Focusing on Healthy, Gluten-Free Foods for My Family

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Welcoming the newest member of the family

Welcoming the newest member of the family

Healthy eating has been important to my family and me for a long time. My husband, Terry, and I have been vegetarians for 40 years, and our adult children are lifelong vegetarians. Healthy eating is more important than ever now … my son, Will, and daughter-in-law, Chea, had a beautiful baby girl, and Terry and I became new grandparents on November 2 (yay!!!)! Terry and I along with our kids and kids-in-law want to be both healthy and good examples of healthy eating for the newest member of our family.

Terry and I got a head start on extra healthy eating when our daughter, Christina, was diagnosed with hypothyroidism (low thyroid) and suspected gluten sensitivity in 2011. We tried to support Christina in her journey to regain her health by creating gluten-free family recipes for when she visited, like the one in my Creating Healthy Family Recipes post.

Christina after her 6-month nutrition and fitness experiment.

Christina after her 6-month nutrition and fitness experiment.

In late 2012, Christina started to experiment with strict gluten-free, dairy-free, and sugar-free eating along with exercising 6 days a week for 6 months. You can read about how it transformed her body in her 6-Month Nutrition and Fitness Experiment. She’s done two experiments since then with very positive results. You can read about Christina’s experiences (and find more gluten-free recipes) on Fit Body Full Life.

Because of Christina, Terry and I started eating gluten free at home. We often eat foods with gluten when we eat out, but I’ve converted all my recipes to gluten-free versions. I bake with brown rice flour a lot. Following is my latest adaptation of a peanut butter muffin recipe I’ve used for a number of years.

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Oat Bran Muffins (with Cacao Nibs)

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Oat Bran MuffinI love peanut butter, and peanut butter muffins are favorites of mine. I’ve gradually made my peanut butter muffins healthier and healthier. My latest addition is cacao instead of chocolate chips. Cacao is a Mayan super food that is filled with antioxidants and has no sweeteners. I used to add ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips to my peanut butter muffins. Now, I add ½ cup cacao nibs instead. Cacao nibs are bitter eaten alone, but the honey in the muffins adds sweetness and the cacao nibs create an interesting texture and mild chocolatey taste.

I do use regular oat bran in the muffins, which might have a slight amount of gluten. You can find certified gluten-free oat bran.

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Oat Bran MuffinsTo make the recipe both healthy and gluten-free, I used coconut oil instead of butter, brown-rice flour instead of processed flours or whole wheat flour, honey instead of sugar, and the cacao nibs instead of chocolate chips. Because I raised athletes, I  have a habit of adding protein powder to baked goods. I typically use whey powder, although soy powder (and egg substitute) can be used for a vegan recipe.

Here’s a printable recipe I created for natural, gluten-free, peanut butter oat bran muffins.

To download recipe (without watermark), click here or here (choose your outdoor breakfast background), then right click on the image and choose “Save Picture As . . .”

I’d love to hear what healthy-eating ideas have worked for your family. 🙂

Deb - Siganture

Photo Credit: Background photo for recipe by enricoblueblu.


This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting  with the theme Feeding Your Family.

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated by afternoon November 12 with all the carnival links.)

  • Nut Free Desserts for the Holidays — Becky at Crafty Garden Mama will be talking about navigating the holidays with peanut allergies in the family.
  • Making Peace with My Picky Eater — Once upon a time, there was a boy who would try anything. And then he turned 3. Thus began the dinner chronicles at Dionna at Code Name: Mama‘s house.
  • Foodie Morphed by Motherhood — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis reflects on the changes of her family’s food culture since becoming a mother, and shares a snapshot of their current food rhythm.
  • Introducing First Foods — Wondering what your little one should take a bite of first? That Mama Gretchen explains baby-led weaning/baby self-feeding and answers a number of questions that may come to mind!
  • Feeding Your Family — Coconut Oil!!! — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama is a coconut oil devotee. In this post, she shares her favorite ways to include coconut oil in her family’s diet as well as why she feels it is important to do so.
  • We Thank the Earth for its Food! — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle spends hours in the kitchen each day trying to make medicine in the form of food.
  • Focusing on Healthy, Gluten-Free Foods for My Family — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares what her family is doing to eat healthily along with her recipe for gluten-free peanut butter oat bran muffins.
  • Intolerancesustainablemum laments the misunderstanding surrounding food intolerances.
  • Don’t Let Food Sensitivities Ruin Your Holidays! — Rachel, the Titus 2 Homemaker, talks about ways to enjoy the holidays even if you wrestle with food sensitivities.
  • Losing grains, keeping empathy: Paleo and fat acceptance — Lauren at Hobo Mama vlogs about her family’s decision to cut grains to improve health — and hopes she can retain her position as a proponent of size acceptance even as she loses weight.
  • Easy Homemade Crockpot Mac & Cheese — Amy W. at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work, shakes off the blue-box blues with an easy crockpot mac-and-cheese recipe with no artificial dyes or excessive preservatives … just creamy, delicious, comfort-food goodness.
  • Extended Family Dinners — Shannon at Pineapples & Artichokes talks about sharing family dinners with housemates and why it works for her.
  • Five Suggestions for Eating Healthy During the Holidays — No need to feel powerless when it comes to our highly sugared/processed food culture during the holidays &emdash; Andrea at It Takes Time offers tips to stay on track.
  • How to feed your family — no food required! — Jessica at is kind of obsessed with food. But, lately she’s realized there’s more to nourishment than what she cooks up in the kitchen.
  • Food as family medicine: living gluten-free and beyond — Jessica at Crunchy-Chewy Mama sticks to her gluten-free guns but sees room for improvement in her pursuit of a real-food family table.
  • Feeding My Family — Challenges and Growth — Susan at Together Walking shares what has been most challenging about feeding her two kids and how she has grown in the kitchen since becoming a mother.
  • How I Lost 75 Lbs — What I Eat & My Top 5 Tips — Abbie at Farmer’s Daughter shares how she and her family became healthy, happy and active.
  • The Weight of Motherhood — Revolution Momma at Raising a Revolution rethinks her relationship with food after struggling with post-pregnancy weight gain.
  • Geek Food: Pumpkin Pasties — While Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy and family might have food sensitivities, their geekery knows no limits. So, when faced with a desire to recreate Pumpkin Pasties from Harry Potter, they do not shy away!
  • Pumpkin Harvest Muffins — This summer Mama is Inspired and family grew pumpkins, and this autumn they are baking scrumptious, healthy muffins out of those pumpkins.
  • Reintroducing Meat to the Vegetarian Tummy — Ana at Panda & Ananaso shares some of the considerations she explored before transitioning from a vegetarian diet to reintroducing meat as a protein source and a few tips on making it an easy one.
  • Thanksgiving Meal, Thankful? — Jorje of Momma Jorje has never felt terribly thankful for Thanksgiving itself. Perhaps that could change if she’s a little more invested?
  • 5 Ways to Use Healing Bone Broth — It’s that time of year again, when unpleasant little bugs make their way into our homes. For Megan of The Boho Mama, guest posting at Natural Parents Network, homemade stock or bone broth is a natural remedy.

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