GF Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins (and Why I Love Oats)

July 2, 2015

I’m posting this recipe for gluten free banana chocolate chip muffins today in celebration of reaching 100 Likes on the Facebook page. (Woohoo!) Thanks for being a part of getting us here!

I chose this recipe because it’s my most popular one. My kids and family absolutely love these muffins, I take them to church, I make them for holiday brunch spreads and I send them to people as gifts. Everyone seems to love them (except my friend Lisa, who is allergic to bananas — Boo!). And no one even knows they are this “specialty” bakery item called gluten free. I’m in the camp that believes gluten free cannot mean subpar in taste or texture. I believe anything gluten free must be delicious and satisfying in its own right. And my kids serve as the perfect taste testers for this benchmark!

I make these muffins with certified gluten free oats. I use Bob’s Red Mill gluten free rolled oats. I can find them at my local Publix, but when you buy them in bulk, you definitely save money ($9 at my local store vs. $6/pkg when you buy a case of 4 on Amazon). So why am I so hopped up on oats?

I’ve had a condition called Irritable Bowel Syndrome (“IBS”) for most of my life. You’ve probably heard of it since the NIH reports that between 15-20% of the adult population in the United States suffers from the condition (although only 7% seem to have received a firm diagnosis). IBS isn’t an easy definitive diagnosis to come by because it is primarily a collection of symptoms that include abdominal discomfort, issues with bowel movements and perceived sensitivities to certain foods (this is the high-level, polite version of the symptoms list. For more information, you can visit

One debate that rages in the IBS community is whether or not fiber is helpful to the condition or not. I’ve done a lot of research on this topic over the years, and I’ve also experimented with fiber to see how I personally react to it. Here’s a brief summary of what I found about fiber:

  • There are two types of fiber. Insoluble and Soluble.
  • Insoluble fiber is fiber that doesn’t break down in your digestive system and, instead, provides bulk to the waste in your system, allowing it to move better through the digestive tract. Examples of insoluble fiber: dark green, leafy vegetables, whole wheat, brown rice, most fruit and root vegetable skins.
  • Soluble fiber breaks down in the digestive system, creating a gel that helps waste move along efficiently inside the digestive tract. Examples of soluble fiber: oats, barley, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils and some fruits and vegetables.
  • For some folks, insoluble fiber intake can be a source of great discomfort, while for others it decreases it. And the same goes for soluble fiber, although most who suffer from IBS find that soluble fiber is much more tolerable than insoluble fiber. And, for some, soluble fiber is a miracle substance that contributes to regularity and freedom from pain.
  • Personally, I found that soluble fiber was my friend. All the time. Insoluble fiber? Not so much. We went through seasons where it was okay and then seasons when it wasn’t okay. And I had to learn what season I was in and adjust accordingly.

I found that oats were one type of soluble fiber that really helped to keep my symptoms at bay. So I’ve incorporated them into many of the things I eat on a regular basis, replacing wheat flour (an insoluble fiber) with something I can digest happily. That’s how I came to create a banana muffin that is made primarily with oat flour (with a little coconut flour thrown in to replicate the “springiness” of a wheat flour based muffin).

IBS Notes: This recipe includes a few things you might find irritating if you, too, suffer from IBS. For some with this condition, a group of foods referred to as FODMAPs cause trouble, and coconut is in this food group. And, for others, chocolate is a big no-no. While I haven’t found an alternative to the coconut flour, you can simply leave the chocolate chips out and the muffin is still great. You can even add walnuts or pecans in the place of the chocolate chips for a yummy alternative. Finally, if you are in a particular flare period, you may want to skip the muffin altogether simply due to the fat content given the amount of butter used.

I hope you enjoy this yummy treat! If you have any questions as you try it out, please feel free to leave them in the comments below.

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Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. - 3 John 2

erica pyle

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