Having had this baking blog for six years now, there are still times I feel conflicted. My love for baking cookies, rolling dough and icing cupcakes comes from somewhere within me that's completely opposite of how I eat on a daily basis.
For me, it's about edible art. It's about creating something with your hands. It's about creating something for others. And on top of it all, it's about finding a healthy balance in your own life.
Because the world should be sweet... but not too sweet that it rots your teeth.
Almost two years ago, my sister told me about the Whole30 program. She picked me up one night and we went shopping. As she was on day five, she explained to me how you cut out sugar, bread, dairy, alcohol... and she was feeling so good. This was also at a time I was hooked on candy - eating it instead of real food - and I was overly stressed at the law firm I was at. That, and my IBS was causing serious stomach problems. My gut knew I needed to buy It Starts With Food and take 30 days to only put real food in my body. So, the next day I bought the book and I started my 30 days. This turned out to be not only 30 days...but it became my lifestyle and continues to be today.
Which means I've cut the sugar. If you do the strict 30 days, this means no sugar or any sweetener - even the natural kinds like honey or coconut sugar! They all stimulate that reward center in your brain that gets you hooked on the sweet stuff.
As you begin your 30 days without sugar, you begin to realize how naturally sweet foods are, without anything added. Strawberries are heavenly and pineapple tastes like candy. And dates are a game changer.
After my 30 days, it became a Whole30 lifestyle, in a way. Eating more fruits and vegetables instead of candy has become a habit I no longer think twice about.
And now, when I do bake (you shouldn't make baked goods with whole30 ingredients during the strict 30 days), I make grain-free and sugar-free muffins, breads and snack bars. The wholesome flavor is just as much nourishing as it is delicious.
And no matter if you've experienced the Whole30 program or not, we could all cut down on the added sugar in our daily diet. I mean, the average person eats 15 teaspoons of sugar a day, when The American Heart Association and World Health Organization recommend at most, 6 teaspoons!
Sugar is soooo sneaky - it hides in your milk (even non-dairy!), breads and muffins. But, if you make these items yourself without the added sugar, you begin to appreciate the flavor that vanilla extract and cinnamon bring to the end result.
It's not about tricking your taste buds into thinking you're eating something bad for you - it's about realizing that real, healthy food simply just tastes really really good.
Okay, so that was my long-winded explanation that brings me here. With these almond flour muffins filled with fresh lemon, lavender & blueberries! Not only does the combination sound heavenly, but it tastes heavenly... aaaand it's healthy! No sugar needed.
Lemon & Lavender Blueberry Muffins
(Makes 12 muffins)
- 2 1/2 cups almond flour
- 2 tablespoons coconut flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1/4 cup coconut milk (or almond milk)
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons dried lavender, muddled or finely chopped
- Juice and zest of 1 lemon
- 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
- In a bowl, whisk the almond flour, coconut flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon until combined.
- Then, using a wooden spoon, mix in the vanilla, coconut oil, coconut milk and eggs until well combined. Then, stir in the dried lavender, lemon juice and zest and combine well. You can add more almond flour if the batter seems too thin, but it should be moist!
- Add in the blueberries and mix until incorporated throughout the batter.
- Spray a muffin pan liberally with nonstick spray and using an ice cream scoop, scoop the batter into the tins. You can also use muffin liners. Top each muffin with a few extra blueberries and a sprinkle of cinnamon,
- Bake at a 350 degree oven for about 22-25 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through baking and checking on the muffins around 20 minutes. Take out when the tops are golden.
- Let cool for a few minutes. Run your knife around the edge of each muffin to loosen them from the pan before taking them out. Take out and let cool completely on a wire rack. Store up to 4 days in an airtight contained at room temperature, or place in the refrigerator.
- I like to enjoy these muffins warm with a thick spread of chunky almond butter. Try it out!
Life is too short not to indulge in your favorite cookie or treat. But, it's also so precious that we need to indulge in nourishing treats even more.