Monday, November 10, 2014

Omega-3 Plus Banana Bread --It's Grain-free, Sugar-free, Dairy-free and Even Egg-free if You Like

Yes, we know.  It sounds like there's nothing left in it that tastes good...but this is a delicious banana bread that's also healing.  And that makes it the best kind of food!

This banana quick bread is grain free, which makes it gluten-free, too, of course. We've also replaced the sugar in regular banana bread with coconut nectar and coconut palm sugar, a low-glycemic substitute.

If you're trying to reduce inflammation, this bread is perfect for you because it has lots of high-in-omega-3 flax meal and omega-3 grass-fed butter.  You can make it without eggs, or if you want the added benefit of omega-3 eggs from pasture-fed chickens, add them in.  Instructions for just how to do this are included in the recipe.  (Just remember that the eggs and butter are only high in omega-3's if they are from free-roaming, grass-fed cows or chickens.)

Adaptable.  That's what this recipe is.  We've included all kinds of conversions so that you can pretty much make it adapt to any allergen, intolerance or health preferences you have.   We made ours with butter, but if you're totally dairy free, use coconut oil.  (If you have dairy intolerance, see here for information about butter.)  You can also choose whether to add eggs or use a substitute.  If you're allergic to walnuts, leave them out or use pecans.

Why the omega-3's?  Getting enough omega-3's in our diets is always a challenge.  Omega-3's need to be in balance with omega-6's.  Unfortunately, so many modern foods have omega-6's added into them, especially processed foods.  Most of us get way more omega-6's than we need and not enough omega-3's.  See here, for more information on this.  When the omegas get out of balance, inflammation results.  And inflammation is one of the leading causes of most of today's major diseases (see box below).

I don't know why, but I particularly love these kinds of quick breads in the autumn and near the holidays. Unfortunately, when they contain sugar and white flour, they're not promoting health.  Here, you can enjoy the banana bread and feel good about yourself, too, knowing you're eating some of the healthiest foods available to you.

Omega-3 Plus Banana Bread

dry ingredients:
1/2 c coconut flour
1/2 c almond meal
1 c flax meal
2 t baking soda
1 t sea salt
1 T stevia
1/8 t cinnamon and 1/8 t ground nutmeg

wet ingredients:
3 mashed ripe bananas
3 eggs or 5 T almond or coconut milk
1/2 c melted butter or coconut oil
1/2 c coconut nectar

final ingredients:
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 c chopped walnuts

Set the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 5 x 8 bread pan with coconut oil cooking spray. In a mixing bowl stir together all the dry ingredients.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add all the wet ingredients into the well.  Stir until well combined.  When you are just about ready to bake, add the vinegar and walnuts and stir.  Pour batter into the baking pan.  Bake for 40 minutes.  If needed, check center of loaf for doneness with a toothpick.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients.
If you prefer a sweeter bread, add an additional 2-3 T of coconut nectar.

Toppings:  The traditional topping with banana bread is cream cheese, but if you're watching your inflammation, dairy is out.  There's always grass-fed butter, of course.  And how about jam?  You can use any jam made without sugar, or even better, mash a few berries with a fork and eat them on top.  Nut butters make good toppings, of course.  And if you really deserve a treat today, try this "Nutella" style sugar-free substitute:

Sugar Free "Nutella"

4 T coconut nectar
2 T room temperature grass-fed butter
2 T cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1 t vanilla
2 T almond butter (or better yet, hazelnut butter if you can find it or can make your own)

Stir all ingredients together until thoroughly combined.

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