I confess that I’ve always loved to bake and cook in part because I’ve always loved to eat. When I was a child I started to learn to cook in part because either I didn’t want to eat what my mom had prepared or because I wanted to eat when it wasn’t meal time.

Over the years I devised all sorts of rules for myself about eating that restricted me except for when I made something from scratch. So I was constantly making things from scratch in order to always have things around that I could eat.

When I started this diet I swore off baked goods. On a diet that doesn’t allow any carbs except for two tablespoons of oat bran every day there didn’t seem to be much point in even thinking about baking.

I’ve been relatively happy with my two tablespoons of oat bran in the mornings cooked up with skim milk, some vanilla extract, and a dash of Splenda. But when my husband got on the oat bran bandwagon a few weeks ago I decided to start trying to jazz things up a bit because he gets restless with having the same thing everyday.

So I started Googling how to bake with oat bran and specifically Googled baking for this diet and found a surprising amount of stuff. The official website for the diet, run by the doctor who wrote the book, even has recipes for baking with oat bran!

I’ve developed an amazing recipe for chocolate oat bran muffins, made with unsweetened cocoa powder, Splenda, egg whites, and skim milk. They are really tasty and I could see myself using them as a substitute for myself on the kid’s birthdays. While everyone else eats cake I can have an oat bran muffin topped with some plain Greek yogurt!

The best part is that they are not haunting me. I don’t have the feeling that I need to eat them all, or hide them, or play any of the mind games that I’ve always played with baked goods. It’s a relief.

In fact, since it takes six of the muffins to reach my daily required intake of oat bran I basically have to eat them and in order to do that I have to spread them out over the course of the day. I have a couple at breakfast, a couple as an afternoon snack with tea, maybe one after dinner as dessert. By the time I’m finished with them I’m not craving anymore because I’ve had to have so many. The best part is that they are low in calorie so even if I wanted to feel guilty about them, I don’t have to.

I’ve been experimenting with how to make vanilla cinnamon oat bran muffins but they haven’t turned out as well. But I’m still trying.

I’ve realized that I can’t go back to my previous way of eating and be happy or sane. I can’t find excuses to eat things that are both bad for my waistline and bad for my spirit. The solidification of the connection in my brain between the refined carbs and the anxiety and depression has really changed my mindset. I no longer look at those refined, processed, sweets and junk as desirable. I also no longer feel a sense of deprivation. I don’t feel that I am being told, or dictated to, what I can and can not eat. It really feels like a simple and rational choice on my part not to eat things that hurt me.

But, a little variety will be nice. Especially, if I am going to make these changes permanent for my life. Having a chocolate or vanilla oat bran muffin recipe that I can bake up as a faux “coffee cake” or “cupcake” to take to family parties will just make it all the more likely that I will stick to this diet.

Also, last weekend, when I had to take my daughter to her art class early on Saturday morning I was able to throw the muffins in my bag and sit in a Starbucks for an hour with a non-fat decaf latte and enjoy myself. It was relaxing. I felt comfortable. I like that. Being comfortable with food isn’t always accessible to me so when it comes my way I am grateful. I’m also inclined to not look a gift horse in the mouth when it does come my way.

So, the occasional batch of low calorie, low fat, low carb, high flavor, don’t mess with my head oat bran muffins are here to stay.