Gluten Free Apple Walnut Flax Muffins

By Julia Howard, MPH, RHN

Gluten Free Apple Walnut Muffins

I know what you’re thinking… Gluten-free muffins!? Moving on.

Wait! I developed this recipe when I was first learning to bake gluten-free and it’s been a staple of my homemade snacks ever since.

I used to ignore/deny the fact that I felt better when I was eating gluten-free. But, the better my diet got (and consequently, my digestion), the more I realized that this issue wasn’t just in my head.

Despite eating a mostly whole-food plant-based diet, I still had issues (e.g., fatigue, foggy head, anxiety, heartburn, slowed digestion) when I ate gluten-containing foods. I have also tested negative for (classical) celiac disease.

Interestingly, a 2018 study (systematic meta-analysis) on this topic was actually titled “Mood disorders and gluten: it’s not all in your mind!”. The study, which included 3 randomized controlled trials and 10 longitudinal studies with a total of 1139 participants, supported the notion that, in susceptible individuals who have celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS), a gluten-free diet may help improve symptoms of mood disorders.

Unfortunately, unlike classical celiac disease, there is still no agreed upon biomarker for a clear diagnosis of NCGS. A clinical diagnosis of non-celiac gluten sensitivity is currently made using clinical criteria such as “The Salerno Experts’ Criteria” which includes the strict elimination of gluten, followed by a well-controlled reintroduction of gluten, and the detailed tracking of symptoms. Of course, this is only done once the diagnosis of celiac disease has already been ruled out.

Please note, that the self-diagnosis of non-celiac gluten sensitivity is not recommended. It is helpful and strongly advised to discuss this concern with a qualified healthcare professional who can rule out other conditions, including classical celiac disease or irritable bowl syndrome. As a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, I cannot diagnose or treat conditions. This information is for educational purposes only.

But, if you’re one of those people who feels better on a gluten-free diet, here’s my favourite muffin recipe. I sometimes substitute hemp seeds in for walnuts.

Gluten-Free Apple Walnut Flax Muffins

Dry Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups brown rice flour
  • 2/3 cups ground flax seed
  • 1 heaping tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup apples (about 2 medium-sized) chopped (I like to leave the peels on)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (substitute nut-free alternative like sunflower seeds or hemp seeds, if needed)

Wet Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup coconut oil melted
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • ½ cup maple syrup

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Mix together all dry ingredients except apples and walnuts in a bowl
  • Whisk together wet ingredients in a separate bowl
  • Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir well 
  • Fold in apples and walnuts 
  • Spoon batter into muffin tin and bake for approximately 35 minutes.

Thanks for reading,

~Julia

If you’re confused about nutrition or have some nutrition goals you need help with, we offer online nutrition coaching!

Sources

Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity

https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/10/11/1708/htm

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4488826/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6545713/

Julia Howard - Nutritionist

I am turning 67 next month and I started my journey with JKC in 2018. Seven years ago I experienced significant foot pain which had a negative impact on my day to day activities. I learned that issues in other parts of the body need to be addressed to achieve a positive result. My doctor (Dr. Jessica Wade) suggested, along with some other therapies, that I could  benefit from the conditioning JKC had to offer. I previously had not trained in any gym. I observed how many gyms operated and had a sense that JKC would be more my style: training in a small group setting, having such personal attention, and a program meeting my specific needs is fantastic! I love the atmosphere at the gym. Everyone is accepted and you feel supported and comfortable.

I chose JKC originally to help prevent rowing injuries. I’m a rower and we won the St. John’s Regatta in 2019 but I rowed through a rib stress fracture and missed significant time in the boat during the racing season. Training at JKC consistently since the pandemic helped me stay injury free this year and made me the strongest I’ve ever felt, which helped me help my team win the 2021 St. John’s Regatta! Jon adds variety and mixes the exercises up well so that the workout goes by quickly and strength is gained. The gym is very personable and I like the eclectic mix of people that are there. JKC is much more intimate and personal than other gyms.

I started at JKC in January of 2014 and I’m 67 years old. When I had my Initial Assessment, I knew – almost immediately – that Jon knew what he was doing and what he was talking about. I was overweight, out of shape, and in serious need of someone, like Jon, who could get me back on a fitness/conditioning routine that suited me, my age, my less than acceptable physical condition, my sometimes intermittent RA, and my need for a structured, consistent and yet flexible training and conditioning program that would work for me.

Fundamentally, if I made a choice at all with respect to JKC – it was to continue to come back each week. I have not been in a lot of gyms. To be honest, they used to intimidate me. What makes JKC different is their approach to each and every one of their clients. Jon and Thomas – and now Craig – tailor each training regime to the particular needs of each client. That ensures that the training regime will suit each client upon the start of training and changes as the client improves. It adjusts for any physical setbacks such as injuries and it adjusts for success. It is just that simple.

It is also the consistent encouragement that comes from Jon, Thomas and Craig. That voice that comes to you while you are in the middle of a particularly difficult set – rear-foot elevated split squats comes to mind immediately – that says “good job” or “keep it up” or “just a couple more reps.” To know, in that moment, that you are not alone and the trainer is paying attention to what you are doing. That is priceless for me.

I had spent a fair bit of time in gyms in my teens and twenties but I turned away from the gym to focus on activities that I enjoyed more. What keeps me at JKC is that I do really enjoy it. I always feel that I’ve accomplished something when I leave at the end of my workout. The environment is really positive and focused on challenging yourself whatever your level of comfort and fitness. I’ve also seen results that I’m really happy with; having someone who really knows what they’re talking about to guide your workouts makes them way more effective and focused than just “going to the gym”.

Shortly after I started at JKC, I sustained a fairly major injury that took me off my feet for several months. When I started to get back to activity, it was very difficult. Jon and Thomas worked hard to tailor my workouts to my goals and what I could do. With their help, I’ve been steadily building back strength and function.

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