Coconut Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies Recipe + Being Able to Eat Butter Again

Today I am sharing with you my favorite gluten free cookie recipe ever. It is the one cookie recipe that I have consistently made time and time again over the past two years since I was diagnosed with celiac disease. It is our go-to cookie recipe.

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Best of all, it’s pretty simple. It doesn’t have a terribly crazy combination of flours, as so many gluten free recipes do. This recipe is also adaptable. I have often run out of one or the other of the flours for the mix, so I replace it with combinations of flours I happen to have on hand. For example, I have often used tapioca starch instead of potato starch, potato flour instead of rice flour, coconut flour instead of sorgum flour (in this case, I use a little less coconut flour, since coconut flour sucks up a lot more moisture than most flours, and is also pretty dense). In the easiest variation of all, I just use a gluten free flour mix and replace all the flours with that. They all taste great, but so far this is my favorite combination ever.

If you’ve been reading this blog consistently, or if you know me, you might know that I have celiac disease. On top of that I am also lactose and soy intolerant. At the time of my diagnoses, I was told that my dairy intolerance was really due to the damage that eating gluten for so long had done to my digestive system. You see, I probably had celiac disease for about 5 years before I actually got diagnosed, and in all that time my diet consisted mostly of bread and cereal (I love love love bread). Because of this my body was a mess, I was unable to tolerate lactose or soy. However my doctor told me that eventually, with the healing of my digestive system through this gluten free diet, I might be able to have dairy again someday. And so I started that day with a gluten free diet, and waited.

So fast forward to nearly two years later: a few months ago my husband, Dane, was dying for some cookies made with real, actual butter. In general, Dane basically lives with as strict a diet as I do, since I don’t bother cooking separate meals for him and I. But Dane, understandably, misses dairy and gluten! Now I’ve started to consistently add real, cow milk, and cottage cheese, and so on to our grocery list. I’m still really hesitant to ever buy wheat bread, or gluten containing foods, since I am SO sensitive to gluten that even a crumb that happened to fall into my food would affect me for a couple weeks. But anyway, back to the cookies. Dane used this same basic recipe that I am sharing with you today, and went to the store to buy butter and cane sugar. He loved what adding butter did to the cookies, though the regular sugar was a bit too much (the only time we ever eat cane sugar is if happens to already be in the food we buy- when baking/cooking, I always used coconut sugar). I was hesitant to try them, even though they were gluten free, because I hadn’t had butter in a couple years. But I knew that eventually I was supposed to be able to have butter, so after a couple days passed I was dying for a cookie so I gave in and tried one. And guess what? I had absolutely. no. reaction. I was eating butter and was just fine!

It is really exciting to experience some visible, tangible progress in this crazy diet and roller coaster health of mine. When I was initially diagnosed with celiac disease, I was totally devastated. How was I ever supposed to eat anything good again? Over time I realized there are a lot of replacement options for gluten free living, so it wasn’t as bad as I thought. Through a lot of work and research (probiotics, juice cleanses, multi-vitamins, exercise, and most recently, quitting coffee drinking) I have come a long way in becoming and feeling healthier and stronger. But this is one of the most notable milestones yet!

Since that first discovery that I could eat those delicious, buttery cookies, I have continued to experiment with just how much butter I can tolerate. In general, I still need the aid of taking enzymes/probiotics in order to avoid having any discomfort during digestion even with my gluten/dairy/soy free diet. And this applies to butter as well. But as long as I follow my normal routine with eating, it’s not a problem. I have buttered GF bread, I have made french onion soup containing butter, eggplant with butter, cookies with butter… it’s amazing! I still am careful not to go overboard- I try to only have butter a few times a week. I have to be cautious and not rush the (sometimes painfully) slow, but sure progress towards total healing.

So below is my first recipe ever on this blog to contain butter! It has a dairy free option listed right there with it, and it tastes just as delicious when dairy free. I also added milk to my recipe though I’ve only ever made it with an alternative milk (usually coconut milk) since I’m not quite at the milk drinking stage (and not sure if I ever will be). So I can’t say for sure how that will taste (though I can’t possibly see how it would taste bad..I mean, it’s milk).

Enjoy and let me know what you think! What sort of progress have you seen your process toward healing in your life?

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Coconut Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

  • 1/2 cup butter or coconut oil, melted
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 3 tbsp milk or alternative milk (coconut, almond, etc)
  • 1 tsp GF vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sorgum flour
  • 1/3 cup potato starch
  • 1/4 cup rice flour
  • 1 1/2 cup GF oats
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 tsp soda

Directions

Preheat oven to 350° F

Cream the coconut sugar and butter or coconut oil in a mixer until smooth.

Add the milk and vanilla and mix till blended.

In a separate bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients (flours, oat, powders) except for the coconut flakes and chocolate chips.

Combine the dry flour/oat mix with the butter/sugar and mix until it is just combined (but before it turns into a ball of dough).

Add the chocolate chips and coconut flakes and combine.

Roll into cookie shapes onto a greased baking sheet. Makes 12-24 cookies depending on the size you roll them out.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until just slightly golden brown.

Cool and enjoy with some milk!

Why Health? Going Gluten Free

This post was taken from a column I wrote in February 2013 for my school’s newspaper, found here: http://thebeggarblade.com/lifestyle/2013/02/08/why-i-write-about-health/

“My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,” Psalms 63:5. The Bible has much to teach on the subject of food, and how human beings, especially Christians, are to interact with it. Throughout Ecclesiastes, the message is clear that food is God’s gift to man, for his enjoyment (Ecclesiastes 3:13). Though I had been interested in health for years, it was when I came to Providence that I began to learn the scriptural teachings about food through Dr. Swanson’s Bible classes. Food theology, shown in Scripture, is by far, the most important foundation for my interest in health.

Last semester I began a column about nutritious eating, but before I continue with it, I would like to explain how I became interested in health and nutrition.

In middle school, I became interested in food for healing, homeopathic medicine, as opposed to antibiotics and chemical medicine. In high school I went through phases of fascination over the prospect of unprocessed foods, smoothies, raw foods, fasting, and occasionally vegetarianism.

Despite my interest and somewhat serious efforts, healthy living never seemed to work for me. Particularly in my first three years at Providence, my health grew steadily worse. I was at the point where no matter what I ate I would feel ill, so for the sake of managing school, I would often go whole days of classes eating little to nothing until evening.

At the same time, I was always exhausted, had almost daily migraines, and was overwhelmed in apathy. I began to care less about school, my greatest passions such as art, relationships with people, and even theology and Scripture. This was because when one’s body is not being fed proper nutrients, one’s mental health is drastically affected.

In summer 2012, I came home for a short visit and my mom was appalled by my appearance and health. She resisted my obstinacy and prejudice against doctors, and I found myself sitting in the dreaded doctor’s office later that week. After a lot of questions and blood testing, I was diagnosed with celiac disease. Previous blood tests in high school had shown that my body was intolerant of soy and dairy, so I was frustrated to find gluten added to the list.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that is incurable; every time I consume gluten, my intestinal lining attacks and destroys itself, making my body unable to absorb any nutrients from food. The only treatment for celiac is to completely cut off gluten from the diet. Untreated, the disease leads to severe malnutrition, which leads to many other illnesses.

Besides being the main ingredient in bread and cookies, gluten is found in many sauces (i.e. soy sauce, teriyaki sauce), most gravy, flavorings, soups (as a thickener), green naked juice (wheat grass), a lot of granola bars, cereal, and more. I was exasperated by this new list of restrictions.

As I struggled with my own health while studying nutrition over the years, simultaneously I struggled with the idea of dualism between the body and mind. Dualism teaches that the spiritual realm is superior to the material world. In extreme dualism, the physical is evil and the metaphysical is good. My own life seemed to support this idea because even as my mind thrived, my body was always a stumbling block, no matter how healthy I tried to be.

In anger, I would go to the extreme of not caring about my body (namely, by not eating), and in those times, I often felt better, sometimes I even felt a high by how much better I felt in contrast to my norm. Yet my struggle with food contradicted everything I was learning in Bible classes to be true about food. As mentioned earlier, Ecclesiastes particularly teaches that food is a source of nourishment and gift from God for enjoyment. Learning this was convicting but only added to my confusion. My first reaction after learning about my celiac disease was stronger feelings that my body was my enemy, at war with me, and dualism was true.

Yet, when the body is thriving in the way it was created, this dualistic idea is no longer adequate. The first few days of going gluten free, I felt like I had been freed. When you are sick for so long, you forget what it feels like to be well. Not to have a stomach ache or a migraine becomes a thing of the past, that you know exists but is no longer in your experiential memory.

The effects of going gluten free to my body and mind were immediate. My dualistic tendency was challenged as I could think again, when so long I had been living in a fog. The crippling feeling of dread and sickness that came along with eating lessened. Though it takes one to two years for the adult body with celiac to completely heal after the necessary dietary changes, the difference I felt already was well worth saying goodbye to all my favorite gluten containing foods.

I believe in eating well. I am interested in learning about food nutrition and what foods best feed the brain, the heart, your blood, and so on. If a diet is perfectly balanced (along with exercise and ideally, good sleeping patterns), the human body can intake all the necessary nutrients required for a strong immunity, healthy body, and therefore mind. Personally, as I continue to heal from the affects of celiac, studying nutrition for healing is interesting and I find, effective.

For that reason, I consulted the editor, Marissa Branson, on writing a health column for the Beggar Blade. I hope that my readers will continue following these articles as I share the new things I learn. My hope is to write on things that will be applicable to you as you manage the precarious balance between success in studies, and taking care of your body that God has graciously given.

3 John 1:2 states, “Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.” This is only one example of many passages in Scripture that reveal to us that it is God’s will that the people he created thrive in the body and the mind, as distinct but united parts of the human being.