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Unless otherwise noted, all recipes on this blog are free of gluten, peanuts, soy, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, shellfish, cane sugar, oranges, and yeast. Most recipes are also free of egg, dairy, and tree nuts (if used, reliable substitutions will be provided for these when possible). Check out my recipe index for a full list of recipes by category. 

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Monday
Apr022012

A personal tale of overindulgence and a recipe for Totally Loaded Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

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[Trigger warning: depression, thoughts of self-harm, and intimacy are brought up briefly in this post. You wouldn't expect it in a post about cookies, but there it is. Wanted to bring it up for individuals for whom these topics may be triggering.] 

During my time away from the blog, I made a lot of cookies. And by that I mean two batches or so every week for about two months. In retrospect, I believe I was possessed by a cookie demon, an apron-clad creature that breathes flour from its nose, has beaters instead of hands, and whose eyes are glazed sticky sweet with honey. My kitchen became host to mixing bowls in the sink, flour on the floor, and a tin of cookies on the counter at all times. I fed my housemates cookies. I bestowed cookies upon friends. I wooed with cookies. Yes, wooed. And of course, I consumed many of them myself. 

My baking bonanza was part of a larger pattern of self-indulgence that started last fall. I had been weaning off my drugs since last October after two years of heavy antibiotic treatment for Lyme Disease and related tickborne co-infections. My doctor had told me that I was in remission, and we should try running an experiment to see how my body behaved without treatment. I took my last pill in late November. In a somewhat reckless (yet well-deserved) move, I celebrated. Caution, moderation, and self-control are not my natural and preferred methods of approaching the world. I've had to develop them in the last few years out of health-related necessity, and I managed to drum up gumption that I didn't know I had. I was so tired of regulating myself. So I threw care to the wind. I let go. I cheered myself with wine and coffee and all number of things that I had forbade myself from partaking in the last 4 years, returning to a slightly amended version of my habits of old. Concurrently, I indulged my heart and body, spending obsessive amounts of time in a blissed out haze of crushy giddiness with a pleasure rebel of equal measure to me. I laughed more than I'd laughed in years, shaking up the dust and cobwebs from prior years of sick sorrow. I fed parts of my soul that had lay hungry for far too long. 

It was all so needed, a medicine all of its own. I knew all of that was a recipe for inevitable intense consequence, but I didn't care. I wanted to experience every moment the present so badly, so I did. 

Everything hit an unfortunately timed wall in the desolate grey of mid-February, a tsunami wave of intrinsically cyclical circumstances. Cookies, wine, and losing time in starry-eyed explorations were replaced by new antibiotic regimens, detox baths, and days lost in battling Herxes from Hell. I was in physical and emotional crisis. My behaviors had fed my soul, but had also fed all the sleeping bugs in my system and brought them back to life. I had symptoms I hadn't experienced in months and years. I felt nauseous from the drugs in my system and the lonely pit in my stomach.  My head throbbed and shooting pains transversed my flesh. Worse yet, my swinging manic depressive cycles joined forces with a wicked Bartonella brain freakout and an aching heart, forming an unholy trinity of psychological destruction. Thoughts of self-harm wracked my brain, unlike any I'd had in years. It was terrifying. I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep, nights were silent and solitary. I struggled to unravel the pain, grappling to discern what to attribute to the flare in my illnesses, or to side effects from the pharmaceuticals, or to the deep depression, or to the unraveling of intimacy. I was plagued by frustration for taking everything "too far", indulging "too much", feeling "too deeply". I thrived at very little other than taking my pills, crying, watching Netflix, and writing depressing poetry.

What a clutsterf***.  

hellobeautiful

And yet, the old adage remains: time is the great healer of all things. Within a few weeks, a switch had flipped. My body began to acclimate, my depression started to lift, my lonliness slowly subsided. Some light poked through the clouds and I flocked to it. And now, I'm feeling pretty good, all things considered. Matters of the body, mind, and heart have all achieved a certain level of balance and redefinition and appreciation. Times like this are for learning, growing, and self-reflection. It takes patience and faith and hard work. Sometimes it sucks. But in my experience things usually end up better after a bout like this. And thankfully, they have. 

I'm not baking many cookies right now. My tendancy to overindulge doesn't bode well with the way antibiotics effect my body, so I'm putting on the brakes the best I can. But have a storehouse of recipes from my winter baking binge to revisit. I made these little love nuggets last weekend for a potluck, to great delight of all who ate. They are loaded with all kinds of stuff, a celebration of all the ways I like to overdo. But the gluttony is tempered by whole grains and healthy fat and sensible sweeteners. It's the sort of balance I am trying to achieve. 

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Totally Loaded Oatmeal Raisin Cookies  (gluten-free, dairy-free, cane sugar-free)

yields 3 dozen 3-inch cookies

In addition to boasting whole grains, raisins, cashews, and coconut, these cookies are totally loaded with protein, fiber, and amino acids. Sweet.

A few tips on the fat. Make sure to use softened - not melted - coconut oil. If you are a butter eater, an equal weight of butter can be substituted. Also, chill the dough in the fridge for 3-4 hours before baking. Why? Chilling the dough hardens the coconut oil and shortening, so it doesn't melt as quickly while the cookies are baking. Instead of spreading out like weird pancakes and ending up lacy and thin, cookies baked from chilled dough spread gradually and end up slightly chewy in the middle and crisp on the outside. Totally worth the wait, trust me. And besides, it gives you lots of time to sneak into the fridge and eat spoonfulls of dough. Because duh, why else bake cookies?!

  • 90 grams / 0.75 cup quinoa flour or amaranth flour*
  • 60 grams / scant 0.5 cup arrowroot starch or arrowroot flour (equal weight of tapioca flour or tapioca starch can be substituted)
  • 40 grams / 0.25 cup buckwheat flour 
  • 5 grams / 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 5 grams / 0.75 teaspoon salt
  • 9 grams / 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 150 grams / 0.5 cup + 3.5 tablespoons softened virgin coconut oil 
  • 75 grams / 0.25 cup + 2 tablespoons palm shortening
  • 170 grams / 1 cup palm sugar (or equal weight of another granulated sugar, such as coconut sugar)
  • 80 grams / 0.25 cup maple syrup
  • 2 large eggs
  • 8 grams / 2 teaspoons gluten-free vanilla extract
  • 290 grams / 3 cups gluten-free rolled oats
  • 225 grams / 1.5 cup lightly packed raisins
  • 85 grams / 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 100 grams / 0.75 cup toasted chopped cashews

In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, baking soda, and salt until well combined and light. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream coconut oil and shortening until smooth and fluffy. Then add sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla and beat until smooth (some sugar granules may remain, that's okay). Add eggs and mix just until they are evenly combined. Gradually add flour and mix until evenly incorporated.

Then fold in oats, raisins, coconut, and cashews with a large sturdy spoon or spatula. Cover dough with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours.

Heat oven to 350º F and line baking sheets with parchment. Scoop chilled dough onto a baking sheet, leaving 3 inches or so between each cookie. Bake for approximately 16 minutes per batch, rotating pans half way through if baking two sheets at a time. Cookies should still be soft in the middle but browned around the edges, then remove from oven.

Let cool for 5 minutes before carefully transferring cookies to a wire rack to finish cooling. Store cooled cookies in a well-sealed jar, container, or bag at room temperature for up to 4 days (although they won't last that long).

 

*Flour Power! If you can't find quinoa or amaranth flour for purchase, or if you want to save some ching, grind your own. Simply place whole quinoa or amaranth grains in a high powered blender like a Vitamix or a coffee grinder, and grind until you create very fine flour with an even texture. So easy and so fresh!

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Reader Comments (9)

Thanks for the post and recipe. Looking forward to trying it! I, too, slipped into the rabbit hole the last couple of months. I am battling some serious health issues as well, and started a new way of eating. It was hard at first. The detox was nightmarish. However, slowly but surely I started to notice changes in my energy, attitude, and clarity. I had a significant reduction in pain. Things were really improving! I was feeling better about about my new (although restrictive dietary habits), but suddenly after a few months I fell completely off the wagon. For a couple of weeks straight, ate the worst stuff you could imagine. Actually binged on it. To give you an example- BAGS of Rolos, potato chips, and mac and cheese. Not just a little - a truckload. I felt AWFUL- from the food and the mental lashing I was giving myself. The post-skid lasted several weeks. Well, I'm on the other side now, and have a renewed fervor of loving myself through eating beautiful unprocessed food. Your website inspired me when I first embarked on my journey, and like a good friend, your post shows up just in time to reaffirm the honesty about our own processes (healing in time and grace) and supports my own re-dedication to what I know to be best for me. Thanks.

April 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMary

Wow, Kim. You had quite a memorable winter, Lady. I'm glad you are feeling better now and I hope your body will cooperate with your free spirit approach to life from now on. This recipe looks really good! Thank you for sharing both the recipe and yourself so openly. I'm sure many people are encouraged by reading of your experiences.

April 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDiane

Glad you are feeling better! These cookies look so good. And now that my body will tolerate oats again (yay) I'm going to give them a try.

April 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlison

Oh, Kim, I'm so sorry you had to go through that! And so glad that you've found some kind of balance. I think all of us who tend to overindulge (on sugar, alcohol, cigarettes, whatever) have gone through something similar at some time or another. And I had to smile when I read your recipe--what we consider "indulgent" is uber-healthy to the great masses of the population! :)

April 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRicki

Thanks for sharing your story, glad things are looking up! Cookies, yum, must try.

Nicole <3

May 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterFood for Skin

Hi Kim....hope you are on the mend with your Lyme disease....hubby & I have it too. He uses alternative treatment with his. Have been working on the diet issue....New book out called...."Recipes for Repair, a Lyme disease cookbook? by Gail & Laura Piazza....You have alot of recipes along the same line.

May 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPat

Hi Kim,

Thanks for sharing your story. I've only recently begun to read your blog, but it has been rather inspiring to someone who has been on a downhill health path for years now. Your story sounds an awful lot like mine, too. I am a Celiac as well as Lyme Warrior, but currently untreated. It's very understandable that you would want to just indulge yourself after suppressing your normal habits and desires for so long. I'm in the same boat, losing the simple pleasures in life like Coffee and the occasional sweet. My biggest issue has been the constant loss of weight and foods from my diet. I'm down to eating Fish w/ veggies and oil at this point. My friendly bacteria left me, and sometimes my hope too, but reading stories like this is great for gaining a new perspective. I wish you well, and hope we can all overcome this nasty disease! If there is one thing I'm grateful for, it's certainly what being so unhealthy has taught me about life. We who suffer from chronic disease tend to see things from a different perspective, and when we're not busy being down, a better light then most.

July 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDan

Thank you for sharing - I came for the cookies (and 'pinned' them) but stayed for the story which is a warning to all of us who walk that narrow line. Peace and blessings, courage in your journey . . .

September 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGretchen @gfedge

I hope you're well. I was just browsing around when I found this quick and easy recipe of yours. I'll give this a try over the weekend with my kids. Take care!

November 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRose Taylor
Sorry, no comments/questions allowed right now.
Hi reader! My schedule as full-time grad student with two part-time jobs doesn't allow me the time to manage comments. I hope you enjoy what you find and can figure out answers to any questions you may have. xo