What I love most about Paleo–even more than I love the physical changes I’ve seen in my own body over the last year–is it’s promotion of science and self-experimentation in the nutritional world as a means to advance health and wellness. Maybe it’s the reliance on evolutionary principles or just that so many followers of the Paleo diet and lifestyle are just super nerdy, but it seems like it is constantly being tweaked and refined as we explore more and more of the science behind how food and food culture affects our health.
A couple examples–Vintage Paleo was a relatively high protein, low fat diet. While that’s an awesome approach for some people, several studies in the last decade have shown us that, in fact, higher fat diets not only don’t make us fat–they can be remarkably good for us. Ditto for the extremely low-carb dealio. While benefits of very low-carb diets and intermittent fasting are supported by research and personal experiences, there are some questions now concerning how this approach might affect women…because, well, we’re wired a little differently than men. Rice and potatoes have been welcomed by some back into the Paleo diet (for very active people!) while others have shunned high-fructose fruits and nuts, former Paleo staples.
We have the privilege of living in an age where not only is there a plethora of nutritional research being conducted, but it is more available to us plebians than ever before. There is more scrutiny than ever before, too, and we are better able to recognize which studies and research projects are actually legit (i.e. peer reviewed) and which are just bad science.
Obviously, the best approach is the approach that works best for you. I am a HUGE fan of self-experimentation and by no means have I found my 100% ideal way of living…but I’m closer than ever. I eat more and work out less than at any point in my 25 years on this earth and I look better, perform better, and feel better. I wouldn’t keep doing it otherwise. What I’m getting at is that I honestly believe we have a responsibility to ourselves to keep digging for information, to keep educating ourselves, and to keep asking questions. Some new study comes out saying that red meat gives you brain tumors? That gluten is tearing our intestines apart? Or that all fruit is bad for you? READ IT and make a decision for yourself. Google some of the big words. Read some dissenting and concurring opinions.
OK. So after all that I’m giving you a new recipe for banana bread. No, really, I’m going somewhere with this–if you’ve been reading my blog, you may have come across one of the bajillion times I’ve linked back to my very favorite banana bread recipe. Don’t get me wrong, it’s incredibly delicious and I love it. However, I’ve begun taking issue with nuts and the excessive use of nut flours and butters in baking. I’m OK with eating nuts occasionally despite the omega-6 and phytic acid content, but since a good deal of buzz started going around about the potentially harmful effects of heat on nuts (i.e. roasting nuts or baking with nut flours and butters), I’ve been doing my homework (check here, here, and here). I’m absolutely guilty of relying heavily on nut-based ingredients at times…like eating my favorite banana bread every day for weeks on end…so I’m giving some of my favorite recipes a makeover. I’m still fine with raw nuts, nut butters, and the use of them in recipes that don’t require high heat (YES! Cookie Dough Brownies are safe!!!!), but the baking and frying business makes me wee bit uncomfortable. It did take some soul searching, but I definitely sleep better at night without cooked nuts. So there.
As you can see, this banana bread is coconut flour-based–an ingredient I’m much more comfortable with and that is honestly much more nutritious than almond meal, anyway. It’s moist and banana-y, lightly sweet (with no added sugars besides the bananas!), and delicious on its own or schmeared in butter. Because we all need a good, go-to recipe for banana bread that won’t oxidize into a trans-fatty mess
1/2 c Coconut Flour
1 t Salt
1 t Baking Soda
2 t Cinnamon
1/2 c Ground Flax
1 T Vanilla
3 Really Ripe Bananas
Mash the bananas and add the eggs and vanilla, whisking together until well combined.
Combine the dry ingredients. Add to the egg/banana/vanilla mixture by spoonfuls, beating until smooth. Pour batter into a greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.