We don’t talk very much about food in this newsletter, but since my column is Ethereal Cereal, I am going to take a point of personal privilege and do something a little different this week.

Nutrition is a key part of good health, but it is so much more than just the balance of proteins and fats and carbs. Nutrition is about the nourishment we get – physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual from our food choices.

If we want to be nourished, in body mind and soul, from our food, we are asked to be mindful of what we need, and what we receive. But sometimes we get way too serious about this – we begin to see your food as work, as doing it right, as another chore.

Some folks dealing with RA and other autoimmune are making food choices that are vegetarian or vegan. Some are cutting out wheat flour or sugar or saturated fats. Others are looking for ways to enjoy their food and still feel healthy.

The trap is when we make these choices our new rules instead of a guide or aid.

It seems to me that the key is for us not to get too rigid – to be willing to experiment and be flexible. The practice of flexing with our eating can be one step in an ongoing practice of working to stay flexible in every way.

My daughter graduated from college last week, and she has been living in an apartment for the past year, doing her own cooking. She discovered baking as a way to deal with stress and add more enjoyment to her life. But she is also experimenting with going vegan as an emotional and healthy choice. So she began tweaking recipes and having fun.

I watch her, and I am reminded that sometimes I take the whole food thing much too seriously. I need the practice of flexing and experimenting!

In that spirit, I share this recipe she adapted. If you make them, let me know how it goes. And in any way that makes good sense for you, relax about some of your food rules this week!

Vegan triple coconut chocolate muffins

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup rolled oats, processed into crumbly flour

1/4 cup white sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 TB cocoa powder

1 tsp drinking chocolate powder (not necessary)

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 cup sweetened coconut flakes (actually a bit more)

1 1/2 TB flax meal

4 1/2 TB water

(This is the egg substitute – mix together and let sit for 5 min)

1/2 cup coconut milk

2/3 cup almond milk

1/3 cup coconut oil, melted

2 TB agave syrup

1/4 tsp vanilla

handful of chocolate chips

adapted from http://www.sizzlingtastebuds.com/2011/08/fat-free-vegan-choco-coconut-muffins.html

350 degrees for 18 min

300 for 4 min

makes 12 muffins