I have spent ages trying various gluten and grain free banana bread recipes. None of them have really hit the spot for me or my family until this one..
Why grain free? Well grains, gluten containing ones in particular, are inflammatory in the body. Inflammation has been linked to many health issues including asthma, allergies, arthritis, auto-immune disorders, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and depression. Gluten sensitivity has been linked with schizophrenia and autism and gluten is also known to cause damage to our gut. Poor gut health and an imbalance in good bacteria in the gut is linked to all of these same problems. The gut is where most of our immune system lives and also where most of our serotonin (one of the neurotransmitters linked to mood) is produced. For more information there are many, many resources out there. Excellent and easy to read books are Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) and Grain Brain. There are also many scientific publications exploring these links.
When our gut health is poor, toxins are able to enter our bodies via the intestinal walls leading to problems in both body and brain. Healing the gut can lead to significant improvements in behaviour, cognition, physical and mental health.
One speaker at the recent diabetes summit said that everyone is sensitive to gluten but where that sensitivity shows up is wherever the particular weak link is in their body. It is now known that gluten sensitivity is not only an issue of the gut (and is not just celiac disease) but can present itself anywhere in the body, and the brain is one place where it can cause problems. It may also show up as insulin resistance, heart disease, lung issues etc. He also said that people differ in the amounts of gluten they can ingest before they reach their particular threshold. For some this is at birth or a very young age, others may not reach this threshold until their twenties or even their seventies. For me it was about the age of 25.
The GAPS (gut and psychology syndrome), SCD (specific carbohydrate diet) and Grain Brain diets are all designed to treat various physical and mental health issues and all remove grains from the diet at least initially.
So, whether or not you have cut out gluten or grains, it can’t be a bad idea to have a delicious and easy recipe that is free from potentially problematic substances. Certainly if you struggle with any mental health issues or any of the physical health problems listed here then cutting out or reducing gluten/grains is worth a try.
So, back to the banana bread!
I have discovered that I don’t like banana bread made with just coconut flour or just almond meal, added shredded coconut didn’t work for me, nut butter in a recipe doesn’t do much for me either. I was on the verge of giving up until I adjusted this recipe from Small Footprint Family. You can find the original recipe here.
I am following the GAPS program for a little while as my gut needs a bit of healing at the moment so have left out the arrowroot flour (this also makes it SCD legal) and made sure the recipe used baking soda rather than baking powder. I also prefer to make things without any sweeteners if possible and a banana recipe is the perfect opportunity as ripe bananas are so sweet anyway. So I have doubled the bananas and left out the sweeter altogether. The extras I have added make this bread even better but it will still work if you don’t have the chia seeds or dessicated coconut.
All 3 of my kids and my hubby have approved this recipe as well as plenty of ‘normal food’ eating people!!
I have used a food processor which I think gives a finer, smoother texture but it will work just as well mixed by hand.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 45 – 50 minutes
4 medium very ripe bananas (the riper the bananas, the sweeter the bread will be). If they are large only use 3.
3/4 cup almond meal (I have also made it using hazelnut meal). For a nut free version use 3/4 cup pepitas ground in a food processor/thermomix/high speed blender.
1/4 cup coconut flour
3 eggs (room temperature)
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil (I am sure melted butter would work too)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon dessicated coconut (preservative free)
1 teaspoon vanilla powder
1 – 2 teaspoons cinammon
Shredded coconut to sprinkle on top
Preheat oven to 175°C
Put all of the the ingredients in the food processor and blitz until combined – too easy!
If mixing by hand:
mash the bananas then add the other ingredients.
Place in a loaf tin lined with baking paper
Bake for 45 – 50 mins until a skewer comes out clean and the loaf is firm when you press it. This one is better cooked a few minutes longer than undercooked.
Let cool for 5 – 10 minutes before removing from tin and peel off the baking paper carefully.
Store it in the fridge in an airtight container or a 4 My Earth bread bag.
I haven’t tried these yet but you could try adding choc chips, walnuts, berries or anything else that you fancy really!
For muffins bake for 30 minutes. They are great with dark choc bits stirred through the mixture.
Enjoy and please let me know what you think!
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