I’m always looking for easy, healthy snacks I can take on the go and recently made flourless zucchini chocolate chip muffins that fits that bill and tastes great too. I’ve been gluten-free for a while, but now that I have a diagnosis of celiac, I have to be even more careful about gluten.
The body is weird.
I knew I was gluten-intolerant from some food allergy testing I did a couple of years ago with my previous PCP. I was lackadaisical about gluten though. I mostly avoided it, but if I wanted a gluten-filled cookie or chicken tenders from Chick-FIl-A or a pizza and breadsticks from Brenz’s (I do miss that Chapel Hill pizza joint), I had it. I would have stomach cramps and bloating and sometimes an upset stomach, but I took the consequences in the name of a good slice of pizza.
But then I got a stomach ulcer from an h.pylori infection and my digestive system was thrown into chaos after a battery of antibiotics, several months of a PPI, and a very restricted diet. It took four months to wean off of all medication and another two or so months to get away from the bland diet I had been on for months.
Throughout that time, I was still mostly avoiding gluten. Then my April birthday rolled around and I went on a bender. A gluten bender.
It started with a pizza the weekend before my birthday. It was Easter weekend so why not? I was filming a short that involved baking that upcoming week and gluten-free baking tends to be less complicated. I needed to do a lot of it so I had a heap of not gluten-free cookies and cupcakes in my apartment. My brother and I got a fantastic birthday brunch at The Local Yolk in Manhattan Beach where the biscuit alone is worth at least $10 because it’s that good. One of my best friends sent me a box of cupcakes. On and on.
My brother and I went hiking on Easter Sunday. That night, I had a few white spots that popped up behind each knee. They looked like little blisters. I figured it was a reaction to the heat, even though it wasn’t especially hot, and tried to ignore it when it itched.
Then it spread.
It went up the back of my thighs and down my calves. It appeared on my elbows and spread along the back of my arms. It itched and burned in a way I have never experienced before. I couldn’t sleep. None of the over-the-counter remedies helped. Benadryl did nothing. Topical creams and sprays? Nothing. Calamine lotion? Only brief relief and I looked ridiculous, walking around in public with that stuff spread all over me. I was scrubbing myself down with baking soda in a cool shower at two in the morning. It was the only thing that helped.
When I finally broke down and went to the doctor, she took one look and said ‘that’s a gluten rash.’ The rash confirmed Celiac Disease and a round of steroids later, I was on the mend and gluten is now forbidden. Essentially, my ulcer and subsequent treatment “unearthed” the full blown celiac. That can happen – the body can undergo some sort of trauma and cause an autoimmune response, aka celiac.
The body is weird.
I love to bake though, so I’m adapting my favorite recipes to be gluten-free. The flourless zucchini chocolate chip muffins I made earlier this week were a very big win, so much so that I wanted to share them with you. They’re easy to make too!
- 1 cup grated zucchini
- 1 cup creamy almond butter
- 1/4 cup honey
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup chocolate chips + more for topping
- Preheat oven to 350°F and spray a muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray or use liners.
- Grate zucchini until you have one cup, then wrap it in zucchini in a paper towel and squeeze as much liquid out of it as possible.
- Add all ingredients except chocolate chips to a mixing bowl and mix until combined. I like to use my stand mixer, but you can mix by hand as well.
- Add in the chocolate chips and combine into batter.
- Fill each liner about ⅔ of the way with batter and then top with a few chocolate chips.
- Bake for 20-23 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool before eating.
This recipe makes a dozen muffins. Keep in an airtight container on the counter or in the fridge.