I think it is commendable to be able to admit when you are wrong. To say, “I don’t know best- most of the time.” You learn a lot when you are expecting your first child, and I’m sure even more after that first child is actually born onto this earth. I’d like to share with you what has come to light, for me, in the last few weeks.
1. Your body knows better than you do. After waxing poetic about the Elimination Diet, I diligently made every effort to change my habits of eating in hopes of finding a food sensitivity that is causing my Rheumatoid Arthritis to flare up. I omitted several foods that used to occupy a huge space in my life and went about finding alternatives. I baked a gluten-free cobbler. It was disgusting. I baked a gluten-free loaf of bread. It crumbled and now lies in wait to be made into “breadcrumbs” in my freezer. I stopped eating all of the foods that I love- cheese, bread, pretzels, milk, corn and various other things to see if it made me feel better. It didn’t. It made me feel like I was depriving my body, and more importantly, my baby, of vital ingredients. I am now doing a modified version of a healthy pregnancy diet. I eat dairy, gluten, eggs and protein, and am avoiding corn, soy, and overly processed food. I hope to revisit the diet again after (B’H) my baby is born and done nursing, when most people would recommend.
2. Your partnership with your spouse or significant other allows you to reach far beyond your normal capabilities alone. My husband Gil listens to me talk about blogs. He listens about recipes, awkward pregnancy symptoms, and endlessly tunes in when I discuss my dreams of working with children, making a difference in the world, and possibly sharing my love of food with others. And he samples my cooking. And he pretends that he likes it, no matter how gross or unappetizing a new recipe might appear/taste. He is encouraging when it seems like my belly couldn’t get any bigger and I couldn’t possibly be more inactive. We are a team and it makes me feel better about going forward with starting our family.
3. Do what you love, and don’t box yourself in. For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a Mom. As a baby, I prayed for a baby. I desperately wanted to take care of things- animals, people, plants (although I kill plants, and I can’t seem to stop. Remember that beautiful Mint? Ya, it committed suicide and threw itself off our balcony in the old apartment. Just like the Rosemary. Good thing I live in Rosemary-ville and I can go pick a bunch right outside whenever I want to!). I am coming to terms with the fact that although I have a college degree, and am a young, capable, and intelligent woman, it’s O.K. to take time off from pursuing career goals to be a Mom. My Mom did it and I am endlessly grateful for the time we spent together when my brothers and I were growing up. For now, I am doing what I love: cooking, writing, sharing, and getting ready to be the best Mama I can be.
So how am I dealing with the failure of my grand scheme to find out what causes my RA? I’m making muffins. Lotsa muffins. But these are healthy muffins. I swear. Filled with bran and goodness. They may be healthy, but they are still super yummy too. They can easily be made vegan, which is the course I took and I don’t regret it for a second.
Raisin Bran Muffins adapted from Joy the Baker
makes about 12 muffins
1 cup Bran Cereal (needn’t be Post Raisin Bran, which I think has a lot of added sugar)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups flour, sifted
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten or 1 smashed banana **Update: I chose to make this recipe using banana to substitute the egg. It had a fairly strong banana taste, much like a Banana Bran muffin. Delicious. Hate bananas but still want a vegan alternative? To replace one egg: combine 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds and 3 tablespoons water (or other liquid), stir until thick. You can buy ground flax-seed at almost any grocery store nowadays, and for sure a health food store. If they only have whole flax seeds, you can easily grind them in a clean coffee grinder.
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup rice or soy milk, mixed with a teaspoon of vinegar. (The original recipe calls for buttermilk, which I’m sure would be delicious, but I never have it on hand, and I’ve been avoiding milk products. I find that rice milk is a perfect, albeit more-watery substitute. If you are into buttermilk, by all means use it.)
1/2 cup raisins, or other healthy, yummy add-ins like nuts!
In a large bowl mix together bran cereal, flour, salt, cinnamon, sugars and baking soda.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together oil, egg (or smashed banana, or flax seed mixture), vanilla extract, rice milk and vinegar.
Gently stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix in your add-ins- I used golden raisins slightly chopped. Allow the batter to sit for about 20 minutes on the counter in order to soften the bran cereal.
Scoop into lined or greased muffins pans when ready to bake. (Hate greasing muffins tins? Pam or another spray works well, but I drizzle a small amount of canola oil onto a basting brush and go over the insides. Saves me time and sticky fingers). Sprinkle with a spoonful of granulated sugar to make it purty, with a bit of a crisp crust to bite into.
Bake at 375 degrees F (190 C) for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
The original recipe states that you can also put this batter in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week- spooning out your desired amount when you have the craving for a fresh muffin. I chose to bake up a whole batch and freeze the muffins I couldn’t eat in a few days in order to stock up baked goods for after D-day. Just let the frozen muffin defrost in your fridge overnight, or pop into the microwave for a warmed up breakfast treat!