What is the most prolific reason you’re likely to come by, when a person is gently pressed for eating perhaps, healthier foods? There are many, of course. The one I’m thinking of goes along the lines of – “What am I supposed to eat, leaves?!” – Yes, actually. With a side of mud too. No. Here here, let me show you just one of many fine examples you can make with ease in your own home. Not including the baking time of 40-50 minutes – where you can occupy your time productively – it takes just 10 minutes to make. Brilliant.
I can say with pleasant satisfaction that there is a huge variety of health promoting foods we can pick at on the go, or even make a full blown dinner with all the trimmings, should time be friendly to you. The problem is, we just don’t know what there is since tradition and upbringing never educated us adequately and, it isn’t shoved in our faces via mainstream marketing. I wont get into all of that just now though. For today I would like you to feast your eyes on this nutritional bad boy, my version of a winter warming, energising banana bread. mmmm, yes.
I would also like to educate you on this little plant based wonder, explaining not just how to make it, but why I choose to make it and the positive properties this foodstuff holds. How exciting. You see, my top pursuit is to eat the healthiest way possible, which prevails to be, not just under the category of plant based, but whole foods. Ideally in their most raw and natural state. The reason is, any cooking, sprays, shipping, anything. Will deplete the nutritional content of any given food. This is where the problem lies. We need those vitamins and minerals from food sources that are naturally formatted to be bioavailable to us. In simple terms, our bodies can actually make use of the good stuff rather than letting it go through. You cannot find this with supplements.
What’s more, whilst I can’t expect you – though it would be good – to live off exclusively raw plant based foods indefinitely, you can learn to understand how to get as close as possible to optimal. Personally, I have made it a priority to truly understand what goes on at the end of my fork and the impact it has. So a little cooking here and there is ok! Just like this baked banana bread I have made. It is through here I sincerely hope to educate and inspire you to take similar steps, there are no negative side effects either. When successful, you will be granted amazing vitality, energy levels and vibrant health. With an official wax stamp of longevity. I feel it is important that everybody understands how to promote their own vibrancy, without all the confusion which currently encompasses the subject of personal health. Lets begin.
How do I make it?
The recipe! –
5 Big bad organic bananas
1 Cup of lovely organic almonds
2 Cups of gorgeous organic pecans
1 Cup of buckwheat or brown rice flour (I prefer the latter)
1/2 Cup of sumptuous sticky 100% maple syrup
3 Tablespoons of the Andean super seed – Chia
2 Tablespoons of aromatic cinnamon
1 Heaped tablespoon of incredible raw cacao
1 Palm full of raw cacao nibs for a delightful crunch
Plus, coconut oil to grease the loaf tin
First thing’s first. Set the oven at 155 degrees so it is ready to inhale your magnificent creation when you’re done. Then, get yourself a food processor and hurl the almond and pecan nuts straight in and get them whirling right away. This should take between 30-60 seconds before a nice flour forms. If it spreads up the sides, just give it a little stir and go again.
Next, grab yourself a massive mixing bowl and throw in the cup of buckwheat/brown rice flour, chia seeds, raw cacao powder, raw cacao nibs and the cinnamon. Try to do this without attempting the cinnamon challenge, there is a time and a place for everything guys and gals. Upon this small success, the food processor should be finished. Throw the almond and pecan flour into the mixing bowl and stir it all in. The subtle smell should just begin to tickle your senses and get you excited.
Bananas and maple syrup, now. First time I tried to mash the bananas in with my hands, it was all just a bit messy, the doorbell rang, and the dogs were spying from around the corner waiting for an opportunity to pounce. All rather stressful. Solution? grab a nutri-bullet or anything similar and blend the bananas with the maple syrup until smooth. This should take around 15 seconds, make a well in the mixing bowl and pour it all in. Dip your finger in there before you do, have a taste of that lush sweetness that is maple syrup and banana, enjoy the experience!
All in, this is where you really want to stir everything and mix it well, with no flour left at the bottom of the bowl. So really get in there and turn it over until your thumb falls off. Great stuff. You should be staring at a gorgeous soft brown colour. Next, grease a loaf tin with coconut oil, pour in the mix. Proceed to smooth it out with a tablespoon and for added delight, use the back of the spoon in a circular motion to lift up some tiny Mount Everest peaks. These will add an extra little dimension to the exterior texture, very subtle. Very nice.
Then, spiral pass the beast into the oven and let the magic work for around 45 minutes, I always check on it at bang on 40 minutes. They say you should be able to pull a knife out of the centre and it remains clean. I on the other hand advise that this isn’t essential, if it is just a tiny bit, I say perfect. This takes into account that when it cools it will firm up yet retain the soft gooeyness in the centre. Exactly what you want. You’ll find that although cooked, it will seem a little raw inside, this means you’ll retain a huge sum of the nutritional value that would otherwise be lost in high temperature cooking. Right, turn the oven off.
This is the bit where the aromas will be dancing all over the kitchen. Leave it to stand for 5 minutes, go grab either some nut butter or raw honey, ready to spread. Though first, slice a piece off and take a generous wholesome bite and just wallow your tongue in the warmth of flavours. Always try it without anything else first to gain a good idea of what on earth you have just created. You have just attained legendary status.
So, why this?
A good time to read this is while you’re chomping down on your first slice. Delicious, I know. Now I want to decipher why this is so good for you, what circumstances are best for eating a slice or two, plus why you shouldn’t have more than a few!
Apart from the banana and maple syrup sitting with a GI (Glycemic index) rating of around 64 and 55 respectively – classed in the range of moderate – you have nothing to worry about here. Though if you imagine refined carbs such as white bread, white pasta, white rice and sweets as something that doesn’t exist – which with regards to diet, it shouldn’t – Then you would class this as a high GI. Relative to wholesome healthy foods on the GI chart. So, you need to be selective with your timing ideally. A morning or afternoon snack is great, it quickly energises you in a sustainable way without the energy slump we all do not need in our lives. We are busy enough as it is.
Furthermore, as a pre and post training snack, it is brilliant. Not only are you energised and subsequently replacing used energy stores, you are nourishing yourself with a myriad of health promoting vitamins and minerals. In particular, magnesium, potassium and iron. Which are found in the bananas, nuts and raw cacao nibs, with particularly high concentrations of these muscle replenishing minerals in the raw cacao powder, sitting at around 300% of the current RDA’s. Wasteful? well, your body will always use what it needs and discard the rest, but you can bet your money it will be bioavailable. Also, it is important to note our current RDA’s are a dated system designed to stave off illness. It doesn’t mean this is an optimal health providing level. So in actual fact, this is what we really need, so the ‘all systems go’ levels will certainly be replenished.
The Optimum Nutrition Bible – Patrick Halford – Cited as one of the world’s leading authorities on new approaches to health and nutrition.
Why we shouldn’t go bananas with this banana bread, is relatively simple. Nuts are very calorie dense. Pecan nuts are around 500 calories per 100g. Whilst this does not mean you should avoid eating calorie dense foods, you need to be sensible about it. So noshing 2-3 slices before you go to bed after a fairly sedentary day isn’t the best idea. This is an energising snack food for those who don’t have the time to cook up a proper meal. For me, Wednesday’s and Thursday’s are long days spanning from 5am-11pm with the most part being on my feet, and training for about 2 hours in the evening. I need the energy and I don’t have much time.
Great news here, it’ll hold in the fridge for about a week and is so easy to wrap a few slices and take them with you. Health and convenience combined! What’s more, it is far better you eat calorie dense foods like this, rich in a plethora of vitamins, minerals and – exclusive to plant food – free radical disarming phytochemicals. Free radicals are why we age, with oxidative stress running am-mock we will age faster, and permit DNA damage to go unchecked, so these guys are good friends of ours. It is not good to chow down on calorie dense fast foods like burgers or fried chicken. Or super high GI rated sweets and refined carbs. We don’t need this rubbish. They’re low in nutrients and chip away at our long term health.
It is important to understand that weight loss/gain does not necessarily correlate with improved or worsened health. You can eat 1000 calories of whipped cream per day, you’ll lose weight. 4000 calories of healthy fruit and veg, you’ll gain weight. This is something we need to remember. So whilst we can never pin point the balancing act of counting calories down to an absolute T, we can certainly improve our vitamin and mineral intake vastly. If these are sourced from whole plant based foods, you will find that your body will do all the maths for you. No fuss included. You shouldn’t need to find yourself counting everything, this is only found within the paradigm of unhealthy foods. No wonder we are all failing “fitness” so miserably, it’s like pushing water up a hill.
Stop clogging up your body with unrecognisable hydrogenated fats in cakes and cookies and “low fat/fat free” products. Stop ingesting needless cholesterol from animal based products, we synthesise all the cholesterol we need in our liver. The rest just becomes excess gunk traffic. Enjoy this awesome banana bread recipe as part of an “on the go” snack. Replace those ridiculous cereal bars full of complete nonsense with this superb, health promoting food. Bon appétit.
Let me know about your banana bread experience in the comment box below, I’d love to hear about it!