back to the drawing board on the banana bread. And since school was starting I figured I should try and make it nut-free anyway (no almond flour) so I took another stab at it. 

          This time I didn't go grain-free. I can't eat banana's anyway and the rest of the house is not 100% grain free so why not.

          The kids LOVED these muffins. Loved so much I made three batches in two days. And they are full of banana and zucchini. And very little honey. 

          So you can feel great about feeding them to your little ones and they are safe to send to school. 

          Happy back to school week!

          Mini Banana Zucchini Chocolate chips Muffins - Gluten and Nut Free and Vegan

          by MamaChanty
          Prep Time: 15 minutes
          Cook Time: 40 - 50 minutes
          Keywords: bake bread snack gluten-free nut-free vegan buckwheat flour chia seeds coconut flour banana
          Ingredients (24 mini muffins)
            Wet ingredients
            • 2 ripe banana's, mashed
            • 1/2 cup finely shredded green zucchini with skins, packed
            • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
            • 2 Tbsp honey (or sweetener of choice)
            • 1 tsp vanilla extract
            Chia gel
            • 1/2 cup unsweetened milk - use hemp, coconut or flax milk to make it nut-free. Otherwise I would use almond milk.
            • 1 Tbsp ground Chia
            Dry ingredients
            • 6 Tbsp organic coconut flour
            • 5 Tbsp light buckwheat flour
            • 1/4 cup ground golden flax (I grind in the coffee grinder)
            • 1/2 tsp baking soda
            • 2 tsp baking powder
            • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
            • 1 tsp cinnamon
            • 1/4 cup Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips

            Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease 24 mini muffin tins with coconut oil or butter.
            Combine ground chia with almond milk. Let stand for 5 minutes to let Chia gel.
            Combine wet ingredients including Chia gel.
            Combine dry ingredients separately.
            Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Add chocolate chips and mix in.
            Split batter evenly in greased muffin tins and bake for 40 to 50 minutes until center is fully cooked. I didn't use a liner and they came out really easily.
            Let cool before removing from muffin tin.
            Let your kids enjoy a low-sugar snack full on clean and healthy ingredients.
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